Diagnosis: Spina bifida
When I was 17, I found out I was pregnant. It was four days before my18th birthday. Despite how young I was my boyfriend and I
decided we were going to keep our baby. Telling our parents was a scary event. Even though there were some difficulties with his parents,
I went to my senior prom and graduated pregnant, without an ounce of shame.
I wanted the very best for my child. So I went to the best Obstetrician so I could deliver in the best hospital in my state. I never
missed a doctor's appointment and took good care of myself. I was in bed early every single night. I didn't drink or do drugs, I wouldn't
even be around someone who was smoking.
I had the test to check for the birth defects. I'll never forget the day I got the phone call saying that my baby was negative for Down
syndrome, Trisomy 18, and Spina Bifida*. I was ecstatic. It was like I had no worries left. I began counting down the days until we were
going to find out the sex of the baby. I was so excited. I knew I was having a girl though, I was just positive of it. I had already bought
cute little head bands and cheetah outfits, and even a Christmas outfit because she was suppose to be born on Thanksgiving day and
Christmas would be right around the corner.
I loved my baby so much and would do anything to protect her. On July fifth we went to have the sonogram done to find out the sex.
After waiting in the waiting room for what seemed like forever we were called in. The ultrasound tech seemed very cold and distant. As
for me, I was falling more in love seeing my beautiful baby on that screen. The tech then told us the doctor would be right in.
When he came in she was pointing on the screen to him "right there you see that?" my first thought was that she was just pointing
to a penis...I had nothing to be worried about....Right? At that point my world came crashing down. He told me that my baby had Spina
bifida and there was a severe amount of fluid on the brain. He said we should all go in this office and talk. He told us that she would
never be able to walk, crawl, use the bathroom on her own, and since there was such a severe amount of fluid on the brain he didn't
even know how functional the baby would be. He told us that the baby would have to be in surgery right after birth, and she never would
have a normal life.
I was devastated. Why did this happen? I had to make a decision at 18 that nobody should ever have to make. We choose to not
continue with the pregnancy because it was not fair to the baby. I would rather suffer every day of my life instead of making her suffer. I
did the only thing I could do for my baby, which was to take the pain away before it even started.
Although they said that they were setting up to have surgery the next morning, but I delivered my baby girl on July 10th at 8:40 pm.
She weighed 12.8 oz, was 10 inches long and she was absolutely gorgeous. We named her Alexia Paige. For the short amount of time
I had her with me, she changed me forever. I lost the most important person in my life and still struggle every single day with my loss.
The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that she isn't suffering and that we'll be together again one day.
My angel was buried right on top of my grandfather. I go down there everyday and read to her. I'm honestly heartbroken. I know I did
what was best for her and even though it hurts I'm going to make something of my life for her.
*Administrator's note: Many AFP screenings can come back with either false positive results or false negative results. “...even if the
results are negative, there's still a small chance that spina bifida is present.” Source:
Screening tests are meant to identify the possibility of increased risks for certain disorders. If a positive result is found, then further
diagnostic tests can be preformed. A negative screening test result unfortunately does always not rule out birth defects. Please ask
your doctor about the kinds of Prenatal testing available to you. You can get more information here:
Aamericanpregnancy.org or here:
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.