In 2013, we were thrilled to be welcoming a new member to our family, and our daughter, Bella, was soon to become a big sister. However, the question remained: were we expecting a baby boy and need to go shopping, or another girl to share hand-me-downs? As our 16-week, “unofficial” gender-check ultrasound approached, the excitement and anticipation grew. There was so much we wanted to learn about the next Baby Boudreau.
And much to our surprise, the announcement came, “It’s a BOY!” Our minds began to race about all the jubilation that this boy would bring to our lives. But, as the scan progressed from his tiny little toes, on upward to his head, our hearts sank. It was apparent that something was wrong; our baby boy was missing a large portion of his skull, causing his brain to be malformed. The diagnosis and prognosis could not be good.
We had to endure two agonizing days until an official ultrasound could be done at the hospital. We prayed tirelessly for clear scans, absolute diagnoses, and for the decision to be His, not ours. With tears streaming down our faces, the doctors confirmed our worst fears. Beau suffered from severe acrania (missing much of his skull), as well as a double cleft-palate and malformations of his hands and feet. These syndromic deformities were likely the result of an unexplained chromosomal abnormality. We’ll never forget hearing the doctor’s words, “The prognosis is extremely poor. The extent of these defects are incompatible with life.”
Two days later, we silently welcomed our son into the world and handed him over to Heaven. We were completely and utterly shattered by his departure, but feel so blessed to be his parents, as this experience taught us so much about love and compassion, about parenthood and loss. While we asked to see him, the nurses urged us to reconsider. Ultimately, we heeded their recommendation, as now we will always remember him as the beautiful little boy we had dreamed of sharing in our future. As it turns out, his name fit him perfectly. Beau means “beautiful”, and that’s exactly what he is – our beautiful baby boy, a beautiful blessing, beautiful beyond words.
We are absolutely humbled and honored to be serving as the 2015 Iowa City Signature Chefs Auction Ambassador Family, and to be giving back to an organization whose mission is inspired by all babies, those born healthy and those who need help to survive and thrive. The research conducted via the March of Dimes and the work of so many compassionate medical professionals is a wonderful partnership. While our journey continues on without our Beau, we are fortunate to continue sharing his story– to shed light on infant and pregnancy loss, to demonstrate gratitude in a place of anger and despair, and to assure others who walk a similar path that they are not alone. Beau Boudreau was a very special gift, and his tiny footprint, albeit so small, will leave an imprint on this world and on all of our hearts.
With sincere gratitude,
The Boudreau Family – Ryan, Robin, Bella and Benjamin