A Day in the Life of Emily 1 - The Pregnancy and the Final Trimester

From a Mother’s Journal

38 Weeks Pregnant with Two Weeks to Birth Day - Final Trimester

My eyes are open long before the sunrise on yet another warm December morning in the heart of Australia. I am anxious about the day ahead and wish it was over before it has even begun. As I roll my large belly over the side of the bed I feel that gentle kick I’ve come to know and love inside my womb. I rub my stomach and am instantly comforted. A smile lights my face.

“Are you getting up already?” the familiar comforting voice of my baby’s father reaches out to me in the gentle morning glow as the sun starts to filter through the curtains.

“Yeah, I couldn’t sleep anyway.” I respond wearily as I wander out to the kitchen for that first cup of tea that begins our morning ritual.

The plans for today are another trip to the hospital for yet another ultrasound to check the Doppler flow. This pregnancy has left me fraught with worry and it seems I spend more time in hospital or driving to and from, than at home where I am supposed to be resting and preparing for the birth of my third baby. It has been twenty years between pregnancies and this one has taken its toll ever since the discovery at the eleven week ultrasound that showed things weren’t quite right.

 

Ultrasound Image

Photographer: Morten Liebach
Photographer: Morten Liebach | Source

The Eleven Week Ultrasound

Partly because of my age but also because it has become normal procedure, my doctor requested an ultrasound as close as he could get to the eleventh week of the pregnancy. The timing is important for the eleven week ultrasound due to the thickness of the fluid around the back of the foetus’ neck, apparently. This is what determines the likelihood of any chromosome abnormalities.

Gosh, this is all such new terminology to me. Twenty plus years ago when I was pregnant for the first and second times of my life, it all seemed so easy. Sure, I had a couple of ultrasounds, some urine checks but then, simple as that, babies were born. Back then, it happened without a hitch. And in my case it happened twice. At least that is how I remember it now. Two beautiful baby boys. Two pregnancies followed by two perfect results.

But what had changed for me with this pregnancy, was my age. Any woman over the age of thirty has a different risk criteria for pregnancy, there are many more risks and complications that require more tests and investigations. Add another ten years and, well, the list grows.

Chromosome Abnormality Confirmed

So there we were back in the first trimester with confirmation that our baby would indeed have some form of chromosome abnormality. The choices were laid in front of us and the decisions were left entirely up to us. Sigh, big deep breath in fact.

The decisions to be made were:

Option 1. Carry the Baby to Full Term

We were told we could leave things be, follow through with the pregnancy and maybe with a very slim chance a baby may be born. That baby will most certainly be born with a chromosome abnormality ranging in severity from mild to severe, but no-one ever mouthed those words that every parent doesn’t want to hear. What exactly do they mean when they say from mild to severe?

Was this a good thing, that we weren’t being given the pitfalls and tragedies that this pregnancy could mean?

Option 2. Take the Amniocentesis Test

The second option was to fly out of town, have the amniocentesis test to confirm the abnormality and diagnose the type of chromosome that was deficient, duplicated, or dare I say, faulty? My first question was, but what will the outcome of this test show and what difference does it make anyway?

The difference, as it turns out is, once a woman is given the test and a result is confirmed then she can decide whether or not to terminate the pregnancy. But before the above two options are taken into account the risks of having an amniocentesis test have to be advised and this is where my first dilemma with this pregnancy came in to play. What risks? According to some statistics, simply by having the test the chances of the foetus aborting become one in 100.

Decisions to be Made at the First Trimester

The path ahead is looking bleak for this 42 year old woman. I am in my first trimester. This is my fifth pregnancy following two successful deliveries in my twenties and three miscarriages in my forties. The father of this baby has never had children.

The baby I am carrying may or may not be born. If I do succeed in carrying full term that baby may have anything from mild to severe abnormalities. How does anyone make logical or ethical decisions at times like these? It is not just my life resting on this, it is the life of another human being at stake. Is it up to me to play God? Is this what they are actually asking me to do?


Emily's story available at Amazon

A day in the life of Emily has been written in to a full length book available at Amazon. Thank you everyone who has supported me in writing Emily's story. Karen Wilton

She's No Turnip

© 2010 Karen Wilton

More by this Author


Comments 10 comments

nighthag profile image

nighthag 6 years ago from Australia

My heart hurts for you,

as a mother and a woman and a human being i can not image how hard this must be for you all.

let your heart choose first and your mind choose second. after rewriting this several times, it all comes down to what is right for you.

what you can handle and what you can live with in the long run no matter which way you go,

look at it all with open eyes and try imagine yourself living it. do this with all the options open to you, run over the consequences of these options in your mind. and maybe then you will find your path.

I cannot imagine how hard this must be for you and your partner, my sympathy and best wishes are with you both


Karen Wilton profile image

Karen Wilton 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thank you so much for your kind words and your empathy. Going through such a heart wrenching decision is not easy, but knowing there are others who appreciate that decisions need to be made and where none of the options will give the happy ending sought by all is heart warming.

What you have said about knowing what you can handle goes a long way I feel. Some will know instantly they could not cope with anything less than a perfect baby, others will strive to find it in themselves to do whatever they can.

That's human nature, I guess, we are all different with different capabilities.


amberrisme profile image

amberrisme 6 years ago

I am praying for your family. As a mother, this post made me very emotional. I don't think some women realize how fortunate they are when they experience a smooth pregnancy--especially when so many things can go wrong.


Karen Wilton profile image

Karen Wilton 6 years ago from Australia Author

Oh too true Amber. My experience with pregnancy in my earlier years was so smooth I didn't give it a second thought at the time. It was only when I was faced with complications that I realised how lucky I had been before.

On the other hand babies are born every minute without any drama and the more relaxed a woman is during a pregnancy the better outcome for mum and baby at birth. But there is so much that is out of our control. Thank you for your kind words and thoughts.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 6 years ago from Templeton, CA

Karen, I hope you will continue to write. You have left me wanting to know what happened after your baby was born. I have just prayed for you, realizing that the hardest part has already started. May God grant you the strength you need.


Karen Wilton profile image

Karen Wilton 6 years ago from Australia Author

WannaB Writer thank you for your prayers and thoughts. Yes, I will continue to write and let the story unfold in its way. It is not easy this baring all to the world about such hard times in our lives.


Clare 6 years ago

karen- You are such a strong person xxxxx


Karen Wilton profile image

Karen Wilton 6 years ago from Australia Author

It is amazing how much strength one can find when another human life is depending on you. The same could be said for all mothers everywhere, anywhere, in the world. Thank you for your encouraging words Clare.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Writing from the heart it is easy to hear the anticipatory anxiety that you must have felt. We are not equipped with the sudden, big life dilemmas that come our way when it involves the lives of so many others. Therefore, it is easy to feel that we have stepped into the role of God...

It's always a heartache to learn that a happy experience, such as pregnancy, may turn foul on us. But, I see at the beginning a photo of a beautiful infant and I can already anticipate what one of your decisions was.

Thank you for sharing Emily's story with us. She has a beautiful name. :)


Karen Wilton profile image

Karen Wilton 5 years ago from Australia Author

Thank you for reading Denise. It was an anxious time indeed, not just for me but for everyone involved in this birth. Even though we think we are not equipped for the hard choices, we can only make the decisions that sit well with us and individuals.

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