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A Testimonial

It All Happened Within Two Weeks

By: Rayann Baker


Prelude
What Are The Odds?

What type of thoughts and feelings run through your mind when you hear the term “prenatal
class?” Excitement? Happiness? Nervousness? Maybe scared because you are about to become
one of those parents soon? Perhaps even awkwardness because of the topics you may go over
that get you ready for what to expect when giving birth? Once you’re in the room, maybe you
feel a sense of unity with all the other parents there, knowing that you are all there for the same
reasons? Do you think to yourself, “how am I going to make it through this all-day class without
pee breaks?”
All those thoughts, feelings, and emotions are totally normal, right? However, I bet the thought
of being overcome with sadness would ever cross your mind, especially when learning about life
and the act of giving life to a precious baby boy or girl. Neither did I until…

February 24th, 2018 my husband and I embarked on our second journey of taking a prenatal
class. The first one was on how to take care of newborns, and this one was on the birthing
process and what to expect during labor and delivery. We were one of those people who were
nervous about the topics this birthing class would cover because we figured it would get a little
awkward at times, especially around other people. At the same time, we also felt comforted of
the fact that those other people were there for the same reasons as we were, which helped to ease
the awkwardness. We also felt excited that we were this far along in our pregnancy to be
thinking of these topics and how they could happen at any moment between now and the due
date.
It also helped to have the best teacher for this course. She really was amazing. Her calmness and
easy spirit allowed all of us to relax and feel comfortable. She was non-judgmental on any
questions that were asked. She even gave an example of a question she had received before from
a dad who asked if he could bite the umbilical cord instead of cutting it. (What??) And yet she
still managed to swallow her giggle and hide her look of surprise and answer him with a warm
smile.
This birthing class taught us many things, such as the 5-1-1 (5 contractions, 1 minute long each,
all in 1 hour). When the contractions reach this level, it means you better get your butt to the
hospital. Some women prefer to get to the hospital long before the contractions get that strong,
but if you do want to stay at home during the early signs of labor, and your water has not broken
yet, then it must be okay with your doctor first. If the doctor gives you the okay to stay home,
then there are several things you can do while you wait for contractions to get strong enough.
You can take a shower, brush your teeth, color a picture, or even watch a movie.
Although these ideas may sound relaxing, am I really going to be able to focus on anything but
that “bending over, holding myself” kind of labor pain? Not to mention that the thought of “I’m
having a baby!” would be going through my mind.
Another topic discussed in the class was colostrum-that golden-yellow creamy stuff that comes
out of a mom’s breast that looks so appetizing to a newborn baby. Regardless of its appear,
colostrum is so crucial for babies to in-take as their first meal because it results in a healthier
baby.
We were also informed of how C-sections work and when they are needed. The teacher, being as
good as she was, tried to tell us that having a C-section is not that big of a deal. They just take
you and your significant other to a more secluded room to have your pelvis cut open, wide
enough for a six or more-pound baby to come out of ya, and then they stick you back
together…but again, there’s nothing to worry about. There were many more topics discussed
throughout this 7-hour training class, but there are too many to name.
Among those 7 hours of training, we watched a 15-minute video of a couple sharing their labor
and delivery experience. This video allowed us insight into the intense birthing process and what
to expect in those moments. Towards the end of the video, during the grand arrival of this
couple’s new baby boy, whom they named Noah, I lost it! My cheeks suddenly turned hot and
red, and a burning sensation suffocated my eyes. It came to a point where I could not keep it in
any longer, I pushed my chair back, got up, and got out of there as quickly as I could with tears
running down my face.
You’re probably wondering why someone (I) would be overcome with such strong emotions
during a very exciting and rewarding time in the video. Normally seeing a baby being born is the
best part, right? It’s the happy ending, and ultimately the whole goal of this video.
Well, let me take you back to the long, yet short adventure that my husband and I embarked upon
just over a year ago…
Part I
FLASHBACK to where it all started
Chapter 1
Finding Out
February 24th, 2017 (my husband’s official birthday) fell on a Friday that year. A very special
appointment was designated on our calendars for this particular day. An appointment that we
were so looking forward to attending.
Smiling from ear to ear, we parked the car and started walking down the long corridor of North
Tower to the Fetal Medicine office. It was our 20-week appointment. The appointment where
they do an anatomy scan on your baby. Typically, this is also the appointment where you find
out the gender of your baby. However, prior to this appointment, my husband and I went to a
local 3D/4D ultrasound place where they are able to tell the gender at 14 weeks, so we already
knew we were having a baby boy and Noah Michael Baker was the name we had picked out for
him. So, to us, this was just another opportunity to see our little offspring on the ultrasound
screen.
After checking in, we excitedly waited for our little buzzer to go off to let us know when it was
our turn. It was kind of a long wait, but we did not care because nothing could get in the way of
our eagerness to see our little boy again. While waiting, we chattered about what Noah would
look like at 20 weeks vs 14 weeks. We also envisioned Noah in the little overalls and yellow rain
jacket with matching yellow shoes that we had recently bought for him.
Buzz. Buzz. Finally, our buzzer went off! Yay, our turn! Getting up, we handed in the buzzer as
the nurse took us back to the room. When in the room, the nurse went over the expectations and
then told me to get ready and that she would be back soon. In about five minutes the nurse was
back and began the anatomy ultrasound.
There he was! Our little Noah was on the screen for us to admire. We were both giddy from
seeing him again. We continued to watch as the nurse read off the different parts she was
measuring at that time. Once the nurse was done, she told us to remain where we were while she
went to get the doctor to come back and have a look. Thinking nothing of it, as that was probably
just the protocol, we both nodded and said, “okay.” We waited and waited and waited some more
(mind you, we were in a room that had no cell service, so we had to go old school and entertain
ourselves by either talking to one another or by counting the blocks on the ceiling). Finally, the
doctor came in, she introduced herself, but then did not say another word. She went right to the
ultrasound monitor and started doing the same things that the nurse did just a few minutes ago.
Silence engulfed those four white walls, and they were starting to weigh heavily on us. It was so
quiet we could hear the tick tock of the clock as the seconds ticked by. After what seemed like
hours, the doctor finally spoke up. The first words out of her mouth were to Brandon, my
