It took me three years before I was able to write it but you can read Grace’s birth story here.
On April 26th, 2013 at 30 weeks and 1 day in my belly, we said hello and goodbye to our first daughter, baby Grace. Grace Haven.
But let me back up and tell you how her story began.
We learned we were pregnant in November of 2012. To say we were thrilled is an understatement. I wrote about it here.
At our first appointment at 13 weeks we were able to hear her heartbeat but it was markedly irregular. This wasn’t necessarily concerning as 98-99% of irregular heartbeats resolve in utero. As a precautionary measure my OB scheduled us for a follow-up ultrasound two weeks later. At 15 weeks, it was still irregular. To be on the safe side, we were scheduled to see a perinatologist the next week. We had almost zero concern. After all, things like this don’t happen to us, right? Just other people. People out there. But definitely not to us.
Oh, we were so heartbreakingly wrong.
On January 18th, 2013, our lives changed forever. At 16 weeks we learned that our baby had two very serious heart defects and possible chromosomal abnormalities. I wrote about that awful day here.
We were referred to the pediatric cardiologist where we received the first of many echocardiograms. After our first visit with Dr. Hardy we were the most encouraged we had been in this whole process. He was able to conclusively identify her condition – a single ventricle heart defect and congenital heart block, two separate and very rare heart conditions.
The following months were filled with endless doctors appointments, ups and downs, anxiety, fear, and a daily, continually-renewed resolve to trust the Lord. At 26 weeks, we traveled to Seattle for our initial appointments with the surgeons at Seattle Children’s who would have been delivering and caring for Grace after her birth. It was there that we received the first news of signs of heart failure.
The next four weeks were the most difficult weeks of waiting for us in the entire journey. One week she would have more signs of heart failure, the next she would be stable. The days before her passing on April 25th (she was delivered April 26th) were excruciating. A part of me knew that her time was close even though we never ceased to pray for her healing.
But, to our great heartache, on April 25th we could clearly see via ultrasound that our girl’s heart was no longer beating. She was Home. And we prepared for the most painful experience of our lives, to say good-bye to our Gracie-girl.
This has been an unexpected journey and not one we would have signed up for, but we know our lives and Grace’s life are not in the hands of random chance. God doesn’t roll the dice for our lives. He is faithful and sovereign and our hope is always in him. We are reminded that in our times of greatest sorrow, what we believe about God matters. Grace impacted more people in her 30 weeks than most people do in their 80 years and we will always be grateful and awed that we were chosen to be her mama and daddy.
We will love and miss our girl until the day we see her again face to face.
To see a video memorial of her life, click here.