Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Day Our Lives Changed Forever

Back when we first found out about Sydney Grace, my sister said I should start a blog. I have never been into blogging, facebook, or anything like it before. I never started the blog and it was not until after Sydney was born did our friend Hilary start this one. Since Sydney passed, I have found it very good for me to write down what I am going through. I decided to go back from the very beginning and write down Sydney Grace's story. I plan on writing down all the events before Sydney's birth. I would like to share with you what I have so far.

Day 1
The day our lives changed forever….
It was August 19, 2009, and I was 19 weeks pregnant. I had my ultrasound scheduled for 9:00am. Joel met me at the doctor’s office. I remember waiting and the only thing on my mind was whether or not we would find out the sex of the baby. I so wanted a girl. We already had Rafe and two nephews, so everyone was ready for a girl again. I had myself convinced it was going to be a boy.

They called us back after not having to wait very long. When we walked into the room I recognized the technician as a lady from the island and my church. She started the ultrasound. At first everything seemed fine. She was doing all the measurements and said she was a little small. Sydney was measuring two weeks too small. She did not seem concerned about it. When I had my 8 week ultrasound, Sydney measured 4 days too small. I questioned the doctor about this. He said it was perfectly normal and he was not going to change my due date. We later found out that one of the signs, of Trisomy 18, is the baby measuring small.

The technician had asked at the beginning of the ultrasound if Rafe was excited and what he wanted, a sister or a brother. From the time we found out I was pregnant, Rafe wanted a sister. She could not tell for sure if Sydney was a girl, but said Rafe may have gotten his wish.

Things started getting worrisome when the technician started looking at Sydney Grace’s brain. She said Sydney had two cysts on her brain. She said more babies have these than you realize and they were more than likely harmless, but we would probably be sent to a specialist just to make sure. The rest of the ultrasound went ok until the very end. She could never get good images of Sydney’s heart. She tried for several minutes, trying from several angles and trying to get Sydney to turn around. Finally she stopped, but never said anything was wrong. She went to go get the doctor like normal to go over everything with us. She said we might have to wait awhile for the doctor since she was seeing another patient.

Surprisingly, the doctor came in quick. She was very nice and caring. She started going over the ultrasound pictures. At first everything seemed fine, then everything went wrong. She got to the pictures of my placenta. She said it had things called placental lakes in them. They showed up on the ultrasound as dark spots on my placenta. Next she started looking at the shots of her heart. She stopped and starting pointing at the screen. She said Sydney had a hypoplastic right ventricle. What does that mean? Her right ventricle is not formed. At this point I started crying. I don’t think it hit Joel yet. She continued to talk about her brain and the cysts. I knew it was bad. The doctor said she was very concerned. Joel asked what that meant. She said it was more than likely some chromosomal defect. Like Down Syndrome, we asked. She said yes, but there were other chromosomal problems that were possible. She referred us to a specialist who would be able to help us.

I was upset, but Joel was very positive. He knew something was wrong, but he knew we could handle it. He said God would not give us anything we could not handle. If Sydney had Down Syndrome, then it was our job to help her reach her full potential. He was looking forward to having this special child. That night as we talked to our family, my sister told me about a lady that she worked with. This lady has a special needs child. The lady says a lot of people ask “Why us” to God, but she realized one day, “Why not us.” When she said this to me, I realized God chose us for a reason. We did not know the reason, but we trusted in God. Why not us?

The next day we had an appointment with the specialist. They called me at 9 am in the morning and asked that we come in that day. I remember thinking they were being so nice because they knew school started in a few days and I needed to be seen before I started teaching. I was wrong. They needed me to come in that day because something was really wrong and I had choices to make…


  1. When I was a senior in high school, I went to a church camp for teenagers. One of the classes was taught by a man who had recently lost a child and during part of the lecture, he told the story of what he and his wife and children had gone through over the past year as they had ridden of the roller coaster of emotions of pregnancy and joy, bad news and sorrow, death and pain, gratitude and anger... I'll never forget one of the things he said about his experience.

