DSC02821 copyAmanda

Mom to Johnathan Paul

February 3, 2015

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

After 8 months of trying to get pregnant, one Sunday morning in August I finally saw two pink lines!  After taking it 3 or 4 more times just to be sure, I got my shaking somewhat under control and ran downstairs to tell my husband! I always had a plan of how I would tell him but found myself too excited to follow through on that plan. I couldn’t hold it in much longer! He was ecstatic! We couldn’t believe we were finally having a baby!

My whole pregnancy was completely normal. We had our first appointment at 6 weeks and another appointment at 10 weeks. Both times the doctor did an ultrasound and the baby’s growth looked normal and healthy.  Once we entered into the second trimester, we were on top of the world since we had finally made it to the “safe” zone. We could not wait to see our baby again at our 20 week ultrasound and finally find out the baby’s sex! The ultrasound was normal from what we knew, being that this was our first child and first time going through this part of pregnancy. The technician told us we were having a baby girl! We couldn’t believe it! We, out of both families having solid boy streaks, were actually going to have a baby girl! The technician walked us through the pictures she was taking and told us our baby weighed about 7 ounces. Since we had never gone through this before, we had no idea what a normal weight was at 20 weeks. The technician gave us no inclination that anything was wrong, nor did we ever think anything would be. We were on top of the world!

A few days later, my doctor called me. We knew we had to most likely do another ultrasound because the baby was like a pretzel and had its feet above its head so they did not get the views of the heart they wanted. But that is not all my doctor wanted to tell me. When I heard her voice on the phone and not the nurse, I automatically knew something was off but never would have thought it would have been as bad as it was.  She told me that the baby was small and had short arms and legs, therefore she was going to set me up with a specialist to take another look. She tried to comfort me and said it could be that our baby was just smaller but it was good to check it out. I called my husband and told him; I think he was freaking out more than I was because I was thinking everything would be okay one way or another. We had our gender reveal party coming up that following weekend and we had to wait until Monday to find out what was going on. We had to keep our nerves to ourselves, as we did not want to ruin the excitement of telling our families that we were having a baby girl!

Monday came and we were both excited to see our baby again but nervous beyond belief on what they would find. The technician confirmed it was a girl as well and the measurements and weight were the same as before. They checked the blood flow through the umbilical chord and the flow had pauses. There was restricted flow to our baby, which was most likely causing the small growth. The doctor came in and said that our baby would most likely not survive due to the cord flow and eventually it would become completely reversed, which cuts off all oxygen and nutrients to the baby. My husband asked what the best-case scenario was and she responded that we get to 24 weeks and 400 grams and do a c-section in hopes to save the baby. We were in complete shock! They suggested doing an amniocentesis due to the short arms and legs being soft markers for Down Syndrome and other genetic disorders. The FISH test from the amniocentesis came back within a few days. We were negative for Down Syndrome and both Trisomy disorders. The amniocentesis came back showing XY chromosomes. We were actually having a little boy! When we heard this, we were in shock once again. We literally felt like Shonda Rhimes was writing a really messed up storyline and casting us in it as the main characters. Though we truly didn’t care what we were having, it was frustrating being told and thinking we knew one thing and then that rug being ripped out from under us. We felt confused, helpless and frustrated. We didn’t know what to believe. We started to accept one thing and then something new would pop up.

We went weekly to look at Johnathan’s growth and development and check the flow of his umbilical cord. We had made it 7 more weeks since that initial ultrasound with the fetal specialist, way beyond what the doctors ever thought. We had seen more reversed flow in the cord the last weeks, but Johnathan kept hanging on. We had started grieving him in the beginning but as weeks went on we started having more hope as we were getting closer to the 400 gram mark. It was literally a race against time. Finally, on February 2, 2015, we went in for our weekly, now routine appointment. Neither of us expected that day to be THE day. We had gotten so used to him holding on so strong, we thought maybe, just maybe, God was going to give us a miracle. The technician put the jelly on my tummy and she started moving it around and we both knew there was no more beating heart. The technician scanned for anything she could find a few times to make sure, but there was nothing. His heart had finally stopped. His fight was finally over. Though we had prepared for 7 weeks to hear this news, you can never truly be prepared to hear your child has died. We both cried and broke down. We were both so heartbroken and sad, but also felt relieved knowing that Johnathan did not have to suffer the agony of having tubes inserted into him as soon as he entered into this world. The fear of having to make quality of life decisions due to his small weight and the odds against him surviving in the NICU was no longer present.

Though we are comforted by the fact that Johnathan was at peace and never had to know the pain of this world, we will forever feel the void of him not being present with us in the physical world. Johnathan was born the next day at 4:03 a.m. in his amniotic sac. His birth could not have been more perfect; he could not have been more perfect. Having the chance to hold and see him was the best gift we could have been given after such a tragedy. He had his daddy’s feet exactly, my hands and the cutest button nose. Though the experience of losing him has been the worse and most horrible thing in our lives, meeting him, though born still, was the best day of our lives.

Amanda blogs at: http://johnathansmommyforever.blogspot.com/

You can email her at: amanda.smyth55@gmail.com

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