A SURPRISE PREGNANCY
On November 1, 2017, the day before my 34th birthday, I found out that I was pregnant. We have four other beautiful children, and we did not plan on having another baby any time soon, as our youngest son was only two years old. Yet, there I was with another little bun in the oven, and all I could think was, “but I just signed up for a gym membership, and we have plans to travel next year!” I know it was such a silly thought, and I laughed it off.
Once my husband, Gaui, got over the initial shock of us having another baby, we scheduled our first ultrasound for late in November. During that appointment, we learned that we were seven weeks pregnant and our little bub looked good. The doctor confirmed that everything was looking great, but she recommended that we do a routine ultrasound at twelve weeks.
I was never asked to do a twelve-week scan in any of my four previous pregnancies, so I jumped at the chance to see our bub again so early! The scan went well, or so we thought. We were told that they would send our results to our doctor, and we would need to book another appointment to discuss the results.
What that doctor told us took us by surprise. We learned that our baby had an extensive cystic hygroma. We were told not to worry, as it was possible that everything would go back to normal once I gave birth. Our doctor told us that we will have to be seen by the hospital for more prenatal testing. We were given information about what the condition was to help us understand more, as we were both just in disbelief that anything was wrong with our baby.
GETTING AN OFFICIAL DIAGNOSIS
When the day of our appointment arrived, we both had hope, knowing that there have been a lot of successful cases of babies who had this condition. We knew that no matter what the outcome was, we were going to love this little miracle with all of our hearts. We could not have prepared ourselves for what we were about to learn. The news ripped us apart.
After the ultrasound, the sonographer excused himself and brought the doctor in to have a look and confirm what he was seeing. We were told that in addition to cystic hygroma, our baby also had hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a diaphragmatic hernia, a short left arm, and no right arm. You can imagine what was going through our heads as we listened to that news.
What followed that news was overwhelming. We were offered further testing, either a chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or an amniocentesis. The doctor then turned to us and said, “we’re really sorry. Unfortunately, your baby has a fatal diagnosis and will not survive outside of the womb.” He then went on to explain that I could have a termination right then and there.
CHOOSING TO CONTINUE THE PREGNANCY
I wasn’t given any time to think or process what was being said, and they were already throwing the word “terminate” at us. We are a very God-fearing family, devoted to our faith, but in that moment, just for a second, I said, “why, God?” I even thought, “maybe I should just terminate. There is no point going on, knowing that our bub won’t survive.” Just for that second, in a state of panic, I nearly agreed!
Thankfully, I felt God’s arms around me again, and I felt a strong sense of peace. My husband and I both agree that I would carry him to term. The Lord blessed us with our son, and when it’s time, we will allow the Lord to take him back.
Our doctors were very doubtful that our son would make it to term, let alone twenty weeks, due to all the problems he had. Yet, our son was kicking away, letting me know that he was still there with me. Every ultrasound I had, they offered termination or early induction. Every time, they got the same answer: “No, thank you.”
We had support from our families and our church community, which made us stronger and helped us to keep fighting for our son. In so many ways, this pregnancy was by far the easiest of my pregnancies. I had no morning sickness. I felt so energized. Not once did I have the pelvic pain that I suffered from with my other four. The only new thing was that I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, but even with that, this pregnancy was easy.
MEETING OUR SON
Each ultrasound showed no change until twenty-eight weeks. During that ultrasound, the doctors noticed that our son was beginning to have fluid in his lungs, and due to his hernia, his bowels and stomach were pushed up to his heart, which squashed his lungs, causing them to be underdeveloped.
I also began to suffer from polyhydramnios because our son was not able to swallow amniotic fluid. As a result, I was getting bigger and bigger. I prayed and prayed, wanting our bub to go all the way to term, but it was decided that I would be induced at thirty-seven weeks, due to the polyhydramnios affecting my ability to breathe and move.
We chose June 16, 2018 as the date for my induction, and we planned the day, making sure that we had our close family with us so that everyone would get to see him and say hello. At 4:15am on June 17, 2018, our beautiful boy was welcomed into the world. We spent seventy-five beautiful minutes with him before he was taken back to be with the Lord. He became our very own guardian angel.
We named him Meafou, which means “brand new” and “pure” in Samoan.
As we prepare for his first heavenly birthday, I can still remember everything like it happened yesterday. I am so thankful that we chose to carry our dear angel boy to term. He defied the odds so many times, just so he could meet us and tell us his story. He fought a good fight, my brave boy. I will forever praise our Heavenly Father for choosing me to carry Meafou and be his parents. Choosing to carry him to term will forever be my greatest blessing. We love you, baby Meafou.