Sometimes, you’ve just got to go with your gut instinct
When I was pregnant with my second child, the 19 week ultrasound brought potentially devastating news. Our child had a growth on the lung which could kill them. At that stage, doctors were unsure what would happen.
The growth could get bigger, squashing internal organs and killing the baby. If that happened, they could induce the baby at about 26 weeks so doctors could try to operate. Or it may not grow any bigger and the baby could have it removed after birth.
News that a couple had the wrong twin aborted at 32 weeks when one was diagnosed with a serious heart defect brought these memories flooding back. This poor couple ended up losing both children, which is horrific for all involved.
When our problem was found, I asked a counsellor at the hospital, which was Catholic-run, if couples would abort knowing what we did at that point. He said some would. I’m far from religious, but this knocked me for six.
We then had to wait another two weeks to see if the growth got any bigger; without doubt the longest two weeks of our lives. We also had an amniocentesis, which ruled out a genetic condition but wasn’t much consolation, knowing what may lie ahead.
I am not a “right to lifer” but at no stage did I consider terminating. Unless I was told my child would literally die at birth or be brain dead I just don’t think I could do it. Instead, I stressed and worried about what would happen to my child and whether it would even be born.
Finally we had the next ultrasound and while the growth was still there, it was no bigger. Good news at last, despite the fact that horrible blob was still there. We continued to have regular scans and it remained around the same size until the last check at around 36 weeks.
When Rebecca was born, we were expecting at the very least she would face an operation to remove whatever it was that had hung over our heads for 21 long weeks. I was half expecting her to come out gasping for air and having to be rushed into a humidicrib.
But the birth was fast, drug free and the easiest of all three. She scored 10 out of 10 on the Apgar test and was a pound heavier than both her siblings. The following day they gave her an X-ray and the lump was gone. Completely.
Bec has been perfectly healthy for the 10 years since and has hardly had a day sick. We are so grateful that things worked out, but I can’t help but wonder how many people have terminated in cases like ours when things may have worked out.
In the latest case the couple appears to have followed medical advice and I’m certainly not judging them. What these types of cases do show is that as far down the track as we have come technologically, medicine is still far from a perfect science.
This would offer little comfort to the parents of the two lost babies, who would rightly be absolutely shattered. Due apparently to human error, their lives have been turned upside down.
In our case there were no mistakes, just a miraculous clearing up of something that was clearly there for most of the pregnancy. I now joke that I would have been better off without medical science. Apart from that pesky growth, it was a dream pregnancy.
The one piece of advice I would offer others is to think long and hard if presented with a dilemma like ours. Medical experts are well meaning but can be quick to outline “your options”, which we were given before anyone knew the true nature of the problem.
I was also uncomfortable about having the amnio, mainly due to a one in 100-200 risk of miscarriage, but because my husband and the doctors wanted it I felt I should. Everything worked out, but I never would have forgiven myself if it didn’t.
Doctors do want the best for us, but remember you are the one who will have to live with it so please do what you think is best for you and your family.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…