husband, and she said, “Brandon, you should go over there to that seat beside your wife and you
might want to hold her hand, because what I’m about to tell you guys may come as a big shock.”
Confused, I swallowed the lump in my throat and remained calm while waiting on her to share
what she was about to say. Once Brandon sat down, she spilled everything on the table. There
was no sugar coating anything, she just went straight to the facts of what she was seeing on the
ultrasound. As she began listing every single birth defect she saw with Noah, we both just stared
in amazement…
• A cleft lip
• Webbed hands and feet
• Very little amniotic fluid around the baby
• At least two sizes smaller than an average 20-week baby
• Failing kidneys
• And the most concerning one of all, only one set of chambers in his heart
The doctor described to us what it meant to only have one set of chambers. Typically, humans
are supposed to have two sets of chambers in their heart. One set is for you to be able to breathe
in, while the other set is for you to breathe out. Due to Noah only having one set, it meant that he
was breathing in and out of the same set of chambers, therefore would cause him to suffocate if
born alive.
After listing and describing everything she saw on the ultrasound and making sure we
understood everything as much as possible, she then recommended hospitals who would possibly
deliver the baby and try to save him, but she said the likelihood of that happening was very slim
to none. She basically considered this delivery as a hospice situation, meaning, if he did deliver
and was still alive at birth, then he would not last long, given all of the birth defects Noah
obtained.
After giving us the diagnosis, the doctor also introduced us to the term amniocentesis, which is
where they take an actual DNA sample of the baby by poking a needle into your placenta to draw
out the sample from the amniotic fluid sac into a test tube. Once the blood sample is drawn, it is
then shipped to a lab to be worked on. At the lab, they will put the DNA sample into a petri dish
and will send these colorful highlighted laser-like things to the DNA. These lasers represent a
different set of chromosomes (#13, #18, and #21). They test to see which set of chromosomes
will attach itself to the DNA sample. In doing this procedure, they can determine the official
outcome and diagnosis. The reason the doctor introduced us to this procedure was because it
would give us more of a clear answer as to why these birth defects have developed and why they
are so severe. Essentially, it would give us clarity to know if it was just signs of down syndrome
or if it was more severe than that, which we could tell the doctor was leaning towards that
assumption.
After describing what the amniocentesis does and the procedure of obtaining the DNA sample,
she then went on to tell us the risks involved with obstructing the amniocentesis. The biggest and
most concerning risk was the chance of the needle poking certain parts of the baby, therefore
causing a potential fatal outcome. She told us that she has had many years of practice in doing
this procedure, but she was also very open and honest and said that there was only one time
when the situation ended with a fatal outcome.
Upon hearing this, we were slightly hesitant, but given how honest she was and Noah’s
condition, we thought we would go ahead and do the procedure since we were already there. So,
the nurses and doctor got busy working right-a-way and started to prepare the room. Although
they got moving immediately, it still felt like hours before they were officially ready from all the
going and coming and setting things up. As we waited, we overheard the doctor’s and nurses’
conversations, saying things like, “this is the smallest room in this office”, “I’m not used to
doing this procedure in this small room”, “this will be very different for me”.” Hearing these
conversations was not helping the situation, but we just kept our mouths shut and let them do
their thing. When they were finally ready, they insisted on telling us not to cough or sneeze or
anything once they open everything up to start because of how sterile the whole room has to be
because the slightest bacteria could cause an infection, if it is not done correctly. I even had to
turn my head away from the needle insertion so that I wouldn’t breathe near it. All these
instructions were making me more nervous, but I placed my trust into their hands and let them do
it without any complaints.
Everyone and everything was ready to go. The doctor then proceeded to bring out the long
needle and insert it into my stomach first and then into the placenta. (Yes, it did hurt, especially
when entering the placenta, but it actually was not as bad as I thought it was going to be). Once
the procedure was done, she did tell me that the needle did scrape Noah’s foot, but that
everything turned out okay. After the procedure was done and everything was cleaned up, we
were FINALLY able to go home.
Before we left, the doctor made several comments on how well we handled everything. She said
normally when couples hear this kind of news, they break down and weep, but we did not. She
commented on how strong of a couple we were, and how she doesn’t see that kind of strength in
couples very often. Leaving, we told her thank you and told her how much we appreciated her
service.
The drive home was pretty quiet as we did not know what to say, plus we were exhausted from
everything that happened so we were anxiously waiting to get home and rest. Although we were
tired, I decided to take the backway home as we liked to do that often. On one of the backroads
we took, there was a small church with a sign out front that said something like, “God’s got
this,” or something to that extent. I don’t remember exactly what it said, but I do remember how
effected I was by those words, and how those words were meant for me to see them. We got
home and immediately went to the bed to take a nap.
It wasn’t until I woke up and started re-playing what just happened that I lost it. I cried and cried,
which woke Brandon up. We both were overwhelmed with emotions. I guess it took that long for
it all to sink-in and for the shock to wear off. At the hospital we were hit with so many hospital
terms that we had never heard of before and it all happened relatively fast that we really didn’t
have a chance to show any emotion while at the hospital. So, there we sat in bed with tears
coming down our cheeks, trying to figure out why this has happened to us and to Noah. We then
spent the next several minutes praying our hearts out to God for help.
When Friday evening came, we decided to break the devastating news to our moms, which was
not an easy thing to do. When you have two loving and caring grandmothers who were anxiously
waiting to meet their first grandson, informing them of this horrific news was not a fun time.
Chapter 2
Seeking Understanding
Early Saturday morning, Brandon and I met with our beloved pastor to have a one-on-one
conversation with him. We wanted to inform him of what was going on, ask for prayers &
support, and to seek his understanding if Brandon and I would have to make a very difficult
decision in the upcoming days or weeks. We wanted to make sure that our pastor, whom we love
so dearly and look up to, as well as the church staff, to know that if it did come to the point of us
having to make that difficult decision that it would not be perceived as an abortion to them.
After sharing everything that the doctor said, we knew we did not have to worry about him or the
church staff thinking anything like that. Pastor knows our hearts and knows that we would never
do such a thing, unless there was no other choice.

