Jennifer Bourgoyne from Czela Bellies, a cesarean wear shop for recovering C-section moms, shares her heart-stopping story of the day her doctor gave her the worst possible news for our April Showers Birth Stories Series.
It was the eve of my second child’s seventh birthday, as I found myself in an unplanned urgent doctor appointment. Pregnant with my third child, I had been bleeding badly and was told that the baby I was now carrying wasn’t developing as normal, and I would miscarry.
Furthering my devastation, I was told that even if the baby didn’t miscarry, that it wouldn’t have arms or legs. Devastated, I went home and waited for the worst. Just to make sure I didn’t hear the doctor wrong, I called her back. “So, is there no hope?” She said, “Well, there is always hope, but I’m very sorry. The results look very clear.”
24 hours turned into 48, then 72 with no further sign of an obvious miscarriage. The next ultrasound yielded the same sad results. This time, my doctor suggested a more conservative wait and see approach because there was still a heartbeat and each image was so inconclusive about what was going on, but it didn’t look promising.
During this time, we prayed for a miracle. I kept having to go in to have very painful Rhogam shots because they were so sure this baby wouldn’t make it and the blood would potential mix ill with my own. I attended genetic testing class at the hospital. Sitting there with all those happy parents, gaining an understanding of how things develop and what potential problem markers existed was devastating to me.
On what we thought might be our last sad check in with the doctor, I turned to my husband, held his hand and said, “No matter what happens we will get through this together, and we will not stop trying.” My doctor turned on the ultrasound machine and with a demeanor as if to suggest a merciful “let’s get this over with” tone, he flipped on the monitor. I couldn’t even look at the screen. He was very silent.
After a few long seconds the doctor said, “Well, somebody is mad.” I was confused. What did he say? I looked at the doctor and he said, “Somebody is mad, this baby is giving me the finger! Look!” I looked at the screen and there was this little skeletal image of a beautiful little hand, fingers positioned ever so perfect for the universal flipping the bird sign. I was so shocked I actually said aloud, “But..but, does he have arms…and legs?” To which my husband busted out laughing. “What do you think, there’s just a little hand in there floating around by itself?” After about six excruciatingly long weeks of not knowing what the outcome would be, we were given the amazing news that the baby’s heart was still beating strong; and indeed all limbs were developed.
On October 31st, I gave birth to our son. You know the only thing better than a full size Snickers bar on Halloween? A beautiful, healthy miracle of a child.
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