Article Text

Download PDFPDF

He was my son, not a dying baby
  1. Pauline Thiele
  1. Correspondence to Ms Pauline Thiele, C/O PO Box 298, Red Hill South VIC 3937, Australia; liam194{at}

Statistics from

Conversing happily with my son we had been driving home when my mobile phone rang. Startled at the sound of my obstetrician's voice I had pulled off to the side of the road. At 18 weeks gestation I was told in a factual tone that the results from my serum screen had come back, indicating that our baby was at increased risk of Trisomy 18. Gripping the steering wheel my head had spun as he talked, explaining that Trisomy 18 was worse than Trisomy 21 because our baby was not going to live. We had been thrilled when we heard the news of my pregnancy but now my temples throbbed and tears brimmed in my eyes. Suddenly my world was turned upside down and it had felt like someone reached into my chest and ripped my heart out.

My husband and I decided that an amniocentesis was needed for a positive diagnosis and this was arranged for the following day. Studiously the sonographer performed the diagnostic ultrasound with a furrow across his brow. Watching the monitor I saw my baby moving as I watched the colours of red and blue flow through the heart and heard the regular, fast rhythm of the heartbeat. Quietly I hoped that the news was good but the creased brow had told me otherwise. Holding the amniotic fluid in his right hand the sonographer had glanced from it to me and empathetically informed me that the news wasn't good and that he didn't need to send the sample off for a positive diagnosis. Once again my world was crashing and all I wanted to do was bury my head in a pillow and sob.

The following weekend dragged and had been filled with streams of tears and emotional turmoil. All I wanted to …

View Full Text

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles

  • Commentary
    Joy Lyneham
  • Commentary
    Dominic J C Wilkinson
  • The concise argument
    Søren Holm