We cannot tell you how appreciative we were from all the support, love, and care that poured out
from their hearts. This may come across as bias, but we seriously have the BEST pastor and
pastoral staff in the whole universe. Their kind and genuine spirits are contagious. Plus, they are
ones who strive to live out and practice what they preach, which in my opinion, is hard to come
by these days. Not that there are others out there who do the same, it’s just that I know I can
speak for our pastors and what they say and do.

Anyways, back to the original story…
After our meeting with pastor, we headed back home to get ready and to finish the final touches
on birthday preparations.
Chapter 3
Birthday Party
Twenty-six is the age Brandon was turning. Four more years until he turned the big 3-0.
Someone who has many ambitions and dreams to accomplish before turning that big 3-0, and
becoming a Daddy was one of them.
“Hello!”
“Hello, how are you?! Good to see ya”
These jolly welcoming words repeatedly rang out as both families arrived to celebrate Brandon’s
birthday. Our families don’t come together very often, but when they do, it’s like opening a gift
on Christmas morning. It’s awesome to see that kind of bonding between our two families
though. It tells us that both sides have our backs and that they support us.
This was no ordinary birthday party, it was a Power Ranger birthday party. Everything was
decorated to the max for a very special birthday party (I love going all-out). It may sound silly
for some of you for a twenty-six-year-old man to have a Power Ranger birthday party, but that
was Brandon’s all-time favorite TV show while growing up. He still enjoys keeping up with
them and likes to collect the collector’s items. We all have that little kid in us, don’t we? I love
how he still gets excited over things like that. Plus, now that his younger brother (who was six at
the time) is into the Power Rangers as well. It allows Brandon to remanence the past when he
was really big into them. Although I must say I was very sad when I could no longer give him
the one gift I was looking forward to giving him the most…a green ranger onesie.
As people came in and sat down, the desperation of us getting the hard part over with overcame
us. We just didn’t want to keep it in any longer, so we had the kids stay in one of the back rooms
and we spilled our guts out to our family regarding what the doctor had said, and the next steps
to take. To say that the room was filled with many emotions would be an understatement. There
was not a dry eye in that room. We could feel the empathy closing in on us. My brother then took
the initiative to pray over Noah and us while other family members prayed too. In that moment,
it was both depressing yet rewarding as the room was filled with love and support.
After breaking the news to the families, the birthday party went on as usual, but there was always
that stagnate feeling in the atmosphere. What was meant to be an excited and pleasurable time
for family and especially for Brandon turned into a tragic and devastating event…and
unfortunately, there will always be that tragic and devastating memory on the birthdays to come.


Once the birthday party was over, we decided to put a little blurb out there on our Facebook
accounts. We figured if we told our friends and family on Facebook, it would be a way to tell
everyone at the same time, instead of having to re-tell and re-hash everything over and over
again. We didn’t give too many details, just enough for people to understand the intensity of
what we were facing. And of course, we asked everyone for prayers, because as it says in
Matthew 18:20 (NIV), “where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.”
Chapter 4
HOPEful
As we arrive to church on Sunday morning the next day, we were surprised to see my brother
there too. He, his wife, and their first child (at the time, now they have two) usually go to another
church - a church where his wife’s dad pastors at, so it was very unusual to see him there. It was
nice to have all of us sit down in the same pew together, something that had not happened for a
long time.
The timer on the big screen turned 11:00 and the music began. It was one of the best worship
services we had had in a long time. Don’t get me wrong, our worship service is always good, but
there was just something about this one that made it stand out. Everyone in that room felt the
presence of God, which is what made it an incredible worship service.
What stood out to us the most was that each song had some relation to healing and miracles,
especially the last song they sang. The words and lyrics that spread throughout the congregation
were ones that Brandon and I, as well as the whole family held so dear to our hearts as they were
words of miracles. We all felt like these songs were meant for us to hear.
God’s presence was so overwhelming that a spontaneous altar call took place during the last
song for those who were in-need of a healing touch or a miracle done in their lives. So, my
enduring brother took me by the hand and lead me down the aisle to the altar, with my husband
and family at my heels. Many hands were laid on me and interceded with prayer over Noah and
myself.
After the worship service was over, I confess that it was very hard to focus on the sermon or on
anything else for that matter. Thoughts of “Wow! What a worship service” and “that had to have
been meant for us to hear and to be a part of” ran through our mind. Surely between this service
and the sign I read on the backroad the other day meant that God has healed Noah or will heal
Noah!
Needless to say, I left that church service feeling revived and strong in my faith. Nothing could
get in the way of me believing that God’s got this, and that this WILL have a positive outcome.
Chapter 5
Best Friend’s Baby Shower
Baby blues, adorable onesies, diapers, and baby things filled the room with evidence of a baby
shower. Excitement and pure happiness engulfed the entire room as guests arrived and started
talking about Baby Carson’s arrival, and his Mommy…my best friend.

