Welcome to the Stagg Family Blog :)

December 8, 2011

Well, I didn’t think I would EVER blog. And this may be the beginning of the end, we’ll see, but I really want to give it a try. I haven’t really decided yet what this blog will ultimately be about, but the main purpose of starting it now is to share with you our journey with our newest baby, Mary. Many of you know about Mary’s condition, but don’t really know specifics about it, or even what Hayden, the kids and I are feeling about it all (and I’ll warn you, this first post is going to be a bit long to catch you all up). In all of this, we want Christ to be magnified and honored, and I hope that this blog will show him off to you all a bit. God has always been faithful to us and He is now. And I want you all to know how he has already shown himself good and faithful in this trial. And my greatest prayer is that if you don’t know him personally, that you will begin to see him a little more clearly through our lives.

This pregnancy started off like all of ours have (with the exception of Ruby)…with surprise! I don’t know why we are still surprised when we discover we’re pregnant, but we are :). As always, the shock and disbelief quickly turned into excitement over another addition to our family. I had to take three pregnancy tests to convince everyone, including myself, that it was true.

With three kids three and under, time seems to pass extremely fast and slow all at the same time, but before we knew it, it was time to find out the sex of the baby! I knew even during the ultrasound that something was off, but I wasn’t really concerned about it. When the radiologist came in and told us we were having a girl, but that she had some major concerns about her health, Hayden and I both were shocked, but immediately started praying for ourselves and Mary (Hayden, as usual, named her right away, even before we knew she had problems). 

Thanks to our wonderful doctors, I was able to go the next day to visit a maternal fetal medicine doctor (basically, an OBGYN specialist), and have another more detailed ultrasound done. After a long two hours and, suprisingly, a good bit of laughing, we found out what we had feared. Mary had major neurological problems-the front part of her brain was missing and the back portion wasn’t formed correctly. Because of this, her facial features were also incorrectly formed, especially her eyes and nose. There were also other things about her body that pointed towards a genetic anomaly, most likely Trisomy 18 or 13. The doctor told us that regardless of whether or not she had one of these conditions, the brain issue itself would ultimately be fatal to Mary, and that barring a miracle, she wouldn’t survive after birth. We decided that we would do genetic testing to hopefully find out for sure what she had, and within a few weeks, we found out that she did indeed have Trisomy 13.

It’s hard to describe the way I felt when we first received that news. Truly, I can tell you that I didn’t and still haven’t felt any anger towards God about it. All I really felt in that moment was tremendous sadness. Praise God, up to this point, I’ve never really experienced tragedy in my life. I’ve heard about others’ sadness and even cried with them through it, but I was always an onlooker. For the first time, I truly felt the weight of grief, and I am so thankful for a Savior who knows my grief and carries it for me (please see Isaiah 53:3-5). And while I was overwhelmed with sadness, God lovingly put hope in my heart. Here is just a short piece of what I wrote in my journal shortly after that first specialized ultrasound. “We know that God is always faithful and completely good, that His love towards us has not and will never change. We also know that Mary has hope and a future. While she may not live her days here on earth, we know with absolute certainty that she will spend a tearless, disease-free, joyful and perfect eternity with her Creator and Savior–and we will see her again–Halleleuiah!”

Many people ask us, “What next?” I know some even wonder why we would carry Mary to term, when we know she won’t survive. But I can tell you that Mary IS alive now. She has been since God began forming her at conception in my womb. She kicks and moves, and she even smiles (we saw that on ultrasound more than once). She is our precious baby, our Mary. And more than that, we believe in a God of miracles. He is the same God that spoke this universe into existence. The same God who created you. And me. And Mary. We ask him daily to heal her body and I want to wait until he answers us “yes” or “no”. And I am realizing more and more every day that EVERY single baby that is conceived is a miracle, and Mary is no exception. We want to spend every minute I can with her.

We do have another ultrasound this coming Wednesday. I’ll update the blog soon after to let you all know if anything has changed. Thank you so much to all of you who are praying. We have never felt so loved and cared about as we have the past several weeks. I want to share more about that, and how we’ve seen the body of Christ in glorious action, but it will have to wait for a later post.

