Daddy's Little Girl

Diagnosis: Heart Defect

By A Dad

The day my wife told me we were expecting, I was both excited and scared. We had been married only a year. I was so happy to hear it. I had a good job, we lived in a nice place so everything seemed to be fitting together nicely.

My wife didn’'t have much morning sickness, I remember, and she liked fresh fruit during the pregnancy. We went to our first ultrasound about 16 weeks or so, and were told everything seemed to be going fine. Then a month later we went to our second ultrasound when our doctor told us to see a specialist because she thought she saw something unusual and couldn't be sure what it was.

The second doctor did a level 2 ultrasound. When he was through he told us that he believed it was a defect with the diaphragm, there was a hole in it and the stomach was protruding into the chest cavity, but he wanted us to go to the children’s hospital to do a more thorough scan. There was about a week time lapse until the test, and I looked for everything I possibly could on the condition and found that although it is a serious defect, it is not necessarily fatal. So we had a shot of a viable baby.

It was an emotional roller coaster for us. We were scared that it would be fatal then found out there was a chance. We promised ourselves that even if there was only a 10% chance for the baby, we would give her all the chance we could. I had a good job with a really good health plan, so it was a no-brainer that we would give her all the chances she needed.

When we went to our appointment at the hospital, the doctor, a prenatal cardiologist, told us what it really was: Our baby girl had a defect in her heart that made her heart so large that her lungs didn’t develop enough. A valve had not formed in her heart so her heart just got bigger and bigger. That’s why the first doctor thought it was the stomach coming into the chest cavity. But it was her heart. The cardiologist told us that there was no chance that she will live beyond birth. She didn’'t have the lung capacity to breathe when she would be born. In the womb, here is a healthy kicking baby girl but once she leaves the womb she is going to die. Our baby girl didn’t have a chance.

We both just sat there numb, tears flowing not knowing what to do or say. He recommended that we terminate knowing that there was no choice. We walked out to the parking lot and I don’t even remember how we got to the car. Once we got there my wife and I hugged and cried for a long time in the lot. My baby girl was going die and her daddy could do nothing for her. So here we are, at first being scared that there was something wrong with our baby girl, next we find out that yes there is something wrong but there is also a chance, then we find out no there is no chance for our baby.

We chose to induce an early labor, it was the 21st week of her pregnancy. I was a coward, I couldn’t stay with my wife while they were inducing. I've never told her this but I think it's one thing that I will always be sorry to her for.

After the baby was delivered, they covered her up and took her out. I was in the hallway crying, not being able to do anything else, I was just numb don’t even remember what else I was feeling.

This happened years ago and I can'’t forget my little girl. I'’m writing this because I read a story on yahoo and realized that I will never forget my little girl. Even as I write I have tears flowing. I was never really religious but when I flew on a business trip shortly after our loss, I thought as the tears formed my baby girl is up here somewhere. I wonder if she’ll ever forgive her father for being a coward. I never mention this to anyone because I’m a man and in our culture we are meant to be strong. There doesn't a day go by where I don'’t think of daddy’s little girl. I don’t know if there is a heaven but I hope there is for my baby'’s sake. Nobody knows but I named her Sam, short for Samantha, I call her that when I talk to her. When I tell her that Daddy loves her.


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