I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 139:14

Friday, July 3, 2009


I am now 22 weeks along in my pregnancy and I have been feeling wonderful! I haven't really had any morning sickness and have been able to eat anything I want. At my doctor's appointments everything has been normal. My blood pressure is great, I've been gaining the appropriate weight, and the baby's heartbeat has been in the 140s, which is normal. Because of this there was never even a question as to whether there were any problems with the baby. This was a planned preganancy so I wasn't doing anything to put this baby in any danger.

Last week Friday I had my first ultrasound in Winkler. Nathan and I were very excited to see the baby moving, since I haven't felt any movement yet, and to see that this is really a person living inside of me. We also wanted pictures to show family and post on Facebook for the world to see. I went into the ultrasound first by myself because that is how it is done in Winkler so that the technician can do all the preliminary stuff such as measuring the baby and the uterus. As she started I asked "so there is something in there right?" She said "yes" and we made small talk for awhile. Finally she asked me what my husband's name was and she went to get him from the waiting room. This took a couple of minutes and when they both came into the room the technician said that Dr. Jacobs would be in right away. This is when my heart sank because I know that when this is said on TV there is usually a problem. Dr. Jacobs came in and they moved the screen towards Nathan and I. They said that there seems to be problems with the baby's development. Then they began talking amongst themselves and pointing to the screen. I got really scared and Nathan started asking questions. They said that it was hard to see a lot of the baby and so they weren't sure on all the problems. The spine looked like it wasn't long enough and is seemed that the organs were developing outside of the stomach and the stomach wall didn't look like it was thick enough. I started tearing up and they continued by saying that they could only see one leg, the heartbeat was low, and the baby wasn't moving as quickly as it should. Nathan asked if there was anyway that the baby could be okay and they said that there would be an appointment set up at the Health Science Center in Winnipeg where we would have a more indepth ultrasound and would meet with a genetics specialtist. I was in shock and managed to hold in my tears. Dr. Jacobs also said that if we wanted to talk to my doctor we could immediately go to the clinic and do so. I went to the bathroom to empty my bladder and then we left the hospital to go to the clinic. In the car I began crying uncontrollably. This was the worst news I have ever received! We got to the clinic and my doctor didn't have much more to say so we left, still in shock. When we got home Nathan and I just held each other and cried. I didn't know what to do. I kept thinking this isn't fair! So many people who don't want children are having them and they are perfectly healthy. Here we want one so badly and it may not survive!
I called my mom as soon as I was able to and told her about the ultrasound and then I called my mother-in-law to do the same. They both didn't know what to say except that they would be praying hard for this little one. Nathan and I both sat for awhile just absorbing the news and trying to deal with it. We had planned on going camping for the weekend, but didn't feel much like going anymore. Finally I decided that we were still going because there was no way that I could sit at home and grieve for this child who is still alive. We went with Nathan's brother and fiance and they were a wonderful distraction for us, even though I was up crying most of that first night.

Yesterday we had our meeting with Dr. Reed at the Helath Science Center. We had a really tough time finding where we were supposed to go. When we finally got to the right building we sat down with a couple of doctors and were asked many questions to help them figure some things out. We were asked questions about our ethnicity, any relation between Nathan and I, whether I was drinking during my pregnancy, and our family history. Then the doctor was very direct and told us that the ultrasound that we were about to have done may show nothing wrong at all or enough wrong that the baby may not survive at all, or anything inbetween. They left us in that room by ourselves and went to set up for the ultrasound. I drank a bunch of water again, thinking that I needed to for the ultrasound and by this point I thought I might have an accident. When the doctor came to get us I asked if I could go to the bathroom and he said that I absolutely could. All that discomfort for nothing :) During this ultrasound Nathan was able to stay and we were able to watch the screen the whole time. It was so neat to see the heart pumping and the head. We also saw the hands moving and there are two legs with feet. After the ultrasound Dr. Reed met with us and explained that there is a bit of scoliosis in the spine, which means that the lower part of the spine is a bit curved, the diaphram has a hole in it and the stomach is growing into the chest cavity (Diaphragmatic Hernia), and there is a hole in the stomach wall so the intestines and the lower part of the stomach is growing in the umbilical cord (Omphalocele). Everything else is okay and if it was just one of these problems it could be fixable but all of these three problems together make it unlikely that this baby will survive. I am still amazed at how composed I remained during this meeting. I didn't shed a tear and asked a lot of questions. The baby is growing normally otherwise and the brain seems perfect. The whole body is moving and the heart is strong. there are five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot.
We decided to also have an amniocentesis done right away. This is where they insert a thin needle into my stomach and take some fluid from the placenta. This is done to find out if there is a genetic reason for these problems and if there is anything else wrong that was not seen by the ultrasound. It was definitely not comfortable, but it was done quickly. Then Dr. Reed
did another, short ultrasound to make sure that the amnio didn't hurt the baby in any way. He also gave us two pictures of the baby which we will cherish forever.
Nathan had a really tough time composing himself during all of this. He explained it as "a kick in the nuts" and as "the worst day ever"! I couldn't agree with him more.
When we got home I again called both parents to share the news and before we went to bed I broke down. I am not a strong person and don't know how I will ever get through this. How can God give us something so precioius and then possibly allow it to get taken away from us so quickly?I know He has a plan for his little one. I just wish I knew what it was. We need everyone's prayers!


