January is birth defects awareness month, and this is my personal experience as a birth defects parent. Please share your story here and offer support to others that may have a similar experience.
In September of 2006, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was still in the post-college euphoric fog, not in my forever job or career path, just feeling my way around and trying to figure out what was next. What ended up being next was something that would change the rest of my life. I discovered I was pregnant, not planned, not married. Not prepared was an understatement of extreme proportions. But, I embraced it, and made the decision to do my best and try to make it work. My second ultra sound presented alarming markers and after genetic counseling I made the decision to have an amniocentesis. My baby girl had Trisomy 18. It was one of the worst moments of my life. I did research, and it was overwhelmingly devastating. This birth defect, 3 copies of the 18th chromosome, was not compatible with life, in most cases. Most babies with this do not survive gestation, birth or many hours past birth. On January 29th 2007 Josie was born, alive and barely breathing on her own. I signed a DNR and we went home with hospice on call, a feeding tube and oxygen. On February 7th, 9 short days later, Josie died in my arms, a moment that forever changed who I am. I'm not only a birth defects mom, I am also a loss mom, and while nothing can change that, I hope that by sharing my story I can help others who are facing a diagnosis like Josie's. Thank you.