Pregnant with Finn Joseph Armstrong!
Though every now and then I enjoy visiting my friends’ blogs, I’ve never felt I had anything new to say to begin blogging myself. I could give fitness tips, share recipes, reveal crafts I’ve made, upload pictures of our vacation adventures or our DIY home projects, talk about our naughty dog, Jersey, or share my thoughts on theology or life in general. But I feel none of this would be fresh. And why would you want to enter my world anyway? I kind of like that it’s my world…not yours. I guess I’m a more private person than I ever realized.
However, I feel I now have a valid reason to let you into my world…our world.
We announced to our families the first week of August 2011 that we were pregnant with our first child. The very next day, I began severely bleeding, a pregnancy complication that continued for about four months, several bouts of which sent me to the ER and we thought we had miscarried. Healing came, however. Praise God! I was cleared to continue my job as fitness coordinator and allowed to “be active” again, something that is a part of the fiber of my being.
At 18 weeks, we were giddy to finally find out the sex of our little fighter. The ultrasound technician was uncomfortable and we knew something was wrong. We were escorted to another room and told that our little man’s (it’s a boy!) skull was measuring slightly too large. No explanation, just a referral to a high risk specialist. Two agonizing days later, we sat in an ultrasound room holding each other through sobbing tears. We had just been told our baby has Spina Bifida. Though one in every thousand children is born with this debilitating neural tube defect, it is rare for young, healthy people like Joey and I who eat nutritiously and had been on prenatal vitamins for about six months before conceiving.
Warning: I will use this blog to share my honest feelings…raw and sometimes downright wrong or unjustified.
Hours, days and months of intense fear, confusion, anger and an underlying sadness surrounded us. The expectations that all new parents have of their child seemed simply unattainable.
If he cannot walk or stand on his own, how will he play fetch with Jersey in the back yard, much less be the star of the soccer team? If held back in a classroom for those with learning disabilities or special needs, how will he ever make friends, much less become a member of National Honor Society? If he has to catheterize himself every time he urinates, how will he find confidence in public, much less in the boy’s locker room? I don’t want him to struggle to keep up with us. I want to take him camping, rock climbing, skiing, mountain biking and hiking…activities Joey and I find great joy in. I want him to be active, like his parents.
We’ve experienced a form of grieving over our lost hopes and dreams for our son. Confusion over unanswered prayers for a healthy baby that began when I was thirteen years old. Anger that birth defects and disabilities even exist…especially apart from the sinful choices of the mother. Fear of countless surgeries, several of which he’ll endure during the first two weeks of his life. As I feel him tumble around in my 37 week old womb, I am reminded of his fragility, yet also his strength. He could have miscarried…five times! But he wants to live. God wants him to live. We want to help him.
We will meet this tiny fighter on Monday, Feb. 27th, my mom’s birthday. Though I’m excited to finally hold him and discover what specific issues our SB child will deal with (all cases are different), I really just want him to stay inside me…where he’s safe. Where no one can make fun of him or ask awkward questions or tell him “he can’t.” Where our lives won’t change so radically.
Thank you to all those who have left gifts on our doorstep, brought food, written encouraging cards, given money, sent hopeful texts, called at opportune times, added us to their prayers, and simply kept us in their thoughts. We are grateful for your support and feel God’s love through your warmth. He is with us. He has not left us and we will live grateful lives.
Our next adventure awaits…and I’m scared.