Shannon and Sara’s Story

“As you do not know the path of the wind or how a baby is formed in the mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the maker of all things.”

On June 5, 2007, I was told something that I never thought I would hear in my lifetime: “Your baby will not live”. A mother of four healthy kids, expecting her fifth child, a baby girl whom I decided to name after my mother “Sara” Mackenzie, the news devastated me. After sonograms and other pre-natal tests, an amniocentesis showed that the fetus had Trisomy 18, a chromosomal disorder that is almost always fatal. This meant nothing to me. Just tell me what to exoect with my baby! My worst fear was that she would be severely disabled or mentally challenged throughout her life but never did I think she would not live.

I was ready to end the pregnancy right then and there. In the first trimester that decision may have been easy for me to make but not at seven months. Sara was already a little person. After much soul searching and the guidance of my doctor, who finally showed me she had a soul, I was given a pamphlet about Alexandra’s House. I called them, left a message, and then went to a place where I could just sit, think and cry. I thought about what did I do wrong to have this happen. I thought about jumping off the Broadway Bridge so I wouldn’t have to face what was to come and I thought of my other children. I thought how I had to tell Sara’s father, who resided in another state, and how alone in this I was.

My cell phone rang and an angel’s voice said come right over. Meeting Patti for the first time explained what an angel really would be like. Her golden curly blond hair, those warm blue eyes and her soft comforting voice saying, “Hello, I just want you to know I love you.” In sitting on the front porch at Alexandra’s House for three hours with Patti and just talking about my options, and about what I was feeling, she saved my life that day, and however short it may be, she saved the life of my baby.

After attending my first meeting at Alexandra’s House and meeting two wonderful other women who were experiencing the same, I knew I was no longer alone. Once I accepted the probabilities, I prepared for what needed to be done. I pre-planned her cremation, picked out her urn and also a heart necklace in which some of her ashes would be placed, that I could wear forever around my neck and close to my heart. We visited the hospital to schedule her birth and finally went for a 4-D sonogram so I could see her alive and moving.

The day I went to the hospital everything went like clock work. My best friend had flowers waiting in my room. The nearby hotel gave me a great rate for the kids to be close by. Her father, my mother, my sisters and Patti were there to help see me through this difficult time. Sara Mackenzie was born and died on August 9, 2007 at 1:51a.m. Sara was so beautiful and complete. She had ten fingers and ten toes. It’s funny how that’s one of the first things you look for. During this time, for me, I watched and waited for her to take a breath…. it never came. I cried, accepted her death, and tried not to lose my faith and tried to understand that this was God’s plan.

I especially thank Kathy Disney (volunteer photographer) for giving of herself, her time and the most precious memories she captured on film that will be treasured forever.

One year has passed. I remember that moment like it was yesterday and somehow I manage to get up every morning and go to sleep every night. Life was not going to stop and wait for me. I will never forget Sara, my angel in heaven, and this world she introduced to me.

I would give to others, from Baby Jesus, the gift of strength and the courage to accept the things we cannot change.