The pain and agony of receiving the news that our baby has Trisomy 18 can barely be put into words. It was such a terrible diagnosis, that it hadn’t even blipped on our radar as “worst case scenario”. I wanted so badly to go back to those halcyon days before the first ultrasound, where everything was so exciting and full of hope. Even just to those few moments in the waiting room when we were so anxious to see our baby wiggling around on the ultrasound screen, and hoping that we’d have enough will power to decline the knowledge of the baby’s gender. How neat that will be to find out AT the birth, we whispered.
After the ultrasound that morning we spent the next three weeks exhausted with mild apprehension over a couple of “soft markers” that were noted. Our baby had choroid plexus cysts on the brain and a single umbilical artery, but was otherwise appearing healthy and growing normally. Each of these soft markers, by themselves are not much cause for alarm, but with the two of them present, our doctor felt it would be a good idea to have a level two ultrasound done at the hospital 3 weeks later. Instead of answering questions, that simply added to our worry by now enlightening us to a probable heart condition along with an increase in amniotic fluid. We were distraught with fear and decided to have an amniocentesis done 3 days later “just for peace of mind”. Neither my husband or myself could endure the rest of this pregnancy WONDERING if something might be wrong. We were so anxious to get the call from our geneticist this past Monday telling us that all of our worrying had been in vain — there was just a minor heart condition, but that could be fixed. In the very back of our minds, we had prepared ourselves for a diagnosis of Trisomy 21 (Down’s Syndrome). While that still would have been a blow, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Trisomy 18 — we never bothered to chalk that up as a possibility. The baby was measuring completely normal and had no other anatomical deformations… Everything HAS to be fine!!
God has other ideas, and everything is NOT fine.
Furious with God, I just wanted this strange “anomoly” out of me. Every kick and every jab was a mockery of this entire pregnancy. I didn’t want anyone to look at my big belly, touch it or acknowledge it in any way. If I somehow could have climbed out of my skin and run away, I would have done so at that moment. The song “Something I Can Never Have” by Nine Inch Nails resonated in my brain, “You make this ALL go AWAY… You make this ALL go AWAY…” By Day 3 (today) my anger has subsided. I am no longer so angry with God as I am confused. I feel like I’ve already been through my “maternal tragedy” back in 1993 when I parted with Sophie. What more do I need to prove through the loss of another child?? Who does God think I am?? Maybe BECAUSE I am not one to make decisions out of fear and anger, God singled me out as the perfect candidate for this. I don’t hate this pregnancy anymore. I DO love this baby. Here he or she is warm, happy and content inside of me, has no idea that there is anything “wrong”. This little life might not be what I or the medical community would consider as “normal”, but it is no less important. Learning to love and cherish each moment.