In December 2009, Tim and I found out that we were expecting our second child. Our son Noah was just 16-months-old at the time. We were elated that we would soon be adding another member to our growing family!
The weeks passed and with each doctor's appointment we were overjoyed that our baby was growing and that all appeared to be well. It wasn't until a routine ultrasound at 20 weeks that we had any clue anything was wrong.
On March 15th, 2010 everything changed.
We went in for our "gender ultrasound" at 20 weeks gestation armed with only a list of baby names. I was convinced that we were having a baby girl. So convinced in fact, that I had already purchased white nursery furniture with delicate floral accents. I had resisted purchasing the crib and bedding, just in case - I had no idea that "just in case" would end up being just in case we would not be bringing her home.
The ultrasound that discovered our daughter's condition and the following confirmation ultrasound seemed a bit of a haze to me. We were told that our little girl had a condition called Anencephaly and would not survive outside the womb. Anencephaly is a neural tube defect that occurs in the first few weeks of pregnancy when the skull does not close, resulting in abnormal development of the skull and damage to the developing brain tissue. It is always fatal.
We were given three choices that day:
1. Terminate the pregnancy.
2. Carry to viability (24 weeks), then induce labor.
3. Carry to term.
We chose life. Amelia Grace was born on July 28th, 2010. She lived for two very precious and wondrous hours.
Neither of us had put much thought into organ donation before Amelia. When you are faced with the loss of a child it can be impossible to make sense of it all. We knew we couldn't save our daughter, but maybe her heart valves or liver cells could help save someone else. We felt helpless in so many ways as we faced losing Amelia. Organ donation gave us the opportunity to do something...We chose to celebrate her life by sharing it.
One of our favorite quotes is: "There is no footprint so small that it cannot leave an impact on our world." Through her life, her death and her donation, our baby left behind some beautiful footprints. Every life is precious. Becoming an organ donor is a serious decision, there is no greater gift you can give than to give someone the chance to live.