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Abigail Rose Shaughnessy

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Total Number of Gifts: 5
Total Value of Gifts: $3,653.00

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The Pregnancy

I will never forget the day of my 20 week ultrasound. My husband Matt had to work so I had my mom and my two daughters, who were 2 and 4 at the time, come to the ultrasound with me. The technician seemed unusually quiet during the ultrasound but I did not think anything of it at the time. When she told me that we were having another girl I was ecstatic. She never gave me any indication that anything was wrong. While we waited to see the doctor I called Matt from the waiting room to tell him we were having another girl.

After calling Matt with the initial good news, me, my mom, and our two daughters Shannon and Shelby, went in to talk with the doctor. It was then that the doctor told us what the technician had seen and said that he thought it was possible that she had Trisomy 18 and that it was incompatible with life.

The markers they found were choroid plexus cysts, small gestational size, multiple heart defects, 2 vessel umbilical cord, clenched fists, overlapping fingers, and a possible extra digit.

Matt and I had chosen not to have the AFP test with any of our pregnancies because we felt it was unreliable, so we didn’t have that information to go on. Although even at very early ultrasounds she had been behind in growth, the doctor had not been concerned since it was common that healthy babies measure slightly different than they should according to the dates.

He suggested we get an amnio as soon as possible. I don’t know how I made it back to the car. The girls realized that something was wrong so they did not say a word. On the drive back home I made that awful, second call to Matt to tell him that our daughter may have something called Trisomy 18 and the doctor was recommending that we have an amnio to be sure.

We were very honest with our daughters and family about everything from the beginning. We were careful to try to include Shannon and Shelby as much as we could in the planning and preparation for Abigail’s birth. When we got the call that Abigail did have Trisomy 18 we made the decision to carry her to term. We are Catholic and Catholics do not commend termination but if I had felt that termination was the best thing for us to do I would have done it regardless of my faith. The reason we did not terminate is because we could not choose the day our baby died. We felt we needed to leave it up to God and let him make that decision.

After we found out we did not want people to feel sorry for us. We wanted them to know that we were handling the situation. I typed out this letter and mailed it to our family and friends;

“Matt and I need the support of our family and friends more then ever as we begin this journey in our lives. We do not know what the future holds for us and for our unborn baby girl but we have decided to continue on and see what Gods plans are. We have learned a lot about trisomy 18 in these past few weeks and are always willing to answer any questions you may have.

“The bottom line is that God may well take our baby before she is born. If she is born alive she will have numerous problems, we will find out the specifics of these problems as the pregnancy progresses. She will not be perfect but then again none of us are and we will accept her faults and make her life as comfortable as possible no matter how short that life may be.

“This experience has made us better stronger people and we hope that it will make everyone around us appreciate life just a little more. Thanks again for your continued support and prayers.”

Aside from the T18, I had an uncomplicated pregnancy. We wrote a birth plan and reviewed it with the hospital. In our plan we chose comfort care, because we knew the condition of her heart was fatal on its own and if we did get to see her alive we did not want her hooked up to machines that were only going to prolong the inevitable. We wanted to make sure she was as comfortable as possible for as long as we had her.

The Death, Birth, Memorial and Life After

My due date came and went. The doctor told us that they would induce me when we were ready. I really wanted to go into labor on my own because I felt that if I were induced I would probably be choosing the day our daughter died. But when my due date came and went without any signs of labor I felt that psychologically I could not take the uncertainty any more, and we chose to induce on June 5th, 2 days after my due date. Because I was induced with both my other girls because I was over due I knew that there was a good chance I would have to be induced this time also.

I was scheduled to arrive at the hospital at 5:15 a.m but my water broke at 1:00 a.m. so I went into labor on my own. I am so thankful that my water broke at home only 4 hours before I was scheduled to be induced.

We went to the hospital and I delivered Abigail at 5:47 a.m. She weighed 5 pounds and was 19 inches long. She was breech and her heartbeat was going down with every contraction so they decided not to monitor it anymore. I believe Abigail passed away about 30 minutes before she was born. My labor lasted less than 5 hours. I had an epidural so I was not in any physical pain. I am so thankful that everything happened on its own.

