|Celebrating Gandhi's birthday at the Taj Mahal|
We let joy permeate us. It oozed out of our pores. It filled our hearts and our lives. We shared our joy with the world. The parts of us that laid dormant through our struggle to get pregnant breathed with life again. We were joyful.
When I woke up yesterday morning, 23 weeks pregnant with two babies I already love so much, I was filled with joy and was excited for our scan. For the first time this pregnancy I was not nervous to go to the doctor. All I thought about was how I'd get to see the babies' faces again and their little hands and feet. I wondered if my suspicions of gender would be proved. I thought about having the cribs delivered and when my amazon package would arrive. The day sailed on quickly filled with joyful thoughts. After dinner I had my prescribed ice-cream. You see, the last time we went the babies were sleeping so we couldn't get the echocardiogram done. Ice-cream helps the babies wake up and move around. I happily obliged.
Sure enough it did the trick. When we arrived for our 7:30pm appointment the babies were rocking and rolling. The doctor got right to it. Baby A was being very cooperative and we ooh-ed and ahh-ed joyfully. Baby A's little hand was nuzzled up next to his or her cheek and was measuring right on target. Baby B was not being as cooperative. After a few minutes the doctor decided to have me lay on my side for a while in the hope that baby B would turn around so we could get a good reading. As we waited Jason and I chatted about baby names. We made up some silly names. We thought of special family members we'd like to honor. We were joyful. Our joy filled the room.
When the doctor came back he was pleased that Baby B had turned to show us his heart. When I saw the image on the screen I felt the joy leave me. I felt it leave the room. In that moment with the beat of Baby B's heart, everything changed. It was very quiet and I suddenly felt like I couldn't breathe. I heard the doctor explain what he saw. I suddenly felt very cold and started to shiver uncontrollably. I knew it was very very bad. I cried as the doctor explained that Baby B has a very rare congenital heart defect called Hypo-plastic Left Heart Syndrome with mitral and aortic stenosis (HLHS). Without intensive, ongoing medical intervention he will not live. With intensive, ongoing medical intervention he might live.
This morning when I woke up, 23 weeks pregnant with two babies I already love so much, the joy was gone and I don't know what to do next. We have so many questions and we don't know where to go to get them answered.
How do I grow a baby only to let it die?
How do we choose a life of pain and surgeries and hospitals for a baby?
How do we give Baby A the life he or she deserves?
How do we do this in India where our jobs (and insurance) and friends are?
How could we afford to go to the states to get our baby the care he needs if we leave our jobs here in India?
How could this happen to us after all we've been through?