“I can still remember the scene clearly as if it was yesterday.”
We had just gotten done with our ultrasound and the doctor had come in to talk to us about the results. We found out a couple of weeks earlier, via my blood test that:
Arabella had a 98% probability of having Down syndrome.
I felt shocked,
The ultrasound was a nuchal translucency (NT) test. And was being completed to help confirm the diagnosis of Down syndrome. The doctor’s words hit me like a ton of bricks: Baby Arabella’s NT test was consistent with a Down syndrome diagnosis. But I was relatively prepared for that. What I wasn’t prepared for was hearing that she also had fluid surrounding her neck, stomach, and head, a condition called Hydrops.
I knew little about this condition, even though I was a Registered Nurse.
All the things I read about Down syndrome seemed to be negative things that scared me. And I had many preconceived ideas and stereotypes of what this entailed.
Never did I imagine this could happen to me. This was something that only happened to other people. I even would feel pity for the mothers I would see out and about who had children with Down syndrome.
I immediately started to sob and was overcome with grief and despair.
I knew the odds were greatly stacked against us and I would most likely never get to meet my baby girl earthside.
Sent to a high-risk obstetrician to check every two weeks. To have an ultrasound to see if her little heart had stopped beating. Or yet so we would know when it was time to deliver our stillborn baby.
Subsequent ultrasounds showed the fluid buildup worsening. Spreading to her heart, lungs, stomach, and down into her extremities as well. They were also seeing heart defects on the ultrasound. She most likely was in heart failure.
An ultimate 5-10% chance of being born to Baby Arabella.
And surviving birth afterward. Until a miracle occurred. Around 20 weeks, the fluid was completely gone and no serious heart defects appeared.
Thankful and Blessed
Our baby’s name is Arabella Eun Sook Kim. Arabella means ‘yielding in prayer.’ We had countless people praying faithfully for her. Her middle name is after my mother-in-law’s Korean name; she recently passed away from cancer. So this name is full of meaning for us.
She arrived on July 17, 2019, at 12:28 p.m. weighing in at 7 pounds, 1 ounce.
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) doctor met with us in the hospital as I was in labor, preparing us for the 50% chance Arabella would end up in the NICU following delivery due to the need for oxygen, feeding difficulties, or any other issues.
But this baby came out strong and defying all odds.
She was my easiest delivery out of all three of my babies.
They were able to immediately lay her on my chest. (instead of rushing her over to get vitals on her like they did with my two other typical kiddos)
There was no need for the NICU. No need for supplemental oxygen and she was able to even latch and breastfeed almost right away.
The moment I first held her in my arms, I was overcome by her beauty and overwhelmed with thankfulness. And my fears concerning Down syndrome melted right away. I was just grateful she had come safely and healthily into this world.
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