Monday, July 13, 2009

Cana Lynn Milbrandt : From Conception to 13 weeks

Writing this is keeping me "afloat." And if you are reading it, thank you...for jumping in to paddle next to me, which encourages us to just keep swimming.

January 26, 2008, some of our very best friends were getting married. I was in the wedding and it was at the same beautiful church Mitch and I said our vows in. So it was a renewal of sorts for us. Travis was just 8 months old. I told mitch, half jokingly, that i was going to be wearing a pretty dress AND was going to be hand's off! Neither of us was ready to be parents of 2 under 2. Fast foward 14 days later, and the test was positive. We laughed at each other...and as i swatted at him with my "i told you!", deep in my belly, i knew something was off.

When i made the appt. with my o/b, we scheduled for march 4th. I was 5.5 weeks pregnant. But no heartbeat was heard. We could see it on the screen and all seems normal in terms of being that early. She rescheduled me for a week later, and assured me that our date was just wrong. (those of you who practice NFP, we always know our conception dates). So a week later, a faint heart beat was found. Dr. Laden told us that our approx. due date would be Nov. 1st. But i knew it would be more like Oct. 20th. She wasn't buying that the conception date was later than i said. I joked that unless i slept thru it......

Dr. Laden asked that I keep returning until our dates line up with baby #2's size. She was measuring at 6 weeks. I was 8 weeks. I was 10 weeks, she measured at 7. My friend Jen and I were pregnant with our #1's together, delivery just 3 days apart. Experiencing all the same stuff bonded us and our friendship grew from there...So when i called her to give her the news, I told her "i'm gonna need a favor. Could you go ahead and get knocked up so we can do this together again?" We laugh today about that conversation. I shared my heart was scared.....i mean, people always say that you forget about the delivery and pain once the child was born. Well, 8 months after Travis and i can retell the story, pain and all. I can STILL remember it. IT HURTS!

Week after week, Dr. Laden assured me that most mommies of 2nd pregnancies with healthy #1's almost always have MORE fear than with the first pregnancy. "Maybe because you know better now what you could lose, " she said. "it's natural to be scared but everything looks good right now." Then we got to week 13. Mitch and I had gone to this appt together and Travis was with my mom on her lunch break...she works very close to my drs. office. The previous appt was just the week before and the dr. said she saw some "extra fluid" around the neck. She said sometimes it goes was still so early, but to be safe, bring mitch to the next appt. As we watched the clock, it was getting painfully close to the 1 hour mark. Time to get Travis. Phew! My name was called and as we got me prepped for the ultrasound, the nurse came back in and asked if we could come back in 1 hour. Dr. Laden was called out for an emergency delivery. We had no option. We picked up Travis, grabbed lunch, and then mitch waited downstairs while i went to the appt. alone. I remember this appt. the most. I remember the deafening sound after Dr. Laden said "well, it's a girl." At 13 weeks, we had never even considered knowing the sex of our #2 that early. She said "it doesn't look good, chris." She proceeded to share that it also showed some chromosomal issues. There are three possibilities. Turner Syndrome (TS) which is the least threatening of the what we are "hoping" for. it would take a lot to explain but for time's sake, let's just say that instead of our baby girl having the XX chroms., she could only have 1 X. This would mean most likely that she will be short in stature, and probably won't be able to have children. There are other problems associated but... we won't know for now.

The other two possibilities are quite severe. Trisomy 13 or Trisomy 18...both of which show a great risk of not carrying to full term...or live birth. If the child does live outside the womb, there is a great chance that we would lose her to Heaven within a year...most within the first 24 hours.

I took a deep breath and asked Dr. Laden if she would like to know her name. "Cana Lynn" for the wedding at Cana where Jesus performed his first miracle at the request of his mother, changing water into wine. (John 2:11) and Lynn for her godmother Diana Lynn. My sister and best friend. I walked out of the room, and broke. I tried so hard to keep it together. Seeing all those nurses who i'd spent so much time with over the last pregnancy and was torture not being able to get ahold of myself so that they didn't look so pitifully at me. I don't fault's just that their faces and expressions are locked in now. I just had one floor to go before the doors opened and mitch would be standing there with travis, waiting for the news. As the doors opened, he looked over his shoulder, holding our 8 month old son. Our perfect boy. I walked those 20 steps shaking my head and holding my breath. As i fell into his chest, i told him the news and we just held each other.

We believed that God would be glorified through this..and we didn't have to know "why." We just had to say "yes."

Cana Lynn Milbrandt March 27th, 2008.


  1. Thank you for sharing your heart. I hope that you found it helpful. If nothing else, I hope that it will be a record of your emotions that you can reflect on years into the future.

    I can't help but notice the dates. That was the month that our Nate was born, fought for his life, and died. While we were strangers, we were both going through many of the same emotions.

    I look forward to hearing more about Cana's story.

    Love, Trisha

    ps- I felt that something was wrong immediately with my pregnancy too. I think that mommys just know...

  2. Oh, Chris, thank you so much for telling Cana's story for Cana,so she will be remembered by all who knew her and will know her from this, for you and Mitch to have this record to go back to and see God's hand at work maybe not today, but he will be glorified, and for us to share in your and Cana's life through reading all the details you are sharing. And I agree with Trisha, Mommy's just KNOW.....I am feeling our hearts as they grow stronger through this....all my love...patsi

  3. Chris,

    I can't imagine what it took to write this post. God is indeed glorified each time you share her story, for each of us are made in the image and likeness of God, and all life is sacred. Praise God that the sufferings of this life are only temporary. You'll have all eternity to love on your sweet Cana Lynn. God Bless you always. Chad, Kim and the Boys.

  4. Whew...does it feel better? To write it down and have it "on paper" to see it, to feel it. I know it is hard and I am sure it has brought you some tears, some smiles, but most assuredly, the seeing of the hand of God in your lives. Thank you so much for sharing. I am already looking forward to the next entry.

  5. This is so very close to Johanna's story. Our oldest was 13 months when we found out we were pregnant again. And at my 12 weeks appointment the FNP couldn't find a HB, so I had an US and we saw the fluid at the neck. I too was alone, and had to retell everything to the hubs, and then again to our parents.

    We went to the perinatologist at 13 weeks and discovered that Jo has T18. Those were the 2 of the worst 3 days of my life. I don't understand it at all, and most days I don't like it either.

    But, God is doing something. I don't know yet why he has picked us for this "interesting" journey. But He did, and He is sovereign. He knew we could do it.

    Praying for you, your husband, and your son. I think of you often. Thanks for sharing. It helps me to know there are others out there like me. Much love.

  6. I really love Cana's name. It's so pretty! Finding out something is wrong is absolutely horrible and I'm sorry you had to go through that, especially not knowing exactly what was wrong.