for shel

our story…

from always. by james and michele

we had a new word thrown into our vocabulary yesterday. one we wish we never learned.


that one word will forever change our lives.

what should have been a joyous day (we hit the 20 week pregnancy mark and had an ultrasound scheduled) turned into one i wish we never had to live.

the morning was rough. life with a toddler, spilled yogurt, rushing out the door, slips and falls, impatience, running late, korea traffic, traffic and more traffic.

we finally arrived only a few minutes late to the hospital down at yongsan, in seoul. we had to make the couple hour drive because our clinic does not perform ultrasounds. checked in, got eliza out of her jammies and ready and anxious to see our precious newbean on the screen. james’ first glimpse.

we continue the battle of “we are NOT finding out!” and “well I can find out, you don’t have to!”

the cool gel was spread and we got to see our newbean. moving around like crazy, arms waving at the face, thumbsucking, kicking…

measurements were taken. and taken. and taken.

heartbeat was confirmed at 150.

newbean to us, looked perfect.

then the tech left to show the doc some pics. we talked some more about finding out/not finding out. she returned. took some more pics and measurements. left and brought the doctor in. lights went off and he took over. studied the screen. eyebrows shifted. eyes focused.

then he introduced us to that word.

i don’t remember exactly what he said, but he explained that the head and brain hadn’t fully formed. something was missing. appointments with doctors would need to be made. talks would be had.

i know i asked “but, it’s alive?!” yes. it is.

he left and i asked the tech if she could tell us the sex. at this point i wasn’t sure we would ever have another glimpse of our newbean. that is one emptiness i struggle with our first baby. i wish i knew what he/she was.

“it looks like, it’s a girl.”

another little girl. our little girl. growing.

i asked if we could have a picture. i wasn’t sure i would want it, but knew i couldn’t get that moment back.

many many tears were shed, hugs were given, prayers said over us and we were on our way. the long drive with a cranky toddler who hadn’t napped all the way home.

then the real struggle began. we read about what the means. is there any hope? some of the first stats we read were 75% of babies with anecephaly are stillborn. the other 25% live only for a few minutes, hours, maybe days.

we could have surgery now and terminate the pregnancy.

it seemed like the less painful option for us. i had thoughts of “do it right now, before i feel her move. i can’t feel her move.”

that turned to guilt. i know she is alive. we saw her. she is our baby. God blessed us with her. He trusts us to protect her. we cannot end a life. we are her parents. we have to hold onto her until she’s ready to walk with Jesus.

back and forth back and forth. all day, all night. thoughts flew all over the place.

how will this effect eliza? how will i make it another 20ish weeks carrying a baby i know we don’t get to keep. i’m not strong enough for this. i can’t.

until i woke up for good this morning. many talks, many prayers said through our night by family back home, and i felt a sense of peace.

she is ours. we have to protect her. we GET this time with her. cherish it. cherish her. our newbean.

i know it’s going to be hard. i know people won’t understand. i know we have a lot of daily struggles to face. satan will creep in. put thoughts in our heads. tell us evil things to try and kick us down.

our faith will get us through. it has to.

it’s all we have sometimes, but it’s all we need.

(when i write it’s just all one continuous thought. i don’t reread, i don’t rewrite. so if the words are scattered, that’s how i’m thinking. i needed to get this out.)

and thank you to all of you who prayed, talked, sent love already. we need it. we can’t do this alone. we know the distance was already hard. this is a whole new level. we hold you close and will need to lean on you at times. i am just so thankful that james, eliza and i are together. we will be stronger as a family.

here is a pic of our precious newbean. our little girl.
disclaimer of sorts – know that there are a lot of hard pics to see online. i already wish i could un-see some of them. but everyone of those babies is someone’s pride and joy. just proceed with caution if you do read up about it. know that it’s very rare. if you are pregnant, don’t let this story frighten you. enjoy your pregnancy. hold it close. count your blessings. we are.


yesterday i couldn’t see anything in this pic. today, now that i am aware. we can see. we know what it “should” look like. we see something missing. but we also see our beautiful bean. sucking her thumb like her big sister used to.


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