In December 2014, after six months of trying, we found out we were finally expecting our second child! The excitement for our then three-year-old and us was overwhelming, and everything felt as if it were falling into place.
Over the next few months, everything seemed perfect! We opted to have the first trimester screening done, where everything looked great! On March 16, 2015 (my birthday), our doctor called to say that the Alpha Beta Protein test that was done at 15 weeks, came back elevated and that she wanted me to be seen that week at a nearby Maternal Fetal Diagnostic Center.
After two days of obsessing over what elevated levels could mean for our unborn baby, we were finally seeing the specialist. I read about the copious amounts of false-positives this test can produce, and went into the appointment positive that we were one of them. After oohing and aahing over our perfect-looking baby, the doctor joined us in the ultrasound room. We knew it wasn’t good when a team of genetic counselors and nurses filed in, as well. We were told that our baby had hydrocephalus, which is where the cerebral fluid in the brain isn’t able to drain on its own, as it’s supposed to. In cases of congenital hydrocephalus, there is often spina bifida present, which wasn’t the case for us. This was wonderful, except for the fact that now we had no idea what was causing the hydro.
Fast-forward a few long weeks, more blood tests, and an amniocenteses… we finally had an answer. Our sweet girl was diagnosed with Triploidy, which is a very rare chromosomal abnormality where the child receives three FULL sets of chromosomes, instead of the normal two sets. Triploidy babies are often times miscarried in the first trimester, but our girl was a fighter. Many of these babies that survive past the first trimester, aren’t carried to full term, either. Knowing that Triploidy babies are ultimately incompatible with life, we tried to enjoy every moment and kick that we had left with our sweet girl. We were also informed that the placenta was abnormal and cystic, mostly likely being a partial molar pregnancy, and could become detrimental to my heath. The decision to risk my life and potentially take away from our living child, or to say goodbye too early to our baby who has no chance at survival, had to be made. It was the most unfair and painful situation we have ever, and will ever again face. Although we had known that when it was time for her to come that we wouldn’t be taking her home, it didn’t make the actual day any easier for us.
On April 14, at just 21 weeks, I felt our sweet, Mallorie, move for the very last time, and she then became our angel baby.
A week later, it was confirmed that I was housing a partial molar pregnancy as well, which in a weird way was almost a relief. It helped us to know that the decision we had to make was the right one for our family. The most difficult part of the added partial mole is that I relive the day we said goodbye every single week, when I’m force to sit next to pregnant women at my OB’s office to give blood. This is to ensure that the molar cells don’t rebuild themselves in a form of cancer.
The emotions and heartache we’ve felt throughout the entirety of our journey, and continue to feel, are completely indescribable. We’ve battled a lot of anger, sadness, denial, frustration, and so many other emotions that change daily. I never knew I could love someone so much that I never even got the chance to meet. Surprising, some of the most comforting words and insight I received came from our daughter, who is too smart for her own good.
The days following Mallorie’s delivery feel like a blur now, but I can’t forget the horrible tricks my body played on me, such as lactating when hearing a newborn cry at the grocery store. The only consistent feeling I’ve had the entire time was that I knew that I wanted to use our story to help others. I want other families to know that they’re not alone and to educate others on Triploidy. More than anything, I want to talk about my baby without feeling as if others are uncomfortable. I want to be a part of the movement that removes the stigma placed on something so many of us suffer with in silence.