The day that we found out that Eden Marie had a birth defect, was the worse day I have ever had. We are going to lose our child, our little girl. The moment the doctor told us that she has a 100% lethal defect, my world stopped. I remember looking at Virginia with tears streaming down my face as she sat there crying with her face in her hands. My mind started racing, how could this happen to us, how are we going to make it through this, what is our next step? My mind couldn’t slow down as we held each other and the questions going through my head went on and on. How is Virginia going to ever be able to go through a full term pregnancy? I felt like I needed to get it together. The only way to get through this first part was to maintain order and worry about my wife and family. I kept telling myself that my feelings didn’t matter right now. My priority is Virginia, and she needs me like she never has before right now.
My first thought was how could we possibly terminate a pregnancy when our child was still alive? We cannot take her life, but I was also thinking about Virginia. Would she be able to carry a child that long only to lose her? I did not have any option but to talk to my wife. I knew we had a very rough road ahead of us and the real question was how we were going to find the strength for the next step.
I remember having a really short talk about terminating the pregnancy as we drove home from the appointment with the specialist. Virginia did not have her thoughts together, and I needed to stop and get something to eat so we stopped. While I was getting something to eat, Virginia’s dad had a talk with her. I don’t know what was said but it helped so much. Virginia said she wanted to carry Eden until the end, and that we would cherish every moment. That was a huge weight off my shoulders. My priority is Virginia and making sure she is ok. I know everything is not ok, but this is something we can’t avoid. This is as serious as anything gets, and Virginia needs me.
Once we got home, our 17 month old, Brooklyn, was waiting for us to get home. She did not see the normal happy Mom and Dad like she normally does. This is when I decided that order still needed maintained in the house. I would keep Brooklyn as happy as possible and help around the house and console Virginia. It seemed that Virginia didn’t think I was upset that much because I wasn’t showing the same emotions as she was. Yes, I was and am very upset, but I also have another little girl to worry about.
This went on for the next couple of days until I started to lose my composure. I started blaming God for taking our girl from us. Early in the morning Saturday, Brooklyn woke up. On the days that I’m home, as soon as she wakes up I take her outside for a walk. Usually we go down the driveway to Grammy and Grandpa’s house, but that day I decided to take Brooklyn out in the woods. I remember praying as we walked out in the yard, and I put her on my shoulders. I began telling Brooklyn about how I see the outdoors as my sanctuary. I prayed and thanked Jesus for giving me the chance to mentor and teach little Brooklyn. I know that she is a one year old and does not speak much or understand much yet, but I began to teach her. I told her that God is the creator. He created these trees, and He created the ground that gives them nourishment. I taught her that all of these plants have a purpose for everything to survive. I told her how God gave all of this to us and how when I go hunting and fishing God gives us nourishment. Tears began streaming down my face as I got to the bottom of the hill. I put Brooklyn down so she could run around and play. I started to ask God why again. Why do you have to do this to us? Why now? How will we make it through this? As I was on my knees Brooklyn walked up to me with two handfuls of hickory nuts. She was just holding them with a satisfied look on her face. She loved them and loves to pick them up. I told Brooklyn that those are special hickory nuts. God made those hickory nuts just for her to hold. That was the moment that I knew that God wanted us to hold Eden and cherish her, just like Brooklyn and the hickory nuts. I thanked God for opening my eyes and thanked Brooklyn for teaching me also. I know it sounds funny that you can learn from a one year old, but it’s true. If it wasn’t for her walking up to me doing something she loved and holding something that she loved, I would have never seen it.
I have a different mindset now. Right now as I’m writing this I look at Virginia and pray for her to have the strength to get through this. I pray for her to have my strength and be a mentor and teacher also. Our little one’s life is going to be short but she will be safe and waiting for us when we go to live with Jesus.