  1. Oh Crystal, my heart aches for you and we continue to pray for a miracle for your sweet baby. You ARE a strong person and although I have no words of advice, just know that you and Nathan (and your baby) are loved and are constantly being lifted in prayer. I pray for miracles for your baby, peace for the two of you and strength in your marriage as you go through this difficult time.

  2. Dear Crystal,
    I found your blog through a friend, Kenton Doerksen and felt compelled to write to you. I am so sorry to hear about the hell and heartbreak you are experiencing right now. My husband and myself have recently experienced many of the same emotions. When I was 18 weeks pregnant we went through a very similar scenario as you. We had the emergency fetal assessment and the meeting with all the genetic doctors, etc. as well. We too were told that what we were about to see could be anything along the spectrum as blood work I had had done showed something was wrong with the baby but they couldn't tell what. God gave us a miracle when they could find nothing wrong on our fetal assessment but we still had three more during the pregnancy just to be sure. At each one they saw nothing. Then I had a very difficult and coplicated delivery just over a month ago and our baby boy was born not breathing. He was very quickly revived and at first they thought everything was fine but soon we discovered he kept turning blue whenever he cried. We spent 10 days in various care like NICU undergoing testing to discover that our son had/has two issues causing this problem. We went through all the emtions as well. Feeling things were so unfair, etc. We have done a lot of crying and some days there just doesn't seem to be energy to go on. I'd like to pass on hope to you though. Through all this it is amazing how we have felt peoples prayers and seen little miracles. God IS a God of HOPE and a God of grace to get us through each day. Our son is improving and we have hopes that one day he will be comppletely healthy and this will all be a bad nightmare we can put behind us. I want to share a verse that has been very significant for me over the past month and a bit. It is Zephaniah 3:17"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
    We named our son Elijah because it means "God is my salvation." He has been that for our son and I believe that he will bring the grace and hope and healing that you need as well.
    You can read more about our story at www.themomdrums.blogspot.com and if you ever want to chat about the emotions your going through just post a comment on there. I'd be happy to talk. I know this road is long and painful Crystal and my heart aches for you. Here is a hug and a prayer for peace that passes all understanding.
    With Hope,
    Carissa Rempel

  3. Hey Crystal I wish I could give you a big hug. You know a lot of the tough things we have been through with our pregnancies. Each day we have is a blessing, and your baby is so special to all of us and especially to God. Your baby is in the best care. I pray for God to give you peace at this time and hope and faith for each new day.
    love you :)

  4. Hi, a mutual friend of ours told me about you and about what you are going through right now with your baby. I don't honestly know what to say except that reading the words you write bring back my own memories from about 2 years ago. We found out that our baby girl wasn't going to live when I was 3 months pregant and she passed away during delivery at 8 months. I know that each person is different and in no way do I even try to think that I know how you are feeling but I am a firm believer that sadness is the same, and although we have a wonderful God who promises to take care of us it still hurts. If you want to check out our blog it is kimberleywaldner.blogspot.com. We found out about our little girl in July 2007 and she was born January 2008.

    Please know that we are praying for you and hoping that you would be able to feel God's peace and love in the midst of everything. If you want to talk or something just let me know my e-mail is herrera.ak@gmail.com

  5. Hi Crystal. I am so sorry that you are having to go through this. I promise to keep you and Nathan in my prayers. It's been a long time since I've talked to you (probably since High School) but I will be praying for you every day.
    Take care.

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