When I was 20 weeks pregnant, my husband Chris and I went into see the doctor’s for our ultrasound. We were really excited to see our baby on the screen and find out if we were having a boy or a girl. We didn’t know that day would change the rest of our lives. During the ultrasound, the technician found a problem with our baby’s heart and called in the doctor. He told us there could be severe complications with our baby and we were sent straight away to see a high-risk doctor. Thirty-minutes later we were having our second ultrasound and this time, our baby started sucking her thumb.
Over the next several heart-renching weeks, we learned that our daughter had a rare genetic disorder called Trisomy 13. This is so rare, it occurs in about 1 in 10,000 births and were told that if she survived the pregnancy and the labor and delivery, she would be considered a long-term survivor if she lived longer than a month. Our world came crashing down around us.
Since we knew we wouldn’t have a life-time with our daughter, we decided to make every minute a memory with her. We named her Abigail and we began to make many memories with her. We took her to Chris’ favorite fishing spot, we had her cousins over and they made sugar cookies with her, Chris read a children’s story to her every night, we took her to the park, we sang nursery songs to her, we built snowmen, took her to the zoo, rode on a carousal and loved her every minute.
I dreaded going into labor because I knew that would be the beginning of the end. I wasn’t ready to say hello and goodbye all at the same time. We didn’t know how long we would have with her at the hospital or if she would even be born alive, but we knew that we wanted her to be wrapped in her own special blanket. My mom, my mother-in-law and a dear friend, Ilse Baldwin all made special blankets for Abigail and we took them all to the hospital. We wrapped Abigail in each of the blankets that day and it meant so much to us to have these special blankets for her. Abigail was born alive at 7:37 am and was held in our arms for 14 precious hours. The best hours of my life. Having Abigail was the best thing I have ever done and she is our greatest joy.
While she is no longer with us, I have the blankets she was wrapped in that day. They are kept in sealed ziplock bags and still have her sweet smell on them. And when my arms really start to ache, I take them out and hold them.