Welcome to Joel’s Journey, where I will chronicle the life of the newest member of our family: Joel Daniel. We are deeply grateful to God for entrusting us with his life and profoundly grateful for the amazing grace and tender mercies He has shown as we’ve unwittingly entered the world of Trisomy 13. We’ve decided it will be most efficient and least emotionally taxing to put updates at a place where everyone who wants them can find them. Those who desire details can come here, and we won’t have to repeat ourselves so often! Those who don’t want specifics won’t have them in their newsfeeds on Facebook. So, where else to start but at the beginning?
June 14, 2015 – a beautiful Sunday afternoon – found Jeff taking three kids to hike Devil’s Den and the surrounding areas of the Gettysburg battle fields while I stayed home with a napping toddler and not-feeling-well older kid. I was looking forward to a peaceful, quiet afternoon and eager to confirm what I suspected – that baby number six was on the way! As two pink lines quickly appeared on the pregnancy test, I was filled with overwhelming joy. I had expected to feel overwhelming apprehension at the thought of adding more work and craziness to our already-crazy-busy household, but those fears all melted away and were replaced with complete excitement, hope, and trust in God’s plan for our family. It was a most unique and sacred moment, unlike any I’ve experienced.
Jeff shared my happiness when he got home… me showing him a picture of the pregnancy test on my phone as we sat on the couch with kids bouncing all around us, and him giving me the upraised eyebrows that all parents know can speak volumes without a word. It was completely unceremonious, yet stealthy, as even our keen-eared big kids didn’t have a clue that life-altering news being communicated right in front of them!
Then, with little fanfare, we settled in to wait out the first trimester, as we have done seven times before, knowing from the experience of having had two end-of-the-first-trimester miscarriages that a positive pregnancy test doesn’t guarantee we’ll be bringing a baby home from the hospital in nine months. Our February 14 due date was still a long 8 months away, after all!
And a busy trimester it was. A week later, Lydia turned two. The next day, Jeff and a crew of guys started tearing the roof and attic off our rancher, followed by nine incredibly intense dawn-to-dark days of turning it into a Cape Cod. People, noise, and dirt everywhere, every day. Blueberry picking with cousins. Sarah turning seven. Then, Kids’ Camp for all of us but Jeff. A few weeks later, VBS at two churches. We also got a puppy who lived for only four days before succumbing to canine parvovirus. Then, getting ready for a new school year, with trips to the pool and all manner of summer fun still on-going.
It was finally time to get established in a new OB-GYN practice so I could attempt a VBAC delivery for this baby at York Hospital. I wasn’t eager for the switch to different doctors, and the new practice felt impersonal; the new protocols wearisome. For the sixth time around, I was wishing to have a very routine and familiar experience, not something so new and different. Little did I know then how new and different it was all going to be…