Friday, October 5, 2012

The worst kind of heartache

 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. - Isaiah 43:2

It is with a heavy and tired heart that I find myself once again posting to this blog.   Over the past year it has been my dose of therapy and a way to update family and friends as to how we are doing after the sudden and unexpected stillbirth of our son, Owen at 41 weeks.  I felt, over and over again in those first horrible days how very much I was "in the flood".  Sometimes it threatened to overwhelm me, other times I grasped onto the support I knew God had so clearly provided us to wade through it.

Over the past year I have had my ups and downs....wanting to see God's hand in the loss of Owen, wanting to see some good come of it, knowing that He may not yet reveal what He has in mind and telling myself to be content in Him.  Then, in June, much to our delight, we discovered that we were once again expecting.  It was a pregnancy that I had prayed for even though I knew that it was going to be tough.  Not tough physically, I love being pregnant and feeling those baby kicks and even all the crazy changes that come with it, but tough emotionally.  I will never again go thru a pregnancy thinking that I get to bring a baby home in the end.  Never again will I assume that after that first trimester "all is well".  I knew this was going to be a tough one.  I had no idea how tough this will end up being.

We were cautiously optimistic.  And then....the day of my first prenatal visit, at 7 weeks I started spotting blood and cramping.  This is my fourth baby and I have NEVER had this happen before.  I was terrified.  Didn't God know how much we wanted this baby?  Doesn't He know that the latter part of this pregnancy is going to be horribly emotional for me given what happened to Owen....does the beginning have to be hard too?

To make a long story short, I ended up having 4 ultrasounds during the first trimester of this pregnancy and continued to spot on and off.  The doctors noted a "pool of blood" inbetween the uterine wall and the baby and believed that was the source of the trouble.  Overall they did not seem very concerned about it and felt that it would either continue to bleed out or get reabsorbed into my body at some point.
At each appointment I was a nervous wreck.  This baby's heartbeat has been very elusive, one time even requiring an ultrasound to confirm it.  Since it was at an ultrasound that I was told that Owen's heart was no longer beating,  it was a panic inducing experience to say the least.  So all in all, it has not really been smooth sailing.  My nerves have been frayed on more than one occasion and I know that I am failing miserably at trusting in the One who is the giver of all life.

At some point during the second trimester the spotting seemed to stop and I felt like I might actually be starting to relax and maybe even enjoy this pregnancy a little bit.  I hadn't really said to much about it to anyone, although obviously it you saw me you would know.  I did finally take a deep breath and posted a couple of great pics announcing the pregnancy with the kids onto facebook, which of course, makes it official :)

Then came our 20 week ultrasound on Sept. 24th.  This was an appointment I have been dreading.  I don't know why, I just couldn't wait to see that everything was OK and move on.  Quite frankly, what I really wanted to do was to fast forward to February or March and just see that everything was fine and be done with all the stress.  But, that has not been the Lord's plan for us.  And so.... at our 20 week ultrasound we find ourselves once again in the flood.

The ultrasound showed several abnormalities with our baby.  We got some preliminary findings from our doctor's office and were immediately referred up to Akron Children's Maternal Fetal Medicine Dept. to see a specialist that same day and have a level 2 ultrasound done.  The prognosis is not good and as you could only imagine we are devastated.  My doctor was wonderful, she knew how much we had been struggling and I could tell it broke her heart to have to tell us what she saw and refer us to Children's.

At Akron Children's we saw a wonderful doctor and the team up there was really nice.  We had a very short wait and then met with a genetics counselor to kind of go over what they might be thinking.  The ultrasound showed that the baby (a boy)  has a heart defect, where the lower chambers of the heart are not separated and there is a hole in between them.  Additionally, the main "in and out" arteries of the heart are both on the right side of the heart with a hole between them which causes the oxygen rich and oxygen depleted blood to mix together.  They also noted that one of his kidneys appears to be non-functional and is full of cysts.  They also noted cysts on his brain.  There were a couple of other things that they saw as well, but the overall consensus was that something was terribly wrong with our baby.  The doctor's initial thought was a chromosome defect, most likely  Trisomy 13, 18, or 21.  They would have to do an amniocentesis to test for any of those chromosome defects. They also scheduled us to have a fetal echocardiogram to get a better idea of the issues with his little heart.

