In HuffPost Birth Diaries we hear the extraordinary stories of the everyday miracle of birth. This week, Franca Desjardins, 41, shares her story. If you’d like to share yours, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the moment I had my 12-week scan, I spent my second pregnancy in fear. We’d been trying for more than 18 months, so I was over the moon to be pregnant but from the moment we were asked to sit and wait for the results of the tests – routine, or so I thought – it was clear to me that things were not going to be straightforward.
As we waited to be seen, I felt like my world was going to fall apart. And then a doctor gave us the news we’d been hoping not to hear: “I’m so sorry, your test results have shown a very high percentage that your baby might have an abnormality.” It was incredibly shocking.
We had to make a decision about what to do next: to try and find out for certain whether there was anything to be worried about, or to wait until birth to find out more. Ultimately we wanted to know, so had to choose between two tests: an amniocentesis test at 16 weeks to see if the baby had a genetic or chromosomal condition; or a CVS prenatal test, which is more basic test but available at the earlier stages of pregnancy. We chose the latter.
[Read More: ‘I gave birth so quickly I missed my own leaving do’]
The test itself (CVS) was very invasive. But when the results arrived, with news that our baby didn’t have any genetic problems, we should have been thrilled.
Unfortunately, there was more uncertainty to follow – her measurements suggested that there still might be worries ahead, and doctors were concerned the problem could be with her heart.
“For the next six months I was in limbo – and nobody and nothing could rid me of my fear."”
Worse, no matter how many scans and tests we had during the pregnancy, they would not be able to give us any assurances about what the problem. For the next six months I was in limbo – and nobody and nothing could rid me of my fear.
I spent the rest of my pregnancy full of worry. What was going to happen during the birth? Was she going to be okay? Would her heart survive? Would she survive? It was always on my mind, 24/7.
The birth of my first child was traumatic and ended with me in surgery, so this time I had booked a planned C-section. I wanted to be relaxed, rather than anxious about reliving the trauma of my first child’s birth.
But remaining calm was almost impossible. I was so anxious, that I found myself physically shivering. “As soon as she is out, make sure her heart is okay!” I repeatedly instructed the doctors, who had already brought in extra help due to potential worries with her health.
Moments before she came out, I went very cold. “Please let her be okay,” I repeated in my head. I looked into my husband’s eyes: “Just make sure she’s okay”.
She came out. She screamed.
My husband joined the medical staff where they were examining our new baby. For what felt like hours, but was probably minutes, I lay, unable to move and unaware of what was going on. Then I heard my husband shout to me: “Everything is okay!”.
With her skin on mine, I was so happy I burst into tears. Maybe because of all my worry, I felt a strong connection with her right away. My Sienna. She was healthy and cute and, after thorough checks, it was confirmed she didn’t have any issues with her health.
This was four years ago, and she still feels like my miracle.
My birth advice?
“Don’t worry if things don’t go to plan, because things might go in a totally different direction. The most important thing is your baby healthy and with you. Be strong and be positive.”
As told to Amy Packham.
Follow Franca’s parenting journey on her blog here.