Celebrating Baby Murdock :: Gender Reveal Party

As I believe I have mentioned before here on the blog, even in the midst of our grief and sadness, we have chosen to celebrate the life God has given us while Baby Murdock is still alive and well in my belly. Our community of friends and family have been awesome at helping with this — they even offered to throw us a “gender reveal” party a few weeks after the diagnosis. We got to see people we hadn’t seen yet, had a chance to speak about our decision to carry Baby Murdock, and were encouraged BEYOND MEASURE by the kindness and grace of our loved ones.

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 11.29.31 AMThe night was honestly one of the highlights of my pregnancy so far, and certainly a highlight of our lives since the diagnosis. We are, and have always been, people people. We LOVE our friends and family and get so much from being around them. Seeing everyone that came out to support and celebrate Baby Murdock’s life with us was overwhelming. Every detail was perfectly orchestrated by a group of ladies who are excellent party planners: Sheri, Julie, Kimberly, and Mara. We didn’t have to think about anything at all, we were just told to show up and be ready to celebrate. It was marvelous.  Toward the end of the evening, our friend April, who is also pregnant and due only a couple of weeks before me, presented us with a surprise from the group: gift certificates for three ultrasounds to spend more time with and get to see Baby Murdock in the womb, and the Baby Murdock Fund, which I have linked here before, to help with upcoming expenses. We were honestly BLOWN AWAY by the generosity that was shown at this party. Knocked us off our feet!

At any rate, here are some incredible pictures done by Journey of the Lens, that should show you more of the evening’s festivities and awesome details, as well as show you if Baby Murdock is a BOY or GIRL.

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Here we are, about to tell everyone if it’s a BOY OR GIRL!

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It’s a…..

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That’s right, folks, Baby Murdock is a BOY! Obviously, everything associated with this pregnancy is a little bittersweet, but in choosing to celebrate — we are THRILLED it’s a boy! We were hoping for a little boy, and this, strangely, now gives us confidence we can make more boys in the future should God allow it. We have named him, and I will write about that hopefully tomorrow, but for now — please join us in celebrating this little boy’s life! We love him SO much and are so glad God chose us as his parents.

And, although it has been a little while now, I just want to give another shout-out and huge thank you to these ladies who worked SO HARD to make our gender reveal party perfect. THANK YOU. From the bottom of our hearts!

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Much love,

Kristin

Grief :: What it Looks Like

I had a post written about my family being here for a visit, and all the fun things we did together, but decided to wait to put that up until next week, and share with you instead a more accurate view of how I am feeling right now.

This is what grief looks like, people.

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We didn’t ever buy tissues before the diagnosis, unless one of us had a nasty cold. Crying to the point of needing a tissue just wasn’t part of our everyday lives. Enter grief.

There are boxes of tissues in every room, with a couple in the hall closet as back-up. Our bathroom wastebasket is filled with tear-soaked tissue. Occasionally, after a particularly difficult night, the floor by our bed looks something like the image above.

You’re welcome ,Kleenex and Puffs, for the extra business.

I feel a profoundly deep sadness at some point every day. Sometimes — not often, but sometimes, I feel that deep sadness all day long.

When people ask how I am doing, I don’t know how to respond. I have decided to answer with “good” , as there is at least a glimmer of good in every day, in every moment.

Pretty much every song makes me cry. Not necessarily a sad cry, because I have mostly been listening to worship music  {NECESSARY! Really keeps my outlook positive!}, but an honest cry where my depravity, my wounds, and God’s gracious love flood my heart.

My clothes don’t fit. This is something that is really only part of the grief that comes along with carrying a child with a fatal diagnosis, but it is kind of lame. I DO like that I get to buy new clothes, but still, come on — if your baby is going to die don’t you think you could at least NOT have to deal with losing pregnancy weight after?!?!?! Currently praying about this one, and mapping out my plan of attack come January.

I fear the future. I am really trying not to. REALLY. I am trying to figure out how to NOT be afraid of having another child with anencephaly. Facts that I read, or people telling me that wouldn’t happen, don’t help. Hearing stories of people who HAVE had multiple fatal diagnoses doesn’t help, either. I plan to discuss it, in detail, with my therapist and I hope to get some kind of guidance/answer. This may be the apex of my mantra to not let fear control my life. I am determined to overcome it. I just have no idea how yet.

Seeing our baby during sonograms, or feeling our baby move and kick, bring a strange mix of emotions. It is so clear that the baby is SO alive right now, but that reminds me of just how short of a life our baby is living.

