Oh friends I feel like I can breath again. Last weekend on a whim I checked my medical chart. I don’t know what drove me to do it as I’ve been systematically avoiding the doctor’s since August; but I did.
As it turns out I missed a call from my doctor at the beginning of September with a bit of important news. The final results had come back from my latest D&C. The original, quick results had come back fine and normal which was the one thing I didn’t want. I didn’t want “normal baby” to come back because that would mean, to me, that I did something wrong. That it was my body that actively caused my latest miscarriage.
These results were different. They told us two important pieces of information. One, that our baby was indeed a girl and two, that our baby had not been “fine and normal”. My baby girl had been conceived with full Trisomy 16, which happens when the 16th chromosome replicates three times instead of twice. When this happens there is no way the baby, typically, makes it to the second trimester. No babies with full Trisomy 16 survive the pregnancy.
That is the news I wanted. I know it sound strange, but to me it means that I didn’t do something wrong. There’s no way to cause or not cause problems like this. They just happen. My genetics, if I ever decide to do that testing, might show that there is something in my DNA that means this is more likely to happen, but there’s nothing I can do about it. Since Trisomy 16 is also believe to be behind a large percentage of blighted ovums (what happened to my first two losses) I believe there’s a good chance that this is just part of my, my husbands or both our genetic makeup.
It is strange to be happy about, but it’s helped me connect with and recognize the blessing in this short life. Let me lay it out for you.
Back when the tickets originally went on sale I was convinced I wasn’t going to the Edel Gathering. There was no way it was going to happen. Then on the day they went on sale I made a split second decision to buy one. I don’t really know why.
Afterwards I checked my phone to find a text from a friend telling me her two year old had suddenly started praying in the middle of their living room for “Ms. Molly” only a short time before. Apparently, I needed prayers that day and that little miss knew it.
Fast forward a few months and after months of trying we conceive the month before the gathering. I had been hoping to have “good news” to celebrate with these friends when the time came and at the last possible moment, it happened.
My medical history gets me special treatment with OB’s; namely early ultrasounds – usually around 7/8 weeks. I knew I’d hit that mark after the gathering and that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy myself unless I knew one way or another what was happening in my body before I went. My doctor obliged me with an even earlier US the day before I left, about 6 weeks 4 days.
On that ultrasound I saw and heard a little flickering heartbeat. At that moment, I was carrying a living baby and was overjoyed to have really good news to share and share I did. I enjoyed every moment of it.
Two weeks later we found out that the baby had passed away; most likely within a few days of that first US and the rest is medical history.
Here’s the miracle of it all – if I hadn’t made that split second decision and purchased that ticket I would never have gone in for that first US so early. I would have waited until the next week or week after when my baby girl had already passed away. Without that split second decision I got what was basically my only chance to ever see my baby alive. Don’t cry, it’s not sad. It’s amazing.
I got to take my little girl to this conference. Her life was celebrated. I knowingly went to Mass with her and marveled at how close she was to Jesus during communion. Her days were happy and loved.
I couldn’t ask for more.
Knowing that she is actually a “she” finally put the fire in me to name this baby. All my children have been given names, but I just hadn’t been able to decide on one until that day when the final report came back and I saw the big picture so clearly. I knew her name immediately.
I like to think that the Venerable Edel* Quinn has a new little sister to party with up in Heaven. I have a feeling that my little Mary-Edel is quite the firecracker too, just like her namesake.
(for those not familiar with the spelling – it’s pronounced like Adele, the singer)