Wow. Been a while since I posted. I had a pretty hard year. A few months after my ectopic pregnancy I got pregnant again and was pretty excited. I was pretty sick, which I took to be good sign–baby must be growing right–right?
I was dealing with thyroid issues and went to an endocrinologist who diagnosed me with transient hyperthyroidism due to pregnancy.
My doctors wanted me to do an ultrasound at 7-8 weeks to make sure the baby was in the right place after they had seen an appropriate rise in hormone levels. I had one and we saw a heartbeat and it was great.
At 12 weeks I had another ultrasound–the screening one they do for chromosomal disorders. I had my blood work drawn too. Our sweet little baby was moving and kicking and had a nice heartbeat. The doctor told me though that the nuchal folds were a little thicker than normal and they might want to do some more tests–depending on how the blood work turned out. I asked how thick was normal. Answer: 4. How thick was our baby’s nuchal folds? Answer: 9.
It was not something I was expecting.
I went over to my friend’s house after my appointment to get my kids. She sat with me as I expressed my fears that the baby would be okay. I called my husband (DH) who was at the time out-of-the-country again. We talked briefly and decided try to not worry until we had the results of the tests.
Long story made shorter, after much prayer we felt at peace. When word came the following week that our baby had a 1 in 10 chance for trisomy 18 and a 1 in 16 for trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome) we were not surprised. It was a time of great emotion.
For those who don’t know trisomy 21 is most commonly referred to as Down Syndrome. The 21st chromosome has three copies instead of the regular two. Trisomy 18 is three versions of the 18th chromosome. There is even one called trisomy 13. The 13th chromosome has an extra copy there. Birth defects and congenital heart problems are not uncommon among with these. I understand a good number of children with Down Syndrome need heart surgery. Not all do, but a good number of them. With trisomy 18, most babies do not live more than one year because of the birth defects they usually suffer from. Trisomy 13 babies are usually delivered C-section and most don’t survive more than a day or two.
The doctors encouraged us to have either an amniocentesis or a CVS procedure. We prayed and talked and felt strongly that we should hold off on any more testing. We already loved our baby and no testing would change that. We did not want to do anything that might pose an additional risk to the baby.
On a brief trip out West, I found out my best friend had the same due date I did. We were both having a bit of a baby bump, so we went maternity shopping together and got some cute things. She was supportive of our decision, and a great strength to me. She herself was worried for her own baby, since she had been spotting.
(Her spotting stopped and she went on to deliver a beautiful baby girl and I couldn’t be happier for her and her husband).
At my 16 week check-up, the doctor talked to me about seeing a high-risk ob/gyn to determine what extra care if any I might need given my chances for something going on with the baby. When he went to listen to the fetal heartbeat, he had a difficult time locating it. He had me move to the ultrasound room. I had a foreboding feeling.
In the next room the tech was looking at the ultrasound, and I could see that there was no swish-swish of the heart beating. I asked, “There’s no heartbeat is there?” She shook her head no.
I lost it.
I utterly lost it.
I don’t think I’ve ever cried so hard in my entire life.
I had prepared myself for what I thought was the worst, that my baby would be born with trisomy 18 and I would only be able to have him or her for a year or so. I didn’t realize that the chances of my baby making it to term were slim as well.
Words really can’t explain how hard this experience was. I can say that my faith in God and in my Savior did make it easier. I believe that families can be eternal families, and I have had enough experiences in my life to know that I need to trust my Heavenly Father and his plan for me. And though my pain was great, the Savior knows exactly how I feel and more, because of what He did for me and all of us.
I received strength to go forward, and I am grateful for all I learned during this experience.
I’ll try to post more tomorrow about our year.
Do me a favor and go hug your loved ones.
2017–I’ll be posting the next installment of this “Throwback Thursday” in two weeks.