Today it has been one month since Sydney Grace became an angel. It seems like it was just yesterday I was holding her in my arms. Days are getting easier. I plan on starting back to work on Monday. I really have missed my friends and students.
As promised here is the next part of Sydney Grace's story before she was born. I hope to finish her story in a few days.....
We went to a specialist in Jacksonville on August 20, 2009. While we were waiting to see the doctor, I noticed a sign they had posted in the waiting room. It asked for patience while waiting reminding us that some women may be getting bad news even the death of their child. For some reason it did not occur to me that the sign was talking about us.
When we were finally called back, we saw a technician that took measurements and told us we were having a girl. When she left, a genetic counselor came in. She was extremely nice and caring, but she started talking about Trisomy 18. I had absolutely no clue what she was talking about. I had never heard of it before. I did know that trisomy 21 was Down syndrome, so I thought it might be something very similar. Then she said the words that I was not prepared for, “Trisomy 18 is Fatal in the majority of cases.” I was completely shocked. I did not even cry. It was like she was talking about someone else. Not me and my baby. Then the doctor came in. He did another ultrasound and starting pointing out why he thought Sydney Grace had T18. He talked about the cysts on her brain and how her brain was not formed right in the front. He talked about her heart and how the only thing that would fix it was a transplant. He talked about her fingers and how her pinky and index fingers overlap the others. He talked about my placenta and how it was shaped different. He said normal placentas were shaped kind of like a sheet cake and my placenta was like a cupcake shape. Still this whole time I did not cry.
Next the doctor told me my choices. The reason I got to see the doctor so fast was because he wanted me to have the choice to terminate if I wanted to. In North Carolina, I believe he said I had until 20 weeks and 6 days to have a late term abortion. I was 19 weeks and 1 day. Of course he did not try to persuade me, he was very caring. He just wanted me to have the option if that was what we decided. He recommended an amino to be sure. We decided to have the amino. Let me say it HURT. They told me it would feel like cramps. I was thinking menstrual cramps. I thought no big deal. Not so. After it was over, I told them it felt like someone was tying my intestines in knots. Of course I could not move and all I wanted to do was to jump off the table. This is when I started crying. Crying from physical pain and crying that I was going through this. I was looking at the ceiling during the amnio thinking, I can’t believe this is happening. I can’t believe it was happening to me. I hear about other women with difficult pregnancies or miscarriages, but I never thought I would be one of them. We found out a week later that Sydney Grace had full Trisomy 18, meaning she had it in every cell of her body. It is possible to have mosaic trisomy 18 were it is not present in every cell.
I could not believe having an abortion was even an option for me. That was something I definitely never thought I would ever have to think about. Of course, it was not something I thought about long. How could I ever decide to kill my child? It was not my decision when Sydney Grace would die. It was God’s only.
Now I am going to share something that I am ashamed to say. When we did the amnio the doctor told me that they bring a small risk of a miscarriage. I could not make the decision to abort my child but I was hoping I would have a miscarriage. That first day, I could not imagine how I was going to get through this pregnancy. I just wanted it to be over. The doctor went through what could happen through the rest of my pregnancy. There was a good chance I could still miscarry. If I did not miscarry, I had a good chance of going into preterm labor, probably between 28-32 weeks. If Sydney was still alive during labor she would probably die during childbirth. And if she actually made it through the delivery she would only live for minutes, not even hours.
Knowing all this, probably for the first week I wanted to miscarry. I was really feeling sorry for myself. I was the one that had to carry this baby that was not going to survive. I had to feel her move inside me. I had to be the one that would be approached by strangers and answer questions about the sex of the baby or when I was due. I was the one that had to live with this 24/7, without a break. All I had to do was look down at my growing belly to be reminded. I never could escape from the pain of it all. I wanted it over.
Probably about a week later it occurred to me. I was the lucky one. I was lucky because I was the one that got to feel her move inside me. I was the one that got to feel her grow inside me. I was the one that got to be with her 24/7. I was definitely the lucky one. Others in my family would only be able to experience Sydney Grace for minutes (so we thought) but I would be able to experience her for months. What a blessing!
Throughout the rest of my pregnancy, I had my ups and downs. It was still very hard. One thing that really helped me get through it was my work. When I first found out about Sydney having T18, I was really close to calling my principal and saying I was sorry but I would not be able to work this year. I just did not see how I would do it. I was so afraid I would have a breakdown in front of my students. When the first day of school came, I made myself get up and go. I cried all the way to school, but when I got there and met my students, I knew I had made the right choice. Being at school was an escape from my pain. For those 8 hours a day I was able to focus on my kids and math.
The last 10 weeks of my pregnancy were the hardest….
4 months ago