It was a few days after Mother's Day in 2005, my pregnancy test was positive, and in 8 months or less, our first child would be born. 

We were ecstatic!!! 

Instantly, I began planning our future with a baby. I hadn't shopped for anything, but we were quickly set on the names Kate for a girl, and Jake for a boy.

Months of happy passed, and I was now in the the doctors office waiting for my second routine ultrasound. It was 4 days before my 35th birthday, and I was feeling excellent in my pregnant body! 

My Hubby had just snapped a picture of me with the digital camera. The pink paper drape was around my legs and tucked into my jeans, my giant boobs filled in my NYNY Lifeguard shirt and I had NO Belly! 

In fact, even though I was 17 weeks pregnant, only my family and closest friends knew I was pregnant. I was ready to spread the happy news.

When the doctor walked in the room, we reminded him that we did not want the amniocentesis to check for Down Syndrome (the ratio for my age was 1 in 353). 

The numbers didn't seem high to me, but the genetic counselor had told us that the possibility was actually pretty high. 

It did not change my mind. Truthfully, the process of a long needle going through muscle, possibly causing a muscle spasm leading to contractions and or causing early labor... terrified me more! 

Early labor wasn't something I was going to risk. Because we would love the baby no matter what the results of an amniocentesis.

We also made sure the doctor knew we wanted to keep the biggest surprise in the world - the sex of the baby - for the delivery room.

This is when he added the jelly to my belly (OMG that stuff is cold) and began rolling the ball around. The baby appeared on the screen. I could not make out anything. So, I decided to joke with the doctor about the baby playing Hide-n-Seek with the penis. He didn't respond nor did he seem amused, but Hubby thought I was hilarious.

Then, the doctor suddenly stopped. He printed the ultrasound, turned off the screen, swung the chair around and flicked on the lights. 

​He went to my file on the counter and pulled out the previous ultrasound from 12 weeks. He came closer and began to compare the 12-week and 17-week images. 

He also spoke some of the most unimaginable words EVER.

Words like: Rare Birth Defect, Bilateral Renal Agenesis, Very Low Amniotic Fluid, Potter's Syndrome, Incompatible with Life, 1 in 10,000. 

He paused when he realized neither of us truly comprehended or believed his words, so he added: "Your unborn baby is perfectly safe in your belly, but he/she will die shortly after birth from lack of oxygen."

I began to ugly cry - I was inconsolable. 
My mind was racing. I was in disbelief.

AND... I had a million questions. 
I deserved answers!
The biggest question... 
~ WHY the F#@& is this happening TO ME? 

I was devastated.

The following moments are clear as day. The doctor left. We stayed in the room for another 10 minutes.
When we walked out of the room. The staff saw me and started crying and I had the strongest urge to make THEM feel better. 

I became the nurturer. 

I wondered how hard it must be for them. I felt their hearts aching for us.

It was in those moments that I made the decision to allow God to continue to choose our baby's path. SHE would choose our baby's birth-day.

As I walked out of that office... I also became painfully aware that it would cause me great heartache if rumors went around work about my baby's impending doom.

I was going to have hope, not despair. 

I made the decision to WAIT to announce our pregnancy. I planned to keep the diagnosis to those who already knew I was pregnant. 

I would sharing the diagnosis with my amazing boss,  and a few others if and only if my heart agreed. 

My vision: everyone who sees my belly... will BE HAPPY for my pregnancy, not heartbroken. 

I believed this baby was going to LIVE a meaningful life no matter how long. 

The days, and months that past certainly became THE MOST defining time of my life, thus far. 

In fact, I was pulled to create THIS website while I was still pregnant when EVERY single Google search came up NIL!

Surely, there had to be another mother whose unborn baby had just been given a death sentence! 

Where the heck was she? 

I needed HER because all the doctors didn't know answers to ANY of my questions! NONE! 

Well, I made it my mission that day. The other mother who needed answers... would find ME! 

And YOU DID!! Your family and friends did too!
Now, we deserve to be connected. 

Over the past 13+ years... I have been blessed to ugly cry and smile through the tears alongside hundreds of families. We mutually continue to comfort each other when we need it the most - everyone deserves that. 

I plan to continue to reach and comfort hundreds and thousands more, with your help.

This journey is so much bigger than ME.  

Sharing HOPE has changed me, my Hubby, my family, and my friends - both long-timers and newbies.

Thanks to YOU... I understand the massive impact one tiny unborn baby and her short life has made and will continue to make in this world. 

I now believe that grief at any stage of pregnancy, infancy, childhood and after an entire life - is an extremely hard, wonderful blessing to endure.

Oh wait, remember my biggest question?
~ WHY the F#@& is this happening TO ME? 

Well, the answer overwhelmed me the second my beautiful, perfect girl, my first born baby, was placed on my chest, I wrapped her in my arms, and I hugged her tight.

I am Shawna, Momma of Hope.
The Most Unimaginable Words Ever
Join Our Community and send Shawna your emails. Share your story and your thoughts. Families and friends are encouraged to join the community too. 

Now, Imagine a nurturing place to grow together during ALL the seasons, and never be a lone flower in the garden of grief. Shawna is creating this place, a beautiful garden, for women who have experienced infant loss. 

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