our heartbreak.

I’ve started this several times.  I’ve debated about how to share, how much to share.  Tommy and I have talked about it, wondering how to walk this road we never thought we’d walk.


At some point I probably will share the whole story.  For now though, we’re keeping it between us.  I never thought I’d write something so deeply personal and post it on the interwebs for the whole world to be able to see.  But here I am.  I’ve done a lot of things this week I never thought I’d have to do.


We have been so excited for this sweet baby to join our family!  Beyond excited.  We recently found out that we are having a boy!  We have so badly been wanting a little brother for Jack.  But we also found out that our baby has a lethal chromosomal syndrome — trisomy 18.  With this syndrome, 90% of babies don’t survive pregnancy.  Of the ones who do make it to term, 50% are stillborn.  Of those who are born living 90% die within the first year.  Our baby has problems in his brain and with the development of it, and a severe heart defect.  His major heart defect is known as double outlet right ventricle, which means the 2 main arteries to the heart are connected to the right ventricle, rather than one to the right and one to the left ventricle.  Our sweet boy has some other indicators of this syndrome as well, including the sweetest clenched hands and crossed fingers I’ve ever seen on an ultrasound.


We are devastated.  Crushed.  Broken.  We have hope that we will survive this.  We know we couldn’t have gotten through what we have so far without strength from God.  Without Him sustaining us every step, every word, every conversation.  The best we can do these days is put our feet on the floor in the morning– taking the step of faith that He will get us through the day.  The crazy thing is that while we feel like we’re sitting in a place where time stands still and our world is broken, the world outside goes on.  Work happens, people do the things they normally do, the house still needs to be cleaned, the bills have to be paid.  How can it be that our world stops, yet everyone else’s goes on?


We have named our baby boy Gabriel.  Gabriel Patrick– he’ll take his Daddy’s middle name.  Gabriel means “God is my strength”, and it couldn’t be more perfect.  And these words arrived from a dear, dear friend to us, and I couldn’t have been more touched by them as I feel like they perfectly describe our sweet baby:

How apt for this special boy: Gabriel came down from Heaven for a short time to fulfill a mission from God. His part in the Christian story took only a few minutes but was still important, and he was never forgotten.



We covet your prayers.  Please pray for Gabriel.  We serve a God of miracles.  Please pray that Gabriel’s heart will serve him well, defects and all.  Please pray that fluid will not continue to accumulate in his brain.  We of course so desire to get to spend some time with Gabriel after he is born, so we are praying that he thrives through this pregnancy.  Right now we are so overwhelmed that we often don’t know what to pray except for God to be glorified and His will be done.



28 thoughts on “our heartbreak.

  1. I am praying for you four and your hearts. God rest His hands upon you and under you to bless you and carry you along in this hard time. Much love, Someone Who Cares

  2. My heart hurts so bad for you!! I am praying for you all, especially Gabriel. May God wrap his arms around you and carry you through this. Bless you!!!!

  3. Sweet Lauren. My heart hurts for you and your sweet family. We do serve a God of miracles. He is also a God who can see around corners when we cannot. I promise to pray for you each day. I will also pray for your mom. Much love, Cindy Smith

  4. How heartbreaking, Lauren. Every day must be an agony right now. Your naming him in faith is so precious. It reminds me of the verse in Psalm 8 that says “Out of the mouth of babes and infants You have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger.” Which is a verse of mystery, but it reveals that even infants can glorify God and be used to defeat the enemy. May God use little Gabriel in ways we may not know! Love, Amanda Lawlor

  5. Lauren,
    A friend of mine sent me your blog. A friend of hers sent it to her. I will be praying for you and your sweet family. 4 years ago we found out that our daughter, Abigail, had triploidy. She had 3 of every chromosome. I can understand and relate to everything you wrote in this blog…especially that the world moves on. We often still feel that way in regards Abigail. Our family will be praying for you. Thank you for being so transparent and sharing your heart. And yes, there is no way we would have survived without knowing God…but we did and it’s only because of Him.

  6. Mike foward the news that your mom sent to her siblings, His heart broke yesterday morning. He cried as he read the note. I too can hardly type ,Tears keep coming down from my eyes. Even though we haven’t met in person you four are very close to our family. We are prayering for you , Tommy,Jack, and Gabriel .

  7. May God walk with you as you all go through this. I can’t imagine what you’re going through. I’ll be praying for you all. All sorts of things come to mind to say, but none of them seem right. Mostly, I pray that God’s presence is palpable with you always. “I’ll be a witness in the silences when words are not enough.” Avalon, Testify to Love

  8. Oh Lauren, I hardly know what to say to you. I can feel your anguish in your written words and your faith in our Lord also. That’s what will keep you going–yours and Tommy’s faith in our Mighty God. For some reason that you may never know, He has allowed little Gabriel to come to you this way. I’m so glad to hear the love you have for him even though you don’t have any idea of what the future holds for him in your family. I’m so sorry for the medical problems. My heart hurts so much for you right now and for your Tommy and Jack and your mom and dad. I remember hearing the words “Trisomy 21” when one of my children was born and I was devastated. I can only feel a tiny bit of what you are feeling right now. I did not know before she was born and what you will deal with will be so different. Please know that so many will be lifting your family up to the Father. He will give you His Peace. If there is any way I can help, just give me a call dear Lauren. In His Love, Debbie Smith

  9. Dear Lauren and Tommy,
    The Menhinick Family prayer warriors are hard at work. You have so beautifully expressed the presence of God in your life and the life of your baby son. We pray that God will continue to bless his tiny heart, hands and feet, and Gabriel’s very existence. In our darkest times God’s greatest promise is that He is always with us. He is in this moment, in every beat of our hearts, in our deepest worries, our deepest pain, and in our greatest joy. Welcome Baby Gabriel for you are deeply loved. We are here for you and your entire family and we will whisper your name, morning, noon and night in thanksgiving for the precious miracle you are. We love you all.
    Kitty & Bill

  10. Thank you so much for sharing this. Gabriel is such a sweet and perfect name, and that will be our prayer for your family!

  11. Lauren, I saw you and Tommy just briefly at church today and had no idea that you were dealing with such sad news. I offer my sincere love and daily prayers to each of you and your family.

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  13. Oh Lauren, my heart aches for you, Tommy, Jack & precious Gabriel! I pray for God to be very evident and close to all of you, as well as your parents & extended family. I know your story has and will continue to reach people that need to know The Lord. Praying daily for healing as only God can do! Love you!
    Betsy Crump

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