We were literally counting the days to yesterday’s gynae appointment. We were so excited to find out the sex of our baby and couldn’t wait to hear the news. We didn’t realize the devastation we would experience.
The gynae was scanning and seemed to be struggling to see whether it was a boy or a girl. He was sighing and seemed uneasy. I thought he was just a little annoyed because he was struggling to see. I didn’t know that he was probably mentally preparing himself to deliver the bad news. In our first appointment we discussed going for the assessment scan to check for birth defects and down syndrome, etc. He classified us in the ‘low risk’ category because we didn’t have a family history of birth defects and because I’m under 35. While he was scanning me he asked me if I had thought about it and I said that I’d decided to go for the 22 week scan to check that everything is OK. It was then that he broke the news. He said the baby’s feet didn’t look right and that he wanted to send us to the specialist immediately to check as he didn’t want to leave it too long. The specialist is just across the road and agreed to squeeze us in between appointments. The gynae had already mentioned it looks like the baby has a club foot. Of course I freaked out.
In the waiting room at the specialist I cried and cried…we waited for quite a while. Once we went in, she confirmed that both feet are severely deformed. She also told us that we’re expecting a little girl (the gynae was unable to see). She scanned for a long time…noting other things that concerned her. Club foot can be isolated, but is usually an indication that there is something else wrong, usually a chromosomal abnormality. She mentioned Trisome 18 which is a very serious condition that babies do not live through. Most that have that condition die in utero. She also noted that the abdomen looked enlarged and that she could see bowel loops that she is not accustomed to seeing so early on. She was also uncertain of the spine as there seemed to be a hole, which may also have been a shadow cast by another bone (club foot can also be related to a hole in the spine). She recommended that we go for an amnio (where they extract amniotic fluid from the gestational sac) so that we can make an informed decision about whether or not to have the baby. We heard her heartbeat.
The amnio costs around R3000.00 and is inconclusive. The thorough test takes about 3 and a half weeks by which time it may be too late to terminate if something serious is found wrong. The shortcut takes 3 – 4 days, but will only show very serious chromosomal abnormalities.
I am devastated. I am so broken inside and I am not coping. I can’t find anyone to blame and I don’t know who to direct my anger towards. The specialist assured me that there was nothing that either Rudi or I did that could have caused this. This was simply the luck of the draw. She went as far as to say that even smoking TIK (meth) would not have caused this kind of thing to happen. I don’t understand why this is happening to us. If this baby was not meant to be, why put the decision on our conscience? I am so scared and so conflicted. I can’t even think of words to describe how I feel.
We already know for certain that the baby will need more than one surgery to correct her feet. Our little girl is going to need surgery and special care. We were already worried about who is going to look after her once I have to go back to work…now she will need special care that we probably can’t afford.
I have been considering termination – as much as I will be persecuted for that. I love my baby and I don’t want her to die. Just the thought of what will happen if we decide to terminate makes me hysterical. The thought of the process. The thought of my living, breathing child being removed from me and dying an undignified death. I feel sick to my stomach. I want to curl up and forget all about this. I want it to go away. I don’t want to have to make these kinds of decisions. I want to press the reset button and start over. There is no easy way out.
We have around 3 weeks to decide what is going to happen. I can’t do this. Either way…whether we decide to have the baby or not there is a long and difficult road ahead of us. I am scared shitless. I can’t stop crying. I’ve had to take out my contact lenses and wear my glasses (which I haven’t touched in years) because I’m always crying. I used to be happy when she moved. Now I don’t know how to feel.
Rudi has been very supportive. He stayed with me off work yesterday. He had to go back to work today though. His boss is an ass. I need him so much right now. Having him with me comforts me a great deal. He said he will support whatever decision I make, but I can tell he wants to fight for her. This morning he was in thought and I asked him what he was thinking. He was thinking of the flags that they hang outside the hospital to indicate how many girls and boys had been born that day. Yesterday there were only pink flags. Only girls. I can only hope and pray that this doesn’t interfere in our marriage, that our relationship is strong enough to survive this. I’m sure it is, but if something like this can happen to us…anything can happen. I cannot lose him as well. I will die. I do not want him to resent me in the future if we do not have this baby. Oh God…WHY? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?!?
I didn’t go in to work today. I couldn’t face people. I can’t face the questions. I cannot even face the situation myself. I’ve been wondering if I should send out an e-mail to explain what is going on so that I wouldn’t have to answer the questions. I have already received SMS messages asking if I’m OK. Everybody knew I was going to the gynae yesterday and everybody must have assumed by now that something is very wrong.
As is custom in our church I consulted our religious leaders about the situation. My house priest called upon our district elder to come and see us last night. The advice of the district elder was to have the amnio done and let the doctors guide us. He said we will have to decide what is best for the child. The doctors will be able to tell us about the quality of life the child might have pending the outcome of the tests.
I’ll have to phone and make another appointment to have the amnio done.
My little trip to the doctor already cost me R900.00 yesterday. If I can’t even afford the investigation…how am I going to afford the outcome?
How do you say goodbye to someone that you love with all your heart and have never met?
How am I going to make it through this?