Pronounced: A-nen-se-fali. This is a birth defect where the spinal column doesn’t close into a brain. Meaning, the fetus has no brain developed. Also known as “incompatible with life.”
This was the diagnosis that my son was given at 20 weeks gestation on December 16th, 2019. It happened at the 20 week ultrasound. I went in with so much hope, holding my husband’s hand. We were talking about whether we should find out the sex of the baby or not. So much naiveté. The ultrasound technician was joking how much my son was moving and she wasn’t able to get a good read. Then she stayed quiet. She went to go get a doctor. She showed the images to doctor and the doctor said “well, that’s the end of that exam.” And I thought “NOT again!”
You see, 2 weeks prior, I got a call from my OB/GYN telling me that I
comprehensive blood test to rule it out. I asked “what will happen if it comes back positive?” He said, “well, my dear, the pregnancy will need to be terminated because it is ‘incompatible with life’”. Why? Why is this happening?
Less than a week later, I did do the comprehensive blood test. A few days after that, I got the green light to go on and carry on this pregnancy. The elation I was feeling that day was surreal. But, a few short days after that, I went for that life-altering sonogram and my world was upside down.
I wasn’t even given time to think about it or understand what was happening. I was told to come in the next day and terminate the pregnancy. Because, how can a human being live without a brain? There are no surgical fixes to this. Last time I checked, there were no brain transplants being performed. So, I did go in the next day with my husband. I was induced within the hour and it took nearly 17 hours to be ready to push. Within in 1 push, my tiny, purplish-red baby was born dead. I cannot describe to you the pain and the agony I was experiencing at that time. It was so much worse than labor.
I was asked if I want to hold the baby. I said yes. I screamed when I saw his face. His beautiful, gorgeous face. He was perfect. He had 10 fingers and 10 little toes. What a waste of a perfect specimen of a baby. I had to hand him back because the placenta wouldn’t come out naturally. So I needed a D&C to remove it. At that point, I didn’t care what happened to me. I had just lost a baby, what could be worse?