We found out we were pregnant with our second child three weeks into lockdown during a global pandemic. After the initial excitement subsided, my mind wondered, “Are people going to call this a quarantine baby?” We started trying for a second child before quarantine and I didn’t want him/her to grow up with that tied to his/her story. I should’ve known God had a bigger plan.
Around 12 weeks our blood test indicated that our baby could have Trisomy 18 and further testing was needed. The results also revealed the gender. I got off the phone with our OBGYN and was devastated, but still excited to find out the gender. Our sweet friend whipped up some cupcakes that afternoon that revealed we were blessed with another boy. That day was the start of many bittersweet moments.
What followed was scheduling appointments to see a maternal fetal medicine specialist and a pediatric cardiologist for more ultrasounds. While we didn’t have a firm diagnosis, our doctors were letting us know the prognosis was not good and that Trisomy 18 is “not compatible with life.” We were fortunate that none of our doctors encouraged us to terminate, but it was still a conversation we had to have with each new doctor we met. No matter what, this child was a gift from God and we were to give him the best chance at life. Our trust was fully in God and His plan for this sweet boy even though the outcome was something we would’ve never chosen.
We opted for an amniocentesis around 18 weeks to get a definitive diagnosis and it confirmed our worst fear – Trisomy 18. This life-limiting genetic defect can present in many different ways upon delivery. We were told we may lose him before delivery or he could live a few hours to days to weeks to months.
As we started to tell people about the prognosis of this pregnancy, we had three different occasions where we were told about Abel Speaks. It was comforting to meet a group of people that also chose life and would walk with us on our journey. Our mentor couple, Blake and Lindsey, welcomed us to a community that chooses joy during sorrow. We were encouraged to savor the moments of pregnancy and celebrate whatever time we had our boy. We are incredibly thankful for that advice because it inspired us to take a road trip with him to visit the Ouachita National Forest and cherished even the small things like going to the playground with his big brother.
When people would learn of our story, some wanted to pray over us and asked his name. It was then that we understood people wanted to know our son for him and not by his diagnosis. One of our prayers was for God to help us see how we could glorify Him through all of this. When we read the name Ezra and its Hebrew meaning of “helper,” we immediately knew that was his name. Ezra has and continues to help strengthen our faith, marriage, and friendships. Ezra gives us opportunities to talk about God’s faithfulness through what many deem an unfathomable situation.
Most offices were not letting spouses in during appointments due to the pandemic. We were extremely fortunate that our MFM and pediatric cardiologist granted Ross an exception. Those sonograms will always hold a special place in our hearts because those were the only times we would hear sweet Ezra’s heartbeat and I thank God we could be together for that.
I ended up developing preeclampsia and was admitted to the hospital at 33w5d. The on-call OBGYN for our practice was exactly who we needed and it was another reminder that God was orchestrating this all and we just had to trust in Him. I was induced late on Saturday and by 5:15a on Monday Ezra’s heartbeat had slowed significantly. It was time to push. Ezra Hayes was born still at 5:27a.
What followed was the hardest day of our lives, as Ezra taught us what it is to truly trust in God and love without abandon. We’d give anything to have him in our arms, but we have so much hope and peace knowing he is perfect in the arms of our Healer.