It started out pretty normal until right before I went to lunch. I started bleeding. At first, I was not too worried. I had problems with this off and on since the beginning of my pregnancy. Three earlier sonograms showed it was always nothing to be worried about. The heartbeat had always been strong and steady and movement was always seen as well as felt. But this day, the bleeding progressed. I called my OB office and my doctor was out for the day as well as his nurse. My call was sent to the on-call nurse. Voice mail. I left my message with my work number to call back. An hour passed and no call. I checked my cell phone and had a missed call from the OB office with a message to call back. So much for them calling the number I left. So I called back. Voice mail again. By this time it was nearly 3pm on a Friday afternoon. My biggest fear was to be sent to ER to be seen there. So I took my sono tech up on her offer to "call anytime you need reassurance". She called me back less than 3 minutes after I left a message on her voice mail. She went directly to the other doctor on-call and he said to come over for a sono right away. I hadn't told Scott that I was having problems at this point. I called him quick, said I was going over to check for heartbeat and nothing else. The 'nothing else' was our way of teasing each other on finding out baby's sex. He wanted to know and I wanted to be surprised.
3:30 pm. "Heartbeat is great. Baby is head down and legs are crossed. I want to check the cervix and the location of the placenta. That may be the problem.'" Silence. "Oh Jenny." It was the tone in her voice that caught my attention. " Oh Jenny. I want to be as upfront with you as I can. Your baby's head did not develop properly. It appears to have a condition called anencephaly. See. Right there. The head is not round. Jenny I am so sorry." Another tech came in right after her explanation. As soon as she opened the door and looked at the screen, she rushed to my side, dropped down and held me. I was sobbing silently on the exam table looking at the obvious, flat skull. She verbally confirmed what the other tech suspected. She left the room to call my doctor, not the on-call doctor, to confirm the diagnosis. While we waited, she wanted to know if I wanted to continue with the scan to determine sex or to finish the developmental portion of the scan. I couldn't. It was already too much for me to process. This was supposed to be our "rainbow baby". Our take home baby. Our reminder that after the storm, good will come. I couldn't wrap my head or heart around what I had already heard.
We made small talk as we waited for my doctor. As it turns out, my tech worked at a University hospital where all suspected cases of anencephaly were sent for confirmation of diagnosis. She personally had scanned a large amount of babies with anencephaly. I knew there was no question of diagnosis. One, I could see it myself. Two, she wouldn't have said anything if she was not certain. Three, these two techs are the best around. It felt like an hour, but my doctor arrived within 15 minutes after they called him. I don't know what he was doing, but I do know he dropped everything immediately and came in. He confirmed the diagnosis.
How was I going to tell Scott? This was a nightmare that I just wanted to go away. I don't remember if he called me or if I called him. We both remember our locations when the news was shared. I was in my car outside of my OB office and he was in a pasture doing evening chores. We cried together for a long time over the phone. He wanted to drive in and bring me home, I wouldn't let him. He felt so bad that he was not with me. I was thankful that I was alone. If I hadn't started to bleed, we would have received the news three days later and Spencer would have been with us. So yes, I welcomed the thought of shouldering the news by myself for that reason alone.
My next concern was how were we going to tell our parents. We decided each one of us would tell our own parents. I can't even tell you when he called his mom and dad. I panicked at the thought of calling my mom and dad. How could I call and tell them that their grandchild would die? I kept picturing them cuddling with Spencer when he was an infant. I couldn't do it. I called my sister. I remember I was in the parking lot at HyVee when I told her. My heart was shattered. She said she would call mom and dad for me and let me sort though things at my own pace. She knew they would understand my frame of mind and why I couldn't call now.
So she called our mom that night. Dad was at work that night until 11pm and couldn't be reached. Dad said that all day, he kept thinking there was something significant about the day but he couldn't place it. It was a nagging feeling. He asked several people he worked with if he was forgetting something that day or if they knew what was so important about the day. The feeling just didn't leave him. He decided to try Google to see if there was an answer there. This is the first thing that came up in his search :
The Lord My Guardian
I raise my eyes toward the mountains.
From where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord
the maker of heaven and earth.
God will not allow your foot to slip;
your guardian does not sleep.
Truly, the guardian of Israel
never slumbers nor sleeps.
The Lord is your guardian;
the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
By day the sun cannot harm you,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will guard you from all evil,
will always guard your life.
The Lord will guard your coming and going
both now and forever.
He didn't know the significance of this verse at the time, just knew that it eased that nagging feeling he had felt all day. When I finally found the strength to call them, my dad shared this verse with me and how he came upon Psalm 121 on January 21st. It brought comfort then and still does. A reminder that God will protect us from harm and watch over us night and day.