Bilateral Renal Agenesis. 1 in 2000 is common, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else.
Photo Credit: Angela Pichette
I thought I was just going to find out the gender. Would it be a boy or girl?!
What I didn’t know is I’d be coming out of the appointment with an entirely different story.
As they search for the gender I thought to my self, this ultra looks funny. The ultrasound tech puts his hand in the air as if to express where is it? He tells me “hang tight."
Fifteen minutes later I’m thinking, this isn’t good.
Another woman follows him back into the room and explains "we couldn’t get a good enough picture because there is low fluid in the sack, so we are sending you over to your OB right now to explain next steps.”
Next steps. What do you mean next steps? Just tell me the gender and we’re all good.
I wait outside and see my OB contemplating what the heck is happening. Once they get me in she sits down across from me and says “I have some bad news. There is no fluid in the sack which means baby's lungs and kidneys aren’t developing. We are getting you into BC Women’s hospital ASAP."
"Are you telling me my baby's not going to make it?”
She said, “I’m sorry, but this is detrimental.”
I left the appointment scared, confused, and devastated.
A day later Brayden and I drove to BC Women’s hospital, hopeful they might tell us something different.
I get ready for my 90-minute ultrasound. My bladder is full and babe is kicking me like crazy, needing more room I guess. They begin the ultrasound and it looked similar to the one the day prior. A doctor comes in once they finish and says, "I’m so sorry to confirm baby has no kidneys, and lungs aren’t developing so they won’t be viable after birth. Also, it’s a girl."
Tears flood my eyes, I knew it was a girl and I only had one name for her. Lakelynn.
We then move on to more appointments. Geneticists trying to figure out why it happened and if it will happen again. And the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctors with all our options.
Option 1: Evacuation as early as next week.
Option 2: Stop the heart beat, come back two days later and deliver.
Option 3: Induce labour and risk needing a c-section.
We asked, "can we carry to full term to donate organs?"
“Unfortunately, since her lungs aren’t formed, she won’t survive long enough to be able to donate anything.”
"So that’s it, my baby is going to die. But I feel her moving. I’ve heard her heartbeat. She’s alive right now."
"She’s alive because of you, you breathe and live for her," I'm told.
"What would you like to do?" the doctors ask.
NONE OF IT, YOU IDIOT! ALL THESE OPTIONS SUCK! HOW ABOUT THE OPTION WHERE MY BABY SURVIVES AND EVERYTHING IS OK! HOW ABOUT WE REWIND AND I GO BACK TO MY GENDER ULTRASOUND AND YOU JUST SAY IT'S A GIRL AND LEAVE IT AT THAT! IT TOOK ME YEARS TO EVEN CONSIDER HAVING BIOLOGICAL CHILDREN, NOW YOUR TELLING ME THIS IS ALL FOR NOTHING?!
I can’t make this decision. God I need your help. So I’m giving her to you, you take her when you want to.
Pain, heartache, frustration, anger, confusion, hopelessness.
Fast forward to September (my due date was Aug 28th). We made it to full-term.
Wow baby girl, you really must be super cozy in there, I wish I could keep you in my belly forever but I can’t. I want to say hello, but I really don’t want to say goodbye. I will never be ready to say goodbye. It’s ok baby girl, you can come out now.
On September 1, Brayden and I went to BC Women’s Hospital and I was induced to help our sweet Lakelynn make it earth side. I had contractions throughout the night and the next morning we waddled our way back to the hospital. I was dilated to 3cm. Woohoo! I laboured from 7 p.m. on September 1, to 1 a.m. on September 3, then began to push.
Bray and I worked hard from 1 a.m. -.4 a.m., but unfortunately we couldn’t get Lakelynn out due to her positioning, the position of my pelvic bone, and lack of fluid to lubricate the birth canal. So at 7 a.m., we were sent to the OR for a cesarean section.
Our sweet little girl gave us a cry. It was the most amazing moment to hear her voice, and she even opened her eyes. She had dark curly hair, even eyebrows. She had Brayden’s ears, the cutest button nose ever (like her mom) and the softest cheeks. They placed her on my chest and she whimpered softly. She then stayed with daddy. We told her we loved her and that everything would be okay. Daddy held her tight until she was ready to be with Jesus. She gave us the best 26 minutes of our lives.
Watching Brayden hold her while she passed, and whisper in her ear—there’s nothing like that moment. I’m so proud of him. He’s the best and perfect father.
So we grieve. We grieve the short time we had with her. We grieve the loss of her first Christmas, her first day of school, the boys she would crush on, the way she would worship in church, her first piano lesson, her first volleyball game, walking her down the aisle, and helping her when she had kids of her own. We miss her already so much.
But, I have a smile because even though she’s not occupying the room we made for her, I know she’s tucked into the room Jesus designed for her. With Jesus in heaven she’s healed. She has no sickness. She can worship, dance, and be all she was created to be. She’s got it better there. I’m jealous, but I know one day we will see her again, with long brown curly locks and a heart of gold.
Some things in life we can’t control though we wish we could. They make us mad, angry, critical, and even questioning. But I know the God I serve. Even if I don’t understand why, or the outcomes, or circumstances, I choose to say, in my deepest devastation and the unearthing of my entire being, "It is well."
Thank you Angela Pichette / @angepichette for sharing your story. Shared with permission.
We know that losing a child is the most heartbreaking thing a parent can experience.
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