A Mother’s Message of Hope
Contributed by Deidrea Laux, Mother to Thomas
The afternoon was filled with excitement and joy for my husband and me as we headed to the obstetrician’s office for the long-awaited 20-week ultrasound appointment to find out if we were expecting a son or a daughter. Over lunch earlier that day, we’d gone back and forth about the names we had chosen and the dreams we had for our growing family. It was our first child, and there were so many unknowns. But what we did know was that we were already madly in love with this child of ours.
Moments later, our world would shatter, and that joy would turn to grief, unimaginable grief. The words of the ultrasound technician still echo in my ears, “It’s a boy, but I see a few problems.” The rest of the day was a blur as our obstetrician explained several concerns she had regarding our son’s development. Our beloved son, the one we had named Thomas Gordon Laux, was later diagnosed with Trisomy 13, a life-limiting chromosomal abnormality. We learned that if Thomas survived delivery, there was no guarantee how much time we would have with him – hours, days, weeks, or months – it was unknown.
How do you prepare for the unknown?
Shortly after Thomas’ diagnosis, a neonatologist asked us what our dream was for Thomas. Short of miraculous healing, my husband shared that he wanted Thomas to be free from pain. I shared that I wanted to hear Thomas’ first cry and for the three of us to be at home together as a family. With those goals in mind, we began planning and were referred to Community Healthcare of Texas. They were the only organization we found in North Texas that offered perinatal hospice, a specialized program providing support for families from the time they receive a life-limiting diagnosis during pregnancy through a baby’s birth and death.
A few weeks later, during a 2-hour visit with our Community Healthcare of Texas pediatric hospice nurse, we developed a meaningful plan of next steps for our family. And for the first time since Thomas’ diagnosis, there was hope. Hope that Thomas could come home with us and we could live out his days together as a family. For the remainder of my pregnancy with Thomas, I held onto that hope. And I found comfort in the knowledge that we were surrounded by family, friends, and our Community Healthcare of Texas care team each step of the way.
On June 29, 2008, my dream of hearing Thomas’ first cry came true. As we soaked in those precious moments as first-time parents, Community Healthcare of Texas began seamlessly putting our care plan into motion. And when we took Thomas home two days later, all the supplies we needed to care for him were waiting for us. Over the next few days, we crammed in all the memories we could as a family. My husband gave Thomas a tour of the garage and his collection of tools. We introduced Thomas to our neighbor’s dog. Family and friends came to visit and soak in the sweet new baby smells. There was so much more we wanted to do, but we always knew there would never be enough time, and on July 4, 2008, as Thomas slept peacefully on my husband’s chest, we said our final goodbyes.
There was a gentleness about Thomas from the moment he was born, and there was a joy throughout our home when he was with us. Today that is my hope for other families facing the loss of a child, that they will experience great joy even in the midst of unimaginable grief.
To learn more about the Laux family journey, see “Choosing Thomas,” a video produced by the Dallas Morning News: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToNWquoXqJI.