It can happen to you! During the echo or after a chorionic test you will be told that your baby is missing something. At that moment you are faced with a terrible decision. Do you opt for abortion, or do you opt for life? Below is a beautiful and poignant story of a woman who chose to live!
'When I was 5 months pregnant, I got a bad test of a blood test. My child probably had Down syndrome. I was immediately referred to a genetic advisor and pediatrician. We discussed my medical history (nothing remarkable) and the medical history of my family. Some family members were found to have genetic abnormalities including Down's syndrome.
The pediatrician carried out a number of studies including an advanced ultrasound. This ultrasound showed that my child had an umbilical hernia, ventricular septum defect (heart defect RED), diaphragmatic rupture and a split breastbone.
The pediatrician suspected Trisomy 18 (Edward syndrome: multiple congenital malformations and developmental delay, RED) or the Pentalogie disorder of Cantrell (the heart is part or entirely outside the body, RED). He also said that it was a boy ... And that my son had a 20% chance of surviving the birth and had little or no chance to reach the first year of life.
My family and I were intensely sad.
Choosing for abortion or ...
The doctor offered me carefully to refer us to a hospital that specializes in performing an abortion at a later stage. It would be fully reimbursed by my health insurance. I was young, poor and pregnant with a child who would need a lot of medical care and who would probably die early and with great pain.
The doctor had every right to give me the option of abortion and I am grateful to him for that.
But I was not interested. I loved my son so much that I did not want to take away the chance of a life. Others might have chosen differently and that is right for them. After all, it is a very difficult choice.
I did not want him to die without having a name.
We planned an amniocentesis and a lot of blood was taken for studies on rare genetic abnormalities. On the way home we gave our son a name. I did not want him to die without having a name.
The following months were a blur of daily appointments, surveys and weekly echoes. Meanwhile, I read every article and research that was linked to what my son had. Eventually I got the results and all these studies showed that my son had no genetic abnormalities. Not a single one! So also not Trisomy 18.
He was born by means of a caesarean section in an operating room full of specialists and nurses. They were all ready to give him the care he needed right away. After birth, his sternum and diaphragm were still completely intact, against all odds. But his umbilical hernia and heart defect VSD were observed.
Difficult road after birth
From birth we have made a long and difficult journey. My son got two major operations and one small operation. In addition, he also received an operation by a cardiologist because the gap between the lungs and aortic valves closed 3 weeks late. We received intensive care for 12 weeks in which my son twice got pneumonia before VSD was resolved.
With great fortune, we ended up in an "operation group" for children that conducted experiments on treating umbilical fractures in a less intensive manner. This may have saved his life because surgery on an umbilical hernia in newborn babies with a heart defect nearly always leads to death.
Now he is a healthy boy of 10 years old and he has a healthy brother. He had his last operation when he was 3 years old. It took him many years to catch up with his growth retardation and developmental delay. He is still reasonably small and he will always stay that way. For years he has had speech therapy and his blood had to be tested regularly. He was diagnosed with ADHD and ASD last year. Apart from that, he is completely normal.
He is a funny, friendly, smart and incredibly creative child with a great love for sharks.
Lucky with our choice!
He and my other son are the best thing that ever happened to me! I am now very happy that we have decided to let my son live and not to opt for abortion. I will never condemn people who make a different decision. My son has been very lucky, I know that like no other. It has been a difficult, complex and very personal decision.
I wish everyone who ever comes into this situation my love and success!
A nice book with stories about abortion and help with the processing of an abortion can be found here.
Have you also faced this difficult choice and would you like to share your story with us? Tell us and share your sadness, joy and experience.