Mom to Shiloh

June 25, 2013

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Our baby girl was diagnosed with a cystic hygroma (extra fluid on the back of her neck) at our 13-week ultrasound. The doctors told us she most likely had a chromosomal abnormality that caused the hygroma, and there was a chance she could die before she was born. We were devastated, as we wanted everything to be perfect with our first baby. We took a blood test that tested for Down Syndrome, Turners Syndrome, Trisomy 13, and Trisomy 18. The tests came back negative for all, and that is when we found out we were having a daughter.

We were so relieved, as we prayed so hard everything would be alright. We figured now the cystic hygroma would resolve on its own as they sometimes do. We went in for a follow-up ultrasound at 15 weeks, and she looked perfect. There was still some fluid on her neck, but it looked like it had gone down a lot. She was moving around, had a perfect heart, and good growth. We were ecstatic! My doctor wanted us to see a specialist though, just for a consultation because the fluid was still there and I also had a very large placenta. That appointment was scheduled for 18 weeks. My husband and I were actually looking forward to this ultrasound, as we figured by then the fluid would be completely gone and our baby would be healthy! But as soon as the technician pulled the picture up on the screen, I could tell something was different.

Right away she said, “I don’t have good news. There is no heartbeat.” I started balling immediately, as this was not at all expected. I thought I had a healthy baby growing inside of me!  She told me our baby girl had severe hydrops (fluid in every cavity of her body) and she most likely died a couple weeks ago because her heart could no longer handle the fluid surrounding it. This makes me so sad to think about. She also said my placenta was very large and filled with fluid as well, which is not at all normal. I also had many cysts on both ovaries. The doctor then came in to speak with us. This was the first time we heard of Triploidy. He said the hydrops in our daughter, the large placenta, and the ovary cysts all pointed him to Triploidy. He couldn’t be sure without testing, but he was almost positive that is what our daughter had. With Triploidy, you have 3 pairs of each chromosome instead of the normal 2. This is not compatible with life, and if she would have made it to birth, she would have died hours/days after.

It is not something we genetically passed down, nor was it something we could have prevented or fixed. I took comfort in the fact that it wasn’t my fault. It most likely occurred when 2 sperm fertilized 1 egg. We chose to have a D&C three days later to have her removed. I didn’t think I could handle going through hours of labor with painful contractions, knowing I would have to leave the hospital empty-handed. My surgery lasted about an hour and I was asleep the whole time. Before I knew it, it was all over with. The hospital that performed the surgery cremates the stillborn babies and buries them at their plot at a local cemetery and holds a memorial service once a year. We were so happy and relieved at this. Now we have a grave site to visit whenever we want. We also planted a hydrangea bush in our backyard in her memory. It’s comforting for me to have something to grow and take care of, since it can’t be her.

I have felt so much strength and peace in this whole situation. I know it is my faith that has made me this strong. Without my faith, I would have broken down. We decided to name our baby girl Shiloh, which is Hebrew for Peace. We know there is a plan and a reason for this, and that we will have a healthy baby someday. We will tell all of our children about Shiloh. The pain is still there, it has just evolved over time. I know time will heal, as it already has. I am so thankful I was able to carry her for the 4.5 months that I did. Now we have an angel to look over us!

You can email Hillary at: hillary_hansen@yahoo.com

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