We were so thrilled when we became pregnant with Abigail. It was our first time to become pregnant. We prayed constantly for this little life growing inside me. I do ultrasounds for a living so it didn't take too long to realize something wasn't quite right. My amniotic fluid started to gradually decrease in my early third trimester and the appearance of Abigail's kidneys wasn't typical. We continued praying so hard, choosing to trust in the Great Physician to do what only He could do. We had to choose to have hope. I was put on bed rest at home at around 29 weeks because of the low level of fluid. About a week and a half later I was admitted to the hospital because the amniotic fluid had decreased to almost none. A week after being on 24 hour monitoring on bed rest in the hospital, the doctors thought it best to transfer me to the hospital in Little Rock. I was transferred on a Monday by ambulance. The Saturday before, a doctor came in and told us of the possibility of this disease and that our baby might not live. I had known that it could be serious, but I think I was in denial to try to protect myself. Hearing the doctor actually verbalize it was utterly devastating. Up to that point, I think that Saturday was the worst day of my life. Since I was lying in a hospital bed, there wasn't much to do but think, and worry. We prayed, and prayed, and prayed. It was all so scary and overwhelming. Abigail and I spent three weeks on bed rest in the hospital in Little Rock before they delivered her at 34 weeks. I was to have a c-section because of the lack of fluid, and also because Abigail had somehow turned breech at 30 weeks. She was incredibly active! Those weeks of bed rest were very difficult, but I will always be thankful for the precious time I had with Abigail in the hospital. I tried so hard for the life of my precious baby. Having no privacy became the norm for me. Teams of doctors came in every morning around 5 am. My blood pressure, temperature, and Abigail's heart beat were checked by a tech every four hours. On top of these visitors, I also had my nurse, housekeeper, and someone bringing my meals. I also started getting used to being stuck with needles. My blood was drawn every three days, and I had about six IV's during the course of my stay.
There were mixed emotions before having Abigail. We were so very thrilled to meet our sweet girl, but also very scared that something was wrong with her kidneys. As long as I was her lifeline she was doing great! We were afraid that might change when she came out. When she was born, the first thing the doctor said was how fat her little legs were. She weighed 5 lb and 9 oz and she was 17.5 inches long! Such a big girl for 34 weeks. They had to whisk her out of the room since she was early, and because she didn't come out crying. We knew this might be the case, and that she might even have to be put on a ventilator. A nurse came over and told me that she looked just like her daddy, and that they did hear her cry twice! I was so relieved to hear that! They were still going to go ahead and put her on the ventilator. The doctor told us that she was the feistiest baby that she had ever met, and that they were going to need to sedate her because she was fighting everything they were trying to do. They brought her in to see me for just a minute. I am so thankful for that moment; I got to see her squirming around with her little eyes open, looking around. Oh, how very precious she was, and I was SO in love!! Things started to go downhill after that. They told us that the ventilator was breathing completely for her, and that still wasn't enough. They said her lungs were very small. I am so thankful I got to go see her in the NICU before she was transferred to Children's Hospital that evening. Dr. Rogers was taking care of her when she arrived. I still remember when she called me to tell me that Abigail was in very critical condition, and she could not stop going on about how she was "such a beautiful baby." That night she started to get better, and we had hope! We thought she was going to be OK! Luke went over to Children's and stayed all night with her. Such a good daddy! I hated that I had to be away from her. He prayed over her out loud, and we both stayed up praying all night, pleading with God to let us keep her. The next morning she was still very sick and they told us there was nothing else they could do. She was having little urine output which meant her kidneys weren't functioning well. Our worst nightmare was being realized. I was discharged from the hospital and they got me over to see her as quickly as possible. We got to spend the rest of the day with her. Oh how we will cherish that time forever! She passed away around 4:25 pm. We will miss her everyday for the rest of our lives.
Polycystic kidney disease is usually fatal because of the lack of amniotic fluid that is associated with it. The amniotic fluid is what helps to develop the lungs when it is swallowed by the baby in utero. Since Abigail's kidneys were not producing enough urine, there wasn't enough amniotic fluid to develop her lungs. It is a rare disease; 1 in 20,000 to 1 in 40,000 babies have it. 1 in 70 to 1 in 100 people are carriers. Abigail was only the second baby at Children's to have it this year; there were only 2 babies with pkd seen at Children's last year.
We are different people since knowing Abigail. She has changed the lives of so many, some that I'm sure we will never know. She has made us better. She has made us prayer warriors. We got to see the love of Christ through the Body like never before. So many of our brothers and sisters were laboring in prayer on our behalf. Before Abigail was born, we feel as though we had one pair of glasses on; and then when she was born, we took that pair off and put another pair on. Now we can see clearly. Things that mattered to us before don't matter to us now. We realize what is truly important in this life: eternal things. Because of Abigail, God has placed a strong desire in our hearts to adopt a sibling for her. We want to help a baby in need because of the incredible love that God has given us for her. And after all, He adopted us and calls us His children! We long for home like never before since knowing Abigail. She has caused us to ponder Heaven in ways like never before. We long to run into the arms of Jesus, to see Abigail again, and to be where there are only tears of JOY! I tell myself that as much as I love her, I will sacrifice anything for her, including my happiness, just to know that she is with Jesus! I know if she had the choice she wouldn't come back here. She never had to know the pain and suffering of this broken world. She only knew love! I'm sure she is praising Jesus right now! It is so awesome to think that her first words were words of praise to Him! I wonder if she thinks about us. I ask the Lord all the time to tell her how much we love her! We cannot wait for eternity when He makes all things new!