With all of our love,

the Staggs

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17 Responses to “Welcome to the Stagg Family Blog :)”

  1. Stacy said

    I heard about Mary’s prognosis several days ago from a mutual friend who emailed me. She, as am I, was impressed with your faith and courage to have faith. I am ashamed to say that I have not called you yet. I have several friends going through deep issues and I am burdened with feeling each of my friends’ pain deeply. I have not gotten to the point where I could respond to that email or call you because I hurt with you. Sometimes I get the inkling that me feeling for friends so deeply, even though I seem silent, is maybe because when I cannot speak it makes me into a pray-er. I have prayed for you, your baby, and your family every day since I heard. I love you. God loves you and chose for you to be Mary’s mother. His timing is perfect, His ways are far above our ways. He has a reason for Mary and He has a reason for you to be her parents. I know that. Call me anytime you need someone to cry with you or just to listen.

  2. Ashley Bolin said

    Amanda, you are strong and God bless you and your beautiful family!! I love you girl. If you need anything you call!! A shoulder to lean on or the shirt off my back!! Anything for you!! Love you girl!!

  3. Julie said

    LOVE you, Amanda!!

  4. Kyle Carney said

    Thanks for sharing your lives. Praying for your family and Mary. Your story is so encouraging and leads me to worship our Father.

  5. Laura Day said

    Thank you for sharing, Amanda! We are praying for you!

  6. Kim Macek said

    I had no idea…..I will be praying for you and baby Mary! -Kim

  7. Megan Julian said

    Amanda, your strong faith and love of the Lord has always been an encouragement for me. Even when we were younger and in the youth group around the same time I would listen to you pray and I would pray that I would have the same strong and grounded faith that you showed and radiated!! God has a plan for sweet Mary and for you and Hayden. Stay strong and never stray away from the fact that the Lord is in control and will always be in control. Jermaine and I will be praying for you and your sweet family. – Love Megan and Jermaine

  8. Meredith Carr said

    thank you for sharing so boldy amanda. Know that you are covered in prayers.

  9. Lindsey Merchant said

    Love you Amanda and Hayden. Praying daily!

  10. The keyboard is wet from tears. I think of you all so much…! Wish I lived closer to help you. Love..Aunt Margie
    I am praying for you and Mary.

  11. Aunt Margie and I looked at your Blob, you are in my prayers.

  12. Weston Hinton said

    Amy and I have discussed what we would do in the situation you are in now. I truly cannot imagine how difficult this has been for the Stagg family.

    The Hinton family will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

    Tell Hayden I said howdy and give him a hug for me.

    – Wes

  13. Kendra (Anderson) Knowles said

    Amanda – I saw your link here from Facebook. Thank you for sharing your journey. God is faithful and good. I will be praying for you and your family. May God uphold and strengthen you.

  14. Melodye Willie said

    Dear Stagg family,
    Please know that my prayers are with you and I too rejoice and find comfort in the promise of His faithfulness in times of sorrow and in the process of walking through grief. I do know, as you all know, believ and rest in God’s sovereignty in all things. Our sweet Mary has a purpose though her life may be short this side of heaven. She was chosen to demonstrate to believers and unbelievers alike that our heavenly Father will use everything for eternal glory. I have not had the honor of meeting your sweet family. Jerry is my first cousin and I have always kept he and Kris in my prayers through the ministry of medicine and making sacrifices for other families sweet babies. My mother is Aunt Lillie. I am anxious to join in the prayer process with you all. He will be glorified. Rub your tummy and tell her hello for me, and when she gets to heaven, she’ll have an infant named Grace there to greet her. Our granddaughter is in the presence of Jesus. Can’t wait to watch them play!

  15. Judy Green said

    Amanda,
    Larry and I are praying for Your family and your precious Mary. God is always good even in the most difficult situations. May He continue to give you hope and strength in the days to come. He is your refuge and strength a present help in times of trouble. Your help comes from Him, Maker of heaven and earth.
    The Lord takes great delight in Mary, He is mighty to save, He quiets her with His love and
    rejoices over her with singing. Zeph 3:17.
    You are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Blessings,
    Larry and Judy Green

  16. Phyllis Morton said

    You dear sweeties dear to our hearts from days past. Know you are in our prayers and thoughts these days. We walk with you in
    Spirit.

    The Mortons

  17. […] have been going through with her latest pregnancy, and if you don’t you can read about it here. Daniel and I have been fasting and praying for Mary’s healing and we are not done doing so […]

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