Motherhood has looked completely different from anything I pictured it would – not so much the day to day. But the very introduction to the end of my bringing children into this world.
6 years ago in the doctor’s office after our 20-week ultrasound. “Something’s wrong…” she said, and I didn’t hear much else over my own sobs. Months later, our sweet firstborn, Samuel, was born at 36 weeks after a prenatal diagnosis of kidney and heart failure – and died after an hour in our arms. Our hearts broke in two when we handed him to the funeral home director eight short hours after his birth.
After multiple genetic tests and getting the all clear to try again, we were pregnant 4 months later. Our sweet Mira. Two years later, we welcomed home Edward. Sighs of relief, a joyful family. Not perfect, but so very good.
Then a positive pregnancy test in October, a public announcement on my 30th birthday. Ultrasound scheduled 6 years to the day of finding out our first child was going to be incompatible with life. The technician puts the gel on my belly and starts the imaging. Right away, I notice there isn’t a lot of fluid around the baby, and I mention “Gosh, there doesn’t look like much room.” The technician keeps taking pictures and talking to us normally.
“I’m going to leave the gel on you for right now though, because the doctor may want to take a look too,” she says.
The doctor wouldn’t want to look unless something was wrong – was my first thought. But I take a deep breath, reassuring myself that some doctors really do just like to look themselves.
She comes in, stone-faced. I don’t even remember her first question, but it had something to do with Samuel. “What kind of DNA testing did you have done? Did you have a microarray?”
At that point, I start to tear up. I know. Inside, I know. My husband Jamey grabs my hand. “You’re scaring me,” I whisper to the doctor.
She continues asking questions about Sam’s condition and then puts the wand on my belly. “Well, we’re seeing that baby’s bones are measuring short.”
“Meaning what?” Jamey asks. I look at our doctor and think, either everything’s fine and you’re just incredibly evil to draw things out… or you don’t want to tell us something.
Please. Be evil.
“Similar problems as your first pregnancy.”
Gooooddd. Noooooooooooooo. The moan that comes out of my mouth is awful. I put my hands up to my face and sob. No. No. No. Not again. It can’t be. This can’t be real. No. I can’t do this again. Please be lying. Please let this be a horrible joke. Take the wand off. Send us home. I cannot. I will not. Stop talking. Stop measuring. Get away from me.
Instead of jumping off that table like I want to and running for the hills, I lay there. We answer all their questions as they continue to give us every detail, each one confirming that this is identical to our appointment 6 years ago with Sam.
Same words, different baby.
Did you have an autopsy done on Samuel? No. We’re told that if they’d done an autopsy and dissected his kidneys, they would have likely been able to give us a genetic diagnosis. At this point I say, “Well then, God has already been at work, if we had found out with Sam that this was genetic, we would have stopped having children. We have little miracles at home.”
I’ve barely even looked at Jamey and when I do, all I can say is, “I’m so sorry.” He reminds me that this is not my fault and that he loves me so much.
The doctor tells us she wants to do an amniocentesis to start genetic tests. “No, that test really hurts,” I say. “We’ve already decided not to have any more children, so I don’t want it.”
But she replies that she will be able to give us insight into this to pass onto our living children when they may be ready to have a family.
“Have YOU ever had an amnio?! They’re awful,” I retort.
“No, I don’t have a uterus, so I have no children of my own,” the doctor returns.
I guess no one is immune to acting insensitive, even in the middle of their own pain. “I am so sorry,” I say.
They get the cart ready. Belly prepped. Needle inserted. I watch the ultrasound as our baby squirms. Okay, here we go. The needle punctures my uterus and I feel it contract. I breathe slowly, in and out, trying not to move.
6 years to the day. Same diagnosis. Same words. Different baby.
“Did you see the gender?” I ask.
Yes. The technician wipes her eyes.
Our 4th baby. A boy.
This part of motherhood is going to end the same as it began – with two little boys who will completely change my world.
And we go home.
Kaila Mugford resides in Illinois with her husband Jamey and two children, Mira and Edward. She gave birth to her firstborn, Samuel, in April of 2012, after carrying him to term with a fatal prenatal diagnosis. Kaila and her family are currently facing the same diagnosis with their 4th baby, Gabriel, and have decided again to carry to term. They have a long road ahead of them, as they never expected this to happen twice, but they find comfort in their faith and their community. They have the deepest love for all four of their children and enjoy sharing their lives, no matter how long they’ve lived this side of heaven.