Friday, January 9, 2009

The miracle of life

Just so you know: Unless otherwise mentioned, from this post on, everything will be present day.

The brain is such a fascinating organ! If I had the energy to go back to school, I could see myself becoming a brain researcher, but there are times when I question my intellectual ability. Still, it's a thought.
We've seen ultrasound pictures of Lily, and despite the choroid plexus cysts in her brain, there have not been any other problems. We go on January 14 for another Level 2 ultrasound for a closer look. I pray her problems will be VERY minimal, but even that won't offer me much comfort.
No two Trisomy 18 births are necessarily alike. Sadly, some babies are stillborn. My OB's practice just had a birth where the baby lived 22 minutes; my pediatrician shared with me of a birth where the baby lived three hours, then he went on to share a child who lived to be 8 years old. Apparently, heart problems are one of the major problems. The doctor will be looking closely at Lily's heart. Of course, there are kidney problems. Lily's kidneys are questionable. Omphalocele, where the intestines and other organs are outside of the body, can also occur. Then, some of these babies just "fail to thrive." Some problems show up on the ultrasound. Others aren't so visible. Even though problems aren't noticeable, a doctor can't really predict the outcome of the birth.
Here's why: the brain. Remember those choroid plexus cysts? They are a strong marker for Trisomy 18, but even normal babies have them. They go away. They may even go away in Lily. But in Tri 18 babies, brain damage occurs. My assumption is from the CPCs, but I can't remember the findings behind that.
This isn't your every day, learning disability, handicapped brain damage. It all depends on the moment of birth, and this is an incredible miracle of life.
From what I've been told, the moment of birth holds an unbelievable amount of firings in the brain. These firings encourage movement, crying, functioning. These firings may not happen properly in Lily. She may have a heart that has no problems, but if her brain doesn't fire the right shots, or any at all, her heart won't function properly. It is her brain that could keep her from breathing and feeding at the same time. It is her brain that might cause her to "forget" to breath at all. Of course, it is her brain that will deem her "severely mentally retarded."
That's her brain. That's not her heart. Nor mine. Her heart will feel the love that Dave and I, the girls, our family, our friends have for her. It doesn't take an intellectual to understand love.


  1. You forgot that baby is capable of loving too. :)

  2. we're still praying for you, lily, dave and your family.

    i've set up our blog finally...

    hope to chat with you soon!