“Everything happens for a reason.”
“God saved you from an unhealthy baby.”
“God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle.”
“You wouldn’t want a child with a disability.”
These are all “excuses” we were given recently regarding why this miscarriage happened. It’s sad really. While I generally take the side of “there is a reason for everything,” it’s still a painful statement. It doesn’t matter if there was a reason, I wanted THIS baby. I found myself bartering, “I could handle the baby haven’t a cleft palate or a heart condition,” “I could have made the sacrifice and taken care of a child that would never walk for the rest of my life.” I wanted THIS baby.
It was Tuesday, May 26th, just after 5pm. I just began to settle with the idea that I would not hear from the genetics department today. I had called Sandy that morning and inquired about the genetic testing on the baby. The information she provided was very hurtful and even though I longed to hear from her again, I was still upset with the communication about the process of having the baby tested.
My friend Candis had just stopped by. She brought us a meal. It was the last meal anyone would bring for us for this miscarriage. I was excited to see her, even though she had her nearly three month old son with her. It was so nice to have had a bunch of meals over the last two weeks and I was sad to know they would be stopping but we were ready to start moving forward.
As Candis brought in the food and her children, I heard my phone ringing upstairs. I ran up to answer it. When I saw the number, my heart sank. I quickly answered it and walked down the stairs.
“Hi, Elizabeth? This is Sand with genetics. The results are in,” she said.
I sat at the bottom of the stairs. She paused long enough as if to wait for me to tell her I didn’t want to know anything. I paused for a moment. I wanted Hubby there with me when we got the results. He was still at work. Once again, I would be going through another tough moment alone.
I don’t remember what words I muttered but Sandy began to talk.
She said, “I know what happened. It’s quite clear.”
“Your baby had 69 chromosomes. It is a condition that is not compatible with life.”
NOT COMPATIBLE WITH LIFE
But our baby DID have life. Our baby had a heartbeat. Our baby had lived for two months inside me. Our baby was growing.
I listened intently as she explained how this condition normally happens. She described that it was likely two sperm fertilized the egg. She relayed that it had nothing to do with our age, anything we did or didn’t know, or anything we were exposed to. She said that this just happens and it’s extremely rare. She said it would never happen again.
I began to place my hand over my mouth as if to hush myself. I began to feel a weight lift off me. I began to feel…happy. I began to feel…relief.
Then she said, “We also know the sex of your baby.” She again paused.
“You baby was a male.”
More relief. I felt the stress melt off my shoulders. My shoulders lowered and I began to feel the weight of my own body on the staircase. My hand was still covering my mouth. I was in shock but began to feel so happy. Another boy! Hubby will be so happy to know we didn’t lose another girl. I was happy to know it wasn’t a girl.
I was also happy to know this baby’s name. For months it had been calling to me. It was a name I never would have thought of but it was just there, so many times. In fact, I had told hubby just a few days before that if this was a girl, I would be really confused as to why this name had been calling to me so much.
I began to feel “normal.” I began to think, “We could try again.”
As I was on the phone, Candis could tell something was up. When I ended the call, she had a bewildered look on her face. I said, “What are the odds that you would be here the moment genetics calls?”
She smiled. She made a snarky yet funny comment about how she just makes things happen. I began to smile. It was a real smile. It wasn’t a fake one. It seemed I was “back.” It seemed, I had come out of the dark place.
I told her what happened with the baby. I told her that our baby had triploidy. Then I told her we knew the sex of the baby. She asked. I replied, “Are you coming on Saturday?” She said, “Yes.” I responded, “Then you will find out Saturday.”
We talked and I held her baby and just loved on him. Joey came down and sat with us. Candis had her daughter playing on her lap and we just talked. Then Hubby came home and I explained everything to him. It was a happy, yet sad moment.
After Candis left, I explained to Hubby we knew the sex of the baby. He asked.
I said, “Our baby’s name is Gus.” He smiled. “Really?” he asked. “Another boy!”
“Yes, another boy,” I said. It was time to come up with a full name.
I can’t yet explain why I felt so much relief. I know that most people never find a reason for their baby’s death. For me, it was so comforting to know it wasn’t anything I did. Yes, I am a bereavement doula and I tell women in loss that I was nothing they did but I still felt like it was something I did or didn’t do. Namely, did I get on progesterone fast enough. I had been struggling with that for weeks.
I often wondered if the baby missed out on that vital nutrient for too long when I didn’t know it was low. I often wondered if we would lose the baby because of that and I also wondered if we had lost the baby because Hubby and I had sex. I know that sex itself doesn’t cause miscarriage but I have a sort of “condition” when it comes to sex and wasn’t sure if this particular issue would have caused the demise.
Knowing that our baby was very sick and would not survive was comforting. Hubby even felt comforted and also considered trying again. For now, we aren’t avoiding or preventing life. It’s not our faith to do so. Let’s talk about Triploidy for a moment. Triploidy most often occurs when two sperm fertilize the same egg. This gives the baby a full set of 69 chromosomes. There are other forms and two other ways that this can occur, a double headed sperm is another way as well as an issue with egg cell division.
There is Mosaic Triploidy and Full Triploidy. After researching Triploidy, I found families who are living with Mosaic Triploidy but only one case of a baby that lived to 10.5 months with Full Triploidy. Gus had Full Triploidy which was 69XXY. He would have had severe problems.
I gave life to such a special child. Even though his life was short, this was such an amazing feeling for me. I truly held this child his whole life. This child knew nothing but love. We were special together. I was so happy and proud and sad in all the same moments. I had a gift.
I love Gus and will always love him. I miss him and wish so much that I could hold him, kiss him, smell him, touch him, and be his earthly mother but I also know that I will see him again someday. I will see him in his perfect self. He was a gift.
Augustus Jude Petrucelli
Born May 11, 2015
I would have carried you.
– Love Mom