The time we had with Abigail Rose was wonderful. One of the most special things about that time was seeing all three of our girls together. When Shannon and Shelby first came to see Abigail they wanted to hold her, touch her, kiss her and look at her. They did not care that she was not alive. She was their sister and that was all that mattered to them. I am very thankful that we gave them that opportunity to meet and love their sister.

At Abigail’s memorial service I had the priest read the following message:

“We want to thank you all for all of your continued support through this ongoing journey in our lives. We conceived and gave birth to an angel and feel very privileged to have had such an enlightening experience. Abigail Rose is now and has always been God’s child. She was only placed in our arms a short time to teach us all the lessons of a lifetime. On her short time here on earth she taught us unconditional love, she showed us courage and strength and finally she showed us how to surrender to the inevitable. Abigail was not a mistake by God; rather she was a gift from him. A gift that we can all celebrate. A gift that we should all cherish.”

Through this experience, I am very thankful for many things. I am extremely thankful that everything happened on its own and because of that we have absolutely no regrets. I truly believe that God was watching out for us. I am also thankful that at the ‘young?’ age of 34 I know how precious life is. Most people do not learn this life altering lesson until much latter in life. Matt and I no longer take anything for granted; we value life so much more then we did before we were blessed with Abigail.

I am also extremely thankful that I found support from the Trisomy board. I think that is the one reason I still have my sanity. I was able to research and talk to others that are going through and have been through the same thing as me. I found a due date buddy and we talked on the phone regularly. I did not feel alone. I found that no one wanted to talk about my pregnancy and the baby I was carrying and that was all that I wanted to talk about. The board was where I could talk openly with people who understood.

We are a stronger, closer family than we were before we had Abigail. She will always be a positive part of our family.

Abigail was born over 7 years ago and we still talk about her and certainly think about her. Shannon and Shelby still talk about their sister in heaven. We did get pregnant again 5 months after Abigail was born and we had a healthy baby girl. I believe she is a gift from Abigail so we named her Riley Rose after our angel Abigail Rose. Carrying a baby again so soon after loosing one is very difficult but it is worth every second of worry.

When Matt and I first found out that Abigail had Trisomy 18 we were devastated but we chose not to let it destroy us. When tragedy strikes you can let it make you or break you. We vowed that this was not going to destroy us. We tried to find something positive in the experience. I am not saying that those 20 weeks and 2 days carrying Abigail knowing the prognosis was easy; it wasn’t. It was the worst time in our lives and I never want to go through something like this again…but the lessons we learned because of it have changed our lives for the better in so many ways.

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yolanda & quincy stewart.
Fri, Mar 21, 2014
Thanks for sharing, I'm reading pretty much everything I can it really makes you feel good to know your not alone. I was told at 22 weeks our daughter has trisomy 18. It's hitting my husband a lot harder then me. I guess seeing as I am a m.a. and having taking care of our oldest daughter who was born at 28 weeks with,c.p. hearing loss lazy left eye and slow learning I tend to take things one day at a time. They said she wouldn't survive pass six month and she will be 21 this year. But this came completely out of left field. But how every long our Mary Elizabeth lives it will be well enjoyed. Thank you

Delliett Precious
Fri, Nov 22, 2013
Getting my Ex back my name is Heather Mcpherson Mildred. I've known Johnson for years, When we finally got together things were kind of weird so we broke up which was in February of 2011 In June of 2012 he and I recently got back together and we were together until march of 2013 which he told me he was not interested in relationship again During that time I changed completely, I wasn't eating,I was sleeping a lot, I wasn't talking to anybody, I cried a lot,I'm so depressed and stressed out that I'm scared I'm going to end up in the hospital because of all the stress and depression until one day i search online on getting love tips because I Love & care about him deeply and I just want us to be together as a couple again and I want us to last forever Google recommend me that he will solve my relationship problem then Dr James told me he will come back to me between 48hrs after he cast spell on him never believe it until my fiance called me on the phone and told me he want us to come back and live happy together forever , Am so happy now that DR James, help me bring Johnson back to me. Thanks so much( Dr James) his email:

Mindy Murphy
Mon, Oct 21, 2013
Wow! I have read tons of stories, watched videos and searched for hours and hours looking for some type of encouragement. Your story is uplifting and very close to my heart. My husband and I are 30 weeks pregnant with our third daughter. She was diagnosed at 20 weeks with full T18. She has a large Omphalocele, major heart complications, and her hands are not formed correctly. Her name is Charleigh Rose. God works in amazing ways! We aren't sure what God has in store for our Charleigh girl, but already she has impacted more lives than we could have ever imagined! Thank you for sharing your story!

