Saturday, October 13, 2012

Guest Post: Andrea

Today we are lucky enough to have Andrea with us Guest Blogging - she is an amazing person who was willing to share with us all her story. Please take a moment to read her post and feel free to leave comments in response on our Facebook page

It was April of 2012 when I found out I was pregnant for the 3rd time. Although my two children are a bit older (7 and 9), there was no reason to think this time was any different. It was a very uneventful pregnancy until our ultrasound around 19 weeks. That was when our world turned upside down.
The technician was very quiet and didn’t point out much on the screen. She did let us know that the baby was head down and that she wouldn’t be able to tell us the sex because it’s legs were crossed (which was okay with us, because we wanted to be surprised!) She said because of the position she couldn’t get all the measurements she needed, and we’d probably need to come back another time. We didn’t even get to bring home a single printout with us or anything. I consoled myself that it was due to the position…

The next morning my doctor was calling bright and early for me to come in and discuss the ultrasound. On a day the office was closed. I’m no expert, but even I knew that could not mean good news.  The scan showed multiple problems. There was fluid in the brain, an enlarged heart with only 3 chambers, an omphalocele (the abdominal organs growing in a sac outside the body), clenched hands, spina bifida, growth was 3 weeks behind; the list went on and on. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. How could we have made such a mess? That was when we learned about Trisomy 18 - an extra 18th chromosome. These were all markers of such a condition. Testing confirmed it.

We were rushed along because we only had until 22 weeks to decide if we were terminating, but there was no need to hurry us because our minds were already made up. It felt like we were expected to end the pregnancy, and although no one would say it, it seemed like the doctors leaned toward that option. We said no. A Trisomy 18 baby has a 50% chance of being born alive, full term. With all of the defects we knew our baby didn’t even have that. Our baby’s life was already going to be brief, and we weren’t going to cut it any shorter.

It was a rough summer. I tried to sleep it away. I’m not sure if it made things easier knowing ahead of time or not, except that we didn’t have false hopes. There was no nursery to decorate, no baby registry to play around with, no plans aside from “get through the day”.

Then, at 26 weeks I stopped feeling movement.  The problem with carrying a baby “incompatible with life” is that you aren’t a priority. I called on a Tuesday morning, and they saw me on Wednesday.
The only heartbeat found on the Doppler was my own, and an ultrasound confirmed our baby was gone. That Friday, I was induced and gave birth to a sleeping son on September 15, 2012. He weighed 12.1oz and was 8-1/2” long. So tiny, but so perfect despite it all.

No matter how much I miss him and how much I hurt, I don’t regret my decision. Given a chance to go back, I wouldn’t have done anything differently.  It was 26 weeks I will never forget. 

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