If I were to write a book on grief, it would be titled : Grief — It’s Officially Awful. I am sure it would start out sad and depressing, but inevitably end up talking of blessing, of goodness, of kindness and virtue, of grace and redemption, of life everlasting. What’s really incredible is how much God takes care of us. He was here when I found out I was pregnant and was ridiculously excited and nervous. He was here when we got the diagnosis. He is here with me and my box of Kleenex, every night. He will be here as I bury my baby. I don’t know how I am supposed to do that, but I know He will be with me. He loves my baby even more than I do, and created my baby to lead a life that pleases Him.

In my grief, He is here.

Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will delight over you with loud singing.”

May you know He is here with you today. Have a great weekend!

~Kristin

P.S. I will be sharing a couple of links with you regularly over the next few months. The first is my Mom’s blog — she is writing about our journey with anencephaly from her perspective, and it is really quite beautiful. There is a link to it at the bottom of my site, but I will also try to include it in my posts that relate to our grief/loss experience. The second link is a Gift Fund our friends generously set up for Baby Murdock and upcoming expenses.

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Baby Murdock Gift Fund

 

 

The Diagnosis

I write today, July 13th, 2013, unsure if I am “ready” to write and post this, but sure that if I don’t at least try, I will regret it.

My heart is beating, I can feel tears welling up in my eyes, and I’m kind of afraid of writing it all down. Alas, here we go….

Thursday, June 27th:

I am four months pregnant with our first little baby. I am ridiculously eager to find out the sex of the baby, but also ridiculously short on cash-flow, so my sister Kimberly groups my family together and gets them to each chip in so we can go and find out the gender a few weeks early. Absolutely, positively thrilling!

Our appointment is for this morning, Thursday the 27th, at 11am. I have heard a lot about the glorious place that is Sonohealth. How kind Sergio, the ultrasound tech and owner, is. How cute the house-turned-ultrasound-office is. What fun it is to leave knowing more about your baby. I am excited!

We wake up early, get breakfast at my favorite spot {Bread and Cie — was there any question?!}, walk around Balboa Park, and then head to the Baby Gap at Horton Plaza to buy one sweet little girl outfit and one sweet little boy outfit. We will return whichever one our baby isn’t, after finding out. As I’m walking around the Gap, holding seriously THE sweetest clothes I’ve ever seen {also some of THE most overpriced clothes… but who cares? It’s our baby’s first outfit!!}, it just doesn’t feel right. I am annoyed that there aren’t more options, and realize that our baby will be born in December but all of these clothes are for the heat of summer. Glenn suggests we wait until after finding out, or later in the fall, and says that we already got to do the fun part — looking through all the cute little clothes and picturing what it will be like to put them on our baby.

We leave Baby Gap, and Horton Plaza, and head to our appointment. We are nervous and excited. Partly hoping for one gender or another, partly just eager to finally know more about our baby. We walk back to the ultrasound room, cool gel is squeezed onto my belly, and it’s time to find out! We see our baby’s heart, beating strong. A sense of relief fills my soul. Our baby is there! It’s little heart is still beating strong! Only good things are to come! And then Sergio, with both extreme kindness and professionalism, says “There is a problem with your baby’s brain.”

Even as I type those words, over two weeks later, I almost can’t believe they are true.

Sergio explained a little bit and used the word “anencephaly” — which I recognized instantly as a friend of mine, Mara, had carried and delivered her sweet baby Julia, who was also diagnosed with anencephaly, just a year ago. I turned to Glenn, sobbing, and said “that’s what Mara had.” I confirmed with Sergio that our baby could not survive, and he said “Yes. It is incompatible with life.”

I spoke with my doctor, who showed me immense kindness and explained once again that the baby would be just fine throughout the pregnancy, but would not be able to live outside of the womb.

We were, and still are, absolutely heartbroken.

God has been immensely good to us in the past two weeks, and I will share more of the deep joy that has accompanied grief in coming days. But for today, all I can share is the diagnosis, the sadness, a verse {below}, and the questions that keep filling my mind: How do I do this? and What is my life supposed to look like now?

Psalm 42:8 “By day the LORD directs His love — at night His song is with me. A prayer to the God of my life.”

~Kristin

P.S. If you would like to learn more about anencephaly, please click here. Do not simply google it, if you can at all help it! There are some rather shocking photos, and the ones on this site are much more tasteful and beautiful. Also, in case it wasn’t clear: we are carrying our baby to term. Over 90% of people who receive this diagnosis choose to terminate, but we feel very strongly that our baby is alive, that God gave him or her to us for this season, and that we want to celebrate this little life as much as we can in the coming months.  More on that later!