On August 24, 2011 we found out we were pregnant with our third child. Nathan and I were over the moon excited. We felt so blessed to have conceived another child. As soon as we found out we were pregnant we began praying for a healthy baby and for a healthy delivery. Our second son was born in an emergency c-section after a failed VBAC. My uterus ruptured during delivery and my doctor had warned us about the risks of future pregnancies. Over the next 5 months we were busy preparing with excitement for our new edition. We bought a new SUV that would fit the three car seats we would need and added a bed to James’ room for John Patrick to move in.
Then on December 12th our world stopped spinning. On December 12th we went in for our BIG ultrasound. I had been worried about this ultrasound for weeks with no reason to be. The night before I couldn’t sleep and that morning I just didn’t feel right. When I saw our baby on the ultrasound screen with a strong heartbeat my heart leapt for joy. I was so relieved that everything was ok. I just couldn’t stop smiling by how miraculous our child looked. Finally they brought Nathan into the room and then the radiologist came in to look over things. My heart started racing the longer and longer he took to look at our baby. I had done this appointment twice before and usually the radiologist just looks everything over and goes on his way. When he lifted the probe off my belly and looked up at me I knew something was terribly wrong. The words he spoke were, “Darlin’ I wish I had better news.” After a long pause he went on to tell us all that was wrong with our beautiful baby. He finished by saying “This baby is not viable.” Nathan and I were devastated, and crushed, but most of all confused. He spoke to us as if our beautiful baby, the baby we had just spent over an hour watching on the ultrasound move and kick that our baby was dead. We asked him how our baby couldn’t be viable but be alive. He told us, “well yes your baby is alive right now, but this baby can not live outside of you and probably wont make it many more days in your womb.” He then told us that he would send us upstairs where someone would speak to us about scheduling a procedure. Words can’t express how I felt in that moment. The radiologist walked out and the technician who was still in the room asked us if we wanted to know the sex. Nathan and I both said yes before she finished asking the question. “It was a boy.” (she spoke as if he were dead) As soon as she said boy my eyes couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. Nathan said, “Joshua Lawrence” (the name we had already chosen if it were a boy) I began shaking and felt as if my world was collapsing before me. As we went upstairs the only thing I remember telling Nathan was, “I am not killing my baby!” When we got upstairs there were a lot of unpleasant moments. I got my point across and we were scheduled with a specialist for the next day.
The specialist thought that Joshua most likely had a chromosome abnormality, her guess was Trisomy 13 or 18. She showed us how the right side of his heart was not functioning and how his brain wasn’t formed. There were other things too. He was missing a kidney and he had a two-vessel umbilical cord. The next few months we carried Joshua we went to countless appointments. We prayed for a miracle for complete healing and we prayed if God’s will was not to heal Joshua then we prayed for time. The doctors told us that with Joshua’s brain he would most likely not be able to know how to breathe when he is born. And that with his heart condition his heart probably wouldn’t beat. We so desperately wanted time with our sweet boy. During my pregnancy with Joshua God gave me the most amazing joy. I felt so blessed that God choose me to carry Joshua. I saw how Joshua’s life was touching and changing so many people and I felt honored to be a part of God’s plan for Joshua.
