Monday, December 21, 2015

December 21 - Dear Nicholas Sparks (Guest Blogger Kimberly A. Webster)

Dear Mr. Sparks,

I found out I was expecting my second child in September 1999. This would be a sibling to our then 1 1/2 year old son, Cole.

I was so excited and grateful to be given another blessing to nurture and love. My husband and I were so excited as the weeks passed I happily went through all of the prenatal testing. I was very sick once again as I was with Cole but I knew what miracle was happening inside me. We had experienced a molar pregnancy before Cole and we knew how fragile life was this pregnancy progressed and survived a car accident on February 28th. I totaled my vehicle but thank God baby and I were okay.

Early in may my husband, Cole and I went to a routing ultrasound at my ob office. The technician had the look on his face that was too familiar for me. My blood went cold because I sensed his concern. He called a doctor in for a second opinion as to what he was viewing the doctor explained that the baby's stomach looked very full and that was the shadow they were seeing. At a closer look he talked about CDH. It was downplayed so much that I was not worried. I left the office with an appointment for a level 2 ultrasound in a few days. My midwife was teary eyed when I left and hugged me and said she would pray for us. I actually thought everything was fine and correctable. I was a little upset about the possibility of not delivering at our local hospital but at one more equipped to handle the operation that would follow the birth.

The level 2 ultrasound confirmed CDH and my world changed once again I had the feeling that all was not going to turn out okay like I had with the molar pregnancy. I focused on my work and my family and prayed that this baby would battle the odds. The amnio showed no abnormalities and told us we had a daughter. Her name is Shae Ashley.

We were sent to children's hospital in Philadelphia for level 2 ultrasound, fetal echocardiogram and an MRI. After a day of testing we had a consultation with dr. Alan Flake, who most of you probably recognize as one of the forefathers of the studies of CDH. What an honor to be sent to one of the top hospitals in the U.S. and having the worlds best advise you on a decision.

Shae was given a very grim prognosis and fetal surgery was not even offered as a solution. The doctors along with our genetics counselor gave us some choices. After painting an awful picture of what life would be like for our daughter my husband and I knew without a doubt what choice we had to make. I will be eternally grateful to God for giving us the tools to make our decision, and for the strength to carry on despite our heartache.

Back home we met with our doctors to make arrangements. We were going to have Shae at 25 weeks gestation. We knew the outcome and we were at peace knowing she was not going to suffer. We wanted our daughter in the worst way but not at her expense. She was not going to have the life that Cole was having. We could not put her though the trauma of being born with her severe form of CDH.

Being induced was horrible and the birth is something ill never forget. It was the single scariest moment of my life. Then I saw her and immediately felt at peace with my life. I never doubted making the choice. She was truly an angel she touched our lives in a way that no one could understand she was the most beautiful baby.

We are constantly reminded of Shae's life. We have surrounded our home with pictures and reminders. We put in a garden in the memory of her sweet life. We know that one day we will all be together again. Shae is our baby girl and Cole's baby sister and she was called home to do a job. Until we meet again my little princess.

Written by Shae's mom, Kimberly A. Webster (New York)

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