I feel like being a parent comes with so many fears. You find out you’re pregnant, you are so happy and the fears just come. You worry about a miscarriage, about the baby being healthy, making sure she is moving. Then she is born and that darn belly button looks so scary and it is just not right! Well, here was our scare…
Our 19 or 20 week ultrasound was coming up and we were very excited to find out the gender of our baby. We had planned to keep it a secret, but as soon as we got there we changed our minds and wanted to know right away. At first, everything seemed to be going normal. The tech greeted us and made small talk while she was looking at the baby and taking measurements. Suddenly she had trouble getting a clear image of the baby’s head. So she tried moving the baby around, I tried drinking water, and laying in different positions and nothing helped. She stepped out and came back in to try again, and left the room. This time it felt like she was gone for along time. She came back with her supervisor and they decided to do a vaginal ultrasound. They did their thing, and said we were all done. So, what was the gender of our baby? A girl! She said that with “everything” she thought she had told us. I asked if everything was fine, and she said that our Midwife would get the results the next day. I didn’t like that answer one bit. As we walked out I told my husband that I had a bad feeling about it, and he said that I was just over thinking things and that everything was alright.
The next few days I waited for a phone call from my Midwife, but nothing. Then a Friday came and I remember I was at home taking a nap when the phone rang. My Midwife was on the other side, she said everything looked great, except the baby’s brain. My gosh, here it was, I knew something had been wrong at that appointment and I could feel the tears coming. She told me that the baby’s cerebellum was underdeveloped and that it would affect the baby’s motor skills such as walking, being stable, or grasping things. Said not to worry that she would order another ultrasound in a couple of weeks to see if there were any changes. I could barely manage to say okay and hang up. I cried and cried so much. How could there be anything wrong with my baby? I couldn’t understand. I was exercising, eating healthy, being happy. I googled, and so many horrible things came up. I was heartbroken. I told my husband when he got home a few hours later and just cried again.
We made it to that second ultrasound, and were told the same thing. Finally, we got referred to a different hospital to see a specialist. It felt like an eternity. Another ultrasound, more small talk with a tech and more waiting to find out. The specialist came in, took another look and we headed to her office. She told us the same thing, underdeveloped cerebellum. But this time it was worse. She said there was a chance the baby had down syndrome, not survive to full term, or die right after birth. We could do a test to confirm if the baby had down syndrome, but there was nothing we could do to change it. To her it seemed so many things were wrong that she thought having an abortion could be a good option for us. We explained that an abortion was not an option. I tried so hard to not breakdown and cry. I mean, she just told us our baby would either have a disability or not survive at all. I could tell my husband was trying to be strong and I let him do the talking because I couldn’t, I knew that if I tried just saying one word I’d just breakdown sobbing. She was concerned by how calm I was and afraid that I didn’t understand the extent of what was happening. I was just trying to be strong and remain positive. She again offered an abortion and said to think about it and we could always contact them if we changed our minds. She then decided to send us to a bigger hospital to see another specialist as a second opinion.
When we got out of her office as we were waiting for the elevator my husband asked if I was okay…and I just started crying in front of everyone. I cried so much and just thinking about it now I still tear up. Because that fear, that nightmare had become our reality. How was I suppose to tell my mother-in-law and my family that were so happy for this baby, that she was not okay and might die? We tried to stay positive and did research about raising a child with a disability. We knew we would love our baby no matter what. We just wanted her to live, that is all we were praying for.
The Good News
The day had finally come, this was our last life changing ultrasound. I was nervous, anxious, hopeful, happy, sad, mad, just all in one. Another ultrasound, more small talk, more waiting. The specialist came in and explained the part of the brain we were looking at, which by now I had it all memorized. He explained the risks and with a big smile said that our baby was fine. That she was perfect, and nothing was wrong and she was healthy from what he could see. What? Happiness and joy filled my heart. I loved this doctor for the great news he had just delivered. He explained that the cerebellum is always growing and some babies just take a little longer than others to develop. I told him about the last results we had been given and he was shocked and assured all was okay. You have no idea how happy we were. Our baby was going to live and was healthy! At the same time I was angry. Angry because had we been okay with abortions, we could have gone thru with an abortion on a perfectly healthy baby. How could a mistake of such greatness be made?! I try and tell myself to not be mad, to remind myself that doctors are human and make mistakes. However, I am still trying to convince myself about that.
I am happy to say that Camila is such a happy and healthy baby. Her birth was amazingly beautiful and she is just perfect. I wanted to share this because while I was going thru this I wanted to know I wasn’t the only one in this situation. That there was hope, anything positive or to just connect with someone. But found nothing. So I hope that by sharing this a mama out there will get that second or third opinion before making any decisions. That a mama out there feels less alone and gets a little hope, a little faith that things will be okay.