When we first got Owen’s semi-lethal or definitely lethal diagnosis and made the decision to carry him, I turned to the internet right away. Surely, there has to be people who have done this before, I thought. I found a ton of blogs, which were a huge help, but I wanted to talk to people who were doing this now. I found a handful of online message boards for women who were/are carrying babies to term with very poor or fatal prenatal diagnoses. What a port in the storm that was. I had felt so alone, wondering why were facing this unimaginable pain, and here were people who would be doing it with me. I hated that any of us had to be there, but I was so glad for the company.
Since Owen’s prognosis was unclear, I also sought support from groups dedicated to diagnoses of dwarfism and even found a specific website for parents of EVC babies. Hearing the stories of other parents who had received tentative diagnoses gave me hope. Some of the children had not lived very long, but knowing that we weren’t facing a 100% lethal diagnosis was comforting. The EVC group was especially useful since I was able to reach out to some of the parents and discuss prenatal findings and treatment options. I also received the contact information for Dr. Philippe Jeanty, a specialist in prenatal diagnosis who had seen cases of EVC (lots of doctors, even experienced specialists, haven’t seen EVC before). He reviewed our scans and consulted with our perinatologist to verify that Owen likely had Ellis van Creveld syndrome.
After Owen’s death, I continued on in the Carrying to Term board and joined a private support group for women whose babies have died. I started this blog and linked up with other bereaved moms (you can find them on the right). I stumbled upon Glow in the Woods and Still Standing Magazine one day and breathed a sigh of relief because I had finally found others who were giving voice to this pain with such eloquence.
It was(is) a hard journey, but I was never alone. I certainly felt alone and lost at points, which I think is inevitable, but I never felt at a lack of information. I think it’s unavoidable that there will be lonely times when carrying a very sick, possibly terminally ill, baby. No matter the amount of resources or support, no one else is carrying your baby or making life and death decisions for him, but it is overwhelmingly comforting just to be accompanied on the journey.
(no photo today–again! sorry!)