Halloween morning I woke up and was excited! First off it was the perfect fall day low 60’s temperature, parties at school, Halloween costumes, parades, and lots of candy. To kick it all off I had my 11 week ultrasound scheduled at 10:30am. I dropped the kids off at school and drove to Lansing, working on my way to town. I wore a simple black pencil skirt that I had just finally had to buy a size bigger to encompass my growing belly, and a black and white blouse, I had on my signature black knee high boots and if I hadn’t told you I was pregnant you would have never known. I had spent Sunday making fudge for the doctors office, and had placed in a ghost cookie jar. I always love to treat the office to a little gift to brighten their day as well. I had asked if Pat (my mother in law) wanted to join me and she was so excited until she realized she had a case of the shingles and shouldn’t be around me, so I was on my own. I pulled into the office talking to Wendy (my sister) on the phone. I told her I was at the office and I would call when I was done.

I walked in and happily handed the jar of peanut butter fudge to Cindy. Ultrasound called me back right away and took me in the dark room. I laid on the bed and pulled up my blouse, I tucked a towel into my skirt, and the technician squirted warm jelly on my expanding belly. We were talking and I told her how I knew the baby was a girl from the gender test, she smiled never believing for a moment it was accurate. She scanned and measured, and scanned some more, she grew quite. She said I will be right back, she left the room for about 5 minutes and I lay there thinking of our new baby girl. The technician came back in and kept measuring but not really responding as I babbled on. Now I think I was such a fool rambling on and on. She told me I was done and put me in the “room” this is a room I had never been put in before. The room sits in the middle of the practice and has a bed but doesn’t have much room for examination (in time I came to hate this dreaded room it is the bad news for Tera room). She had me sit, typically Lisa would come in and take my blood pressure and ask me some basic question but not this day. Today Dr Maser walks in and he is carrying his lap top with him, he says it “Tera the baby has something called a Cystic Hygroma, it is a sac of fluid on the baby that travels from the top of the head to the middle of the back, babies with Cystic Hygroma’s have a high risk of Down Syndrome, Turners Syndrome” Dr Maser names many other syndromes, and disorders that are to many to name.  Everything becomes fuzzy I can’t really hear the doctor anymore, I am in shock!!!! I remember Dr Maser showing me the ultrasound asking questions like if I had any viruses during the pregnancy, I say “I don’t know I am sick all the time throwing up yes some days are worst than others, but I don’t know”. I am in shock I need Ron, where is he, I am alone what do I do, I am scared, why is this happening! Dr Maser has Cindy his wife walk me to the back where they draw a lot of blood for more testing. I cry on Cindy’s shoulder I remember this. Dr Maser  is calling to find out where to send me for the first appointment for a CVS (Chorionic Villus Sampling) this is chromosomal testing on my placenta. Not many doctors do this procedure because there is a high risk involved with miscarriage. He gets me two appointments one in Grand Rapids or one in Royal Oak for the end of the week. Dr Maser knows me and knows I need to find out what is happening as fast as possible. I don’t remember much else at the office the next thing I remember is calling Ron in the car.

I can hardly speak I am sobbing “Ron something is wrong with the baby” is all I can choke out, I am heaving in the car sitting in the parking lot. I don’t even know what Ron says. All I remember now is I am sitting in Pat and Ron’s house, Ron Sr is holding me and I can’t speak just sobs, into him. He says “Tera what, what is wrong” I choke it out again “Something is wrong with the baby” “she isn’t going to make it, if she survives the Cystic Hygroma she will have something major wrong, Oh God, Please”. We talk about the diagnosis and they give me a large fruit bouquet,  with a card saying congratulations because no one thought this would happen.

I am driving home, I call my mom. I need my mom, she isn’t there. I tell my dad but he doesn’t totally understand. I talk to Wendy, I talk to Shannon, I am in shock still. I am crying I am pleading with God the whole way home, please God let the Cystic Hygroma dissolve, Please let our baby be ok, I will do anything please. I get home and Ron is here I cry and explain what I know and he holds me, he tells me it will all be fine, he knows it the baby is going to be alright. He tells me to wait to get the test results, he holds me.

We go to the school for the Halloween parade. I have swollen red eyes and I have to smile and act like all is fine, when inside I am screaming for help and understanding. I have never felt so scared in my life, so helpless, so confused. I have done everything perfect to prepare, I took the vitamins, folic acid, I don’t drink, or smoke, I don’t take any medicine, why is this happening? We make it through the Halloween activities and for the first time since the year Mike and I separated I cried on Halloween. Ron takes the kids trick or treating while I sit in shock with Mary Jo. I am still sick, I want to cry but all I can say is I am in shock.

This is a copy of the email I sent to close friends and family the day after finding out about the Cystic Hygroma.

Dear friends and family,

Here is the news if you don’t already know. Ron and I are pregnant I am and 11 weeks 5 days along, and it’s a girl. On Monday I went for an ultra sound and got some horrible news. The baby while growing and moving like crazy had something wrong. She has something called a Cystic Hygroma, this is a fluid filled sack that sits from the middle of her head down to the end of the spinal cord. I was told this is very bad news, baby’s with this cyst are at a 50% chance of having a lethal chromosomal disorder, a 20% chance of having a lethal heart defect, and a 20% chance of having Kidney or skeletal disorder, many lethal. What this means we are at a 10% chance of having a healthy baby with out issues. If you google cystic hygroma, it’s a wealth of horrible news. I would like to hold onto the 10% hope for having the cyst dissolve and all turning out fine in the end. On Tuesday I will be going in for CVS which is chromosomal testing and once we have those results we will know where to head.

Why I am telling you? I am asking our family and friends to pray with everything you have for healing. And if not for healing for strength and God’s will.

Love Tera

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One response to “Halloween

  1. Sherrie Nunheimer

    I just read this post and sit here in shock! I feel so bad that I didn’t know all of this in time to pray for you too. At one point in your pregnancy Laura had told me there were issues with the baby and I prayed for you all but reading what you went through just breaks my heart. You are so much stronger than you realize Tera. Elijahs story although sad is one that needs to be told. He has changed you and your family forever and his life, even though short is a miracle.

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