I don’t remember much of this appointment; it was supposed to be a normal follow up and review of my 18-week sonogram. At 19 years old I sat on the cold, hard table, with that crinkly paper under me as the doctor’s voice became a murmur and all that I could hear in that awful pink colored room were the ringing of these words. When I finally snapped out of it, I remember the doctor saying, “the cyst found on your baby’s back corresponds to spina bifida.” The appointment finished, I got dressed, stumbled to my mom’s van and slowly got in. At that moment, it still felt like a nightmare as the words the baby has spina bifida rolled off my tongue. The thirty-minute drive home that we made every two weeks for my appointments now felt like it took an eternity and every second of it was complete silence. When we got home, I headed up to my room in hopes to find rest and to awaken from this terrible dream, my mom on the other hand hopped on the computer to figure out what spina bifida was, how it happened, ways to correct it, the next steps to take, etc. I don’t think I ever fell asleep that afternoon, but I tossed and turned questioning everything that I knew, everything that I dreamed, and everything I wanted; because at that moment even though I had no idea what spina bifida was I just wanted my baby to be okay no matter what hoops we had to jump through.
Later that night, I came down for dinner and even though my mom had done her fair share of research about spina bifida, she didn’t bring it up at the dinner table. After dinner, she pulled up a few websites for me to read and began telling me all the things of spina bifida- how it happens, how to lessen the risks of major deformities, what needed to be in my diet, in-utero surgery, what we needed to do next, etc. It was at this precise moment that I realized spina bifida would become a part of my vocabulary forever and that it was going to turn my world upside down more than being a single, 19-year-old mother ever would. As I laid in my bed, I prayed that God would give me the strength, the faith, the will to do whatever was asked to help my baby and that the baby would be okay. That night I fell asleep, tears in my eyes, trusting that the Lord had not just me, but my baby in the palm of His hand and that no matter what or how badly I messed up He would take care of us. For the next day, the reality of something being wrong with the baby was about to set in.
The next morning, phone calls began to pour in from friends and family asking about how my appointment went. Not ready to broadcast it to the world, only a select few people were told about there being something wrong with the baby; including my older sisters, my youth pastor at the time, and a few close friends. Then the phone rang, and it was the specialist hospital in Baltimore calling to set up my appointment for an extensive sonogram so they could confirm if the baby had spina bifida or not.