“Mr. and Mrs. Lambert; Can you come back in so we can read over your test results”
These were words that we were completely puzzled by…
The story for us started about a few days before Halloween. 2019 was a whirlwind year for us with out of state weddings. We had finished shooting our beautiful Corvallis, Oregon Wedding when on the flight home, we had this feeling that something was off. About a week later, Rebecca had taken a test…actually multiple tests…when we had discovered the news and just about died. Honestly, we weren’t trying, but it just happened! Tee thought it was a complete joke and after a visit with the doctor to just confirm everything, Tee was a in a whirlwind!
We never felt so many emotions all at once.
Excitement, Joy, Love, Nervousness, Anxious, Scared. We couldn’t pinpoint or nail down a single feeling as they all blended together like a good novel that you couldn’t just put down. Just couldn’t believe it. We started dreaming as a couple what our baby would physically look like. How their personality was going to take either after one of us or even have their own.
We started wondering what kind of parents we would become or how we would raise our child. Every morning Rebecca would talk out loud on her drive to work as she is talking and praying with our child. We were so thankful…grateful for this blessing and when we went in for our first checkup; we found that everything was going to be ok.
We had agreed to keep this a secret until Christmas to announce it to our family which honestly was one of the hardest things to do. We wanted to shout this from the mountain tops that we were pregnant and going to have a baby but absolutely couldn’t say anything to our friends and more importantly our family! After some rescheduling, we had scheduled our second ultrasound a few days prior to Christmas which we had thought “what perfect timing” as this would be a great Christmas gift to all. We had planned out the perfect gifts to announce our news on Christmas morning and in our minds it couldn’t have been better. Rebecca and I drove to our doctor’s appointment, did the ultrasound, went for lunch and was going to head back for some other testing when we got a phone call…
“Mr. and Mrs. Lambert; Can you come back in so we can read over your test results” …
We were baffled. We didn’t understand, but we innocently thought nothing of it and went as soon as we picked up our food. Soon finding ourselves sitting in front of our OBGYN saying “I am so sorry, but we have found something really wrong. We detect and believe your child has Anencephaly.”
I will spare you the google search with images popping up that you won’t forget but in short Anencephaly is a fatal birth defect that causes a baby to be born with missing parts of the skull and brain.
We had asked…how can this be!?!? How is this possible? On the ultrasound the baby had a strong heartbeat. Our doctor explained (several times because at this point shock is starting to set in) that Rebecca’s body is like a huge ventilator or life support which is keeping that heart beat alive. You can basically have your heartbeat on life support however with no brain, that heart will stop beating once the baby is born.
However, with this condition, no matter what, this cannot be a natural delivery because with no brain; the baby can’t tell Rebecca when it’s time for Labor. We would have to determine an end date for our baby.
An end date.
You guys. All our dreams…all our visions…everything stopped right there.
At this point, Rebecca’s doing her best to keep herself composed in front of our doctor and Tee is absolutely speechless. Our doctor gave us the room as she knew we had to release and once that door closed. We just let out the biggest cry. We just sat there…crying, calling out to Jesus, praying to him. Honestly probably everyone in that office heard us because it was just so devastating. It was just about the lowest of lowest news that you could get. We drove home that late afternoon and told our families the news.
And to top this off, 2 days later we had to shoot another wedding.
YOU GUYS…. SERIOUSLY…we were scheduled to shoot another wedding for the sweetest couple whom we adore so much but deep down we were absolutely terrified about this. Having literally just starting processing what was happening and the news we had received. We were grieving and sad and angry and every emotion you can ever think of was us. However, in that time we didn’t want to take away from our couple on their happiest day in their life. We didn’t want to turn such a joyful moment into sadness. We simply put our emotions on hold and quite honestly only through the grace of God went to what we knew.
That car ride home was one of the hardest. We will never forget just holding onto each other tightly and praying.
We of course went through Christmas and after got a second opinion which confirmed everything that we feared. No matter what, we had to set an end date. Because of the timing, the only word I can think of to describe all of this is complicated. This was now putting Rebecca at risk with her health and with guidance from the Stanford doctors, our OBGYN, Pastor’s whom we sought for council and spiritual advice, our families, and each other; this pregnancy had only one conclusion.
Here’s the kicker which Tee still laughs about till this day as it was ridiculous timing. Tee at the time was a High School Youth Pastor/Director for our church and was about to leave his day job to go into our business full time. But at this time, he was set to take the High School ministry up in the snow for our Winter Trip to Hume Lake Christian Camps in Kings Canyon National Park in California. The trip has been set for months and get this…the dates were January 3rd through the 5th. Our Pre-Op appointment was the day after this trip.
So…let me recap.
Tee and Rebecca are Pregnant. We go in and find out the horrible news that our baby has anencephaly a few days before Christmas. They shot a wedding a couple of days after. A determined ending date is set because of the timing and risks but now also have to lead these students on their trip and pretend nothing is wrong at all because honestly…it would be quite awkward to explain all of this to a 15 year old on why his Youth Pastor and his wife are having an EXTREMELY hard time…
Honestly if you are still here reading this. This has been the hardest time of our lives.
We have the procedure done on the 7th and though the nerves and anxiety of it all; it couldn’t have gone any better. Really it was a God thing because we felt at peace with the whole process. Our OBGYN was honestly a Rockstar and really cared for us through this time as we processed our baby had anencephaly. We had found out she has kids of her own and really, she said that this was the best decision we could have made.
It’s complicated. This world is complicated and fallen. God didn’t cause this to happen.
Just like God didn’t create the Corona Virus or COVID-19.
But as we close, here is what we want to communicate…
I know many of you are going though such a hard time. If it’s either with your finances, your health, your families, your relationships, your business, your life, you are just hurting and don’t know where to turn or what to do.
Anxiety and fear are real. But it’s also a choice.
Look here’s what I know. The only way we got through the mud (or when you find out your baby has anencephaly) is by putting one foot in front of the other. We said no, we will not throw a pity party. We started looking up and choosing joy in ALL things of our life. Yes, we grieved. Some people didn’t understand our choices and thought we made the completely wrong one.
But we prayed, we looked forward. We said no we will not give into negative thinking. We pressed on and moved forward.
And you can to. You can press on and choose joy through this crazy and unpresented time we are living in. Document the joyful times together, invest in photos together.
But you have to start somewhere.
Will you start now?
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