A Cherished Memory
Jul 28, 2019 | by Nancy Newbrough
What a wonderful present my husband and I received last Christmas when it was revealed that we were going to become grandparents for the first time! Our oldest daughter and her husband were so excited to announce that their long-awaited desire to become pregnant was now a reality.
During the routine 30-week sonogram of their baby girl, the doctor found a Vein of Galen Malformation (VOGM) Aneurysm. This is a very serious and rare condition which not only affects the baby’s brain but also the heart. Our daughter was administered steroids intended to encourage growth of the baby’s lungs in case she needed to deliver the infant for potential brain surgery.
Our younger daughter immediately flew to Northern Virginia to offer support. The following day she accompanied the couple to Children’s Hospital in Washington D.C. for an MRI and Echocardiogram. They then met with a team of doctors, including a Pediatric Neurosurgeon and Pediatric Cardiologist, to discuss next steps. The team of doctors was thorough and very compassionate in explaining that the damage from the VOGM was so extensive that surgery was not an option and that the heart was sure to fail as a result of the aneurysm. Feedback from other doctors confirmed this tragic outcome.
Our family was devastated, and our prayer was for a miracle. We serve a God of miracles and we so wanted the baby to be healed, for everything to magically “be fixed” and for her not to have to suffer. Amidst all the devastating news, our belief in the awesomeness of God never wavered.
Our daughter and her husband made the hard decision to schedule delivery of the infant in hopes of spending time loving on her before she went to heaven. At 31 weeks, time with their baby girl became our new hope for a “miracle” and it became the focus of our prayers. My husband and I hurried to Washington, D.C. for the delivery.
God blessed us with a granddaughter who overcame the stress of a vaginal breech birth and gave us two hours of time to love her, admire God’s handiwork, and allow her parents to watch her peacefully go to heaven. This period of time to be with her was a true miracle! It was not the original miracle we thought we wanted, but it was the miracle God provided and we will be forever grateful.
Our granddaughter’s two-hour life on earth has impacted people that we as a family cannot even begin to count. The compassion so evident from doctors and hospital staff was incredible. Encouragement from church members (many of whom were strangers to the new parents) was overwhelming. The outpouring of prayer from The Fellowship and so many others from all over the country was manifested through a serene peace felt by family members. Our daughter’s sorority sisters and her husband’s co-workers at HUD provided prayer, encouragement, gift cards, flowers and financial assistance. This unity felt from God’s people will forever be a cherished memory which we were all privileged to enjoy. The true miracle God provided for our granddaughter was a short gift of life and a legacy of caring people who were compelled to become part of the journey.
Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Pictures of the baby and her parents are part of a new website, www.ComfortAndHeartFoundation.com, a 501c non-profit foundation started by a friend of our daughter’s after learning of their loss. The foundation’s mission is to help families who have lost a baby. What a wonderful bequest from our granddaughter’s short life – providing support to others who are dealing with the devastation of infant death.