My Beautiful Samuel

Diagnosis: Triploidy

By Mardi

From day one of my pregnancy, I had felt fine. No morning sickness and rarely tired, I loved being pregnant. The thought of carrying a tiny baby inside of me was fantastic.

It wasn't until my husband and I went for my routine 18-week ultrasound that all of my hopes and dreams of becoming a mother where shattered. This is a day that I will never forget. I was excited to see my baby move around and couldn't wait to take home the little video of my baby that everyone talked about.

At this stage I could see my baby's heart beating, his arms and legs moving, we were so excited. It wasn't until the ultrasound was over that I knew something was terribly wrong. The person that completed the ultrasound came back into the room with a doctor. Together, they explained to me that my baby was very small and they could also see that there was not a lot of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. My heart sunk. They then explained that I needed to get into a specialist as soon as possible.

The next day I was off to see a doctor at a fetal medicine unit in Canberra. Here the doctors were able to give me another ultrasound that could show a lot more detail: The equipment was much more high tech. First thoughts were that I may have problems with my blood supply to the placenta -— that was ruled out. They searched further until they could then tell me that the head measurements were fine but the size of the abdomen was only measuring 14 weeks in size not 18 weeks. My husband suggested that maybe I was just having a small baby. The doctors explained that there is no such thing as a small baby at this stage in your pregnancy. They searched further and discovered a hole in the heart along with other heart problems but couldn't exactly say what because my baby was far too small. We then asked "what does this mean for our baby?" We were told that usually these types of problems are associated with chromosomal problems.

After speaking to a doctor that explained to us about Trisomy 13 and Trisomy 18, which is what they had prepared us for, we decided on having a CVS procedure to confirm the exact diagnosis. After a few agonizing days of waiting. our doctor rang through with the results. It turned out to beTriploidy. She explained that all babies inherit 23 chromosomes from each parent, for a total of 46. Our baby had three sets of chromosomes, giving him a total of 69. The doctor also explained that having this many chromosomes is not compatible with life. I was crying, my husband was crying and the doctor was crying. The anger, frustration and devastation I felt at that moment was indescribable.

The next day we went to speak with the doctor who gave us our choices. First we were told how rare it is for somebody to carry a baby with Triploidy as far as I did. Usually the mother would miscarry before 12 weeks and the Triploidy would go unrecognized. Also that non-mosaic Triploidy pregnancies never go full term. If the baby is even born alive, it cannot live for long.

With all of this information laid out in front of us, we decided to terminate the pregnancy. We couldn't bear the thought of letting our baby suffer any longer than he already had. Even just waiting for our baby to die was something that I couldn't live with.

The next day I went into hospital to be induced. The midwives gave me my first servagum at 12.00 p.m. on a Wednesday. I gave birth to my beautiful stillborn boy, Samuel, on Thursday night at 10.30 p.m. on 12 May 2005 (my 28th birthday). Samuel weighed 105 grams. We held him all night until I couldn't hold my eyes open any longer. I was pretty sedated with morphine. We held him the next day until it was time to leave. Having to leave behind my baby boy was the most heart-wrenching ordeal of the entire process.

My time in hospital was terrible. The induction upset my intestines and the morphine made me vomit. The midwives and the doctors were wonderful though.

The hospital organized a service in the chapel for Samuel along with four other babies who had not survived 20 weeks gestation. I found the service to help with the grieving process. It was lovely.

Samuel has now been cremated. His remains have been spread at a crematorium in Canberra. They have a special place put aside in the Children's section for babies under 20 weeks gestation. I thought this a nice place for Samuel to rest, as he will be with all the little babies who were just like him.


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