I am currently 31 weeks pregnant and counting. My husband and I were thrilled to find out in April that we were expecting an addition to our family of 3. We have one beautiful healthy son who is almost 2 years old. Could there be anything better than a playmate for him?
As in my first pregnancy, I had really awful morning sickness but suddenly around week 9, my symptoms nearly all but vanished. I began cramping most of the day and even through the night. I went to my doctor to do some tests as something just didn't "feel right." She told me that based on my HCG levels, the baby must have died a week or two prior and my body had not gotten rid of our precious child yet. I was devastated and felt nauseaus and my world was spinning out of control. I asked my husband to take our son out of the doctor's office so that I could ask more questions. I didn't want to upset our son because I couldn't stop crying. 3 hours later, after an emergency ultrasound, we found a kicking and moving baby inside my womb.
At week 12, I went to a different doctor as the cramping continued but the first doctor would not look into why this was happening. She was unable to find a heartbeat with the fetal doppler, even though we had heard the heart beat just one week prior. She began to panick after 20 minutes of searching and ordered an emergency ultrasound for the next afternoon. She too cautioned me that the baby may have died. I could not sleep that night and layed awake praying and begging God to let my baby live. Once again, God blessed us with a strong heart beat and a "healthy" baby. After spending a great deal of money to seek out a naturopathic doctor, I found that my progesterone was really low. The doctor listened to me at my next appointment and put me on progesterone. She referred me to an OB/GYN. The cramping stopped almost completely only 2 weeks later.
At week 18, I went for my routine ultrasound. I was so excited, as I believed that everything would finally be ok and I would now have a normal pregnancy. But something wasn't right....the ultrasound tech was taking too long. Then she called in the doctor to review the ultrasound and to help her measure. No one would say anything to me and I couldn't tell what they were looking at on the screen. I asked her in a very small voice, "Is everything ok?" She responded, "I can't diagnose anything, this is stat and you should call your doctor's office for the results." She left the room quickly. This was not what I had expected. I waited and the next day I decided that I should call my OB/GYN. I was at work. The doctor told me that my baby was not well. Our baby had an arachnoid cyst in the brain and it was quite large. She was uncertain what this meant for our baby and needed to refer me to a specialist immediately so that we had enough time to "terminate the fetus." I hated that language....our precious baby was not a fetus...our baby was loved by myself and my husband and by our son.
A few days later, I was having another ultrasound. This one was an indepth ultrasound and our first meeting with a perinatologist, neonatologist, residents, etc. Our baby had a significant issue with the brain. We were told that the baby may be still born, or die shortly after birth. We were told that day, that our baby would be mildly to severely mentally challenged. We were told that things were really uncertain. We were offered an abortion. We had up until week 22 started to "terminate the fetus." I told the doctors that we were having a baby, not a fetus. His language changed after that moment. We went home that afternoon and my husband and I were "numb" inside. The shock of everything was too much and neither one wanted to talk about our options. It weighed heavy on my heart. Not as much for my husband, but for me it was agonizing. I hardly slept, I cried constantly and prayed for a miracle incessantly. I asked myself the tough questions, "Could I carry a baby to term and then bury him?" "Could I handle being a parent to a moderately mentally and physically challenged child?" "Who would take care of our child, when my husband and I died?" I was exhausted with worry. I felt as though all my dreams, hopes and prayers were vanishing ever so quickly. I was angry with God.
Two weeks later, we went for our next indepth ultrasound. We found out we were having a boy! How wonderful for our son to be having a brother. But, "Would he be a brother, if he never walked or talked or was able to feed himself?" The cyst was growing significantly and the prognosis was looking more grim for our son. We had to make a decision soon because we were running out of time. The following week we had an MRI. Parts of the baby's brain had not developed which added to the complications of the cyst and the swelling of the brain. I was at week 21. 7 days left to make an important decision that would change my life and my families forever.
We met with our pastor, who did not advise us on what to do. But he spoke to my heart....I felt convicted. I was just so scard! The unknown was tearing me apart. I would pace the house through the night, asking..."Could I kill my own baby and live with it?" No one could make this decision but me. I wished I never had to consider what I must consider. My husband, who knows my sensitive heart, told me that the grief would destroy me. I thought that it would haunt me forever, but I was so tired and things just seemed to be getting worse. Satan was doing his best work on me. I asked my friends and family to pray.
I couldn't take it any longer and I called the perinatologist. It was a Tuesday, I was at week 21 and 6 days. I needed to come in and talk to him about ending the pregnancy. I called my husband who was giving me the silent treatment because I was considering the unthinkable. I told him he could come or not but I needed to know what life would be like if I kept this baby. He decided to join me and an hour later we were meeting with two genetic counsellors. Time was of the essence. They explained the cyst, the missing parts of the brain and what the possible outcomes could be. I listened intently. Never had I ever listened so closely before. I discovered that day that I needed to make a decision, "That DAY!" We could not proceed with an abortion after week 21 and 7 days. Next, came in the perinatologist who described to me in detail how the abortion would happen. I can not tell you how repulsed I was after this conversation. I wanted to vomit, I wanted to scream, I wanted to run out from the room.
Instead, I thanked him, left and called the pregnancy care centre. I talked on the phone to a lovely women who told me it was ok that "I needed to know." I talked and cried and she listened. My mind was made up. I was keeping our son. No matter what I could not imagine my life without him in it. Even though he was still inside my body, he kicked and moved and would be a part of our lives forever.
I had made my decision...I loved this little boy. God loved this little boy. He came to us for a reason. It was not my place to act as God. No matter what the outcome for our son, he deserved to live a life just as any one else. Who was I to take this precious little boy's life? A sigh of relief came over me unlike anything I had ever experienced. God had granted me HIS peace. When the next day passed, I rejoiced for there was no turning back. Satan could not tempt me anymore. The decision was final and I was elated.
I do not know what the prognosis will be for our son. His due date is December 30. We still pray for him daily and fast and ask God for a miracle. The cyst has gotten worse; however, I know that I made the right decision. I would never have forgiven myself if I had rejected my child. How could I, a solid Christian follower, ever have explained to my older son what I did to his brother. God has given us this beautiful boy and I will cherish him for as long as I live.