Getting pregnant for me the first time was no problem, for which I am very grateful. In my practice, I see a lot of infertility and experience secondary infertility myself, so I know what a struggle it can be for some folks. During my pregnancy, my first ultrasound went great. Soon enough we had passed the first trimester, and, like many folks, we were relieved to get through that period with no complications. Aside from some awful all-day morning sickness, we figured it would be smooth sailing from there.
We went in to our 18-week ultrasound excited; we weren’t going to find out the sex and I had my wedding shower that evening. It wasn’t until the doctor got quiet that my heart sank. It hadn’t even crossed my mind something could be wrong.
Our baby had a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. A what? His diaphragm was not fully formed, allowing much of his abdominal contents to enter his chest cavity. This would impact his lung development, and potentially his heart. We had to go to the IWK for further testing. We may not have a baby. We were devastated.
Thankfully after testing, we found out odds were in our favour. We were told our little boy (we chose to find out the sex as we decided we’d had enough surprises with this pregnancy) had a 70% chance of surviving and having good quality of life. We would take those odds. I will never forget what our neonatologist told us: he said he hates to give people percentages, because you never know which one you will fall into. If the odds were 99:1 against, you could still be that 1. For the rest of my pregnancy, I did everything in my power to give our boy the best fighting chance I could. I ate very well. I walked in the woods regularly with my dog. I visualized his recovery. I practiced gratitude. I laughed with my husband and with my family and friends.
On January 22, 2016, our little guy was born at the IWK via c-section. He was a sick little boy. I held him for the first time when he was 9 days old. He went in for his surgery the following morning at 10 days old. After his surgery, he slowly but surely got better. And after 43 days at the IWK we went home as a family of three. Today, Neil is a thriving 6-year-old, bright, funny, and running around just like other little boys his age.
Why do I share this story? Because of what it helped me learn: