When I was around 14 weeks pregnant with my second child, I started having severe pains. We went to the emergency room and they kept me there for nine hours. They did an ultrasound, and the technician found the umbilical cord had two blood vessels instead of the normal three, and there were massive cysts on his tiny kidneys.They told me not to worry too much, and to just set up an appointment with a perinatologist and schedule another ultrasound.
Our appointment fell on the day after Christmas. We talked to a genetics counselor for about 30 minutes before the ultrasound. She said that since we were very young, it was highly unlikely that anything was seriously wrong. I was still scared but I did not know that my world was about to come crashing down.
When the technician confirmed that our baby had a two-vessel umbilical cord, and said the cysts nearly completely covered his kidneys. She found “white spots” on his heart that indicated heart defects. When she looked at his spine and hands she stop saying much at all.
Then she went to his tiny face. It was distorted, that I could see plain as day. Our baby boy had a cleft lip and palate as well.
We returned to the genetics counselor’s office and she gave us the diagnosis: Trisomy 13. She told us this syndrome is incompatible with life. “He probably won’t live more than two days,” she said.
I was devastated. I lost it. All I could do was cry. My baby had no chance at a normal life. We had some very difficult decisions to make.
We chose to end our wanted pregnancy. This was what the doctors and genetic counselor advised. We were very worried about the quality of life he would have. It was all we knew to do and we had no information that suggested we do otherwise..
We had a D&E scheduled and went in to have the laminaria inserted to dilate my cervix. But the next day a huge ice storm hit, and we were stuck waiting an additional ten long miserable days before we could go back to the surgical center. When we finally went back we had to start the laminaria process all over again. It was completely unbearable. I had contractions, small ones that felt like Braxton Hicks. Then came the morning we had to go back to the clinic. I was there at 6:00 AM and the procedure was over by 6:30.
My baby was gone. We never saw him. We never kissed him. We never hugged him. I am saddened by the fact that we “chose” to have a D&E abortion. I wish we would have had an induced labor (L&D) abortion instead.
This is our story, sad but true. Life does not always turn out the way we expect it to. I never take life, or anything I am given, for granted.