Marianne Novak
Thu, Sep 27, 2012
I am reading Abigail's story and crying for you all. God bless your angel girl. I am sorry she had to go home to Jesus so soon. I commend you on your strength and courage. GOD BLESS YOU ALL. i am currently 11w5d pregnant with twins, and Baby A has a thick nuchal fold, so i am also concerned about trisomy 18, 13, or 21. Prayers for you all, and prayers for us, if you get this message. my email is as i usually don't check these boards often.

Baby Jakob
Sun, Sep 16, 2012
My 18 year old neice gave birth to a son 9 weeks early. He is 20 days old and they are now saying he has T18 and should be taken off of life support (which is a Cpap for apnea)He has a small cleft in his lip and a hole in his heart. No tests during pregnancy showed the T18 or health problems. The father of the baby was told that when they thought my neice miscarried (at 12 weeks), that it must have been a twin and the twin gave Jakob the extra chromosome. Is this possible? I have been researching it for 2 days on the internet. I hope this is the right place to ask this question! (They are getting a 2nd opinion and will NOT be taking his Cpap but I still want to know if its possible.) thank you!

Kristy fleischmann
Sat, Jul 28, 2012
I just would like to thank you for sharing your story.i have two wonderful daughters and I am pregnant with just as wonderful baby girl who tested positive with t18. This is the hardest thing I ever went thru. I don't believe in abortion, but at the same time I was afraid my baby can be in pain now. I did a lot of research since I was told the news.i was three months when they told me the news while I was looking at my baby moving on the sonogram and I just could stop my baby from trying to come. I saw her moving and the dr talking about how bad her heart was along with a lot of other stuff. But to me she is fighting to survive. With each passing week I still have her heart beating. I know the odds are against us but I need to fight along side her. Reading your story and others helps me know Im not alone and see things a little brighter thank u so much.

Stefanie Bridschge
Tue, Apr 24, 2012
I am 19 years old 17 weeks pregnant and expecting twins. At my first ultrasound where they told me i was expecting twins they also told me baby B had some fluid behind his head and that i should go see a genesists, but acted as if it was nothing. at 13 weeks exactly I saw the genasists. They told me baby A was perfectly healthy but baby B had 6 fingers on each hand, a cleff lip, mangled legs and its right foot was growing to the side. They also told me the baby had a very large hole in its heart and that its stomach tissues were not growing correctly. I was absolutely devistated to hear this. I have been doing lots of research on trisomy 13 and 18 because that it was the genetic counselour had my baby more than likely has. I have my amniocentisis test in a few days. My genetic counselor said even if not diagnosed with one of these disoreders the likely hood of my baby passing bewithin a week after birth was at 80%... though I can't honestly say i have decided to go through with the pregnancy, your story and many of the others i have read have been making me feel much stronger and feel as though I am much more able to do it/ handle going full term. I also have a 9 month old perfectly healthy beautiful daughter!! Your story is so inspiring... I know God will help me make the right choice and i am so glad people like you share your stories which help people like me!!! Although I have told no one but my closest family memebers, I very much support organzions and websites like this!! thank you for your story!!

Kirstin Manholt
Tue, Mar 06, 2012
My son had plexus cysts at his ultra sound too but he did not have Trisomy 18. My heart goes out to you and your family. Please know I am keeping you in my prayers.

Sun, Jan 29, 2012

Kelly B.
Wed, Jan 04, 2012
My husband and I went to my amino appointment yesterday to confirm that our daughter has T18. We will know the results by this Friday. At 18 weeks along AFP came back 1/10 chances she has T18. Ultrasound images show clenched fists, crossed legs, spina bifida, small size, and multiple heart defects. I feel her move maybe once a day. I have a fetal Doppler at home so that helps, I can still hear her heartbeat. I'm 20 weeks now and I decided to carry full term. I can't decide when to let my baby girl die. I am leaving it in Gods hands. I'm so thankful for my family, my 22 month old son Braden and stories like yours that I can get support from.

