Garrett's Story

Diagnosis: Anencephaly

By April

My husband Kevin and I met in high school. Both of us went on to marry other partners, and both of us have daughters from those marriages. In April of 2003, Kevin and I got back together and a year later, we married. We started trying to have a baby right after we moved in together. By the time we got married, we were pretty worried that since I hadn't gotten pregnant, something was wrong.

My OB found that one of my fallopian tubes was completely blocked. Emergency surgery also detected a large cyst on my right ovary that was causing my uterus to tilt backwards. He removed the cysts and, thankfully, cleaned out my tubes while he was in there. After the surgery, we were told that we would need to go for infertility treatment because my chances of getting pregnant were very slim.

In April of 2005, however, after feeling really sick and tired, I discovered that I was pregnant! We were so excited. I took early maternity leave because my job requires me to lift 50 pounds and we knew that wasn't good for me or the baby. I felt so sick, like I had the flu or something. I kept telling the doctors and they said I was just tired, that it was normal. They told me I would start to feel better at about 16 to 18 weeks. I didn't made it that far.

On June 21st, I started having pains in my lower abdomen and side. As the day went on, the pain became so intense that I could hardly move. When Kevin got home from work, he took me to the emergency room. They examined me and gave me morphine for the pain. We thought that was really strange and we asked if it would hurt the baby and were told no. It would just make the baby sleepy. After that, I was sent for an ultrasound.

I got to see my baby covering up its ears and waving and sucking its thumb. The lady doing the ultrasound said that the baby looked fine. I was so relieved. She kept taking pictures and pressing down on my belly and finally I asked her what she was doing. She said that she couldn't get a good picture of the head. I was sent back to my room and Kevin and I sat there waiting for the doctor, trying to figure out why I was hurting so badly. The doctor finally came in and told us our baby had anencephaly, a neural tube defect. He told us that I seemed to be in the beginning stages of a miscarriage and that I would never be able to carry to term.

All we could do was cry and scream. We couldn't understand. Why us? We wanted this baby so badly. My whole body felt numb. I made myself believe that doctor didn't know what he was talking about. After all, I had seen my baby and he looked fine. That was the longest night of my life.

The next morning, we went to our OB, who confirmed the diagnosis. She said that in the remote chance I did carry to term, my baby would not survive. She gave us the option to wait it out, or induce. We made the agonizing decision to induce. On June 23rd, I went into the hospital and they started the medicine right away. After three days of labor, I finally delivered my baby boy. He weighed 1.6 ounces. We named him Garrett.

The doctor told me that the placenta did not detach completely and they removed it with forceps. This caused complications. A month later, I started passing big blood clots when I got up, I went to the bathroom and I was pouring blood. I went to the emergency room. An ultrasound detected several pieces of tissue from the pregnancy left inside me. My doctor said they would have to do a D & C. I couldn't believe I was having to go through this!

Through all of this, it has been a real struggle; I have to wonder everyday, why me? I wish every day that I could change things. One day, I want to try and have another baby but I can't say when. Right now my heart is shattered and all I want is my son back. I want to be able to change things.

And for you, Garrett, always know that Mommy and Daddy love you and we think of you and miss you every day!


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