I have some news that I have been wanting to share with our Building Cathedrals family for some time now. As some of you may have already gathered, I am pregnant with baby #5 and due around the 4th of July.
Shortly before Christmas, we found out that our baby has a condition very similar to that of our first daughter, Lucy Rose (and also Kellie’s (“Red’s”) sweet Therese Joy), a neural tube defect called acrania/anencephaly. This means that the skull, and therefore the brain, have not developed properly, and that our baby will not be able to survive after birth. Some babies with acrania/anencephaly are stillborn, as Lucy was, while some live for a couple of hours or even a couple of days. There is no way to predict the length of this baby’s life, but we will be prepared for all scenarios and will celebrate this baby’s life, no matter how short or how long.
We have talked to several different doctors who are experts in their field, and at this point in time there is no medical explanation for why we have now had two babies with neural tube defects. There are a few places across the world doing research on NTD’s, and we will participate in all of their studies. However, the genetic counselors tell us to expect that nothing abnormal will show up, which was the case when we had Lucy’s cord blood tested as well.
We have recently also found out that our baby is a girl, and have decided to name her Anastasia Rose, but will call her Annie. Anastasia has several meanings for us – in Latin, Anastasia means “to stand again,” and St. Anastasia is mentioned (along with St. Lucy) in the litany of saints following the consecration at Mass. We love hearing Lucy’s name when we go to church, and will look forward to hearing Anastasia’s name as well. Rose is the middle name for all four of our girls, and is in honor of Our Blessed Mother.
At this point in time, our family is doing very well and we are just taking one day at a time. We are sad for many different reasons, but we are also joyful because we know that God has a very special plan for our family. We are also upheld and humbled by the kindness and support of our friends and family both near and far. It is not easy to walk with someone through suffering, and we have watched many people overcome their discomfort in order to ask us how we are doing, how they can help, and how they can be praying for us. For us, these signs of compassion and courage are humbling, and we are reminded daily of how blessed we are to be a part of such wonderful communities.
In a recent conversation with our wonderful pastor, we received some great advice on the questions and thoughts that we might reflect on. It dawned on me that these thoughts apply not only to our situation, but to all of us as followers of Christ, and so I would like to share them here.
*Rather than asking God what he wants me to do, ask instead who he would have me be.
*How will I parent my child, and how will I allow myself to be parented – by God, by those who love me, by my community?
*God does not ask of us the impossible – he only asks us to do the ordinary, and he will take care of the extraordinary.
*When faced with difficult choices, always make the loving decision.
Thank you for letting me share my thoughts here at Building Cathedrals, and please feel free to ask questions. I will continue to write about Annie and our family, as these are the things that I am thinking about these days. Each family has its unique blessings and struggles, and we do not count our struggles as any more painful than those of other families. Please be assured of my continued prayers for all of our readers.
Many blessings to all of you as we enter this fifth week of Lent. Mary, Mystical Rose, pray for us!