Rebecca “Dee”
Mom to “Angel”
Lost to Renal Agenesis at 20 weeks on September 4th, 2009
Atlanta, GA

After eight years of dating, my husband and I finally tied the knot. I got pregnant the first time my husband and I even “tried”, on our Honeymoon in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I knew I was pregnant from the moment it happened. I just had a feeling. I took two tests that were negative, but missed my period and tested a few days later and got a positive! We were SO excited!!! My dream in life is to be a mother. This was the most exciting thing I have ever experienced in life (besides our vows & wedding). I was going to be a Mom!!! I didn’t have a single bout of morning sickness. Other than the occasional hormonal/sleepy/grumpy issues, life was good. I was eating a lot, walking a good bit with my husband. Planning, thinking, dreaming of our future and of our child.

At 12 weeks it was discovered that I had gestational diabetes. My OB found it so early that she decided that I must be pre-diabetic. Finally, after several weeks of waiting to find out what to do, a dietician called me from our hospital. She was amazing! She sat with my husband and I for hours and showed us how we could manage my new lifestyle. I was bummed about not being able to indulge in every craving that pregnancy enticed me with, but I knew we would work it out. I have so many people supporting me, my husband, my family, my OB, my dietician, my friends.

At 17 weeks we had our ultra sound for the anatomy scan, and we were so excited to find out the sex of our little baby. We were then told that my fluids were extremely low. We were politely ushered out and sent directly to a specialist. I first met with a sonogram specialist that didn’t have any good news, and then Dr. M, who had nothing to tell us but that my amniotic fluid was low and that I needed to start planning for termination. I was told that it could either be a tear in the sac (which may or may not repair itself), the baby could be lacking kidneys, a bladder or have some sort of blockage, or it could be a genetic issue. When I asked him what he would do if he were in my situation, his answer was “Well, I am not a woman.” We hated him from that moment on and wanted a second opinion. We weren’t scheduled to come back for several weeks to see if there could be any change in the fluid levels. I was given an alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) blood test to see if I tested high for chromosomal abnormalities. Dr. M then instructed me to basically be on bed rest and to not travel. I then spoke with my OB and she told me to “Go, take it easy, and go be with your family on vacation.”

I went to the beach the following week with my family. I drank a gallon of water every day, took it easy, kept my sugar numbers where they needed to be, and just tried to enjoy my time with my family, my husband, and the special little baby inside of me. I would stroke my belly and pray every moment that I had. I thanked God for giving me these 4 precious months with this baby. I begged God not to take it away from me. I just wanted to hold him or her while trying to decide who he or she looked like. I wanted it to all work out. I would do anything to make it work. I prayed knowing that there was a huge chance that it may not work out, and I tried my best to be optimistic.

When I got back from a week in Florida, I visited my OB to go over my sugar numbers and found out that my AFP test came back normal. There was nothing chromosomally wrong with my baby. I also got to hear its little heartbeat, and it was normal. It gave me so much hope. My belly even seemed to pop out a bit, I was officially 18 weeks and I was starting to show. Lots more praying, tummy rubbing and “come on baby” ensued…even my husband was in on it.

The following week, I was 19 weeks pregnant and met with another specialist in the Atlanta Fetal Maternal Medicine group, Dr. Y. I instantly trusted her. She gave us the horrifying news that our baby had a fatal birth defect, renal agenesis. Bilateral renal agenesis is the uncommon and serious failure of both a fetus’ kidneys to develop during gestation. Most infants that are born alive do not live beyond four hours. She told us that in our case it was not genetic, that it was like lightening striking– a stroke of bad luck. She hugged me. She gave me every bit of info that I needed. After speaking with Dr. Y, my husband and I felt very confident about how we needed to handle the situation, the loss of our baby, our child. This is where it all begins, or ends…

My choices in my state at 20 weeks with a baby with a fatal birth defect were to:

A. Continue the pregnancy, and deliver at the earliest that I could. Make funeral arrangements. See my dead baby, hold my dead baby.

B. Terminate my pregnancy at an Abortion Clinic.

I chose B. I do not regret my decision, but still find it hard to deal with the ramifications of it daily. On Friday, September 4th, I went to the clinic to terminate my pregnancy. I will not go into anymore detail. It was horrifying, painful. I was sick. I was dying from the inside out. I made a decision, since it wasn’t really a choice, and I will never forget it.

We never found out the sex of our baby because there wasn’t any fluid, therefore hard to make out much in the anatomy scans. I didn’t want to know more than I needed to. All I knew was that I carried this beautiful life inside of me for 19 weeks and it was no longer going to exist. I would no longer be pregnant. No more searching for the right baby crib. No more trips to the potty in the middle of the night. No more good dreams. No more curiosity. No more excitement. No more smiles on my husbands face when I would show him my growing belly. No more planning alongside my mother and sister. I feel as empty as one could possibly feel. I have felt this loss greater than any other loss in my life, maybe because this baby was physically apart of me for so very long. I will never ever forget the physical pain, the heartache, the loss. I will never be the same. I will always, always love my child. It will always be in my heart, on my mind, and burned into my soul. I pray everyday that I will be able to get out of bed, shower, put my clothes on, and try not to cry too many times at work. I pray that I won’t hate every pregnant woman I see. I ask God “why” at least once a day. I pray God will give me another chance.

** I’m now 32 weeks pregnant with our rainbow baby, a little girl. I cherish every second with her. I still cannot believe that she will be my “take home” baby. I won’t believe it till I’m holding her in my arms.
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  1. Rebecca,

    Thank you for taking the courage to share. I decided to terminate after receiving a fatal diagnosis with my son. I closeted my gried for 4 1/2 years, not being truthful to anyone or myself about what really happened. I was ashamed and afraid of judgement. I have since come to realize that I am his voice. I want women to know that if they too faced termination, they are not alone. I am deeply sorry for your loss.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your child but excited that you are getting your second chance.

    I have also had the pain of undergoing a medical termination for fetal defect though ours was not necessarily a fatal diagnosis, it was also complicated by various other factors including my own dropping platelets as I was heavily bleeding.

    The path to my family's loss may have been different than many others on the board but we still lost a very much loved, desired child.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I just wante dto say that I can relate. I too lost my little girl almost 3 months ago. She had very little amniotic fluid as well because my water broked when I was only 18 weeks….the doctors told us that she had very little chance for survival so we had to make the decision to let her go. It was the worst pain I have ever endured in my entire life.

    I am so happy that you are now carrying your rainbow baby, that gives me so much hope.

    Good luck to you

  4. My daughter was also diagnosed with bi-lateral renal agenesis. I decided to carry to term in hopes that she would be my miracle baby. I do not regret my decision, at all. Read Sadie Mae’s story here:

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