My best friend and I share a one-of-a-kind friendship. We have gone through so many ups and
downs that this life has thrown at us, and yet, no matter what, we always seem to stay strong
together. It honestly brings tears to my eyes as I write this because of the special bond that we
share. I am just beyond appreciative of our friendship. It is a friendship that sticks closer than a
brother (or sister in this case). I cannot count the times that she has been there for me and helped
me through things. She is my dreamer, challenger, accountability partner, supporter, and so much
more. I truly don’t know what I would do without her in my life. I only hope and pray that I am
half the person to her as she is to me. Through the years of friendship, I have also become very
close to her family as well. In fact, I consider her family as my family. Her mom is my mom,
too, and I could not have asked for a better second mommy. It’s funny because although we have
known each other for a long time while going to the same church, we didn’t actually become
friends until high school, but because of the bond we share, it feels like I have known her and her
family my whole life.
For the longest time, I have dreamt of us being pregnant together and sharing that special gift of
children at the same time. And, there we were, experiencing that exact dream together!

Due to all the incredible decorations and love poured out, this was one of the best baby showers I
had ever been to up to that point. I could not have been happier for my best friend and her
family. As the shower went on, there were games, prizes, food, fellowship, and gifts to be
enjoyed.
Gifts. It wasn’t until the gifts that I started thinking about the past few days and the news that the
doctor had given us. As happy as I was for my best friend, seeing all the little boy’s clothes,
diapers, pacifiers, etc. made it almost impossible to stay calm and in my seat. Once again, the
walls were caving in on me, but because of my love for my best friend, I held it in because I did
NOT want to ruin this special day, a day of celebration for her, her family, and for her sweet
little one expected to come in just a few weeks.
Chapter 6
“The Meeting”
A few days later, the Fetal Medicine place called to tell us the results were in for the DNA test.
We could hear the urgency in their voice when they scheduled an appointment to talk it over. At
this appointment, we met with the same doctor, as well as the genetic counselor. *Note, when
you have to meet with the genetic counselor, it is probably not for a good reason, at least in our
experience. We also brought along our moms to this meeting so that we would have more ears to
hear and more minds to take-in all the things they were going to say so that we didn’t miss
anything…and for moral support.
Finally, after more waiting, the doctor and counselor both came in to share what the results were
and what they meant, as well as the next steps to follow. I will try to sum up an hour or more
conversation into a nutshell.
The amniocentesis (aka DNA sample) results came back showing that Noah had a condition
called triploidy. Of course, none of us had heard that term before, so the genetic counselor broke
it down for us so we would understand better. This was when the counselor described more in
detail the process of the lab work and how they came up with this conclusion.
When the lab workers sent the lasers to the DNA sample to test which chromosome set would
attach itself to the sample, they observed each set of chromosomes (13, 18, and 21) attached to
the DNA. So, in-other-words, all sets of chromosomes attached itself to the baby’s DNA. This is
what causes triploidy. Triploidy is when the baby has a whole other extra set of chromosomes
then it should, therefore causing all of the severe birth defects Noah developed.
Given the results came back as triploidy meant that the doctor’s worst fear became true…it is
more severe than down syndrome, and it is fatal. The genetic counselor then went over the
statistics for babies who have triploidy. She said that it is very rare for babies to go to full-term,
and even more rare to be born alive. Even if the baby does make it to full-term and is alive at
birth, those babies only live for maybe a few minutes before they take their last breath. The
doctor and counselor were even surprised that I had carried Noah for as long as I did.
However, given that I was still carrying him, lead to the hard conversation as to what will happen
next, whether that is to try to continue this pregnancy for as long as I could, or to go ahead and
end it. That was when we asked what the odds were for our situation. They both said that given
the severity of Noah’s birth defects, he most likely would not make it to full-term, but even if he
did, then that would cause a much greater risk for my health and the possibility of me having
more children down the road.
I was not ready to make that decision yet, besides, the last thing I wanted to do was to think of
myself and my health when my baby’s health was the one in danger. So, instead of making that
decision right then and there, we insisted that we wanted to have a second opinion from UVA
hospital (which was the advice that our pastor gave us during our meeting with him). Not that we
didn’t believe them, we just wanted to double check before we made any rational decisions. So,
the doctor immediately called UVA for us so that we could get an appointment set-up right-a-
way. They did not want to waste any time because the longer we waited to figure things out, the
more my health became at-risk.
Chapter 7
On Our Knees
In the days leading up to our UVA appointment, we tried to stay as positive as we could.
Brandon and I (as well as many others) spent each day praying and pleading with God to do a
miracle and to heal Noah. In fact, one of those days, Brandon and I drove to our land to pray.

Our land is our most prized possession that God has blessed us with up to this point. Brandon
and I both had dreams of owning some land to have a small farm on and to raise our kids on. We
may not know the day or hour as to when we will be able to build our house and live on our land,
but we are still so grateful for having the land in our name…again, it is all thanks to God though!
He made this happen…but that’s a whole other story to tell. I just wanted to give you a little bit
of background information as to how much our land means to us.
We want our land to be a place of worship, a place where God’s presence dwells. Therefore, we
want our land to symbolize as our own altar, a place where we lay all of our troubles, burdens,
and joy at His feet. So, we thought going to our land to pray was the right thing to do.

