Hey guys, below is a guest post from a gal who has my heart. Meet Lauren, a blogger and mama who has lived through some serious heartache. I'm so grateful to have her sharing on this day specifically & she'll get to tell you why.
Today is a very special day for our family. Today is Trisomy 18 Awareness Day. marks this special day because the date represents what Trisomy 18 is. The date of 3/18, describes this syndrome because Trisomy 18 means there are 3 of the 18th chromosome.
Before 2013, I never thought about trisomies or genetic disorders. Ever. I took a genetics class in college and remember learning about trisomies and other genetic syndromes. I remember learning about Trisomy 21, or Down Syndrome, and thinking that it would be hard to have a child with it. Then I vaguely remember learning about a few genetic disorders and my professor off-hand saying they were bad news and always fatal. I ever so vaguely remember thinking how awful that is and that would be the worst. Never thought about it again after my sophomore year of college. Until last year.
Trisomy 18 [T18], also known as Edwards Syndrome, is the presence of an extra 18th chromosome, and it is a fatal chromosomal syndrome. Our second son, Gabriel, had T18. And that is why I am sharing about the syndrome on this day. I want to raise awareness of T18, but mostly, I just want to share our Gabriel's story. It's a powerful story and one worthy of sharing. One that is laced with God's power, His will, His love, His grace, and how He redeems. Our lives are being transformed from ashes into beauty because of the work God is doing in our lives through our precious baby.
Here's a little more of our story. I was 20 weeks pregnant with our second child, and we were really excited to find out the gender - hoping for another boy! My husband and I went to that appointment which started normal. It got awkward but I didn't think too much about it until the ultrasound tech told us there were some problems. The OB who we had never seen before, and never saw again, was caught by surprise by what he was seeing. He told us there were problems with the heart, brain, and stomach, and they thought there was for sure some Down's Syndrome in there. When we asked him how bad it was, he told us we should consider terminating. We never considered it. The next day we saw the perinatologists and genetic counselor who told us after a two and half hour ultrasound that they thought our baby had Trisomy 18. We didn't know what it was. When I told the genetic counselor I had never heard of it, she said "that's because it's known as the fatal syndrome." With those words, we broke down. How could our baby die? It made no sense and hit us harder than we've ever been hit.
We went home to process it. We shared the news and decided to share our story with others. And the work God did through our precious baby G was and continues to be amazing. Our lives have been forever changed. We are a family of 4 with only 3 of us here together. We are a broken family who misses our 4th Morgan. We are a family who visits the cemetery all the time, appreciating the beauty in our picture of brokenness. We are a family who talks about death and loss and Heaven with our two year old frequently. We are also a family who is being healed by our Healer. A family who has seen glimpses of God that we could never have imagined seeing. A family who has been bathed in grace.
While losing our son has been the worst part of our lives, being his parents has been the richest blessing. Our sweet G has touched more lives and spread God's message of hope further than my husband or I ever could have. Walking through 2013 was horrible, but it was also a privilege. So on this day, I want to encourage you. If you are a woman who has experienced a loss -- a miscarriage, perinatal, or infant loss -- know that you are not alone. Know that you are loved and that there are other women who have walked this path and survived it. Know that God walks each step with you. And above all, I pray you know the hope that we have in Christ, for it is what fuels us to face each back-breaking day.
If you or someone you know can relate to this, I would love to connect! Please let's talk and share the bond we have. If you are a woman who wants to know how to support a friend through this -- be there. Love on them, do things for them without them asking. Just show up. And if you are a woman who has never experienced this before, thank you for reading my story.
You can read more about Gabriel on my blog and can always find me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessi, thank you so much for allowing me to be in your space today to share what is the deepest passion in my heart. Your love and support to me over the past year has been remarkable, and I am always thankful for you!