I truly wish that I had the time and emotional strength to call each of you and tell you about the events of today, but I'm fortunate enough to have far too many friends and family members for that to be practical. I'm also notoriously bad about keeping in touch, so I'm going to compensate by filling you in on some back story. My apologies to those that will have to skip ahead to get to the new information. I also apologize in advance if I seem in any way flippant or irreverent as I relay the details... my feeble sense of humor is one of my defense mechanisms, and without it I would likely be curled up in the corner sobbing uncontrollably right now.
Cori and I are expecting our third child in late June of this year. Isabella, our four-year-old daughter, seems to understand the basic idea that another baby is coming. Brady, our two-year-old son, is largely oblivious, but all signs point to him being oblivious on most topics. Both Cori and the baby have been doing well, with several trips to the doctor producing the standard "here's a blob on the ultrasound that we assure you is your baby", and "here's a weird audio clip that sounds like the TARDIS from Doctor Who, but we promise it's actually your baby's heartbeat" stuff.
About two weeks ago, Cori was diagnosed with a kidney infection. There was no danger to the baby, just a notable amount of pain for the mother. We got her some antibiotics, some pain killers, and some rest, and she mostly bounced back in a few days. While in the hospital, however, some blood work was taken that showed an unusually high white blood cell count. Just to play it safe, the doctor ordered a more thorough blood test that in turn showed some troubling markers, most notably one that showed an increased risk for spina bifada. After a few minutes of scaring ourselves stupid by googling that particular condition, we quickly agreed to go in for an ultrasound to check on the baby. Last Friday, our obstetrician looked things over using his imaging device, eventually recommending that we go to a nearby hospital for a higher resolution ultrasound.
Today I left work early to meet my wife in Peoria for the fancy-schmancy "4D ultrasound". I'm not exactly sure what the fourth "D" represents, but I think it may stand for "Deny this insurance claim". After poking and prodding Cori for a few minutes with the "ultrawand" (a term I just invented), the doctor eventually told us that it was a girl (yay) and presented us with some very upsetting news (boo).
I'm going to pause for a moment to tell you the name of the baby. Cori and I talked when we got home, and felt that given the severity of the diagnosis, it was important that we give our unborn daughter a name. We wanted a way to speak about her personally, rather than just saying "the baby". We had already narrowed our list of girl's names down to a handful, and we quickly settled on Sophia Grace May. Sophia means "Wisdom", and it has become clear that both wisdom and grace are going to be needed going forward.
Sophia, our daughter, who we hope to meet in about 150 days, has several very severe physical malformations. She has spina bifada in her lower back, a cleft palate, two severely clubbed feet, and one arm that has not formed properly. Additionally, she appears to have deformities in her head that would prevent proper brain development in several key areas. Any of these things on their own would be difficult to digest, but all of them together paint a picture of a genetic disorder called Trisomy 18. I won't bother covering the minutiae of the condition, largely because I'm still getting a grasp of it myself, but suffice it to say that Sophia has a very hard road ahead. Most children born with Trisomy 18 live for less than two weeks, with less than 1% making it to their 10th birthday. Now, a caveat: Sophia has not yet been diagnosed with Trisomy 18. Her clear physical malformations make it highly likely that she has it, but we will not know for sure until after the results of more tests.
We are headed into some very tough months, and Cori and I would greatly appreciate your prayers. While I concede that miraculous and inexplicable things can happen, I fear it may be too late to pray for a healthy baby. In lieu of that, I ask that you pray for two things only... Wisdom and grace.