Simon & Thomas Balentine

I am so thankful God doesn’t hand us a big book of our life’s story on the day of our birth or on our wedding day. Anticipating the pain would spoil the goodness that comes from both the heartache and the beauty that comes from the ashes.

My husband, Adam, and I were married for three years before welcoming our first born, Theodore (Teddy) Boyd in October 2012. Our first pregnancy was innocent, beautiful, and truly easy. One year after the birth of Teddy and on our fourth anniversary, much to our surprise, we were expecting again! We were so thankful for this blessing and excited for our home to turn into a crazy house with two babies under two.

Before Adam and I were married I remember having discussions (maybe as a result of a specific question in our pre-marriage class) in which we agreed that should God bless us with children we would choose to not do any special testing on our babies in utero. We agreed we wanted our babies, entrusted to us by God, no matter what.

On January 8, 2014, we went into for our routine 20 week ultrasound for baby #2. I was about 18 weeks pregnant and we were excited to see this life inside of me. The sonographer spent some time doing the normal anatomy check and found that our baby might have enlarged kidneys. We were surprised, but decided to take their professional advice and receive a level two ultrasound on January 15th. Between the 8th and the 15th, we waited, prayed, and hoped the sonographer had mis-measured our baby’s kidneys. We did very little to prepare for the 15th. We weren’t the googling type with this sort of thing, so we just waited to see what the 15th brought to us. I had no idea what an in-depth anatomy scan the level two ultrasound would bring. I was thinking we would be in-and-out in about 20 minutes after they looked at the kidneys and then told me either they were fine or not. Adam was tied up at work, so I went with his mom and Teddy.

After the hour-and-a-half long detailed sonogram was complete the sonographer raised the lights and began to tell us that she was starting to see things that concerned her about our baby. We then met with a nurse practitioner and spoke with the neonatologist, Dr. Lu, on the phone. Dr. Lu explained that our baby had a cleft lip, cleft palate, polydactyly (extra digits –they need a new name for this, extra digits are cute and deserve a cuter name!), and kidney hydronephrosis. My head was spinning and tears were falling down my face. I needed my husband badly. I was shocked and exhausted and felt like I couldn’t fully explain to Adam all I had learned and I asked Dr. Lu if he would meet with Adam and me to further explain what we had learned. Dr. Lu was so kind and offered to meet with us the next afternoon. I called Adam on the drive home and told him about our sweet baby. I think God drove my car home that day, as I can barely remember the drive.

After a night of very little sleep, we headed into Dr. Lu’s office. He was compassionate and thorough when speaking with us. At the beginning of this meeting, my main focus was to learn about nursing and feeding our baby who had a cleft lip and palate. No amnio. No testing. No more details needed to be known about this sweet child. We knew enough. However, right before our meeting concluded, I asked Dr. Lu to review the ultrasound scans images with Adam and I from the previous day. He