The Shopping Trip - Chapter 7

Unlocking the car doors, we jumped in and headed for Kalamazoo.  We were going to meet with my mother-in-law to shop for baby cribs.

As you can probably guess, we were not really excited about telling my mother-in-law about the baby.  We drove to the store and waited for her in the parking lot.  We had no idea in the world how to tell her the news. She had been a special care nurse for quite a while, so we knew that as soon as we told her she would know what was happening.  She was expecting news about twins.  How do you tell your mother that instead of being a grandmother twice over, her grand-baby was going to die shortly after birth?  We certainly didn’t know.  We waited for her to drive into the parking lot.

When she finally drove into the parking lot, we had another problem.  A close friend of my mother-in-law’s was with her.  Did we want to tell them at the same time?  We decided to see if we could tell June separately.  We didn’t get out of our car and we tried to call June over to the car.  Finally, she came after calling her several times.  We told her she might want to get in the car.  After going through all the details, she was quite upset I think, but I believe that she held it in to be strong for us.

Then we told her friend.  Both of them were very concerned for us, more than being emotional about the situation.  They played the mother part very well and cared more about how we were feeling than what they were feeling.

Needless to say, we didn’t have to go and look at cribs.  We decided to go to lunch at the Olive Garden instead.  I did need to stop in to J.C. Penney’s so went there and then headed to the Olive Garden for lunch.  While at lunch we talked about what the doctor said and all the details concerning the diagnosis.  They wanted to know how sure the diagnosis was.  Was it something that the doctor was sure about?  Was there any chance of error.  The doctor told us that she was positively sure that our baby was anencephalic. At least I think I remember the doctor saying, “There really wasn’t any chance of her being normal.”  While at the Olive Garden, we had an excellent waiter that even used my mother-in-law’s name.  He got us anything that we needed.  It was almost as if God was trying to let us know again that he was concerned about us and wanted us to have the very best in this trying hour.

Lunch was finally over and we drove towards Berrien Springs and home.  We talked about what we would do.  What should we do?  What do we do next?  Do we terminate the pregnancy or do we carry the baby until it was delivered?  The doctor told us that she would be perfectly safe inside the womb.  There was nothing that would go wrong with the pregnancy while she was safe and sound and Pam was nurturing her.  The doctor told us that there would not be a real risk to Pam.  The only thing to be concerned about is that sometimes towards the end of the pregnancy, additional water can collect in the womb.  This was a concern, but it could be monitored to make sure everything was maintained at the appropriate levels.  We just didn’t know what we were going to do.  We knew that it would be morally wrong to have an abortion, but this was a little bit more complicated. We knew ahead of time that the baby would not live. Would this be really an abortion or just not dragging out the inevitable?  We didn’t know. We didn’t know.  WE DIDN’T KNOW . . .

Lessons Learned

  • If you are going through the experience of telling your anencephalic story to someone else, please know that God is with you.  It is OK to cry.
  • If you know someone who is going through an experience with an anencephalic child, be sensitive to their needs.  Just because you need to know all the details, let them share what they want to.
  • Scripture Promise: But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” Exodus 4:10-12