All,  Marcella's Story

The Biggest Needle Ever

We sat in that bright, silent waiting room of St. Agnes Hospital for the second time waiting to be called back. Since the doctor had been so adamant about me terminating my pregnancy the first time, to be there again made my stomach turn. On top of the nerves about the amniocentesis procedure, seeing that doctor again was the last thing I wanted to do. A different nurse appeared and called me back to the room where the procedure would take place. Once situated on the table, she explained to me the steps of what would happen; she would check for a heartbeat, do a quick sonogram check to see where the baby was, and then the doctor would come in to do the amniocentesis. For those of you who have never heard of an amniocentesis or had one done, you are the lucky ones. An amniocentesis is a huge needle that is inserted into the placenta and pulls out amniotic fluid from around the baby. With this amniotic fluid tests are ran to ensure that there are no chromosomal defects with the baby, it is indeed very painful and carries the risk of having a miscarriage. Knowing that this was just the first step of many extensive testing that we would have to go through, I just wanted it to be done with. I am not one for needles especially big, painful ones that could potentially hurt the baby girl I was carrying, but if it could help in any way to give her a better life I was all for it. The nurse did her part and exited the room, the next time she came in the doctor would be with her. My mom and I sat in silence, mainly due to me trying to pep talk myself through what was about to happen and praying to God to keep the baby safe through the whole thing.

Then those three little knocks on the door came, and the doctor walked through the door. As he picked up the sonogram wand and began to look at my baby girl he began explaining the extensive details of the amniocentesis. We had already looked over and read all about the amniocentesis, the risks, the aftereffects, what to look out for, and what the doctor was going to do. I politely looked at him and said, “Can we just get this done and over with?” He cleared his throat, dimmed the lights in the room, and prepped my stomach for the injection of the needle. I don’t remember how big the needle was, but I do remember closing my eyes and clenching my fist as the pressure from the needle began to build. Through the doctors I looked over to my mom and saw her whisper, “your going to be okay, its almost done.” It felt like time was standing still, everyone was moving in slow motion, their voices muffled, the pressure from the needle, and I closed my eyes and prayed, “God please let that come back normal. Please just keep her safe.” When I opened my eyes, the doctor was wiping my stomach off, asked me to get myself together and that he would meet us in his office. Instantly, my heart sank all I wanted to do was go home, but clearly this doctor wasn’t done. We shuffled over to his office, where he explained that the test would take a few days to get back and that I would receive a phone call with the results to save us a trip back up there. No sooner then he finished that sentence he was right there to follow it up with, “there is still time to terminate the pregnancy, a spina bifida child has a lot of high demanding needs, and as a child yourself I worry you won’t be able to handle the challenges of raising a special needs baby.” I looked him in the eye and said, “I appreciate your concern, yes she may be a lot to handle and its every parents’ worst nightmare to hear this, but I am not terminating her. My mom has offered to help me as needed no matter what happens, we are moving forward with the other option of being seen at children’s hospital of Philly, so please send the results of the amniocentesis to them as well.” With that my mom and I stood up and walked out of that doctor’s office.

I wish I could say we never looked back after that day, but unfortunately that was not the case, we still had to deal with them to get the amniocentesis results. A few days later, St Agnes’s phone number popped up, I looked at my mom, took a deep breath, walked into the other room, and answered the phone. On the other line I heard, “Ms. Brink we are calling from St. Agnes Hospital, we are happy to report that your amniocentesis came back normal; there are no chromosomal defects with the baby. We will forward the results to children’s hospital of Philly.”  Like the first song bird to sing in the spring I walked out of that room, with my head held high, finally able to breathe a little bit better, even though we had a long road ahead of us, nothing else was wrong with my baby girl. With the amniocentesis out of the way and the results being sent to children’s hospital the next step was to gather all the information on in-utero surgery, contact children’s hospital to find out what the process was, and to schedule an appointment to be seen.