On Wednesday, March 21st we went in for a NST (non stress test) on Joshua at 7:45am. Joshua didn't pass the NST so we were told by our Doctor that if we didn't deliver within the day that she didn't think Joshua would survive through the night. Since our desire was for Joshua to have every chance to be born alive we began to prepare for his delivery. I stayed hooked up to the heart monitors all day so that they could continue to watch Joshua closely. It was such a blessing to hear the beautiful sound of his heart beat all day long. Finally we were told that we were on the schedule for the operating room at 6pm. It was so hard knowing that the time had come and that I had carried him as long as possible. When 6pm came around we found out that we had been bumped from the O.R. and then again at 8 we were bumped again. We were grateful for the extra hours but we were worried because now we would not get to use the anesthesiologist we had requested because he had been in the two surgeries before us. The reason we had requested him was because he was the only anesthesiologist that would be ok with allowing us to have a priest in the O.R. during delivery. The nurses gave us this news and said that the anesthesiologist that had been called in was one that none of them knew and they weren't sure if he would allow the priest to be present. About an hour later Dr. Kim came to prep me for surgery. He told us that he would welcome a priest and extra prayer in his O.R. and told us that he attended St. Anne's Catholic Church. We were relieved by this and felt God's hand in picking this doctor. As I was wheeled into the O.R. it was so different from my previous c-sections. For one I hadn't spent all day in labor so I was very much aware of everything going on. Secondly the unknown of what was to come in the next few minutes was terrifying, however I did have a sense of peace knowing God was in control. As Dr. Kim preformed the spinal on me and began to set everything up I started to hear him praying under his breath. This was so calming since the room was filled with nurses and doctors talking about our birth plan, counting equipment and prepping me. As Dr. Adam announced she was starting to cut; Nathan and Fr. Peter were not yet in the room. I looked at Dr. Kim and he said "I promise they will walk in any second". About that time they both arrived. Nathan and I began praying and Dr. Kim loudly prayed right along with us. He opened my hand and placed the rosary he had in his hand and said "hold this" He held my right hand and Nathan held my left. Doctor Adam had a hard time getting into my uterus because my scars had sunken down and she was having to cut through muscle tissue. During this time I was reminded of my previous c-section and prayed harder that she would not have a problem saving my uterus after Joshua was born. After what felt like forever she held Joshua up to show me and said "he's just a little munchkin" She said nothing else and not hearing a sound while they cleaned him up I didn't know if he was alive or not. From looking back at videos he was only away from me for less than 3 minutes but those were the longest minutes of my life. Nathan had gone over to Joshua but Dr. Kim continued to pray what seemed like 100 Hail Marys with me. Finally Nathan walked over and handed me Joshua and told me that he was alive. I think those were the sweetest words I will ever hear. Dr. Kim let go of my hand and told me to keep his rosary. Immediately Fr. Peter began the most beautiful Baptism of Joshua. When he finished Nathan and I just kissed our sweet boy and told him over and over how much we loved him. Our sweet nurse went to tell our family the news that Joshua was here and was alive. When she came back she told us that everyone had wanted to know what he weighs and the nurse asked if she could take him from us to weigh him. Nurse Patty said that my mom insisted that Joshua was 2.5 pounds, to which everyone in the room said that there is no way he weighs that much. When Patty put Joshua on the scale she couldn't believe it. Joshua weighed 2.45 pounds, which they would round up to be 2.5 pounds. Patty gave Joshua back to us and we continued to love on him while Dr. Adam finished closing me up. Dr. Adam told me as she closed me up, "I did a very good job if I do say so myself. I think you can have 2 more c-sections. Well at least 2 more." Those were some of the second sweetest words of the night. Praise God! Two of our prayers had been answered. Joshua was born alive and we would be able to have more children in the future. A minute later Joshua's Doctor asked if she could check Joshua. Nathan and I looked at each other in the eyes and both knew that he had gone home to Heaven. She confirmed what we already knew, Joshua was born at 10:26 and died at 11:08. I held Joshua as they wheeled me down the hall to the room they had set up for us. Nathan went to break the news to our family. Just seconds after they wheeled me in the room they let our families come flooding in. James was the first one to run into the room. He immediately climbed up on my bed and asked if he could hold his brother. To James, Joshua was perfect. He had been talking for months of how he wanted to get to hold his brother and he was so excited that the time had come to get to hold him. He wouldn't let anyone help him. He kissed him, sang to him and told him he loved him. Everybody wanted to of course hold Joshua which James allowed but then he wanted him right back each time. I had prayed so hard that James and John Patrick wouldn't be scared and would get to have time with their brother. James is so smart and he told us that night that he didn't want to talk about the sad part. The next day we had him tell his brother good-bye and he told us that he knew that Joshua was in Heaven with Jesus.
Joshua did more in that time then I have done in my 30 years. His body may have been broken but his soul was perfect. Later we found out that Joshua had what is called chromosome 21 deletion. Meaning he was missing one of his 21st chromosomes. This is beyond rare and therefore makes his life even more of a miracle in our eyes. I share Joshua’s story so that his life can continue to touch others and like Joshua of the bible can bring more people home to the promise land.