Friday, May 1, 2009

*Updated...Please Pray for Ryan, Laura and their precious baby.

**Update from Ryan and Laura...
Last Friday (May 1) Laura had her 20-week ultrasound appointment. In our excitement we pulled Sean out of school so all the kids could be in the room to see their new brother or sister. The ultrasound seemed routine as the tech pointed out various parts of our baby and took measurements. Then, to our surprise she excused herself from the room and minutes later returned with a doctor. We asked if something was wrong, but they were silent. After a few minutes of looking around the doctor turned the monitor away and flipped on the lights- our hearts sank as we new something was horribly wrong.

The doctor shared that our baby has a very rare condition called anencephaly. He explained that our baby has a brain stem (which explains the beating heart), but does not have a brain or a major portion of the skull. This condition is 100% fatal. These words stunned us, and our kids, still in the room, sat there confused at what was going on. Immediately, Laura was sent to her doctor across town, who outlined our two basic options: terminate the pregnancy immediately (stats indicate 95% of women choose this option) or continue the pregnancy. They gave us the weekend to think things over and try to come to some decision.

We spent the weekend in shock trying to come to grips with what we just learned. We talked, prayed, cried, read our Bibles, and walked around the house in a fog. Finally, by Sunday evening we were able to begin to get out Laura’s old medical books and get on the Internet to study anencephaly to learn more about this condition.

One passage that has been a tremendous encouragement to us these past few days is from Luke 1:38. After Gabriel announced the plan of the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to Mary (which must have been quite the shock) her response was simply, “I am the Lord’s servant… may it be to me as you have said.” Her beautiful expression of surrender to the Lord and His plan has been our encouragement: it is our desire to trust Christ throughout this new journey and worship Him through surrender. This morning (May 6) I (Ryan) was able to feel a kick from our baby for the first time- clearly he or she is not quitting and neither are we. This situation is not what we want or what we would choose but we surrender it to the Lord and look forward to see how He works in this difficult time.
On Monday (May 4) Laura spoke with her doctor and learned more details from the ultrasound. It was confirmed that our baby has a severe case of anencephaly; there is no trace of a brain (other than the brain stem). In addition, we learned that Laura has placenta previa, which means that our baby implanted over the cervix. If the baby does not move (which sometimes happens) then Laura will have no choice but to have a C-Section at some point in the future. The good news is that that our baby has a well developed heart, which may be a blessing as we explore the possibility organ donation.

Laura and I have firmly decided against terminating this pregnancy and intend to continue to whatever ending the Lord chooses. We know God always honors those who choose life and, as long as Laura is not in danger, we intend to allow the Lord to decide when to take this precious child home to be with Him. Laura’s care has been moved to a new team of doctors at University Hospital (which we will meet with this Friday). Please pray with us that they are supportive of our decision and that we can avoid any need to be graciously stubborn with our desire.

We are hurting for our loss and often feel deep disappointment, but we are also experiencing the peace that passes understanding. Thank you for praying for us. We are eager to see how the Lord works in this situation now and in the weeks to come. We are so appreciative for the emails, calls, cards, gifts on the front porch, babysitting, meals, and most of all prayers from so many of you- you are amazing!

So, what is next? As I mentioned Laura has a doctor’s appointment on Friday, May 8. We expect they will do another ultrasound and we have several questions to ask. It is also important to us to find out the gender and name our baby. Laura has plans to make the baby a hat. I want to begin to collect as many ultrasound pictures as I can. We also hope to meet with a group at the hospital called Fetal Care who will help us through the process of setting up of funeral arrangements.

Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement; you are a gift to us. We will keep you posted as we continue this journey.
Tim's sister, Laura, is 20 wks pregnant. She has 3 children. They found out today, while gathered around an ultrasound machine to find out the sex of her baby, that the baby has a fatal condition.
[Anencephaly- a cephalic disorder that results from a neural tube defect that occurs when the cephalic (head) end of the neural tube fails to close, usually between the 23rd and 26th day of pregnancy, resulting in the absence of a major portion of the brain, skull, and scalp].
She is devastated beyond any grief I could ever know and they have just entered a VERY dark valley. Please pray for them and the rest of the time they have with this precious life.
I just got off the phone with Ryan, her husband, who is a pastor in Denver, Colorado. He told me they want all the prayer they can get during these next days, and months.
They love the Lord so much and know that God will get them through this but, oh,
how my heart breaks for them.
It seems like a bad dream.
God is faithful and we LOVE this baby that God has given our family.
Thank you for your prayers.


Astrid said...

Hey Steph, have you seen this blog?
Go check it out- it's about a little girl with anencephaly who's now ten weeks old. I'll be praying for Tim's sister. Love you.

Julie said...

Steph and Tim - I am so very sorry to hear of this diagnosis. My heart is hurting for Laura and Ryan. I know the pain of a mother's loss and I will be holding them close in thought and prayer during this time.

Many prayers...

Carrie said...

I am so sorry to hear about their baby...will lift them up in our prayers for strength and hope.


Taylor said...

I know too well their pain. I am lifting them up to our Father in this very moment.

Erin Southwell said...

Oh Steph, I am without words. I am on my knees for them, praying for the kind of peace that only He can provide. Still believing that God can do BIG THINGS, Erin

amanda said...

Steph - My prayers are with you, Tim, the boys, Ryan, Laura, their children and this precious life.

Lord please be near .. in a big way!

Angela said...

Oh, Stephanie, I am just devestated to hear of this. I am praying so hard right now for them. Please keep us updated!!

Jennie said...

I UNDERSTAND. Let me know if you ever think she would like me to call. I'll do it.

The Bontekoes said...

Please let them know we are praying. It seems like just yesterday that we had a precious time of prayer when Ryan was here. Dwell in His shelter, rest in His shadow. HE will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge. (Ps 91:1,4)

Taylor and Robin said...

I too understand. The Lord was/is so faithful to get us through our valley through His Word and His people, so I am honored to pray. Here are some verses I have been clinging to as my husband and I walk the path of losing a child at 18 weeks (9 weeks ago today). Isaiah 49:15b-16:
I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.

and Lamentations 3:22-24

Praying for the peace that passes understanding,


Unknown said...

I will be praying for them. I cannot imagine what they are going through. I am so glad they are believers and have such a strong faith. Selena

Amanda May said...

I'm sorry. I will be praying...

jord,ali,hal,kam and grae too! said...

I couldn't finish reading your post the first time. I am so sad for your family. I love everyone's blogs and getting to peak into the lives of others and pray for those who are in need but there are such gut wrenching sad situations. It just breaks my heart for the babies and the families living with the pain. We are praying for your family, your sister in law, the precious little one still growing, and their family.

Stacy said...

I am praying for this sweet baby...I still believe in miracles because I still believe in Him.

Much love.

Anonymous said...

I will be praying for your family! Lauren

HIS Child said...


I will be praying for your family. I am thanking HIM that Ryan and Laura have the relationship with Jesus so that He can bring them through this. My heart goes out to them.
I pray that they feel His presence, love, compassion and all that He has to offer them at this time.
Love to all,

theclowers5!!! said...

we will definitely be praying for them and for your family as you support them through this. i am so sorry and trust the Lord to hold you all close.

dawn mulroney said...

Steph...I don't know this couple, but I know their God and I can praise Him in a whole different way today because of them. My heart breaks and my faith flies as I pray for them. How the doctors will marvel, how the families who receive organs will celebrate, how the Father will receive such a precious one.
The kingdom of God is made up of such as these.
Praising God, Dawn

Kristen said...

Stephanie, I have been an avid reader of your blog for sometime and have enjoyed your beautiful family and the love you all have for our glorious Lord.
I can't stop thinking about this family and my heart has been so heavy for them. Laura, Ryan and the entire family will continue to be in my prayers and thoughts.
I know the Lord has put nothing in their path that they can not conquer. I now He will wrap His strong arms around them and hold them closely over these next few months.
Please keep up posted and give them our love.