In the days that followed I have felt like I have been set loose from my anchor.  I had Derek take me to hospital because I was convinced I had appendicitis after having severe pain in my side for 7 hours in the middle of the night.  Later that day, I thought for sure I had an ulcer, the pain in my stomach was so bad and I hadn't eaten in 2 days.  At 1:30 in the morning that next day I woke up my husband, who was already exhausted from our hospital visit the previous day and just from the heartache of what we were learning, and wanted him to take me back to the hospital because this time I was sure, at 36 years old that I was having a heart attack.  Looking back on it now, I know I sound like a crazy person, but   I absolutely was having a horrible tightness in my chest and the pain was shooting down my arm.  I told Derek I was afraid to go to sleep because I was sure I was dying.  I called over to the hospital and talked to the on call doctor who was really great.  She basically said that I could come to the hospital if I wanted, but she was fairly certain I was having panic attacks.  I'm sure she was right....  I thought I was handling things a lot better than I actually am.  It's been horrible and hard and every kind of sadness.

This past Tuesday we met with the team at Akron Children's and got the "official" word.  Our baby...our son... Josiah is what we decided to name him, has Trisomy 18.  The odds are very high that he will not make it.  The doctors have said that if he makes it to term, he will likely be stillborn or live a very very short time.   Josiah is due February 11, 2013.

We truly covet your prayers as we navigate this new flood in our lives.  Please pray for Josiah, I don't know how long we might have with him.  I don't know if he will make it to his due date.  I don't know if he will be born still or if the Lord would be pleased to give us even a little bit of time with him before calling him home.  Please pray for Braden and Addison...they were SO excited about this baby and it broke our hearts to tell them that we will more than likely not be bringing a baby brother home with us once again.  Pray for us....for Derek and myself, that we would cling to Christ in the midst of this heartache.  That He would give us the words to say to Braden and Addison and that we would find comfort in loving Josiah the best we can while we have him even now. We still trust in the God who holds are things in His Hands.  I don't have the slightest clue what He is doing right now so all I can do is rest in the truth of His promises.  He is with us.  He is sovereign over ALL things.

For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.
Psalm 139:13-16

For more information on Trisomy 18, we have found this website helpful:



  1. Oh Cat, how my heart is breaking for you and Derek and the children. I'm so sorry you have to go through this again, yet, our great and awesome Heavenly Father has deemed you able to do it, even if only by clinging to Him by a mere thread of faith. He has lovingly promised His Spirit to be your Comfort and Guide. I am praising Him for the grace He has given to you to trust in His sovereign will. ... Lord God, Almighty and Merciful One, I pray you will grant to Derek and Cat their prayers for grace to trust You "in the flood" once again. Let not the dark spirits of fear, doubt and discouragement overtake them. May they praise Your holy name always. Amen

  2. Hi Just found your blog from Nicki on Facebook. I am so very sorry for all of your heartache. I just wanted you to know I am praying!

  3. Cat, I too just saw a link to your blog on facebook. We also are experiencing many of the same trials as you at this time. Our baby boy is due Feb. 23, and we also have been diagnosed with a subchorionic hemorrhage. From the beginning of our "bleeding episodes" we have constantly been reminded of our need for our gracious Savior. It is much easier to say those things aloud and there have been days I've doubted these truths. Many well-meaning friends and family have said some very hurtful things to us. We know God works all things together for our good, but during these times it is hard to see where the good may lye. I will be praying for you and your family-for strength each day to rest in His eternal promises and that through your pain He will be glorified and proclaimed to all around you. Already your testimony is touching hearts and bringing others on their knees! Our God is good, especially in the midst of suffering. "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Praying for our boys.

  4. Praying for you guys Cat...and telling EVERYONE I know to pray also. Jesus is covering you with His sweet spirit of peace...