For a couple hours, Brandon and I both prayed out loud together for Noah’s condition. Of
course, we prayed wholeheartedly for a miracle and a healing for Noah, that He would use this
situation to wow the world and to show His power to His people. But as hard as it was, we also
prayed for Thy will to be done. We placed everything into His hands. In doing so, we were
allowing Him to have the final say in all of this.
After praying, I then played a powerful song that is very near to my heart called, “Same Power”
by Jeremy Camp. If you have not heard this song before, then you MUST stop what you are
doing and go listen to it. Reading the lyrics below is one thing, but to listen to the lyrics being
sung by a powerful voice is another thing.
I can see
Waters raging at my feet
I can feel
The breath of those surrounding me
I can hear
The sound of nations rising up
We will not be overtaken
We will not be overcome
I can walk
Down this dark and painful road
I can face
Every fear of the unknown
I can hear
All God's children singing out
We will not be overtaken
We will not be overcome
The same power that rose Jesus from the grave
The same power that commands the dead to wake
Lives in us, lives in us
The same power that moves mountains when He speaks
The same power that can calm a raging sea
Lives in us, lives in us
He lives in us, lives in us
We have hope
That His promises are true
In His strength
There is nothing we can't do
Yes, we know
There are greater things in store
We will not be overtaken
We will not be overcome
The same power that rose Jesus from the grave
The same power that commands the dead to wake
Lives in us, lives in us
The same power that moves mountains when He speaks
The same power that can calm a raging sea
Lives in us, lives in us
He lives in us, lives in us
Greater is He that is living in me
He's conquered our enemy
No power of darkness
No weapon prevails
We stand here in victory
Oh
Greater is He that is living in me
He's conquered our enemy
Oh
No power of darkness
No weapon prevails
We stand here in victory
Oh, in victory
Yeah
The same power that rose Jesus from the grave
The same power that commands the dead to wake
Lives in us, lives in us
The same power that moves mountains when He speaks
The same power that can calm a raging sea
Lives in us, lives in us
He lives in us, lives in us
He lives in us
As this song flooded our sound system, an overwhelming sense of emotions overcame us. We
didn’t know what it all meant, but we were thankful for that time spent with the Lord.
Chapter 8
HEALING?!
On the day before our UVA visit, my sweet cousin (who is actually a cousin through marriage,
but to me she is still considered as my official cousin) called me early that evening. She was
aware of everything that was going on. Instead of texting me, she wanted to call me to make the
conversation more personal. With eagerness in her voice, I could tell she couldn’t wait to tell me
what she was about to say.
She was on her way to a revival when she called me to tell me that God’s got this. She said to
hold on to our faith because she felt like this was all going to end in a positive note, and that God
was going to heal Noah. Bless her heart, she was so convincing that it did make me re-think
things.
After getting off the phone with her, I laid on our couch with a blank stare, thinking, “okay,
instead of praying if this, if that, I’m solely going to pray for what I want…a true healing for
Noah here on Earth”. As I was praying, an overwhelming sense of God’s presence washed over
Noah and me. It is a feeling that is hard to describe, but there was not a doubt that it was God.
And the BEST thing happened during this time…I felt Noah kick me! This was the very first
time that I had felt him kick me. Pure joy overcame me as I knew in my heart that God had heard
my prayer and had healed him right then and there. I was so overjoyed that I immediately went
downstairs to tell my mom (we are currently living with my parents until we can build our
house). With barely a breath, I told her everything that just happened. I was surprised at her
response though. She was hesitant to think that it was a healing as it was more of a special
moment that God allowed for Noah and I to share together. Although that could have been the
case, I was not about to let her speaking that to rip the joy I had in my heart. Between all the
prayers, the altar call, and this touch from God, clearly Noah was healed, and would be proven
on the ultrasound at UVA.
Chapter 9
A Second Opinion
Morning came, and Brandon and I, as well as our moms and my dad began our journey to UVA
hospital to get a second opinion. On the way there, I was still staying positive and still believed
that a healing took place the night before, so I didn’t think much about this visit.
We finally arrived and went to check-in. Of course, the ultrasound place was where all the other
children and babies go for their check-ups and appointments. But again, I wasn’t as worried
anymore. After several minutes in the waiting room, our names were called to go back to our
room, so Brandon and I got up with our moms and my dad following close behind us.
We go to the room and the nurse does her usual vital checks and questions and then leaves us to
wait for the doctor to come in. After more waiting, the doctor came in and started doing the
ultrasound. There was not a peep in the room while he was examining Noah’s anatomy scan.
Once again, the silence and the walls were caving in, but I still held my breath, clinched my teeth
and gripped the seat and waited for him to speak.
He finally broke the silence and to our dismay, he confirmed what was seen on the original
ultrasound was true…Noah’s condition was still the same, so no healing. Upon hearing this, I (as
well as everyone else) was not happy! Our fears still came true that day, in that little room at
UVA. However, we STILL tried to hold on to the little hope we had left, and in doing so, we
asked for UVA to send their records to our local hospital and for our local hospital to send their
records to UVA and have both of them sit down and compare both results together to see if there
was even the slightest change. Although they were hesitant, they still granted our wishes.
We just wanted to check and double check to see if there was a change, even if it was just a
slight change because we knew what we would be facing if there was not, and so we wanted to
do everything possible to not have to make that difficult decision. But, in case we did have to
make that tough decision, then at least we could say afterwards that we tried absolutely
everything we could think of to prevent ending a pregnancy.
UVA released us, and we were on our way back home. It was a much more somber trip this time.
We hadn’t even left the parking garage when the tears started to roll down my cheeks.
Chapter 10
HARDEST decision we have ever had to make
After the doctors from both locations compared both sets of ultrasounds, the one locally called us
in to have a meeting to discuss the results and to pinpoint us in our next steps. Sinking in our
seats, we were told that the results were the same on both ends. Due to no changes, it then came
time for us to make the hardest decision we have ever had to make, one that was against our
wishes and dreams. One that would end a life without us being able to help or prevent it. We felt
like we were betraying Noah as we signed the papers to have the pregnancy come to an end.
After signing the papers, we then discussed the timeline for it all to go down. Initially I was
thinking at the end of the month or something like that, but no, the doctor suggested to have it
done that next Thursday! Woah! That was very fast! I was not ready to give up Noah THAT
soon. But we had to make the decision at that appointment, so I didn’t really have time to think
about it. Time was running out. The only thing that gave me the courage to say yes was the
thought of “at least it would be done and over with sooner rather than it be drug out for a long
time,” plus the thought of the quicker this whole scenario is over, the sooner we can try to
become pregnant again.
Part II
The Hospital

