Emily's July27: Fighting for Life through Miscarriage and a Bilateral Renal Agenesis Diagnosis

   Alex and Emily Muckleroy

PC: @WildGloryPhotography

 

“MyJuly27 story started on April 1st, 2019, when we realized I was having a miscarriage. It would forever change the way I perceived April 1st; not for innocent practical jokes but remembering a little life lost. It is the day I realized our hopes for a second baby, a sibling to our oldest, were lost. We would not be welcoming a baby into our arms on their due date, December 4th, that year. My womb was emptying and starting over. You would think that this early on in a pregnancy it would be easy to pick up and move on, but that one week of knowing about our baby had changed our lives! Trying to imagine December 4th was almost unbearable and it took months of surrender trusting God, who does not let us down, before I could move on. 

 

   Later in June of that year we found out we were expecting again and, while it was scary, it was such a gift to have been given another pregnancy. We treasured that life. The first trimester was far from easy. I was constantly remembering our loss only months earlier. I had been diagnosed with a subchorionic hemorrhage which left me bleeding for weeks, not knowing if it was the hemorrhage that would heal on its own, or if it was another miscarriage. This kept us clinging to hope and prayer in a way we never had before. This life was worth every piece of endurance we could ask for. We didn’t even know the gender yet, but were enveloped with love for this baby. 

 

   What we didn’t know was that endurance was being built for the rest of her pregnancy too. As soon as we knew she was a girl we decided to name her Anna Nicole to communicate her personhood to the outside world. Along with learning her gender, we had to meet with two different specialists to reexamine her body for abnormalities. Our Anna was eventually found to be missing her kidneys, a diagnosis called Bilateral Renal Agenesis, only found in 1 in 10,000 pregnancies. That's 10 times more rare than Down Syndrome. 

 

   We were advised by one specialist to terminate her pregnancy. We were told she would drastically change our life and wasn’t worth it. For us, termination was not even on the table and miraculously we were given a second opinion the NEXT DAY by Colorado’s leading doctor in fetal medicine. While only 10 years ago her diagnosis was known as fatal, experiments in more recent years have allowed children with this diagnosis to live! While it’s rare and extremely difficult, not only did we want to do all we could to save her life, but we had one of the world’s leading set of doctors willing and wanting to help. So we jumped in! 

 

   For a month we had appointments, infusions, follow-ups, MRIs, ultrasounds and more, loving and longing for our girl to have a chance. On November 13th, 24 weeks into pregnancy, my body went into spontaneous labor and, though we tried to stop it, our sweet Anna was born 12 hours later. She was 1 lb and 11 inches long. My husband Alex and I held her precious and perfect body for 13 amazing minutes while her heart was still beating. I’ll never forget the way she tried to open her mouth, or feeling her warm tiny fingers lay on mine. She had her daddy’s nose and some fuzzy hair starting to grow on her head. Even her fingernails were an artist’s work of perfection and detail. I was able to sing over her, tell her we loved her with all our hearts, and kiss her over and over again. What I would do to kiss her again. 

 

   We have learned about the preciousness of each life, whether that be 5 weeks or 24 weeks in utero, we have been changed by them. We have had the honor to give and pour out our lives for these children. Although our babies' lives were short and mostly unseen, they have shaped the trajectory of our lives! What an honor to carry and fight for life. May the tender ache in my heart testify that all life is precious.”

-Emily Muckleroy

 

On 11/13/2022, Alex and Emily celebrated their daughter Anna's 3rd birthday in Heaven. Emily shared this beautiful poem written about her daughter:

 

 

"Three years of loving you, 

Have changed us for the good, 

A God-send through and through, 

In a way only He could. 

 

Your life a precious gift, 

We treasured, hoped and fought, 

Six months is oh so swift, 

A glimpse of you we caught, 

 

Three years of loving you, 

Would usually contain, 

Scribbled pictures,

pink and blue, 

A giggle-filled mundane. 

 

We would know the color of your eyes, 

And we would see you cry, 

We would teach you "hello" and “goodbye"

And wonder at the endless sky. 

 

Three years of loving you, 

Have not allowed these things, 

But one thing I know holds true, 

Is the Joy that Hope brings. 

 

Anna Nicole, our second girl,  

Is fully living, fully free, 

To the Lord she jumps and twirls,

His smile she gets to see! 

 

Three years of loving you, 

Have taught us how to trust, 

That God makes things new, 

Defeating death and rust. 

 

We have the chance to believe, 

That what God says is true!

We get to hope as we grieve, 

And that’s all because of you!

 

Happy 3rd Birthday Anna Nicole, 

We trust you’re by His side, 

Your body remade, new & whole, 

We’ll be together as His bride."

 

Alex and Emily Muckleroy live in Colorado with their two living daughters.

 

 

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