I moved out of my parents house within a month of graduating high school. I was so excited and ready to start my life. Diploma, boyfriend, apartment… I celebrated my 18th birthday in August of that year.
Within a month of my 18th birthday, I began not feeling well. Missing my monthly cycle, I figured it would be smart to take a pregnancy test since I had been having sex with my boyfriend for months without protection.
It came back positive. I gave a reaction that not many 18-year-olds would have; I cried with tears of happiness and joy.
I had always wanted to be a Mom. I was instantly excited and daydreamed of my future with my newborn baby.
Morning sickness came, my belly swelled, I had every symptom a pregnant woman could have. My boyfriend bought me countless baby books. He was excited for our baby just as much as I was.
Everything was going great until my anatomy scan at 17 weeks.
I received a phone call while I was driving one morning that changed my entire life forever. I didn’t understand what was being told to me…
At first the doctor said that my anatomy scan came back abnormal for the baby. It appeared to be Down Syndrome or possibly spinal bifida.
I was devastated. I didn’t want my newborn baby to be sick. I never imagined this would happen. I never thought this would happen to ME. At 18.
I was thrown into a deep depression.
We were referred to a neonatal genetic specialist 80 miles away and I opted for an amniocentesis to diagnose my baby for sure. I knew he was sick. I knew he would be born different, but I never expected them to tell me what they told me in that doctors office that day.
They told me that my child’s heart was not formed correctly. He had only 3 chambers. His umbilical cord had only 2 ventricles instead of 3. He had cysts on his brain. Holes in his heart. Club feet.
It was a boy.
His heart rate was 88 bpm at 21 weeks. They told me my son was incompatible with life.
I didn’t understand. I just cried, and cried, and cried.
My son was dying inside of my body.
I was 18 years old.
No one told me this could happen.
I was 1 in 15,000.
They asked if I wanted to continue the pregnancy, and told me that my son would die within a few weeks from heart failure. He could possibly make it to birth and live seconds maybe minutes. Or, I could choose a partial birth abortion.
After the amniocentesis, it was confirmed my son had Trisomy 18, Edwards syndrome.
I chose to let my son rest in peace. I chose to end my sons suffering because I knew I couldn’t handle seeing this perfect, sweet baby in my head, so sick in real life.
Some people called me a baby killer. I got judged. I got ridiculed for my decision.
But at the end of the day, I was a child burying my child.
We laid him to rest within a month of his Trisomy 18 diagnosis.
I buried apart of my heart that day.
I went on to have 3 healthy pregnancies, all boys. All of my sons know about their big brother, Jayden. He was so wanted and so loved… 🖤
This is a guest post.
Alyse Sharp, Mother
Justin Norton, Father