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.
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
- A Day in the Life of Emily 1 - The Pregnancy
Follow the pregnancy of a woman as she unfolds the dilemnas, risks and uncertainties of being pregnant in her forties. From first trimester to final trimester she is faced with the possibilites of having a baby born with chromosome abnormalities.
- A Day in the Life of Emily 2 - Choices - Abortion or the Gift of Life
It is my belief that abortion and the gift of life should not be entwined in the same sentence but that is exactly what I have done. I don't know how to voice the sentiments I feel. No doubt what I am about to...
- A Day in the Life of Emily 3 - The Birth Day - Natural Delivery or Caesarean
After having given birth by way of natural delivery on two previous occasions, the thought of a Caesarean delivery was not only alien to me but abhorrent. But with my third pregnancy this was to be considered,...
- A Day in the Life of Emily 4 - The Intensive Care Unit
All the anxious months of waiting for a baby to arrive in normal circumstances are hard enough. For my third pregnancy there were so many trips to the hospital for extra tests, that I now felt the place was...
- A Day in the Life of Emily 5 - The Special Care Nursery and Babies with Special Needs
It can be heartwrenching for any parent having to visit their newborn baby in the Special Care Nursery but the staff make the experience less frightening. Their expertise is in looking after babies with special needs.
- A Day in the Life of Emily 6 - The Diagnosis, not Down Syndrome
Following a pregnancy fraught with every possibility of having a baby born with a chromosomal abnormality, the diagnosis has finally arrived. The good news; our baby does not have down Syndrome – the bad news is something much worse. Edwards Syndrome
© 2010 Karen Wilton