Where, or where do we begin?! As many of you know Code and I have been together for quite some time now, and we are the loving parents to a very active, sweet, spunky, and maybe even a lil sassy 22 month old named Caidence. She's a hoot, and we can't get enough of her. Right around her first birthday Cody and I started to chat about another baby, but we thought lets give it a few more months so that way Caidence will be 2 when he/she comes. So last summer Code and I found out we were expecting again....woo hoo! I remember that day, we were so full of excitement, and so anxious for the test to tell us what we wanted to hear...and it did! Baby Rapp #2 was due to arrive within days of Caidence's 2nd birthday! At that moment, or even days to follow, I don't think we ever imagined the journey that this pregnancy alone would start us on.
Everything was going along perfect until the very end of my first trimester, then one night I experienced some cramping/bleeding so off to the emergency room we went, with of course the worst possible thoughts in our head. They really couldn't tell us much there, other than I would potentially miscarry, but the following day we went to our OB and that's when we got the news that I had a Subchorionic Hematoma. Well, what in the world is that, we thought, and what does this mean for our lil babes? Basically I had a bleed in between my uterus and the placenta. Because of the size of the bleed and the size of our baby and placenta, we were told that our baby had over a fifty percent chance survival......we left there thinking over 50%, what does that mean... like a 51% chance that we wouldn't miscarry, but then we thought- well even if it is 51% the odds are still in our favor so we will just go with that. I was put on bed rest then moderate bed rest, and this went on for weeks. We were regulars at the OB office going every week, then every 2 weeks where we would get a sonorgram done to see if the SCH was shrinking, then finally right around 18 weeks we started to see improvement. Sigh of relief. We finally thought that our worries were behind us and that it was time to start acting like and feeling like a regular old pregnant lady again...... Then we went in for our scheduled 20 week sonogram and the hemhorage was still there (bummer) but then the Dr came in after and said that things were looking good but that she couldn't get a good picture of the lower part of the baby's spine. She asked if we wanted to go up to Children's in Buffalo as a precaution because of all of the other complications, so we thought, well we may as well. So we were off....we couldn't get into Childrens for 4 weeks, but we had little worry and just kept telling ourselves it was just a precaution, and that we would leave more reassured that our sweet baby was just fine.
December 18th was our appointment at Childrens at 2:45. It was me, Code and Baby C, we checked in and just waited. We met with Dr. Mann briefly and before we knew it we were in the room, and we were looking at our sweet lil baby up on a tv....it was amazing. There was our lil bundle of love right there, and we could see him and he was huge, not just like on the little screen at our OB's office. The tech was going through and getting all of the measurements but he was being a little stubborn, and not letting her see his back. At this point Caidence was starting to get antsy, so her and Code stepped out to go run around a lil in the waiting room. So there I was, just staring at our lil baby, and then the tech says that she had to go get the Dr...... Hmm..... "precautionary visit" kept going through my head. I had asked our regular OB what they would be looking for up in Buffalo and she had mentioned that they look at the lower part of the spine for Spina Bifida, so they would just double check and make sure he was fine. At this point, as I am laying there, and both Dr. Mann and the tech are talking and looking and talking and looking, I realized that they were looking at something.... something that maybe wasn't right, was it the hemorrhage? i thought..... and that's when Dr. Mann said Mary, there's something wrong with your baby's spinal cord....before I could even think the tech was out the door to get Cody. I was numb.....what did this all mean. I had researched it briefly before going up but couldn't get a grasp on any of it at that moment.... I just sat there saying out loud that everything would be fine, and just kept telling the Dr that we were a strong family and that he is obviously one strong baby because of everything he had already been through. Finally, after what seemed like a million "everything would be fine's" Code comes in and I will never forget his face as he walked in and saw mine.... he looked confused, and worried, and that's when Dr. Mann stepped in and started to explain everything to us. That's when we had our moment, and she was very respectful and left the room......as a family we sat there, held each other and cried, partly because we had just gotten the news that our sweet lil baby had Myelomeningocele, but it wasn't just that...we also found out that our sweet lil baby was a boy! We were having a boy! Cody and I just looked at each other and told each other everything would be just fine (as Caidence wiped away my tears). It was a moment that I will never forget. So much emotion was packed into that one moment, but even with all those emotions, the love, strength, encouragement and support that was also felt was truly amazing. That's when I knew that no matter what was to come, that we would be just fine, he would be just fine....our family really would be just fine. Besides, baby Easton could've backed out on us at 13 weeks and he didn't, this lil baby clearly has something to prove to this world! Dr. Mann came back in and gave us as much information as she possibly could, however, it's hard becasue with Myelomeningocele there are so many "wait and sees". She was amazing though, she was very patient with us with all of our questions, very compassionate, and we left there, not really knowing what in the world to expect, but with a sense of comfort.
That night was a tough one for us, I don't really think that either of us slept....we tried to research what we could, and everything kept bringing up folic acid and possible genetics. It just didn't make sense, I've been on my prenatals since I was pregnant with Caidence, and we don't have a history of it in our family, so why us, why Easton? In the days after those kinds of questions quickly turned into "why not us?!", it seemed like the gray cloud of doubt went away. We researched, and gathered as much information as we possibly could find. We found a few blogs of families who were on the same journey as we were just beginning, which was great comfort for Code and I. We quickly began to realize that Spina Bifida is really not as devasting and scary as some of the medical websites made it sound. We realized that everything that goes along with Spina Bifida is manageable, our lil boy will be just like every other lil boy, he just may have a harder time with a few things.....but most importantly we realized that no matter what, we will have our lil boy. We began to look at his diagnosis as a blessing....we could have come home with far more devasting news than we did.....Easton would be just fine.
We began to tell some people, but tried to be cautious because we knew that we did not have all the answers for people, and didn't feel like it would be fair to tell them without us knowing what all this meant. Shortly after that we realized we will probably never have all of the answers...it's going to be one day at a time. Word began to spread, and a sense of relief came over me....well to be honest, at first I was a little annoyed that people began to "spread the word", but after thinking about it- we wanted people to know....this was not something we were ashamed of, it was not a secret. The more people that knew, just meant the more people that will be there to support our lil guy. That is what we want for him, nothing but love, encouragement, and support- and we have no doubt that is exactly what he will get. It is important for us to say, that we do not want Spina Bifida to define our child....yes, it will be a big part of his life, but none the less, he is still going to be just a lil boy. A boy that is going to do what all little boys do....he may do them a little differently than others, but we have no doubt that he will find a way to do whatever it is his heart desires. He will be nothing short of amazing. Baby Easton is going to take us on a journey, just as any child does.....and teach us so much about the world that we would never have known.... words can not even begin to describe how excited we are for our journey as a family of four to begin.... a family that consists of a daddy named Cody, a mama named Mary, a big sissy named Caidence, and now baby Easton Kent Rapp.