    He said he prayed over and over again for peace. He said it was his constant desire to have peace of mind and peace in his heart because he was struggling so much. Then he said that one particularly bad day, he was actually kneeling by his bedside and pleading with the Lord and a calm assurance came over him that all was as it should be and that he and his wife had been "chosen" to be the parents of a perfect child. A child that would never know sin, temptation, or any of the hurts that come along with this life. He then said that he felt an overwhelming desire to live his life worthy of the child he had been given so that he could once again be with her.

    I know moments of peace are few and far between for you right now, but rest assured that you were chosen and that you can hold Sydney again...

    Thinking of you and praying for you everyday.

    Love, Aly

  2. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I knew you had an ultrasound that morning and I was anxiously awaiting a call from Paige. When I finally talked to her later that day, I was so worried it was T18. I spent the rest of the night researching what she had told me and praying it was something else. But God knew the outcome and how many people she would touch. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her.

  3. We lost our first baby to Trisomy 18 in December of 1997. The day we went in for our first ultrasound was the worst day of my life!! I left work that day telling everyone that I was coming back with pictures of our baby. That did not happen! During our ultrasound the technician was quiet but I did not think much about it since it was my first one. After she finished, the doctor came in and told us that the baby had birth defects and things did not look good. He was not very compassionate but very matter of fact. All of our dreams came crashing down at that moment.

    That afternoon, we were sent to the medical school at ECU to get a better ultrasound. They confirmed the doctor's diagnosis and scheduled a amnio. The results were trisomy 18. They asked us to meet with genetic specialist. They advised us to have an abortion because they did not think he would live and if he did, we should not bring a baby in the world that would have such a poor quality of life. We told them that we were not God and we would not make that decision.

    I carried Tyler for 30 weeks, praying that God would heal him. God answered my prayer but not in the way that I had hoped. At 30 weeks, December 23, 1997 during a doctor's visit they could not find a heart beat and did an ultrasound to confirm that he was not longer alive. On December 25, 1997 I delivered him stillborn. Tyler would have never been able to walk on earth but he is now running around heaven completely healthy. God is gracious and gave us perfect peace. It was terribly difficult, but God is faithful.

    We now have 2 beautiful girls. I continue to remember your family in prayer. I pray you have peace and comfort, know your precious daughter is now completely whole and in the arms of our loving Heavenly father.

    Thanks for the opportunity to tell my story.

    Becky F.

  4. Your story is touching! I'm so glad you have decided to write on your blog. One of my best friends had a sweet baby girl Ava Grace with T18. They now have a very sweet 3 year old girl named Grace (named after her sisters middle name) I pray for you all the time, every time you pop in head.

  5. I cant imagine the ache in your heart right now. I know that you may never get over this hurt, but you will get through it. You have a beautiful family at home to take care of are so blessed. I know its sometimes hard to see those blessings through the tears, but they are there. Its kinda ironic, I think that the 18/19 week ultrasound, "sex of the baby" is all anyone is ever concerned about. It goes much deeper than that. Although my situation is far from yours, my 18 week ultrasound was life changing as well. I had placenta previa. This is a condition where the placenta is implanted over the cervix. With the right amount of circumstances you could bleed, and not stop bleed at the drop of a hat. Preterm delivery is almost definite. Well thats what happend. Ethan was born at 31 1/2 weeks. We were in the NICU in Greeville for almost 6 weeks. His favorite spot was cheek to cheek too. The thoughts that run through my head on a daily basis could almost consume me. And though my situation is different and I cant even begin to compare to your heart was in a million pieces. I didnt know how to give Ethan everything when he needed me, and still be there for Jadeyn Grace 100 miles away. Its nice to have been able to share this with you.
    ~praying for sydney grace's mommy

  6. Lindsey, I am praying for your family today. Thank you for sharing your story with us. You are an amazing woman and I am blessed to know you and your family.
    Tell Rafe his teachers Deborah and Elizabeth miss him

    Blessings to you all

  7. Mrs. Fodrie,
    I have never read anything that touched my heart more than your blog. I will continue praying, now and forever.
    Hannah M