Pauline's Story
Posted October 10, 2005

My husband and I were married 7 years ago. That is pretty much when our heartache began. We decided that I would get off of the pill right after we were married. Me being 19 years old I thought we wouldn't have any problems getting pregnant.

After about a year of not getting pregnant I decided to talk to my gyno. He immediately suggested that my husband see a urologist. We thought that was odd, because we always thought they checked the woman first. So we went to the doctor and they ordered a semen analysis. It came back showing that there was no sperm. Not low sperm but NO sperm. That crushed my world.

They ordered another semen analysis. Again, nothing. The doctor suggested my husband have a biopsy of his testicles to see if he had any sperm at all. The test showed that he did have sperm but he didn't have a vas deferens*, which is pretty crucial to having a baby. The urologist told us about IVF and some doctors that he knew of.

We knew that IVF was very expensive so we had to wait until we could come up with the money. Of course our insurance doesn't help with infertility. Then a lady that my husband works with saw an article on the news about a foundation that helps people with the cost of IVF. They had a few specifications. You could not have a child together, never have done IVF before and have a combined income of less than $50,000. I was really excited... then I found out that they could only help 4 couples that year. I decided to write a letter to them anyway.

About 4 months later my husband called me from work to tell me that the foundation had chosen us! I immediately started crying and went straight to his work. When I got there he was crying also. The amazing thing was that I didn't leave our number in the letter so they had been trying to get a hold of us for a while. The doctor eventually called our urologist to get our number. We almost missed our opportunity!

So my husband had to have his sperm aspirated with a needle. They confirmed that the sperm at that time looked good. We froze it until it was time to go. We went to all of our appointments, I received all of my shots, went through a very painful retreival and unfortunately we only had two out of 15 eggs to fertilize. I was prepared to have a negative pregnancy test. I didn't take an at home test because I thought I knew the results. When the nurse came in and told me congrats I was floored -- along with my mom and my aunt who were there with me. We all started to cry, even the nurse. Finally, I was going to have a baby!

The next 14 weeks or so I was on cloud nine. No sickness. I started feeling the baby flutter around 18 weeks. I was so thrilled to be in the bliss of motherhood. My mom and I would buy something every time we went to Wal-Mart. This was my parents' first grandchild. We had actually furnished the nursery. It was done. We left hardly anything for anyone to buy for the baby shower.

We were very excited to find out the sex of the baby at 20 weeks. We went into the room for the ultrasound and she couldn't find the genitals. She went on to measure the limbs and the head. When the doctor came in to do his evaluation he asked if I was 18 weeks. I explained that I was 20 weeks. Next thing I knew he was ordering I go on bedrest and that there was something wrong with my baby. I broke down at that point. They scheduled an emergency amniocentisis. They wanted to monitor the baby for the next couple of days to see if it was going to grow. I had the amnio done and a couple of days later they called to tell us that it was a normal boy. I was ecstatic because I thought that meant that everything was fine.

Unfortunately, they called a few more days later to tell me that he was diagnosed with Wolfe Hirschorne (Wolf-Hirschhorn or 4P) syndrome. They had also found a heart defect in the ultrasound, a small or missing kidney and a clubbed foot. All I could do is ask why this was happening to me?

We were given a couple of choices. Go through with the pregnancy knowing there were lots of things wrong with the baby and that possibly he wouldn't even make it to full term, which puts my life at risk, or terminating the pregnancy. There was one additional catch - we had to make a decision quick. I was going on 22 weeks and in the state we live in they have a deadline on termination.

We went to see a genetic counselor. She had statistics and pictures of children with this specific syndrome. My heart was so broken. 90% of these children could not eat or walk on their own. They were also moderate to severely mentally handicapped. I was devastated. I had already felt this little life inside me and now I was faced with this decision. Luckily, I had a great support system - family and friends and even all of the doctors. My husband ultimately decided to give him as an angel, knowing that he would always be taken care of. They scheduled it right away. I went into the hospital very early on a Friday. I was a mess. They almost had to carry me into the room.

When I woke up I had quite a bit of bleeding but everything else was fine. I went home shortly after that. When I went home I ate some soup and went to bed. My husband went to lay down with me. I woke him a couple hours later because it hurt to try to roll over on my side. I was having a hard time breathing. My husband called the doctor and he said to watch me for a while. We had to call him back immediately, things were not looking good. He told my husbad to call 911. I ended up in the hospital for 3 days due to a perforated uterus. They had to give me 4 units of blood and make sure my bladder hadn't been damaged. Luckily everything turned out to be okay.

Over the next couple of weeks I cried all day, every day. I really didn't think I was going to recover from such heartache. I just kept telling myself that God needed him more than we did. I went to a thing called A Walk to Remember*. It is a healing program for people who have lost babies. It really does help.

The foundation helped us one more time which was a failure. We also tried one more time on our own which was also a failure.

So here we are. I am now 26 years old and no baby. We have spent more money than we have so we can only do so much. We are going to try IUI. Hopefully we will have some good news for Christmas.


* Vas deferens - muscular tubes through which the sperm is propelled during ejaculation.

* A Walk to Remember, held during October, honors those babies who have died thorough miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, or newborn death. To find out more, see the Events page on the National SHARE Organization website.