  5. Hi Catherine, I am new to your blog but it really caught my attention when I saw that your baby was recently diagnosed with T18. My daughter was born in 2009 with full T18. We found out only hours before her birth that she was suspected of having this condition. I was in a huge state of shock and didn't know anything about Trisomy 18 - Only what the doctors were telling me, and it was all very very bad news. Our daughter had a VSD (hole in her heart,) tracheoesophageal fistula/ esophageal atresia (which basically means that her esophagus did not connect to her stomach, and there was a connection between her esophagus and trachea.) She also had kidney issues and the "typical" physical characteristics of T18 - Small size, bilateral clubbed feet, clenched hands, etc. I have done tons of research in these past three years to try to understand more about Trisomy 18 and why it is considered to be fatal. I want you to know that there is HOPE - I am a member of a very active support group online that has many, many families who have living Trisomy children. I also have more resources if you are interested, I strongly recommend that you join the Trisomy community that I am involved with. Please email me at if you would like more information. XOXO

  6. I know personally that there are no words to comfort you. My daughter was diagnosed with a fatal condition (Turner's) and I have lived this path that you currently walk. I will pray for your peace. That you will be flooded with support for all your needs. It is so horribly unfair and I too am just now (after 2.5 years) able to see the light again. But nothing will for this path that only you will walk.

  7. Was pointed to your blog through another blogger. My heart is aching for you. I just keep thinking how unfair it is. I'm not religious, but am sending all of love and positive thoughts your way. Hoping for a miracle for your little rainbow.

    Lots and lots of love to you all,

  8. Hello Cat - It is Amy (Cribbs) Haas commenting - remembering you from Whittier 3 days at Malone - I found your blog last summer through mutual friend, Kim Smith Branch from Faith Bible - I prayed for you all last summer after the loss of your precious Owen. I am devastated to read this latest update, but inspired by your strength and faith. Will pray for God's continued loving care of your family. I will pray for a miracle for your Josiah and also for God's lavish grace to be just what you all need each day - it truly is enough. I'm so sorry, Cat. Looking forward to heaven, where Jesus will forever wipe every tear, and we can sing his praises forever healed and free from the sting of sin and death.

  9. Oh Cat, my heart is breaking for you...praying for supernatural grace, strength, and peace as you continue to walk this difficult journey. <3

  10. You will keep in PERFECT peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trust in You.
    Isaiah 26:3

    Praying for your minds & hearts that they would steadfastly be focused on the Lord. Praying against the enemy.
    God is good and He WILL get the glory out of this trial. You are already making Him known by your posts! I'm praying for you my sister in Christ! And for your husband and children, all of them.


  11. I was brought to your blog from Facebook.
    I am sorry that you are dealing with all of this. With God all things are possible. I worked with special needs kids for 5 years and in those kids I had the joy of working with a little girl with T18. She is now about 14 years old. She was such a cute little gem!!! I don't want to give you false hope, but HOPE is a blessing from GOD and HE CAN DO ALL THINGS!!! I pray for peace and healing no matter what the outcome.

  12. Oh dear Cat words cant express the excruciating heartbreak and the pain I can only imagine you are experiencing right now. We have been there once and the thought of doing it again is too much to think about. We got the life changing news at our 20wk u/s that our sweet baby boy had a fatal condition that would not allow him to live outside the womb..we had 15 precious weeks with him inside me before we said our goodbyes only a few minutes after he was born. I had no clue how I would survive this whole ordeal but continually God poured out some serious love and grace on me and filled me with a joy and peace that could only come from Him..The joy of the Lord is my strength, James 1, and Psalms were my daily reminders to keep the faith and although it was an extremely difficult time it was an incredibly sweet time in my life as well that I will never forget because God showed up at my worst. I am praying that over you all today and are heavy on my heart right now and your baby boy josiah will be in my prayers as well. Praying God does a miracle in Him and in you:) Our dear son Ryan James met Jesus on Aug 7 2010 and I know He was thrilled to stand by when they welcomed Owen the following year...what a joy to be with our boys again someday!! We also went to akron childrens maternal fetal medicine! One of my biggest prayers was also that Ryan would make it till birth so we could say our goodbyes to him and tell him how much he was loved..I will pray that as well should God choose not to heal Josiah here on earth because I know how important and special that is. Please feel free to email me anytime should you just need to pour out your heart to an understanding soul who has been there. We are walking in a walk for the angels tomorrow in Massillon through the group Gods Tiny Angels and I will be sure to remember your sweet Owen as well and pray for you all as I walk:) Many blessings..Kimmy A

  13. I was brought to your blog through facebook. I cannot find the words to express how deeply sorry I am for your family in the loss of precious Owen, and for the the diagnosis you recently received. I am praying for you and your family all the time. Your strength and faith in God is so inspiring.

  14. I don't know you but I stumbled across your blog and immediately thought of a blog that I found back in the spring about a little girl in Cincinnati with Trisomy 18....

    You should check it out. :-)