“Six words, six little words made my whole world fall apart. ‘Your baby may not make it’ – I jumped off the exam table and threw up in the trash can. I was 22, pregnant with my first baby boy. I should’ve been ecstatic, preparing to welcome my sweet boy. Instead I was attending appointment after appointment to find answers as to what was wrong with him.
My now husband and I found out we were expecting on our 5-year dating anniversary. I cried, I was scared and excited simultaneously. I warmed up to the idea and just kept thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’m having a baby!’ We announced our news to our family and friends right away, mixed feelings ensued considering we were still fairly young, not married, and trying to figure our lives out.
Our first appointment to see/hear the baby was great. Everything was normal and baby looked healthy. I teared up hearing the heartbeat and really realized this was REAL, this was happening. Shortly after, we had our appointment to test for Down Syndrome, but everything looked fine — until a week later when I received a phone call from my doctor – ‘your baby carries a marker that points to Down Syndrome. He/She is missing a nasal bone. We need to do further tests.’ I panicked, because this shouldn’t have been a concern. We’re young, we don’t have Downs in the family, we weren’t high risk for that. My mom came with me to that next appointment where they did more measurements, checked other factors. When they got to the point where they were measuring his limbs, bones, etc, I noticed his long bones did not look right, they looked bent to the point of being broken. My mom noticed too because when the tech left the room, she and I looked at each other and said, ‘That didn’t look normal.’
Here it goes, something is wrong. Something is wrong with my baby, the baby I’m supposed to carry for 9 months, nurture, protect, and something is wrong. What’d I do wrong? Did I eat something I shouldn’t have? Was it the alcohol I drank before finding out I was pregnant? Clearly this was my fault.
The doctor came in and threw all these words and conditions and technical terms at us. Dwarfism. Brittle Bone Disease. Trisomy 13, 14, 18. I was scared to death and lost. I remember calling my husband at work and saying, ‘Something is wrong with the baby.’ Within a few weeks they had me setup with more ultrasounds, specialist appointments, and we also found out we were having a BOY. They set me up with a specialist who did an evaluation on me. They couldn’t do an X-ray as I was pregnant, but they did a physical exam. She determined just from physical attributes that I could possibly have hypochondroplasia, a mild form of Dwarfism. My long bones are short, my spine curves more inward than it should. Okay, whatever. I’m an adult, so what if I’m only 4 foot 11 inches. I’ve never had any health issues, I’m fine, if my baby has dwarfism – he’ll be fine!
At 23 weeks or so, we met with a Geneticist and also had an Amnio done. Do you know how scary it is watching a needle enter your belly, so close to your baby, and just beg your baby – don’t move! My husband, my mom, his mom, and I were there to discuss family health history to try and figure this out. I remember one of the doctors in the room mentioned several times about ‘terminating’ the pregnancy and we kept brushing them off, ignoring the statement. Finally they said again, ‘You still have the option to terminate this pregnancy, but if you decide to do so, you have to do it by 24 weeks!’ My husband lost his sh*t. He looked at them and basically said, ‘The next person who mentions terminating is going to get punched in the face!’ How could we make that decision? We don’t even know what is wrong. We have no answers.
We finally received results from the amnio that there was nothing genetically wrong with him. Fantastic news, but what is wrong?
I started having regular appointments with my OB and the high-risk doctors. I had regular NST’s done, and ultrasounds done. I swear I could make a flip book with all the ultrasounds I ended up with. At one appointment in particular my High Risk doctor said, ‘We don’t know what’s wrong, but your baby might not make it. He may not make it to birth, or may not last long after birth. You’ve got to be prepared for that.’ I remember I burst into tears, and when the doctor left the room I threw up in the trash can. How is this happening? I was so tired of bad news, hearing something was wrong but getting no answers. Every appointment I’d get sick beforehand from nerves – what are we going to find out today? What bad news is next? I loved getting to see and hear my boy on a regular basis but I was so tired of bad news and doctors and being poked and prodded. We continued to prepare for him though. We had an amazing baby shower with all of our friends and family, our sweet boy was spoiled already.
At 37 ½ weeks I had my last ultrasound appointment. I ended up seeing a different high risk doctor this day, and he made me rehash my whole history. Told me things didn’t sound good, completely crushed my mood. When he started my ultrasound I immediately noticed things looked different, and my heart started to race. His bones, his bones looked STRAIGHT!!! This entire pregnancy, from about 12 weeks to now, his bones looked like snapped twigs, and now they were STRAIGHT!! My grandma was with me at this appointment and we both just looked at each other with wide eyes! The doctor proceeded to tell me, although he looked normal, to be prepared for the worst. Eff you dude, don’t ruin this for me!
My OB and I had discussed and decided to schedule a C-Section as to not stress the baby out since we weren’t sure what was wrong. I was perfectly okay with this decision because I didn’t want to have to wait through labor to see my boy. To count his fingers and toes and check him over.
On June 1st, 2011, at 8:53 a.m. my sweet Michael was born weighing 7lbs, 4.2oz and 19 inches long via C-Section. 10 fingers, 10 toes, straight arms and legs. Screaming like a banshee. My doctor said, ‘He’s perfect! He’s perfect, Megan!’ and I burst into tears. My best friend came across the last high risk doctor I saw in the waiting room and made sure to let him know that my baby was perfect, and absolutely NOTHING was out of the ordinary with him!
I spent 9 months stressed out, in tears half the time, thinking my baby wasn’t going to live. Or that he wouldn’t live a normal life. He is 7 years old now, and we’ve had no issues. Nothing is wrong. He’s in 2nd grade and has always met his milestones. He’s an awesome baseball player and loves the game. The doctors were baffled, completely clueless as to what happened, what changed. But I am so incredibly thankful they did. I’d love my sweet boy either way, but I’m so thankful!”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Megan Dickenson of Richmond, Virginia. Do you have a similar experience? We’d love to hear your journey. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
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