My fourth pregnancy occurred in February 1997. It had taken us 10 months to become pregnant this time. We had started to try to conceive immediately after my last miscarriage. I went in for my 18-week ultrasound in May. I was so excited! I figured this was it -- I was finally going to have another child after trying for almost 3 years and having had 2 miscarriages.
I took my mom and my daughter to the ultrasound appointment. We were in the room and the technician was doing the scan. We asked her what it was and she said a boy. I couldn't believe it! I was finally going to have my dream, one of each! In that split second I felt so complete, whole, thankful, joyous, and shocked! But, when the ultrasound technician was through with her scan, she asked me to see the doctor. Now, I had been through enough that I knew this wasn't good.
My mom, my daughter, and I went into the doctor's office. My doctor said that there was some type of extra skin fold on my baby's head. I was in shock and I thought he had said it was under his chin. I thought that maybe he is just a chunky kid. My doctor said to call a hospital in our area and get another scan -- a more detailed one.
I went home and called the hospital right away. I got in for the scan in the afternoon. I went in and when the technician was finished, I met with the doctor. This doctor told me that my son had hydrocephalus (water on the brain) and possibly Dandy Walker Syndrome. According to this doctor, my son would be severely retarded. Needless to say, I was in shock! I calmly asked if I could use their telephone to call my husband. I couldn't get in touch with him so I called my mother-in-law. I just broke down and started wailing into the phone. I was crying uncontrollably and was so crushed.
I still remember that day very vividly. I was devastated. Someone had come in and pulled the rug out from under me, pushed me off a cliff, thrown me out to sea without a life raft. I was in a black hole and had nowhere to go. My mother-in-law tried to calm me down and talked with me about it. When I was through with my phone call, I talked with the doctor. He said that if I chose to complete the pregnancy, he could help me. If I chose to end the pregnancy early, he could not because the hospital was a Catholic hospital and they did not do those types of procedures. I went home feeling ashamed and angry. I felt dirty and low. I felt pathetic and lost.
When I arrived home, my husband was waiting for me outside. I came into the house and was crying to my mom and sister "What am I going to do?" I then retreated to my bedroom, and my husband and I just sat there and cried. Writing this down at this very moment I am crying all over again. It is a terrible thing to have to choose the life of your unborn child. You may expect to do this for your parents but never for your own child. To this day, it is still a very sad thing for me.
My husband and I chose to end the pregnancy. We went in to another hospital, a women's hospital, in the area. They did yet another higher level of ultrasound. That doctor gave me an even worse diagnosis. They thought they saw a hole in his heart. And, according to the doctor, it was severe retardation. I know doctors are not G-d but sometimes they seem to be as close as we can get. We trust them with our lives. I just couldn't believe it but I knew that three doctors would never just tell me these things for no reason. We met with a genetic doctor. We went over our options and researched the diagnoses made to that date. We decided to do the procedure.
From the moment I found out that my son was not going to be with me, I disconnected myself from him. I didn't want to feel him kick; I didn’t want to look at my tummy. I was so upset with myself and with the situation. I was not angry with my son, I was angry at G-d. I never asked "why me," but I did want a reason why my son ended up this way. I went to bed at night rubbing my stomach and apologizing over and over to my son why I made the decision I did. To this day, I feel the need to justify this decision. But I feel that this is my cross to bear.