We sat through the genetic counseling. Naming relatives and their defects. Wondering what he had that could have caused this. The counselor with as much compassion as possible discussed the trisomy trifecta. Telling us the results of each chromosomal abnormality. Trisomy 21--Downs Syndrome would have the best chance for survival, but based on the pictures sent from yesterday, our baby didn't have Downs Syndrome. Trisomy 13 or Trisomy 18 were fatal abnormalities. Our baby wouldn't survive long outside the womb.
The doctor told us that we needed an amniocentesis to determine whether or not this was a genetic issue. There was a slight chance that this would harm the pregnancy or the baby. He told us that we would get another ultrasound so they could maybe determine what was happening in my womb. He said they could take care of whatever we needed.
So we went back to another dark room, a larger dark room with all the ultrasound equipment of a well-equipped hospital. My belly was smeared with ultrasound lubricant. The technician found the baby and its heartbeat. The doctor came, wondering at the small amount of fluid and removing some. We would know the results from four tests in two days. The rest in ten. The ultrasound technician looked and looked and looked and took as many pictures. I don't know how much time it took, but the monitor was, again turned away, and the technician quiet.
Finally the radiologist came; she was able to talk to us. We had a name--Limb-Body Wall Complex Abnormalities. Basically our baby's torso didn't form within the first ten weeks (actually it would have not happened within the about sixth week). They couldn't tell, yet what its gender was. Usually babies don't survive as long as ours had. Usually they don't survive the entire pregnancy. Amniotic fluid is hard on organs. These babies don't survive outside the womb more than minutes. She was compassionate. We had a few options. We would think about it.
That was Wednesday.
Decisions we thought were cut-and-dried weren't so cut-and-dried. It was understandable. It was advised. It was expedient--take care of the pregnancy, get your rubella shot, try again in three months. Get on with your life. Don't torture yourself for twenty more weeks. The baby was abnormal, defective.
But this was our baby. I had cared for and loved it for 20 weeks. We were going to love and care for it for as long as God gave us the chance.
We went to work. We answered the phone and the questions. Our friends gathered close and answered their own phones and even more questions. I don't know how many questions and how many calls were made on our behalf. I don't need to know; I just know I could not have answered them all and a buffer was what we needed.
On the last Friday, my parents had come up to paint the baby's room. We were painting the kitchen instead. And we got the call from the genetic counselor; our baby boy only had limb-body wall complex abnormalities. There was no indication that he had any genetic issues. Most people who have babies with this developmental abnormality go on to have children with no issues.
I just wanted this child. Maybe my God who could heal would heal.
After Tuesday's post a friend here wrote asking if I was OK, and I feel the need to say Yes. I have never put this story to the page, not when we were going through it. I got a journal to tell his story, that he would be real, but I couldn't sit with it. There is something in me now to write it now. I am not good with dates; hence, the titles of "the last. . .", but I looked for November 13th and find that this year it falls on the second Saturday. It is time that he is made real through a story with words, for he is so very real in our history. And his life is reflected in my motherhood.