First of all, I wanted to thank those of you who read Why Not Me and left such amazing comments. It’s hard to share such a personal story, but so rewarding when you receive positive feedback. For those of you who have stumbled upon this blog for the first time I would encourage you to read Why Not Me, as today’s post is a continuation of that journey.
After we had a few days to digest the information we had learned about our unborn son’s condition, we returned to meet with the doctor that had delivered Jackson. She did another ultra sound and confirmed what we had heard earlier, that our baby did in fact have this defect called gastroschisis. She also confirmed what we had hoped to hear at our earlier appointment, the sex of our baby, a boy. Is it wrong that hearing it was a boy that would be facing this hard entry into the world actually brought me a small sense of comfort?
Naturally we came to the appointment with a multitude of questions. First and foremost I asked about their experience with gastroschisis. They hadn’t seen a case in our area in many years. In fact, because of the small rural community that we live in, they would not have the capability to care for Trey upon his birth. For that reason we would need to make plans to have the baby in Denver, Colorado, the closest location with a hospital that could meet the baby’s needs. Denver is a three and half hour drive from our home, with numerous mountain passes in between. With a due date of January 7 and the knowledge of what those mountain passes mean in winter, this wasn’t exactly good news. It also meant should I go into labor at home I would have to take a helicopter flight to Denver and I’m not a huge fan of flying.
My doctor and the nurse who had first delivered the gastroschisis diagnosis could not have been more kind. As my mind raced with everything from how I would explain my absences at work, to who would watch our 3-year old while we were in Denver for the birth, to how in the world we would be able to afford this extended stay in Denver while the baby recovered from surgery, they continued to comfort us with the reassurance that the doctors in Denver they were sending us too were amazing and would take such great care of us and the baby.
Following the appointment we scheduled our first trip to Denver to meet with the high-risk pregnancy practice that would be delivering the baby. My doctor had promised me she would request the top physician at the practice and I must admit I was quite disappointed when we got there and the doctor she had mentioned was not the one that showed up for the ultra-sound. In his place we were greeted by a nurse who couldn’t care less if I was pregnant with a boy, girl or alien, followed by one of the least approachable, uncaring, coldest doctors I have ever met.
All business he went straight to the ultra sound and began running down the specifics of what we were in store for. Most of what he discussed I was already aware of: the delivery, the immediate surgery, the recovery time and of course the risks, the highest of which would be infection. I had prepared myself for this conversation and felt strong enough to take every hit as it came, UNTIL… After the rundown of expectations the doctor paused and threw in, “of course there is always the option of abortion.” At this point the tears began to fall uncontrollably. The truth was, the thought of abortion had definitely crossed my mind more than once, but had never been voiced. The word abortion had never crossed the lips of our doctors at home, but now as we sat with this specialist and the word hanging in the air, everything started to collapse.
For the first time since our arrival I think the doctor saw me not as his 11am appointment, but as a human being. He began trying to utter a few reassuring words as the head physician opened the door and entered, “I have a note on my file saying that I needed to be at this appointment.” Thank God for our doctor at home.
He took a look at the file, ultra sound, etc. and again delivered all the same prognosis’ we had heard from everyone else. When he asked if we had any questions, the first one out of my quivering lips was, “should we be considering abortion?”
“Absolutely not,” he replied, “technically we can’t tell you one way or another, but I can tell you in my experience, I would NEVER recommend abortion for a gastroschisis baby. Gastroschisis surgery has a high success rate. Abortion should never cross your mind.”
From that point forward the lead physician took over my care and luckily I didn’t have to see the “abortion” doctor again through my entire pregnancy. He did however make a guest appearance to the NICU. A few days before Trey was scheduled to come home we had him circumcised and wouldn’t you know the doctor on-call that day was Mr. Abortion. When the NICU nurse returned with Trey after the procedure she had a big smile on her face. “Did everything go okay?” I asked. “Oh yes,” she replied, “although the Doctor is probably off to take a shower right now since as soon as he pulled the diaper off Trey peed all over him.”
I don’t think I could have scripted it more perfectly!
More of our journey to come soon…