In December 2018, my husband and I found out we were pregnant. We were so excited and immediately jumped into celebrating. We told our families and friends and once we entered the “safe zone,” (does that even exist?!) we publicly announced that we were adding a baby to our family. Our first pregnancy was filled with so much joy, excitement, Hope. I never thought anything bad could happen. I did all of the right things and was already in Mama Bear protection mode. Every ultrasound, test, and appointment pointed to a perfectly healthy babe. Until it didn’t.
April 12, 2019 I was 21 weeks pregnant and so excited to pick my husband up on the way to our anatomy ultrasound appointment. My husband hasn’t been able to make it to any of the other scans or appointments and my midwives said this was the exciting one. I felt our baby kicking me on the drive to the appointment. He loved car rides and seemed to be when he was the most active. We get into our room and see our little babe on the screen. It was the happiest moment of both of our lives. We were able to see this little guy that WE made. He sucked his thumb and rolled side to side. We were in awe and so in love with this little human on the screen.
The doctors came in after I thought the scan was done and told us “we think something is wrong with your baby’s heart. We need a pediatric cardiologist to officially diagnose it but we are pretty certain it’s an AV canal defect.” That feeling of our happiest moment in the world was ripped away. I still think a piece of me was stolen in that instant and I don’t think it’ll ever return. That moment of pure pregnancy joy.
After 10 days, many fetal echocardiograms, amniocentesis, meeting with many specialists we were told our baby, our son, was unlikely going to survive the rest of the pregnancy. If he did manage to make it until I went into labor, he would die very shortly after birth as he was not compatible with life. He was in the 1st percent in growth and that would not change. He was measuring 4 weeks smaller. Surgeons would not operate on our son to attempt to fix his heart. There was nothing we could do to save our boy. I was his life support.
When we discussed palliative options at birth we knew we couldn’t bear to bring our son into this world to only know pain. I couldn’t continue my pregnancy not knowing every day if my baby was alive or dead. I wouldn’t have been able to bear it. We made the choice to stop the life support and terminate the pregnancy for medical reasons.
We had to make a decision and complete the 3 day procedure before I was 23 weeks pregnant. I had a very strict timeline on the most important decision of my life. I had already passed the WI gestation age for an abortion which is 21 weeks. I didn’t even know about his condition until after that point. We needed to travel outside of our state and away from our doctors and home to say goodbye to our son.
We were not offered remains. I was not offered a delivery for the chance to hold my son who I have felt dancing inside of me. I was given a set of footprints and a kick out the door. It was unreal.
I want to share my story, Adam’s Story, because there are so many women who stay silent, so many women who are shamed for this decision. But I chose to take an entire life of pain and trauma to keep my son from feeling one moment of it.
This decision was out of LOVE. So much love for my son. An impossible situation and a horrific ending for how I imagined my first child. But a peaceful life and death I was proud to give my son. He only knew love and comfort and safety.