We sent this email to friends and family the week of January 5, 2009. From it, we've received an overwhelming response of support from family, friends, co-workers and complete strangers. We hope to use this blog to not only give out information but to help us enjoy our time with our precious baby.
Jeremy and I have talked and talked and talked (we're both talkers if you don't know us well) about how we want to live our lives over the next few months. And simply, we want to be Godly parents that are following what God has in store for us and our baby. God has blessed us with the baby we had prayed and wished for for so many years.
We just wanted to thank you for your warm wishes and excitement regarding our pregnancy. We waited many years before starting our family and were thrilled to share our news over the past few months.
Just before Christmas break, Johnna's OBGYN mentioned that the amniotic fluid appeared low and that she should return in a few weeks to check it again. At that time, we were informed that this could be due to dehydration. On December 30th, we returned to the doctor to find that there was no fluid present and our doctor referred us to the Maternal/FetalMedicine Clinic (UAB Health Systems). After seeing a doctor within this high-risk group on January 2nd, we learned that our baby has "bilateral renal agenesis" which is the absence of kidneys, ureters and the accompanying arteries. This means that the baby cannot make amniotic fluid(which is the baby's urine) and therefore will not have any fluid to help it's lungs mature or grow for the rest of the pregnancy.
Our doctors expect the baby to go full term (or close to it) but its current lung and kidney problems will not be allow it to live very long (typically only 30 minutes but could be up to a few hours). Although we are devastated now,we know the worst is to come and are trying to prepare ourselves with each passing day. What should be the happiest time of our lives together has now become the saddest. Our doctors said the best thing for us to do is go about our normal routine, and that is what we will do as best we can. We're just trying to take it one day at a time...
Intellectually, we understand what is happening, but for us this is an emotional struggle and test of faith like we'd never thought possible. We will have another ultrasound at UAB on January 16th and will be seen by the UAB physicians and our OBGYN for the remainder of Johnna's pregnancy.
We know many of you are already praying for us and we feel those prayers everyday. If you wish, please pray specifically for the following:
1.That the baby be comfortable and pain-free during pregnancy and delivery (lack of fluid can cause space for the baby to be very compressed)
2.That we have AS MUCH TIME AS POSSIBLE with our baby after delivery
3.That we know what to do regarding medical decisions before and after the birth.
Please feel free to pass along our situation to others we know or don't know (Sunday school prayer list, church prayer list, etc.). Thank you for your friendship and prayers during this very difficult time.
Jeremy & Johnna Stafford