A traumatic experience
Section 1
Arrival

Chapter 11
ONE Last Prayer
Wednesday night on March 8th, 2017, we dreadfully packed our hospital bags and prepared for
our 7:00am appointment at the labor and delivery department at the hospital. After a restless
night, it finally came time for us to leave the comfort of our home and tread to the hospital to be
induced into labor. Failure, depression, and anxiety filled the atmosphere in our car as we drove
to the hospital.
We parked the car in the designated “expected mother” parking spots, pulled out our luggage,
and began the long walk down the same corridor we had just walked only two weeks ago…only
this time, we were overwhelmed with sadness instead of joy.
Entering the labor and delivery area, in the waiting room were our moms, my dad, my aunt, and
my brother. Seeing them there lifted our spirits up a little knowing that we had their support
through this whole thing.
Since all of us were there at the hospital, we took that advantage to pray one last time before we
had to go back to our room. We even gathered around and held hands while we prayed. Some
prayed out loud while others prayed to themselves. We still prayed for a healing for Noah, but
we also prayed that if a healing on Earth was not meant to be, that Noah would pass away before
entering this world, so that he would not have to suffer even a second of this world. Oddly
enough as we were there for unfortunate reasons, in that moment of praying, there was also a
peace that hovered over us, a peace that only God can give.
After praying, the time had come for Brandon and I to go back and to begin prepping for the next
several hours to come. The nurses made sure to place us in a room as far away from the other
occupied rooms as possible so that we would not hear the cry of newborn babies.
Once we were back there, a dear friend and mentor of ours, who used to be our young adult
leader, and was also an employee at the same hospital, had arrived in the waiting room. We
convinced the nurses to allow her to come back before beginning the process. Her being there
was SUCH a blessing. A blessing we needed more than we realized at the time. She was so
supportive, and her kind, gentle spirit filled the room, which helped us to relax in those moments
that she was there.
Chapter 13
Desperation…Final Chance
Although we knew it would not make a difference, out of desperation, we requested to have
ONE more ultrasound. We wanted to be given one last chance to see if there were any changes
up to this point, because once you start the process, there’s no going back. The doctors were
hesitant at first because we were already behind schedule and in their minds, there was not going
to be any changes, but because we insisted, they granted our last request. We knew it would be
expensive and that our insurance wouldn’t cover it, but at that point we didn’t care. We wanted
to give God one last chance to save this baby. At the very least it would help us later to not carry
the guilt of ending a pregnancy without doing absolutely everything we could to prevent it.
The ultrasound machine arrived, and the doctor did one last ultrasound. Although there were no
changes, it was nice to have the doctor explain and actually show us where all the birth defects
were on Noah. It gave us the clarity and confirmation we needed to move on with the inducing
process.
Section 2
Inducing Process…Our Nightmare Begins

