a short introduction/birth story

After receiving a fatal + life limiting diagnosis (Anencephaly) for our Daughter Selah 16 weeks into pregnancy via an unplanned ultrasound, my husband and I decided one week later to honor her life and carry to term, continuing with our plans for an unmedicated home birth.

This is the specific direction we felt lead to take. It included, but was not limited to cancelling all future hospital appointments, routine ultrasounds + echos. We continued with herbal remedies/tinctures as normal preventative measures and followed normal protocol for any pregnancy.

The months leading up to her birth we navigated different midwifery businesses in West MI, the medical system and hospital/doctor intervention models, police, ambulance + funeral home arrangements simply, slowly and with careful thought.

We also interviewed local doctors, got in touch with organizations and non-profits who specialize in care/guidance for families navigating these same circumstances. We labored over research articles, published peer reviewed journals and the scientific community to give us a complete and informed picture as we moved ahead listening to our intuitions, while remaining vigilant for the natural/organic birth we desired to share and experience with our Daughter.

November 06, 2019 around 4pm Selah was birthed + born at our home in Holland, MI without complications or intervention during labor, birth or postpartum. After her umbilical cord stopped pulsing and was cut, she passed in the arms of her Daddy. Together we spent the next four hours with our precious Daughter until 8pm where we began making the necessary phone calls to both 911 and the funeral home we had connected with beforehand. As the police and local responders arrived we began to say our final goodbyes to our Daughter. Approximately 1 hour later we placed her in the unmarked hearse and from that moment our lives changed.

In sharing our experience with you, whomever you may be, I hope to help you better perceive the very difficult decisions families in this situation must make. I hope to provide the information, tools for activism and necessary next steps needed to navigate life and death so close together - whether you are the individual, partner, close family member or grand-parent searching for a testimony that doesn’t follow the high-risk narrative and procedures performed in a hospital setting or not.

Stories like Selahs do exist and absolutely bear witness to our Almighty God. It’s these hard conversations and uncomfortable realities that help us all become more aware, compassion directed and empathetic to those who are navigating a life-limiting diagnosis or about to navigate infant loss. Whomever you are reading this, I want you to feel empowered enough to not be afraid of saying that child’s name long after they are gone.

*If you or someone you know is currently walking through this or just received news of diagnosis, would you consider sharing our name and story with that family/individual so that we can bless them with support, encouragement, financial resources and meals postpartum?