‘What’s 6 when you already have 5?’ Then the doctor said, ‘Come in soon. Wait any longer and you won’t be able to terminate your unviable pregnancy.’: Mom of 6 says son is ‘perfect addiction’ after battling pre-eclampsia

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“I never thought I’d have six kids. I wasn’t sure I even wanted one. Turns out, I really like my kids. I thought we’d be done at four. By then, I was 30 and felt done. Then I felt strongly there should be a fifth. It took quite a bit of convincing on that! I always knew he’d be a boy… He is a handful, but such a joy. I am so glad we had that extra baby!

Ever since #5 came, I had a VERY strong impression there would be a #6. Well, I was not on board with this at first, but then I just felt so strongly there was one more boy for our family. The feeling wouldn’t stop or go away. There was the sixth waiting for me and I couldn’t keep denying it. Finally, I decided to trust and take that leap. ‘If He has one more boy for us, I’d better get on it, because I am not getting any younger!’

After a while, I got excited at the idea of one more. What’s six when you already have five? ‘We can do this! I can’t wait to hold this little guy!’

I initially turned down the genetic blood test, but I had a strong feeling at my second doctor’s appointment I should do it. I changed my mind and had the test. Plus, you find out the gender early and if you know me, you know I’m always impatient to find out the gender. My doctor thought it was so funny when I said, ‘Might as well find out it’s a boy sooner!’ She found it amusing I was so certain. She told me the nurse would call with the results.

This was just before Thanksgiving. It was supposed to take a week, but I thought it may take longer, with the holiday.

The Monday after Thanksgiving, the doctor’s office called me. I excitedly answered the phone.

It was the doctor’s voice.

Not the nurse’s.

Doctor’s don’t call unless something is wrong.

She gave me the news. I wrote notes on an envelope I had nearby. A chromosomal anomaly.

I went into my husband’s office to tell him. I had to sit down because I felt light-headed. We spent the next hour researching. We felt better with more information. We could do this. We were going to be fine.

It occurs in 1 in 750 births, although it may be more common since many people don’t know they have it.

It is NOT genetic. It is random. It does not have to do with maternal age. Random.

They wanted us to talk to a genetic counselor. It took 3 weeks for the genetic counselor’s office to call us to make an appointment. When they called, it was one of the worst phone calls of my life. The receptionist told me they only had one appointment in the next few weeks and we should take that one. Well, that appointment didn’t work for us, so I told her I was fine waiting longer. She was ADAMANT I take that appointment. I couldn’t understand why. I mean it took them 3 weeks to call me, why were they in such a rush now? I told her no, it was fine, we could wait. Then she said, ‘You need to come in sooner. Time is of the essence for you. If you wait any longer, you won’t be able to terminate your unviable pregnancy.’

I was shocked. No one had told me my pregnancy was not viable. ‘Does she have information I didn’t have? What does she know that I don’t?’

Shocked, I got off the phone and called my doctor. I left a message and somehow, she did not get it. It led to a frantic, anxiety-filled weekend. I went into my doctor’s appointment that Monday morning in tears! My doctor apologized profusely about not getting the message. She showed me all my results, so I could see, in black and white, the baby would be okay. My pregnancy was viable. That receptionist should have never said such a thing. We discussed it and decided I would not be going to that office. I then had my doctor’s personal cell phone number to contact her if needed. (I never used it, thankfully!)

I went into our first anatomy ultrasound with lots of anxiety. After the ultrasound, the tech said everything looked perfect. I don’t think he knew how much we needed to hear that! I think I exhaled for the first time in months!

Apparently, a few of the pictures of the ultrasound weren’t clear enough, so I needed a follow-up. My doctor assured me this was normal and not to worry. I went to the second ultrasound on Valentine’s Day –with the high-risk doctor — by myself, thinking it would be no big deal and my husband needed to be home for the kids. They were able to find everything that was unclear in the first ultrasound, except for a kidney. Everything else looked fine. The doctor came in and they looked, and looked, and looked. They couldn’t find the kidney.

