June 2, 2014, the day I call "D-Day," was the worst day of my life. It was the day my son received his diagnosis. A day a rarely speak about. Now, I realize that it may sound strange because some may assume that the day my child died would be the worst day of my life.
The days leading up to that spring day are days that I will never forget. They were tortuous, unrelenting and cruel. Just weeks prior we found out our baby was boy. We sent to an elective ultrasound center to find out the sex a little bit earlier than we would have otherwise. We were in complete bliss knowing we were expecting another boy. The lady who performed the ultrasound never uttered a single word about the possible complications there were with our son. A part of me hates that she didn't say anything, but another part of me thanks her for letting me have that joy because it was one of the best days of my life. One I will cherish forever.
A few weeks later, I had to go into the doctor’s office for my anatomy scan. Though I felt it in my gut that something wasn't right, I passed it off as paranoia after suffering two previous losses. Seeing my son just weeks before led me to believe everything was fine, I had nothing to fear. As the scan began, the ultrasound tech was silent. Completely silent. Just minutes later, I was sitting in a different room waiting to talk to the doctor.
He said there were a few concerns, but he didn't have good enough equipment to know the extent of the issues and it could be nothing. Before I knew it, I was in a perinatologist office receiving an upper -level sonogram and having blood drawn. We had to wait 10 days for the results. 10 days that felt like torture, 10 days we worried, and 10 days we still clung to hope that it was nothing.
On day number 10, early in the morning, I received a call. The words slipped out of the doctor’s mouth... "Trisomy 18... I'm so sorry." My world grew foggy as I scrambled to write down all the information on a scrap piece of paper. I hung up the phone and stumbled my way to the top of the stairs and into my bedroom. I shut the door behind me, dropped down to my knees, and screamed as loud and as hard as I could. I just sobbed and kept begging, "Please... not MY baby!" "Why my baby, God!"
The world never felt so cold, so dark, and so desperate. I don't even know how I managed to pick my lifeless body off of the floor. I am pretty sure someone had to do it for me. The following morning we were back at the perinatologist having another ultrasound and learning that there were things so severe with our son that his life, should he survive, would be limited. I felt so lost and so incredibly confused at how it was even remotely possible that a baby could receive a death sentence before they even had a chance to take their first breath. As we left the office, my husband held my hand tightly. We walked through the long hallway to leave the building and I slowly felt my world fade away into nothingness. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't walk, and I felt like I couldn't go on.
The pain I felt was indescribable. I was mourning my son's life before he had even passed away. It felt like everything I loved was being ripped away from me and there wasn't anything I could do about it. My world was shaken to the very core and every inch of me was broken beyond repair.
Diagnosis day caused irreparable damage to my heart and soul. It will be a day that forever haunts me. As I approach the one-year anniversary of this day, the pain re-emerges just as raw and real as it was on June 2, 2014.
In spite of it all, we managed to keep going, we managed to keep loving, and we managed to find joy.
Choosing love was the only thing that saved my soul from becoming stuck in the darkness of that day.
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Jessi Snapp resides in Indiana where she is pursuing her master’s degree in social work. She is married to her wonderful husband, Karl, and she is a mother to one living child and three in Heaven. After enduring two losses to miscarriage, Jessi became pregnant with her son Silas Edison who was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 at 20 weeks gestation. Silas was born and passed on August 20, 2014. Though his life was brief, he is loved for a lifetime. In Silas’ memory, Jessi turned his nursery into an art studio where she creates custom memorial art for other babies gone too soon. You can find her heart-centered work at LuminousLightStudio and on Facebook.