My daughter was pregnant for her second child, our seventh grandchild. We were all excited and looking forward to finding out the sex of this little one. Would we have another grandson or granddaughter? The day my daughter and son-in-law went to the doctor for the ultrasound, I was waiting patiently (maybe not so patiently) for the phone call to let me know, boy or girl. When the phone rang, I rushed to answer it. But something was terribly, terribly wrong. I couldn't understand what my daughter was saying, she was so upset and crying. While I still didn't know what the problem was, I could hear my daughter's broken and shattered heart through her tears. She gave the phone to my son-in-law who told me there was a problem with the baby, he would not live. He, so now I knew it was a boy, but the rest, he would not live.. I couldn't understand. They had to go take one more test and then they said they would come to my house to explain.

I hung up the phone, but was just in disbelief. I felt a panic and terror I had never felt before. It was inconceivable that my grandson wasn't going to live, and oh my daughter, my poor child. I couldn't stand the pain I felt for her. When they arrived they told me the baby had Anencephaly. I had never heard of this so I listened while they explained. I heard the words, but it was like being in a nightmare. It just couldn't be real. But it was. My daughter told me they had decided to carry this child through, as long as the baby could make it.
Our family took this very hard as anyone can imagine. While I felt indescribable pain for my grandson and knowing he would not live, I felt an even deeper, more paralyzing pain for my daughter. As her mother I wanted to take this pain from her. I knew how bad I felt, I could not imagine how terrible she felt. It tore my heart in pieces knowing how she was hurting and that I could do nothing to take this from her. I couldn't fix this one and make it better. It was such a helpless, hopeless feeling.

As the days and weeks passed, I gave the best support I could to my daughter and son-in-law. We all did. We all did everything we could to love them and be there for them in any way they needed. It brought us all together in a very powerful way. At times the pain and grief I felt for the loss of my grandchild and even more for the pain my own child was in was so overwhelming and even smothering. I questioned why? How could this happen? How can we get through this? How will my daughter and her husband get through this? What got me through was the hours of endless prayer through tears. I spent as much time as I could in prayer whether at home or at Church. It was the only way I found any kind of consolation for my pain, while asking for consolation for my child.

The day came for our grandson's birth. Emotions were so mixed. Even when the baby is sick and the prognosis is not good, there is still a joy in the birth of a child. That child is truly God's miracle and with that miracle of a life, no matter how short, God gives us a certain joy. But that joy was mixed with much sorrow that day. My grandson lived 45 minutes after his birth. We were very blessed to have that time with him. I was able to hold and rock him, and sing the song to him I sing to all my grandchildren. His other grandparents and his Aunts were also able to be with him that day and hold him and love him, even if for a short time. He was able to stay with us for that day so he felt much love from his parents, his grandparents, and his family. It was a very indescribable time of so many emotions, I can't put it into words. There was incredible sadness, but also incredible love and joy. I know that little boy will always be a part of our family. He will never be forgotten. My heart, and my gut still ache for my child when I think of the pain she and her husband endured in losing a child, but as time passes, they are healing.

There is no denying the sorrow felt when a child's life is lost when it is only beginning. But, his short life touched many lives in ways nothing else could. Through his life, speaking for myself, the Lord gave me many blessings and graces through the pain. He gave me the strength I needed at the very moments I needed it to not only get through it, but to be able to support my daughter and son-in-law. No matter how great the pain was at times, and it certainly was great, we all are blessed to have known and loved that baby. Although we wish the outcome had been different, we are grateful to have had him in our lives and I am very proud and grateful to be able to call him my grandson.

-The support, information and encouragement provided by the PPFL parents is not meant to take the place of medical advice by a medical professional. Any specific questions about care should be directed to a health care professional familiar with the situation.