She told me, ‘It seems the kidney isn’t here.’ She said the kidney could be in the wrong spot. It could not have moved into position yet, it could be blocked by the bowel, or it could be the baby’s position. However, she was guessing the kidney simply wasn’t there.

Apparently, 1 in 750 people is born with just one kidney.

My doctor at my next appointment told me, ‘I feel like I am telling you this hard stuff all the time, but it isn’t as bad as it sounds. It will be okay.’ Initially, they could not find either kidney, but the one they did find seemed to be working fine. We did not discuss what would be the case if that kidney was not working. (Hint: it would be VERY bad.)

When it was time for the Gestational Diabetes test, I thought for sure I’d fail, considering everything else. It actually went fine. I was pretty happy about that!

I went to my next doctor’s appointment after that test. Apparently, my blood pressure was up. I have historically low blood pressure. They sent off to the lab for yet more blood work (I was up to eight vials that month alone) and had to pee in a cup. I worried the whole way home, but when I got there, there was a message that everything was in the normal range. What a relief!

I got a call the next day saying a second-round of labs found a trace of protein. I had to head back to the lab for the next step. Let me tell you, you have not lived until they give you jugs to collect ALL your urine in for 24 hours (with VERY strict directions). Not only that, it has to be kept in the fridge. Thank goodness for the garage fridge. Yeah, that is a nice package to drop off at the lab. ‘Here! Enjoy gallons of my urine!’ At least it is semi-amusing. What a glamorous life!

In the middle of that was finally the 32-week ultrasound. Would they find the kidney? Would everything else be okay?

The bad news was they still couldn’t find a kidney. They said we would have to have an ultrasound after he was born, but the high-risk doctor saw no evidence of a kidney anywhere on that side. The good news was everything else looked healthy, including the other kidney. She was very positive and upbeat about all the results. She said even with one kidney, they expect normal to average lifespan.

Now you might be asking, what about the pee? Well, after dropping my gallons of urine off at the lab, I anxiously waited by the phone on Friday. Nothing. I assumed I might hear something on Monday then. Again, if your doctor calls you on the weekend, it’s not a good sign.

I had mild pre-eclampsia. (It’s mild until it’s bad and then you immediately deliver.) I now needed to be at the doctor’s twice a week for monitoring. I have to take my blood pressure twice a day at home. The only cure is delivery and there is nothing I could do about reducing symptoms or making things better. Since my doctor didn’t have my records in front of her, she asked if I’d had pre-eclampsia before — nope! She said, ‘Man, you’re really running through it all with this kid!’ That’s an understatement!

She said we would deliver in the next 4 weeks, if we made it that long. We made it to 4 weeks and induced labor, which I had to do for all my deliveries. It took a bit longer to get going since it was early. Things went pretty well until right at the end. As I was pushing, we lost his heartbeat. They couldn’t get it back. My doctor looked me in the eye. ‘We need to get him out now. We can’t wait for any more contractions. You need to push him out.’ I knew it was serious, and in two pushes, he was out.

They put this tiny bundle on my chest. All was well in the world. He was so tiny compared to my other kids. There had been so much uncertainty and now he was finally here with us.

They took his cord blood to confirm his chromosomal disorder. It was confirmed.

The next day, they did an ultrasound on him. Guess what? They found his other kidney! It is in his pelvis. He will need yearly ultrasounds, just to be sure it behaves itself there, but it seems to be fine and functioning.

The first hospital pediatrician was wonderful. We loved her. The second was horrible. She apparently did not agree with my parental decisions and basically told me something was wrong with my baby. I was devastated yet another thing was wrong. We had the night pediatrician come in to ask about the procedure. He’d seen the earlier doctor’s notes and said he needed to examine him to be sure he was comfortable or even able to perform the procedure. He checked in over and said, ‘I have no idea what she is talking about. He’s perfectly fine!

Our baby is healthy and happy. He goes in for ultrasounds on his kidney once a year. We just made an appointment for a second one. We’ve seen a specialist for his chromosomal disorder, and we don’t have to see them again for about ten years if it becomes an issue we’ll need to manage.

Looking at his sweet face, you’d never know all that happened. He is such a perfect final addition to our family.”

Courtesy Jennifer Davis

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jennifer Davis. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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