I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), so when my husband and I decided to try getting pregnant earlier this year, we had a difficult time finding that “window” due to my irregular cycles. We were referred to a fertility office where we started months of testing to narrow down the issue and come up with a plan. My husband tested fine and it was determined that I had plenty of eggs, they just weren’t ovulating themselves. We would do ovulation induction with medications and timed intercourse.
Our first cycle worked! I couldn’t believe it. I stared at the stick in pure disbelief then immediately took three more tests just to be sure. All positive. My husband and I were overjoyed and started imagining our future.
All scans and checkups for the first 12 weeks went great. Our baby’s heartbeat was great, he was growing right, nothing indicated any sort of problem. Then, at 13 weeks, we underwent our first-trimester screening ultrasound and blood work. We were more excited to see Baby on the ultrasound and “yeah yeah-ed” the information about genetic testing and the potential issues.
During the ultrasound, we discovered that our baby was a boy—it was pretty obvious. My husband was beaming. We were so caught up in seeing him on the screen, seeing his little legs and feet and face, that we didn’t notice the tech taking a lot of pictures and painstaking measurements. She kept joking that Baby was being uncooperative, but now I realize she was nervous. She printed out pictures, said congratulations, and we were on our way.
Right away we publicly announced the news that we were expecting a baby boy in early May.
Two days later, I got a call from the genetic counselor. The nuchal translucency (NT) measurement had come back high, and there were some markers in my blood work that indicated a higher risk for Down Syndrome. I felt like I was punched. We rushed over to her office and had blood drawn for the MaterniT21® test. Results would be back in a week.
I worried and cried for a week straight. My husband tried to remain optimistic. I wanted to talk about all potential outcomes and what we would do, and he wanted to wait for more information. In my heart, I knew I could never terminate a pregnancy. I’m as pro-choice as they come, but felt I would never choose that for myself.
A week later, the news came. Positive for Down Syndrome. An amnio was scheduled for the next day. During the amnio, the doctor and tech pointed out other serious issues with our boy. His heart was not forming right. Fluid surrounded his head. We were in shock. After the amnio results came back confirming the diagnosis, we were faced with the reality that our baby boy was not okay. And he likely wouldn’t be okay.
I knew, and my husband knew, we had to let him go. We both came to that realization very quickly and simultaneously and for that I am grateful. And I was shocked to realize that you truly never, ever know what you would do in a situation until you find yourself in it.
We scheduled the D&E. Exactly 11 weeks after the day we found out I was pregnant, at 15 weeks, our baby boy was gone.
Any physical discomfort has paled in comparison to the indescribable emotional pain I am suffering. I am lost. I went from the highest high to the lowest low in such a short amount of time. I have struggled with anxiety and depression my whole life, so I recognize the coping skills I need in order to get through this. But right now I am in a fog. My husband hurts for our baby and he hurts for me. He told me he wishes he could have taken this on for me.
The majority of people know we “lost the baby.” Those to whom we have told more details have been nothing but supportive. We have had a lot of love pouring in and I know that’s what will get us through this. We are lucky to live in an area where we have a lot of rights and freedoms regarding reproductive health and we hit zero roadblocks during this process. This experience has solidified my pro-choice position and made me heartbroken and angry for those women and families who don’t have the same level of freedoms I do in my particular state.
So here I am. I know we’ll get through this. I know we will recover. We will always have scars, and we will always hurt, but we will carry on because we have no choice. Our son will live forever in our hearts.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.