Tuesday, February 16, 2010

December 11, 2009

On December 11, 2009, I dropped my daughters off with my grandma. I had an ultrasound scheduled, just to confirm heartbeat and due dates. Although this was a routine ultrasound, I did not think my 2 and 3 year old, full of energy would have been appreciated at the appointment. I was so excited, that evening I had a Christmas party to attend and could not wait to show off pictures of my baby (only 12 weeks old!)

The only reason I even needed this ultrasound was because my doctors heart rate monitor was broken at my checkup. He just smiled and said "we'll get an ultrasound, then you can have pictures too."

Once in my appealing white gown with no underwear it was time for the sonogram. Greg had met me at the hospital. The radiologist began and I immediately asked if there was a heartbeat. She smiled, told me yes and showed us and told me I could relax. I was so excited, talking with Greg about how different this pregnancy was and how sure I was that it was a boy. The radiologist joked and laughed with us about my french fry cravings and talked to us about her first grandson being due anytime.

All of a sudden, the mood of the room changed, I just told myself she was doing the boring technical part and was focused. Her face was unusually serious but hey, we saw the heartbeat, the hands and feet were all perfect, the baby was even sucking it's thumb. She then excused herself saying "I have to talk to my radiologist," she patted my leg, "It's not about you, don't worry, it's about another case." Then she was gone.

Greg and I looked at eachother in shock. I told him "she's not checking on another case." Greg agreed and said "she's either lying or she is really rude."

We sat in silence until she came back. She did more tests, told me not to get dressed and go back to the waiting room. That had never happened before, we have done this 2 other times and we are always sent away pretty quickly with a stack of our babies pictures. She gave us just one picture, the baby's hands. No thumb sucking, no long legs that she showed us, no face, just hands. I'm not sure how long we waited when she came in, looked me int he eyes, told me to get dressed and go straight to my doctor's office. I must have started to ask her a questions because she said "I am not at liberty to tell you anything."

I have no concept of time from getting dressed to how long we waited at the doctor office. Greg drove and I called my grandma. We had awhile to wait at the doctor office, we were called back. The office was beginning to empty out for the weekend, happy nurses were on their way out the door. Everything was going through my head. The baby looked perfect to us, it was moving more than our daughters had ever moved inside. I thought that if it was something with me that I would have just gotten a call setting up extra testing, it had to be the baby, but what could be wrong?

We were finally able to see the doctor, he came in and asked us how we were. I wanted to laugh and say "what do you think?" Instead I just said "waiting for you to let us know."

He grabbed a box of tissue, put it by me. Great, that's always a good sign, I thought. He started slowly, "Obviously it's not a good thing to come see me after an ultrasound." His eyes began to tear up, "Your baby has a condition, Anencephaly." He tried to explain to us in technical terms, then I heard "there is no brain, your baby will not survive outside the womb"

My head was spinning, how am I supposed to carry a baby that was going to die? IS this serious? I really have to deal with this? Greg and I had tried for several months to get pregnant, we WANT this baby, can this really be true?

He then went on to say we can carry it to term, some parents find comfort in getting to hold their baby. No way, I thought, what kind of weirdo really wants a chance to hold a dead baby? He told us that medical abortion is another option, he wanted us to see a specialist to confirm and get more information but it would be safest to get an abortion before 14 weeks (if that was our choice). Wonderful, that is a week and a half away, 2 days before Christmas. Before we left our doctor prayed with us. He prayed for a miracle for our baby and if we would not get a miracle for peace for us to get through this. That was the best thing he could have done at that point, nothing he would have said would have changed what we had found out that day.

I could not believe it on the car ride home. I was expected to either abort a child that I wanted so badly -or- carry it to term, get fat, deal with the extra expenses, just to watch my own precious baby die!

My grandmother came over to our house to pick up clothes for the girls. I knew I would have to get my children and they could not be shielded from everything that was about to happen but I did not want them to have to try to comfort their parents when they are just babies themselves.

That night I went to my friend Christy's house so her husband could take Greg to get his car. Greg did not want me alone, which I can now appreciate. As I sat with her, I felt pretty normal, I looked up information on the computer about babies with anencephaly. My mind was made up, I would not carry my baby, I would terminate as soon as possible.

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