On January 26 we found out that we were expecting and that on October 7th we'd be bringing a new life into this world. The first few months were an incredibly exciting time filled with belly pictures, announcement planning, and multiple appointments with our doctor. There was even a blood test that told us the gender and on April 5, over a plate of chicken pot pie and Fish & Chips at Meg O'Malley's, we found out that we were having a little girl!! From that moment on she was no longer just our baby, she was our daughter, Savannah.
From there it was a whirlwind of activity as we were able to narrow down our search for babythings and actually start planning her nursery. We were so happy and care free that when our OB had me give blood for a test that detected the possibility of neural tube defects (NTD's) we didn't give it a second thought, until the results came back positive.
Our OB told us that Savannah had an abnormally high number of AFP cells in her system which was cause for concern and that she was scheduling the next available appointment with a high-risk doctor. That appointment was a tale in itself, but to summarize the visit; Savannah was diagnosed with an NTD called anencephaly; a condition where the brain and skull never fully develop, affecting only 1 in every 1000 births and giving babies with this diagnosis only a few hours to live under best case scenarios.
Devastation doesn't even begin to describe our initial feelings. We had no idea what to do or who to talk to, all we knew was that we wanted a second opinion and we wanted the doctor to be wrong. We couldn't understand; this sort of thing only happens to people in the news, how could we be part of the .1%? Regardless of the outcome of the second opinion, one thing rang in our minds like a bell: We want to meet our sweet Savannah so termination is out of the question.
We were very blessed in the fact that we were able to get the second opinion right away and while the diagnosis stayed the same, the whole appointment was a wonderful, therapeutic experience that we will never forget. We were still devastated but we started to focus on what Savannah had rather than what she didn't have. God has given her life, and it is our job as parents to help her live it.
We know that this will not be an easy journey. Each day comes with a new set of challenges, emotions, and joys. However, we are resting on the promises of God, knowing that even when it does not make any sense to us, he has a plan and a purpose! Right now we need your words of encouragement, prayers, and support as we embark on this journey to celebrate our sweet Savannah Joy.
Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts,
Josh, Rebecca, & Savannah Hurtley