For the past few weeks I have been working on a very special post. It was to announce my pregnancy. I had kept a log of every week and how I was feeling and journaled my emotions and everything. I was so excited about it, but kept it a secret for all these weeks because I wanted to share it at a special time. I had told some of my friends but not all of them to see if the others would guess, we even made games of it. See the pregnancy itself was a miracle to me in some lights. I had just gotten my IUD removed and it was our first cycle with no protection. It took us 2 years to conceive our son so we literally were in shock when we saw that Big Fat Positive pregnancy stick. I had also gotten pregnant right after returning from Pagan Spirit Gathering, where I had a crone bless my tummy. It was meant to be and a gift from the gods in my mind.
I had been pretty sick with this pregnancy, suffering from all day nausea and requiring 9 hours of sleep each night and a nap daily. I had a feeling this pregnancy would stick around, and hoped it would since I had been so sick. We told our son and a few close friends and family members, but never announced to the general public or the entire family. I was waiting to see the baby on an ultrasound, even though I had felt plenty of flutters.
I anxiously went to my 12 week appointment where they gave me an Ultrasound to confirm the heart beat and check the size of the baby. We found the heartbeat right away. And saw it flickering away on the screen.. I had tears in my eyes. The tech took some more measurements and then said she had to go talk to a doctor. We sat there for 15 minutes waiting for her and she finally came back and then asked us to go to the waiting room, and even gave us a few pictures.
A few minutes later a doctor called me into a room. She informed me that my baby had a 7.6 mm swelling from the forehead down to the tailbone. This swelling, called Hydrops, was indicative of a huge genetic abnormality. Hydrops also most of the time comes with fatal heart defects and organ malfunctions. She then proceeded to go on and say that this was not the biggest of the worries. The baby also had underdeveloped arms and legs that we way too short for the gestational age of my baby. They also said they had a hard time locating some of the organs but were unsure if this was because they were missing or it was their equipment. She said she was not sure what was wrong but a geneticist would contact me in the next few days. She mentioned that there was a possibility of Turner's Syndrome or a dwarfism condition, and left it at that.
We sat waiting for the phone to ring for 5 days. It is not until you are waiting for a life altering call that you realize how much you hate telemarketers. I finally had to call them and the geneticist asked me to come in that day for CVS testing. I drove the 90 minute drive with my husband and we went in for the testing. The doctor we had was the only high risk doctor in the state who specialized in genetics. She told us that the baby was the worst case she had seen in 20 years and that the outlook didn't look good. She was not able to do the testing because of the location of the placenta in my uterus and we would have to wait till 16 weeks to do an Amniocentesis.
We were then called into a room with a counseling nurse who sat us down to discuss how sick our baby was. She told us that the baby would most likely not make it to term and would most likely be still born. She also said that if the baby was born there was a very high risk that the baby would pass any time after birth and spend allot of time in the NICU at the University. SIDS risks would be very very high as well. She said that they were actually shocked that the baby had made it this far. We were then sent home, in tears and forced to make a huge decision. Did we want to go any farther with this doomed pregnancy.
We only want 2 children. This was going to be my last pregnancy. I wanted to enjoy every moment of it and cherish it as a sacred time in my life. Pregnancy to me is the peek of motherhood. But hearing all of this news and discovering the problems with my baby destroyed it for me. I had known something was wrong. Most women have a strong intuition about gender from early on in their pregnancies. I on the other hand only cared about one thing, having an Ultrasound. I had gone to two appointments at 2 different doctors offices, and been told I was getting one only not to get one. I was very angry and panicked both times this happened to me. I knew something was wrong but I couldn't put my finger on it.
At first I was worried about the baby not being alive. But then the flutters started coming. I was then worried that I was further along than I thought and that I had drunk alcohol during the first few critical weeks. Then I was worried that I had more than one baby and that I couldn't handle having twins or triplets. It all went through my mind, and I spent the majority of my first trimester worrying about my pregnancy. But to hear this news that my baby was so sick. It just was worse than I could ever imagine.
We had this choice to make, to let nature take its course and have hope, or to trust science and our beliefs to not bring a sick and suffering child into this world. We were being asked if we wanted to "pull the plug" on our baby. If we waited to do the Amnio at 16 weeks we would not have answers till 18-20 weeks or longer, making a stillbirth even more likely. We were told that we could have a D&C now, a D&E for the next few weeks, and after 24 weeks we would have to wait it out no matter what as per state laws.
It was a question of faith. My husband was pretty firm in his beliefs on the matter. He felt we should trust science and not bring a suffering child into this world, but his heart hated to admit it and go through with it. I on the other hand was torn more than you could even imagine. I wanted to trust that the gods gave me this child for a reason and that they would take it away for the very same reason. I wanted to trust that nature and my body knew what to do and would make the right choice for the baby on its own. But I knew that I did not believe in bringing a suffering child into this world, who would positively suffer from a dwarfing condition, and genetic abnormalities on top of it. Giving up hope for my child was the worst of it all.
Science is a gift in itself from the gods. It allows us to understand our world like we never have before. It backs up theories like the Gaia Theory. We get to see so many things that we could never see with out the help of science. We also knew that the thought of holding a stillborn baby at 20 weeks or more was unbearable to us and would just destroy us emotionally. I was already struggling with feeling the baby kick me with its stubby little legs knowing it could die at any time inside my body, making my uterus a tomb instead of a cauldron of life. I knew what I had to do. So at 14 and a half weeks gestation, we ended our child's life and gave our child, Jessie Quinn, the gift of mercy. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, and I know that I will think of Jessie for the rest of my life. I only have a copy of Jessie's foot prints and a few ultrasound pics to remember them by. I know we made the right choice because even the feet were miss formed, and the doctors confirmed the severe Hydrops covering all of Jessie's body, more than indicated on the Ultrasound. I love Jessie more than life itself and I know one day we will meet again. Be it this life, another incarnation or in the Summer lands.
I love you Jessie Quinn, born sleeping 09/30/2011.