Abbey Ellen

Diagnosis: Trisomy 21

By Emma

It has been five weeks today since my beautiful baby girl, Abbey, was born, and it still feels like yesterday. My heart aches to be with her again and hold her in my arms and kiss her lips, but I know that can never be.

My husband and I made the heartbreaking choice to terminate my pregnancy after finding out that Abbey had Down Syndrome, as well as a couple of problems with her heart and some cysts on her brain. The month prior to the Down Syndrome finding had been agonizing for us ever since my 16 week blood test came back with my baby having a 1/130 chance of having Down Syndrome. I was devastated, and after having two ultrasounds decided to have an amniocentesis carried out to find out once and for all if my baby had any problems.

It was just after Christmas that the results came back negative, as some of my blood had been taken during the amniocentesis and my cells had got mixed up with the baby's cells and given us a good result. My doctor also said that the cells that were tested were female. I was so happy, after having 3 boys and two miscarriages my dream to have a daughter may finally be coming true!

However, one week later while getting my sons' breakfast ready at home I got a phone call on my mobile and as soon as I saw my doctor's name on the screen I knew something was wrong. "Emma, it's bad news, the baby has Down Syndrome," he said, and my whole world came crashing down.

My husband and I had to meet my doctor in his office later that afternoon to 'go over our options'. He told us we could see a heart specialist to see how bad my baby's heart was, or if we wanted to terminate the pregnancy we would have to let him know by Friday and he would do it at hospital over the weekend.

At first we decided to make an appointment with the heart specialist, hoping that his analysis of our baby's heart would help us make a decision, but we couldn't get an appointment until I was 24 weeks pregnant and for me that was just too late in to the pregnancy. I said to my husband "We have to make the decision ourselves."

We went back and forth each way for days. We would decide one way, then immediately decide the other way as each way was too unbearable a decision to contemplate. In the end, we made the heartbreaking decision to let our little girl go knowing that she would not be able to live the life that she deserved and would live a life of constant therapy and health and intellectual problems.

After two days in hospital, I gave birth to beautiful Abbey Ellen and she was born alive and she died peacefully in my arms. She was so beautiful and perfect and I held her all night and kissed her and cuddled her, just like I did with her brothers when they were born.

The next morning her 3 brothers came to hospital to see her and get their picture taken with them holding her. Seeing the pain and hurt on their face after finding out from my husband that their little baby sister didn't make it was so heartbreaking for me. My middle son, who is 6, just kept saying that he wanted to take her home, as did I, more than anything.

Having to hand my little baby girl over to one of the midwifes at the hospital, knowing I would never get to hold her or see her again was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. I kept going back to her and saying "Bye, darling" and giving her a kiss.

I was 22 wks pregnant when Abbey was born. We had a beautiful service for her and laid her to rest four days later. I visit her regularly and find being so close to her gives me some kind of peace.

I miss her terribly and don't know if this pain will ever go away. Every morning I wake up feeling so empty and am forced to relive this whole nightmare over again, knowing that it was not just a bad dream.

My heart aches for my little girl to be back in my arms, but I know that can never be. I just hope that we made the right choice for Abbey and I feel for any parent that has to make this choice. It is just so unfair.

To our darling Abbey, we will love you forever and hope that you are at peace, and we can't wait to hold you again and kiss you and love you and give you the life that you deserved. Please wait for us...

Love Mummy, Daddy and your 3 big brothers xxx


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