Our story of Emma and Connor
TJ and I always knew we wanted children. I was pregnant on our first anniversary, and we had Anna on Valentine’s day of 2006. We loved every second of being parents, and knew we wanted more children so began to try when Anna was about 18 months old. In August of 2007 I had a miscarriage. After that we decided to try again, and I became pregnant with our daughter, Emma, in November of 2007.
It was a normal pregnancy for the most part, except I had a bad feeling the whole time. In my heart I knew something wasn’t right. At our 20 week scan my fears were confirmed. The doctor told us she had Anencephaly. We were devastated.
My sister in law had her baby with this defect at 18 weeks in 2005 so we knew exactly what it was. I will never forget the day they told us about Emma, I can still hear, see, and feel everything that happened in that office. We had a second ultrasound to have everything confirmed. She was 2 weeks behind her due date and had other severe defects. Not thinking she would ever make it, and not knowing any other way, we had her at 21 weeks. We didn’t get to see her or to hold her.
I grieved for my child and my pregnancy for a very long time. We had a service for her and her hand and footprints, but these were our only memories of her. After we had given ourselves some time to hea,l we decided to choose the path of adoption for our next child. We knew it was a long process, but were excited to start. We always knew we wanted another biological child too, but went with the adoption first. I was on a Folic Acid supplement just in case though.
In August of 2008, we were reading the fine print of our contract and saw there was a clause where if I would become pregnant our adoption would be stopped. I decided to take a pregnancy test, and we were so excited that it was positive! We found out on August 31, 2008 that we were going to have a baby!! We were both worried of course, but I didn’t have that feeling I had with Emma. So we prayed, stayed positive and enjoyed every second.
One of the gifts that Emma gave me was appreciating every part of pregnancy. I missed out on so much of my pregnancy with her that it made every little part so much better. We had our first ultrasound at 7 1⁄2 weeks and told everyone the great news. I was getting big and showing right away, and I loved being able to wear the maternity clothes I never really needed to wear with Emma. At 16 weeks we had the triple screen test to see if my risk was increased for another Neural Tube defect. This was when I started to get that feeling.
From the second they took that blood I think I knew. Looking back, I think I always knew. I could have had an ultrasound at 11 weeks to tell us if he had the defect, but I never wanted it. We knew after all of the knowledge we had gained from Emma’s life and death that no matter what, this baby was going to be with us longer.
We got the phone call the day after Thanksgiving that something was wrong. My blood test wasn’t good, and we had to come in the next week. I think that gave me time to prepare myself some, and our worst fears for our baby were confirmed on December 2; he had Anencephaly.
We also had the most wonderful news on that day too, it was a boy. Daddy had his boy. He was also perfect in every other way. A few days ahead of his due date and thriving inside of my body. After much prayer we decided we were going to give him as long as he could make it and carry to term. We decided right away to name our son Connor.
If we hadn’t lost Emma the way we did, I don’t know that the next 5 months would have ever been as wonderful as they were. I was able to love every second, to appreciate every second in a way I never could have before I lost her. To be honest they were a wonderful 5 months.
I was a big happy pregnant woman for the most part. We were so grateful to have this time, if any, with our son, that that played a larger part than our sadness on most days. Of course we had terrible moments when we cried together for the child we would never know. But there was always something that kept us strong. We prayed for Grace, for peace and for understanding and God blessed us with each of these things.
We were able to have a 4d ultrasound at 28 weeks and see Connor moving and get some great pictures of him. We were able to share my pregnancy as a couple with Connor’s many kicks and jolts and with our daughter. I will never forget her little words as she would move away from my snuggle saying “Connor kickin me too much”.
Our families and friends were so supportive and so was our doctor (after a little talking to!). When the time came for my induction we were sad, but we were ready. On April 13, 2009 I went in at night to start the process. They weren’t sure how long it would take and if he would ever push down enough, and I might need a c-section. God listened to our prayers though and it didn’t go as they thought at all. Our nurse, Kathy, was amazing and made everything that much better, too.
I started my medicine at 10:30 am on the 14th and was barely dilated to 1cm. By 11:30 I was 2, then at 1:30 I was 4. I had them check me at 2:00 and I was 7!!! We called our priest and made sure our family was close by and then by 3:00 I was about fully dilated. I knew when I was ready to push and after 20 minutes of hard work my doctor actually ran down the hallway to the room just in time to meet Connor. He was born at 3:34 pm.
As soon as they laid him on my chest I knew he was gone, but it didn’t matter, he was here, and he was perfect. He was 3 lb 13.9 oz and 15 inches long. It is amazing the amount of love you feel. TJ and I had prepared ourselves for this moment and even though I felt him kicking up to the end I never expected for him to be born alive. He was so perfect, ten fingers, ten toes and such big feet!! We held him right away and touched his face, his hands, his belly, his toes. He was so perfect and so amazing. They say a mother never sees a defect, she only sees her child, and that is so true.
A little while later our family was brought in, and our priest baptized Connor in a beautiful ceremony right in our room. There were a lot of tears, but TJ and I weren’t as sad. We were so thankful to meet our son and so happy to be able to see him it took a lot of those tears from us. Someone told me God gave us “the peace that passes understanding”, and that is exactly what it was. Everything we had hoped for and prayed for was given to us. Of course we wanted things to be different, but they weren’t.
This day was the best day it ever could have been for the day it was! Anna got to see her baby brother and touch his hands. Everyone around us held him and saw his face. We had our “Now I lay me down to sleep” photographer, and she took over 200 pictures which we cherish everyday. I can look at a picture of my son, such a gift I never got with Emma.
Coming home has been hard, and his funeral will be even harder. But if I had the chance to go back to last August and have God come to me and say you can either become pregnant with this child who will not live, or not become pregnant again, I would never change a thing. Connor has made such a wonderful impact on so many people and has been a true blessing. I cherished every second I was pregnant and every second I spent with him. I know God is taking care of my children now. I know they are healthy and happy in Heaven, and I know I will meet them some day.