It is finally time to tell Emi’s story. I have dreaded this for reasons that I don’t quite understand. Am I afraid to see her story in the screen before me? Afraid that regrets will arise and the torrent of the pain will resurface?
My husband and I were marrried on Oct. 1st 2007. We discussed trying for a pregnancy in January but other plans were in store. Sometime between the alcoholic beverages and our tour of the carribean island we choose for our honeymoon, we conceived our girl. I found out on October 31st that I was pregnant.
To say we were elated doesn’t do our feelings at the time justice. We were just dumb with happiness. I remember our first sonogram at 10 weeks in which Emi was busy kicking up a storm. My husband asked upon seeing this, “What is that?!”, to which the doctor said happily, “Your baby!”.
Two weeks later we rushed over to the ER due to bleeding. We were so worried. The doctors checked my os and an ultrasound confirmed ‘fetal activity’ with a strong heartbeat. There she was, on her back waving her tiny arms and legs above her. I felt so relieved, even now I can feel that relief, it was that strong. All is well, I was told. At 16 weeks a similar situation developed with bleeding, except I was at work. I rushed over to a local hospital and my husband soon followed. Again, my os was closed with a strong heart beat. It was the first time I saw her little spine. She was busy waving her hand at me. I joked she was waving hello, when little did I know it was more like goodbye.
At nearly 20 weeks I received my results from the A.FP test. The baby had a high risk of a ne.ural tube defect. I almost died. I always had an odd feeling that the baby was not quite mine, a feeling like we were on borrowed time. This was the worst day of my life. I left work early and started to look up everything I could on this test. I immediately scheduled myself a Level II ultrasound. Before going in we were told that our unique risk, due to A.FP levels were actually 1 in 14 of our baby having a neural tube defect. My heart sunk. A few hours later we were led into the ultrasound room. I lay on the chair, the gel was spread on my belly and the ultrasound machine was turned on. The tech was very chatty and nice; yet suddenly her body seemed to stiffen, her speech stopped and she had this very serious look on her face. Noting her suddent changed demeanor I knew my baby was not doing well, not at all.
She left to get the doctor and I burst into tears, my husband hugged me and said that we were not yet told any bad news; we had to wait for the doctor. He was Europea.n, I remember and he had an accent when he told us that he wanted us to switch rooms. Once in the other room and after yet another ultrasound yielded the same look in the doctor that I previously saw in the tech, I braced myself. Your baby has an opening in the back of the head where cerebral matter is exposed. Her kidneys are hardly functioning…little amniotic fluid….due to lack of amniotic fluid her intestines have failed to migrate back into her stomach…cleft pallate….the baby is incompatible with life. If, (if!) your baby goes to term she will have severe mental retardation…,little to no control on her ability to eliminate wastes, trouble breathing…etc….etc….I recommend termination. I am sorry, I know how difficult this must be, but you have to know the truth.
The doctor and tech then left the room. I looked at my husband, his face that he had managed to keep so composed, suddenly changed into the saddest, most horrified and devasted expression I had ever seen. His faced just crumpled and he burst into tears with me. The look in his face will forever haunt me. He looked me dead in the eyes and told me, that she had come to prepare us for her little brothers or sisters. He assured me that God was not punishing us.
At the time, as you may imagine, it was hard to beleive that God could be doing anything other than that.