Mari, Connecticut

I found out I was pregnant on August 31st, 2012. I was shocked, though honestly I probably shouldn’t have been surprised. I was scared, but as the weeks went by I became more and more excited.

On one Sunday afternoon, I started to bleed. I became very upset and my boyfriend seemed to lose all control of common sense. I wanted to cry, but I stayed composed as we drove to the ER. I feared I’d lose my baby. But, when I was examined and received an ultrasound, we saw our little peanut on the screen. The baby had a strong heart beat at nine weeks, it was 157 beats per minute. From that day forward, I tried to enjoy every thing possible in my pregnancy.

I was offered first trimester screening and QUAD Screening, and I said yes. I got to see my little peanut on a screen at 12 weeks. The baby was sleeping, or that’s what the tech told me, and seemed to be facing forward. It took some time, but the tech got the measurements she needed. I then got the blood work and all seemed well. I had to go in for my second set of blood work about a month or so later.

At 13 weeks, there was a snow storm. We weren’t supposed to get snow until the evening, but it started early. I was at work and had to go out to the community for a visit. As the snow started to come down, I rushed into a building with my supervisor. We found out we were in the wrong building, and had to go back outside. As I was stepping down the stairs, I slipped. I can’t tell you exactly what happened, but I can tell you that I held on to the rail with all my strength. My leg was sore, my hip as well, but my belly was fine. I called my OB’s office and told them, and since I had not hit my belly, they said I should be fine.

After about two weeks, I called my OB and asked to be seen because I could not get the idea out of my head that I may have hurt my baby when I fell. He saw me, checked the baby’s heart beat, and my cervix. He asked if I had any pain or bleeding, and obviously I had not. He told me I was fine and so was the baby. Before I left he told me he had gotten the results for the second set of blood work and that my chance for T-21 was 1:200. He assured me that my odds were still low and that those tests sometimes give false positive results. He had me reschedule my 20-week anatomy scan at a high risk clinic in order to get the Level II ultrasound. I was very upset after the appointment, and when I told my boyfriend, he said we’d be ok.

I felt something was wrong. I was excited about finding out about my baby, but I was scared. My mom and my boyfriend’s mom were going with us to the ultrasound. I called ahead and asked the receptionist to please make a note that if the doctor had to come in to talk to us, to have my mom and my boyfriend’s mom step out. When we got there we went to talk to the genetic counselor first. She drew up a history chart and some other things, and gave us options for what to do afterwards, if anything. We were sent back to the waiting room. My mom and his mom were super excited.

I got called in, and we were all crammed into a small room. The tech started her job as I laid there, and they all looked at the screen. There’s my baby. Facing forward again, so I had to move around a bit. She wasn’t really moving, but the tech kept on going. She asked if we wanted to know the sex and I said yes! “It’s a girl”, she said. Everyone smiled. My boyfriend really wanted a girl. I just wanted my baby to be okay.

At some point during the scan the tech stepped out with an excuse of needing to check something in my file. I had been complaining of some pain in my ovaries and my OB told me to ask them to check it out. The tech came back and quietly finished up. She then asked my mom and my boyfriend’s mom to please step outside. We were left alone. During that wait, I can honestly say that I didn’t think anything was wrong. I knew something MIGHT be, but I didn’t think it would be. Just in case, I asked my boyfriend to please stand next to me.

The doctor came in, said hi and sat down. He looked at the screen and then went on to scan the baby some more. He finished up, quietly, and cleaned me up. He helped me up and then sat down. He looked at me, straight in the eyes, and said, “I’m sorry but your baby has something we call Dandy Walker Malformation.” My daughter had no cerebellum. Nothing. I can’t remember anything else. I cried. I just kept crying. I wanted to ask more questions, but I couldn’t. I just cried. He gave us some time alone and then the genetics counselor came in to get us. We met with her again. She said some other things, and showed us the ultrasound. Everything after that I can’t remember very clearly. I was scheduled to get the amniocentesis performed the following Monday. After that, we’d have an MRI done.

I cried that day, and that night. I was out of work for almost the entire three weeks following. I’d cry at work, especially when someone asked me what I was having. I researched everything I could. My child had no cerebellum. I knew what I’d do, but I didn’t want to do it. I prayed and begged that they had mixed my file up with someone else’s, or that they had mistakenly diagnosed my child. That was not that case. After I got the MRI, not only was Dandy Walker Malformation confirmed, but agenesis of the corpus callosum was diagnosed as well. I fell apart that day.

We scheduled a D&E two days later. I was told I could not deliver because of some health risks. Those two nights I sang to her, and I talked to her. I told her how much I loved her. I asked her for forgiveness and asked her to understand why I made my decision. On January 4th, 2013 I said goodbye to my daughter. I went into the operating room crying. I woke up crying, and screaming. I was sedated twice, and had to be held for a bit longer at the hospital afterwards. I received Xanax and other pain pills.

Not a day goes by when I don’t think about my daughter. She was unplanned, but she was everything I wanted. I could not imagine bringing a child into this world to suffer as she would have. I would rather suffer for her. I love my baby. I miss her.