Sunday, June 2, 2013

From the beginning...

     On January 26 we found out that we were expecting and that on October 7th we'd be bringing a new life into this world. The first few months were an incredibly exciting time filled with belly pictures, announcement planning, and multiple appointments with our doctor. There was even a blood test that told us the gender and on April 5, over a plate of chicken pot pie and Fish & Chips at Meg O'Malley's, we found out that we were having a little girl!! From that moment on she was no longer just our baby, she was our daughter, Savannah.

     From there it was a whirlwind of activity as we were able to narrow down our search for babythings and actually start planning her nursery. We were so happy and care free that when our OB had me give blood for a test that detected the possibility of neural tube defects (NTD's) we didn't give it a second thought, until the results came back positive.

     Our OB told us that Savannah had an abnormally high number of AFP cells in her system which was cause for concern and that she was scheduling the next available appointment with a high-risk doctor. That appointment was a tale in itself, but to summarize the visit; Savannah was diagnosed with an NTD called anencephaly; a condition where the brain and skull never fully develop, affecting only 1 in every 1000 births and giving babies with this diagnosis only a few hours to live under best case scenarios.

     Devastation doesn't even begin to describe our initial feelings. We had no idea what to do or who to talk to, all we knew was that we wanted a second opinion and we wanted the doctor to be wrong. We couldn't understand; this sort of thing only happens to people in the news, how could we be part of the .1%? Regardless of the outcome of the second opinion, one thing rang in our minds like a bell: We want to meet our sweet Savannah so termination is out of the question.

     We were very blessed in the fact that we were able to get the second opinion right away and while the diagnosis stayed the same, the whole appointment was a wonderful, therapeutic experience that we will never forget. We were still devastated  but we started to focus on what Savannah had rather than what she didn't have. God has given her life, and it is our job as parents to help her live it.

     We know that this will not be an easy journey. Each day comes with a new set of challenges, emotions, and joys. However, we are resting on the promises of God, knowing that even when it does not make any sense to us, he has a plan and a purpose! Right now we need your words of encouragement, prayers, and support as we embark on this journey to celebrate our sweet Savannah Joy.

     Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts,
          Josh, Rebecca, & Savannah Hurtley


  1. You have written a lovely story of your daughter and your journey. A friend on the cruise I just came back from said we must focus on LIFE: Living in Fierce Expectation. Things do not always go the way we intend or plan but God knows and if we live in Fierce Expectation of him then we can take the next step into the unknown. Jerry and I send you prayers of wisdom, joy and peace on your journey as parents. Love from you great aunt Jane.

  2. I'm sitting here with tears clouding my vision. I'm a brand new grandmother, with a little 2 month-old granddaughter. After losing the first baby to a miscarriage, our kids were able to successfully bring little Kate to term. I know the prayers I prayed, and the anxiety and worry I struggled with until we knew Kate was developed enough to be born safely, and the relief I felt when she was born...a healthy, beautiful baby.

    I am committing to pray for precious Savannah, as well as for Josh, and for you, Rebecca. Your great aunt Jane is a friend, and she pointed me to your blog and asked that her friends pray. We shall.

    I'm praying that, in whatever way God sees fit, He will miraculously intervene. If that means two hours instead of ten minutes after she's born, or much longer....whatever He determines....and that you will find joy in meeting your daughter and knowing you did everything within your power to make her life a special one. I'm praying for your strength, your peace, and for a covering to be over your emotions and your physical health, as you continue down this path most unexpected.

    With warm hugs, love and prayers, even though I don't know you. You will be on my heart often.

    Miralee Ferrell