LEARNING THE DIAGNOSIS
In March 2018, my husband and I found out I was pregnant with our second child. We were thrilled to be adding another little one to our family, and we had no thoughts of worry as my first pregnancy had been completely normal and almost easy.
We went into our 20-week ultrasound in June expecting to find out the gender and see a normal, healthy baby, just as we had with our daughter. We were taken aback when the doctor came in, and instead of telling us any of that, he began to tell us of the issues he was seeing on the screen: small left chamber in the heart; cleft lip and likely cleft palate; extra digits on the hands and feet; a possible hole in the baby’s skull.
PREPARING FOR DELIVERY AND LEARNING THE DEVASTATING NEWS
However, we continued to plan for the birth of our baby, who was due in November. Our plans now included giving birth at a bigger hospital and surgeries, as all of these issues were able to be fixed. We were not ready for the news that came in August.
When we received the results of my blood work back, we discovered that our baby had trisomy 13, a condition that was said to be “incompatible with life.”
We believe in the power of prayer and in our faithful God, so we began to pray for healing, though we knew that healing might not come in this life. The blood work had also revealed that we were having a son; we named him Micah and spent the rest of the pregnancy cherishing each moment we had with him here on earth.
GETTING TO KNOW OUR SON, MICAH
Micah was very active throughout pregnancy, and we ended up having thirteen more weeks of kicks, punches, and movements that felt like baby yoga. We got to know his personality through his movements and reactions to different sounds and activities. Most babies with trisomy 13 are not born alive, but as a result of many answered prayers, Micah was born alive and breathing on his own.
He only lived for seventeen hours, but it was a beautiful seventeen hours in which we were able to hold our son, feed him, change his diaper, care for him. Most of our immediate family were able to meet and hold him, and our daughter was able to spend time with her baby brother.
SAYING GOODBYE AND REFLECTING ON THE EXPERIENCE
Though it was a painful parting, we are so thankful to our heavenly Father for the 38 weeks of pregnancy and seventeen hours of life we were able to have with Micah.
There were moments throughout the pregnancy in which I selfishly wished it were over. I never wanted to face this loss, never imagined I would be carrying a baby and spend much of pregnancy knowing he would likely not live very long, if at all. Yet for all those moments I wished it were over, I would not now trade a moment of Micah’s life for anything. The pregnancy was harder because of the diagnosis, but we still continue to be thankful for the time we had with our son.