Finding out was funny. I was cleaning out my medicine cabinet and came upon an unused pregnancy test. I took the test, mostly because I didn't want to waste it. Imagine my surprise when I passed with flying colors. 41 years old. Michael had just left to go out of town. What do I do?
I called my friend Lynne.
"Lynne, I think I might be pregnant," I said.
"What?!?!" was her reply. I got this reply from my friend Crissy as well.
I called Michael who was on his way to Birmingham. I asked him to pull over and gave him the news. He was silent for only a moment and then his joy was evident.
I have never been one for waiting to tell others. In my opinion, if I tell and then something happens well, that just means there are more people to go through the storm with us and more prayer support all around.
Telling the children was a blast. They screamed and cried (except Mason who is too cool for that sort of thing) and asked a hundred questions.
The pregnancy progressed with ease. I felt sick every day; hurt in all the right places. I got to hear and see that little heartbeat. I had forgotten how much fun it was to be carrying a child, and watching the other children just added to my joy. I knew in my heart it was a boy.
Pretty soon it was time for the ultrasound. Michael and the kids gathered around as the tech pushed and poked, but the baby wouldn't move the right way so we could tell girl or boy. The nurse came in and told me the doctor wanted to see us again in the exam room. I sat and watched as the doctor walked in with a box of kleenex.
On the pictures of the ultrasound it was easy to see the hydrocephaly. The baby's brain was not forming correctly. We were being sent to a high risk specialist in Mobile the following week.
At USA hospital I was shown to an exam room. The ultrasound tech came in and began to look. She asked if I knew why I had been sent to them, which of course I did. She again told me that the baby had fluid on the brain. A doctor came in and told me that not only was there a problem with the brain, but also with the heart and face. From a cursory glance it looked like trisomy 18 or 13, but without an amniocentesis we could not be sure.
The doctor told me that our baby had so many problems physically that there was no chance he would live more than a couple of hours, if he even made it to term; all of the defects kept him from being "compatible with life". Aborting was an option given the circumstances.
I told the room full of people that aborting was not an option, that our little boy was a person with a soul, made in God's image; a person with worth. I was going to give him every chance I could to have any kind of life no matter how short.
After this we drove to the beach and stayed a week. I don't remember much about it, but I do remember the beautiful sunsets over the water. I'm not going to go on and on about all the wrestling I did with God. I'm sure you can imagine. I didn't (and still don't) understand why, but I knew (and still do) that God is good. He is GOOD. He loves me. He loves my family. He loves this child inside me.
Back home, I went to a ladies' luncheon. People didn't know what to say, and I understood that. I had been reassured the night before having felt the baby kick, but after the luncheon I drove straight to the doctor for an ultrasound...I knew something wasn't right. Lying there, looking at the screen, I could see right away his heartbeat was gone.
I knew that at this point a D&C was the route some would take, but I really wanted to deliver the baby. I wanted him to have a birthday, to have a name. It took a while, but on July 17, 2010, Brennan Crosby MacCaughelty was born. The name "Brennan" means "teardrop" and "Crosby" means "at the cross". I was able to hold him (he was so small he fit inside a handmade cap), and I got to have some pictures made of his little hands.
Many people didn't understand why I would want to put my body through the rigors of childbirth when the baby was already gone. Mostly it was for my other children. This was their brother, and I wanted them to be able to go through the process of saying goodbye. The following Saturday we had a service for Brennan and buried him.
The children still talk about Brennan. They miss him, even though they never got to know him. We talk about what he must be doing in heaven...maybe playing football with Jesus, whether they will recognize him when they get to heaven themselves. This feels good. It feels healthy. Even though it was short, we honored his life and uphold his memory, and feel so blessed that we got to be his family.
Glory baby you slipped away as fast as we could say baby…baby..
You were growing, what happened dear?
You disappeared on us baby…baby..
Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe until we’re home with you…
Until we’re home with you…
We miss you everyday
Miss you in every way
But we know there’s a
day when we will hold you
We will hold you
You’ll kiss our tears away
When we’re home to stay
Can’t wait for the day when we will see you
We will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you
‘till mom and dad can hold you…
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do
Sweet little babies, it’s hard to
understand it ‘cause we’re hurting
We are hurting
But there is healing
And we know we’re stronger people through the growing
And in knowing-
That all things work together for our good
And God works His purposes just like He said He would…
Just like He said He would…
I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies
and what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing, heaven is your home
And it’s all you’ll ever know…all you’ll ever know…