Chapter 14
IV’s, The Pill, Morphine, Epidural = Two Very Long
Days
In a matter of minutes, I was dressed in a hospital gown and strapped to the hospital bed with the
fetal monitor attached to me (for those who don’t know what a fetal monitor does, it keeps track
of your contractions when giving birth). IV’s poked and prodded my tiny veins until they finally
found a spot to insert it into my arm. Needless to say, the idea of going anywhere were slim to
none.
As they were preparing me for the inducing process, I asked one of the nurses if there have been
cases where the baby does come out alive even after going through this whole process. She
answered “yes”, and then I asked her if they suffer being out of the womb with having only one
set of chambers to breathe in and out of…she didn’t answer me directly, but the tears forming in
her eyes told me enough. This made me indescribably nervous and afraid. Our one true prayer
was if the healing on Earth did not work out, that there would be NO suffering for Noah. As
scared as I was, I decided to place that pleading wish at God’s feet and trust Him that He would
take care of that request for me and for Noah.
Once I was set-up, the nurses had everyone go out of the room except for Brandon to officially
begin the inducing process. The first inducing process method they chose to do was the pill. I can
honestly say that I have never been so fearful over a pill before. I can also say that I will
ALWAYS be fearful of this pill, just the mentioning of this pill makes me shudder. This pill is
designed to begin the dilating and contraction process. Crazy to think that just a small pill can do
all of that! But it’s not a pill that you can intake through the mouth, oh no, it’s a pill that has to
be inserted down below. To say that it hurt like Hell when being inserted is an understatement.
And they didn’t do it just once, but several times afterwards too. I dreaded every time a nurse
came in the room because I worried when the next dosage needed to be applied. Every time they
applied it, my hands would cling to the bed rails so hard that they ached afterwards. I would grit
my teeth, and my whole body would tense up, making it harder for them to insert it correctly.
The typical timeframe for the pill to work its magic is around the third or fourth time of
application. However, after the fourth time of application, the nurses became concerned as to
why the contractions weren’t getting stronger and that the pill wasn’t working like it should. This
lead them to try a different inducing option method.
They hooked me up to the IV pole and fluids and then inserted a dose of morphine into my
system. The insertion of the morphine quickly became a scary sense of humor for everyone. Due
to the fact that I had never had anything like this before, my body got all numb, my pupils got
really big, and my head was all fuzzy. I kept thinking “how do people take this stuff for fun or
for relief??” Although it was a funny sight to others, it was kind of a scary and abnormal moment
for me.
Soon after they drugged me up, my best friend (the one who was expecting at the time, and who
also worked nearby in the NICU) came over to say hi. It was a breath of fresh air when she came
in to check-up on me. It was great having her there to get my mind off things. I will be forever
grateful to her for coming to visit me during this situation when she herself was pregnant and
was due in about a week. She wasn’t the only one that came to visit, lots of other family
members and friends came to visit and to show their care and support, as well.
Once my best friend left and more time ticked by, there were still little progress to be seen, but
the morphine did help push things along more. Regardless of the slow process, when the nurse
came back again, she told me that Noah had passed away due to all the medicine in-take. Crazy
enough, this was wonderful news because it meant that God did answer that prayer and that
Noah would not suffer.
Eventually the contractions became stronger, and because I wanted to be in as much ease as
possible, I decided to go ahead and get the epidural. After about an hour of waiting, the epidural
arrived. Coming out of the nice warm blankets, the nurses helped me to sit up and began
prepping me for the epidural insertion. At this point, the insertion didn’t seem all that bad
compared to all the other things I had been through. After the epidural and my body was numb,
the nurse inserted another dosage of the pill. I was thankful for the epidural as I no longer felt the
pain of her inserting it since I was so numb. As she was inserting this pill, she noticed that all the
other dosages were not pushed up far enough to where they should have been, which was the
reason why my contractions and dilation were so slow. So, when she pushed this pill up, she
ended up pushing all the other dosages up where they were meant to be, all at once.
It was what came next that really put me over the edge.
Chapter 16
The Shakes
Tears flooded down my cheeks as the feeling of frustration and being petrified consumed me, as
my whole body shook. It literally felt like my bones were shaking. No matter how hard I tried to
focus on something else, the shakes over-powered me. I have never been so afraid in my life.
The only thing that kept me from going insane was the soft murmur of my mom’s voice
consistently telling me that everything was okay…even though in the back of her mind, she was
scared to death for me. But she knew she had stay strong on the outside for me, and so she did.
When I tell people today about the shakes, they don’t seem to fully understand what I mean. I get
that there is a possibility of getting the shakes during labor and delivery, but this was different.
My body felt like it was convulsing, and I was not able to control it. It was even scary for
Brandon and our moms to witness. Although some would try to convince us otherwise, we
believe that the reason the shakes were so severe was from all of the medicine that was put in me
in a very short timeframe. Plus getting really cold after I came out of the warm blankets to get
the epidural did not help the situation.
After what felt like hours of shaking, the nurse came in to apply Pitocin, a muscle relaxer. To say
that I was relieved and thankful for this relaxer is another understatement. This muscle relaxer
allowed me to FINALLY calm down enough to rest. I even fell into a deep sleep. As I was
sleeping, something in the air caused me to stir and wake up for maybe a minute. It was the
sound of a baby crying in another room. I looked up to see my mom standing there with tears in
her eyes. But honestly, I was just too exhausted to allow it to bother me, and so I went back to
sleep. When I woke up, I had no idea what time it was, but it was nighttime, and still no sign of
delivering yet.
Chapter 17
Stillborn
After several more hours and more insertions of the pill, my body was finally ready to deliver the
next day. On Saturday, March 10th, 2017, Noah was delivered. The doctor and nurses were all
there to take care of Noah and myself. Upon our requests, they immediately took Noah to the
warmer and cleaned him up and then took him out of the room. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to
see our child, but we thought that by not seeing him we could help lessen the attachment and
heartbreak that would come from it later. Plus, we didn’t want our view of Noah to be a lifeless
creation, but rather a perfectly healed creation in Heaven. However, I will never forget the
feeling of a lifeless human being coming out of me, and there being nothing I could do about it.
After the baby was delivered, the nurses continued to check my vitals and my state-of-mind
while the numbness wore off from the epidural. They brought us teddy bears in honor of Noah,
took pictures of Noah and put them on a CD in case we ever got the nerve to look at them later,
and they boxed up the diaper and hat that they put on Noah for the pictures for us to take home.
The numbness finally wore off and my vitals were stable, I was FINALLY free to go. They
informed us on what to expect within the next several days and to look for any unusual signs,
and if any of those signs should occur, then to come in and be checked out. After this informative
conversation, I signed the release form and we headed home.
Part III
Life After Noah’s “Birth”day
Chapter 18
Coming Home + Recovery
Home. Up to this point, home had never felt so good before. We were greeted by our three cats,
which made coming home even more welcoming and bearable. After unloading everything, we
decided to take a peek of what was in the small purple box that the hospital gave us. Inside it was
the smallest diaper and hat we had ever seen before. Seeing these things told us just how tiny
Noah was, and it overwhelmed us with tears and emotions. So, we tied the box shut again, and
put it away as we did not want those things staring us in the face after just leaving the hospital.
The next few weeks were focused on recovery - physically, mentally, and emotionally. My body
had gone through so much, so between the hospital experience and the typical physical recovery
from giving birth, it took a while for me to recover completely. In fact, I was still recovering
even after going back to work, which lead to a rough ending to the school year. Between April
and June, I took off a lot for work. One day I would be fine and the next I wouldn’t be fine. It
was definitely a roller coaster of emotions. Whenever I would have a “good day,” I would
always feel guilty later because in my mind, I thought “how can I enjoy my day, when I just gave
birth to a lifeless child?” It just didn’t seem fair to do that to Noah.
Deep down, I hated to do take off so much, but I was honestly just not ready to go back to work
yet. However, I also did not want to just sit around all day, every day and think about everything
that had happened. I wanted to…no, I needed to get out of the house and get back into a routine,
otherwise, the memories would have overtaken me, and all I wanted was to put that past behind
me as much as possible and move forward with our lives.
Part IV
Our Faith
Chapter 23
Our Sanity
In all honesty, the only thing that kept us from losing our minds was our faith in God. I have no
idea what or where we would be if it weren’t for the Lord and His help through all of this, nor do
I want to think about it. He was with us through this whole process, from beginning to end.
It may seem odd to some, but we do believe that God did answer our prayers. Sure, it may not
have been in the way that we wanted Him to, but He still answered them. Although He didn’t
heal Noah here on Earth, He definitely healed Him in Heaven, which is honestly the BEST kind
of healing there is, ever. Noah never once suffered through the whole process, and he never had
to embrace the trials and tribulations of this world. He never had to deal with the evils of this
Earth. The only thing he ever felt was pure joy and pure love from the very hands that created
him. Noah never once left God’s side, and for that, I’m almost jealous. We believe that Noah
was just too special to God and that God didn’t want Noah to leave His embrace.
Our faith was strong before and during this whole process, but it grew even more afterwards.
Now, I wouldn’t be human if I said I didn’t ask questions and wonder why this happened to us.
Brandon and I both do our very best to live for the Lord, both separately and as a couple. So, the
question of why did this happen to a couple who actually tries to live for God and to do what’s
right runs through our minds a lot. Plus, I will confess that every time I hear the word “healing”
or “miracle” - whether in a song or through conversation, or whenever there is an altar call for a
healing touch of the Lord, my insides still cringe and I become emotional because I think to
myself, “how can the Lord heal that person, when He didn’t heal Noah here on Earth after we
begged Him for that healing?” I mean after all, it does say in the Bible, in Matthew 7:7, “ask and
it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” And
we certainly and earnestly asked for an Earthly healing, but did not receive one.
Regardless of our questions, doubts, and feelings, our faith remained strong. Although we do not
know the reasons why, we do believe wholeheartedly that God had a purpose for this to happen.
Have you ever heard the song called, “No Matter What” by Kerrie Roberts? If not, this is another
powerful song. It is my go-to song in times of struggle. It basically says that no matter what we
face here on Earth, God is our provider and our rock, therefore, we will always worship Him.
I'm running back to your promises one more time
Lord that's all I can hold on to
I gotta say this has taken me by surprise
But nothing surprises You
Before a heartache can ever touch my life
It has to go through Your hands
And even though I keep asking why
I keep asking why
No matter what, I'm gonna love You
No matter what I'm gonna need You
I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain
But if not, I'll trust you
No matter what, no matter what
When I'm stuck and there's nothing else by myself
I'm just sitting in silence
There's no way I can make it without Your help
I wont even try it
I know You have Your reasons for everything
So I will keep believing
Whatever I might be feeling, God, You are my hope
And You will be my strength,
No matter what, I'm gonna love You
No matter what I'm gonna need You
I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain
But if not, I'll trust you
No matter what, no matter what
Anything I don't have You can give it to me
But it's okay if You don't, I'm not here for those things
The touch of Your love is enough on its own
No matter what I still love You and I'm gonna need You
No matter what I'm gonna love you
No matter what I'm gonna need you
I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain
But if not, I'll trust You
No matter what, no matter what
I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain
But if not, I'll trust you
No matter what, no matter what
No matter, no matter what
Besides, we knew in our hearts that God would reward us one day with a healthy and nurtured
child…and for that we had a hope and a promise to cling to and that hope is what kept us going,
and it’s what kept us wanting to have our own children.

Author’s Note
I cannot end this book without expressing our upmost gratitude to everyone who stood beside us
and supported us through this whole journey.
To all the nurses and doctors that were on duty throughout this whole process, thank you for
being so supportive and genuine. Your empathy towards us was definitely appreciated. As big as
our hospital is, you never treated us as just another number. Instead you treated us like we were
family.
To our pastor, pastoral staff, and church family, we cannot thank you enough for your support,
understanding, and the overall genuine care for us and our family through this process.
To my best friend, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there and for being you!
To our past young adult leader, thank you for taking the time to visit us in the hospital before
embarking on an 8-hour drive to a youth conference.
To our family, thank you all for pouring out your love and care on us throughout this whole
process. Not a day went by without you all checking in on us. That may have seemed like a small
gesture at the time, but to us it meant so much more.
To our moms, thank you for never leaving our sides, and for hopping on this crazy train with us.
To our friends and co-workers, thank you for the endless texts, Facebook comments, etc.
throughout the whole process. They helped more than you know.
To those who brought us dinner after coming home - thank you is not enough for your kind
hearts. We will forever be grateful for those meals that we did not have to be burdened with after
what we went through.
To my husband, Brandon, thank you for your unconditional love, strength, and care for me
through this whole process. Noah was a very lucky guy to have you as his Daddy, and I am very
proud to be your wife!
Finally, to God, thank you for never leaving us nor forsaking us through this process. We could
NOT have done this without you! You are our rock and our fortress. Through you all things are
possible!