Darlene <3
Fri, Dec 09, 2011
Thank you so much for sharing your 22 wks we had an ultrasound done and found that our son had plaxus cysts at 24 wks we had an amnino and found out he had T18 and a heart defect. We have 2 healthy girls and we are so excited to have our son. we have had our days of sadness but we are not angry. We know that God wants another Angel by his side to help him watch over all of us. Our faith in the Lord has brought us much closer together and we are building a stronger foundation...Our daughters is what keeps us going and of course our entire family support....I thank you again you and your family will be in our prayers....

Stephanie & Adam Smith
Fri, Nov 25, 2011
Thank you so much for sharing your story. My husband and I found out on 11/21/11 that our baby girl as well has Trisomy 18. There are so many different emotions we are trying to deal with, but with the help of the Lord, our family, church family, friends, and other parents who are facing or have faced the same situation, we know we will get through this. You are so right when you say that Abibail is a gift, not a mistake. We feel the same way! There is a purpose in all this. It has already brought my huband and me much closer. I'm so glad to hear that you have been blessed with another little girl. God bless and thank you again for sharing your story!

Trish Hale
Fri, Oct 07, 2011
Thank you for sharing your story! Your family is very blessed! May God bless you and you family for many years to come. I am sure our faith is what gets us through difficult times.

Sat, Jul 23, 2011
Thankyou so much for sharing your story and I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I felt a lot of pride in your story though, proud that you carried on with your pregnancy and proud that you became stronger and learnt those lessons.
I am 28 weeks pregnant with a little boy with T18 - we have named him Sebastian Levi. I too am apprehensive about what lies ahead and pray each day for healing or for at least to meet him alive. I was saddened that your little girl passed away in labour, but then I also felt peace when you said that it was all done naturally and you don't regret it. That's it isn't it - if it was God's will for her to pass before you met her, who are you to argue? This is food for thought for me, as we had thought of perhaps having the c-section if his heart rate drops too much in labour. I guess I will take this one up with God some more, but I thankyou so much for your insight into it for me.
Thankyou for sharing your journey and your strength and for leaving Abigail's footprint on this world.

Tue, Jul 05, 2011
I found out today that I was having a boy and has Trisomy 18. I admire the strength it took you to go through what I am just beginning. Thank you so much for your courage being able to tell your tale.

Thu, Jun 02, 2011
I am so sorry to hear about your daughter
My wife and I had a baby boy who survived 16 days before he passed away due to trisomy 18

Amy Leigh
Sun, May 15, 2011
Thank you for sharing your story. I am pregnant with my second daughter - Elliana Rain - and the doctor just old us two days ago there is a strong possibility that she has Trisomy 18. She has four symptoms. We are waiting to do the amnio because we don't want to take even a 1/2% chance of going into labor early and losing her. My first daughter Abigail Sage is 18 months and healthy so we were surprised by the ultrasound results. I thank you for your story and although I cry as I type this, I hope we get to meet our daughter and love her the way you did with your Abigail. God bless you for sharing your story. I really appreciate it.

Thu, May 05, 2011
Thank you for sharing your story. My friend is going through the screening process now and was told that her baby was at risk for Trisomy 18. I have been looking for things to prepare her for anything and show her that others have went through this and made it through. I will show her your story so thank you for sharing you are a brave, strong and wonderful mother!

Tamiko Ellis
Sun, Apr 24, 2011
My baby boy I'Zaya James passed away on October 1st 2010 I was induced four days before my due date he was diagnosed with trisomy 18 at twenty four weeks the doctor advised us to terminate the pregnancy we decided to continue with the pregnancy his heart beat was just fine during labor but as soon as he was born he was not breathing nor did he have a heart beat I was so messed up because i had believed in my heart that my baby boy was healed by God. Now five months later i am sitting here scared to death because i am expecting again and i am praying that this baby is ok. It is so good to be able to go on the internet and find people who have been threw a similar situation as you.

Kirstie McTamney
Mon, Mar 21, 2011
I am so sorry asia to hear of your loss, especially as you are only 15. It is so young to experience such a tragedy. I am 36 and have just lost my baby darling to edwards syndrome when I was 22 weeks pregnant on 19th january this year. I am finding it hard to cope and I have a lot of life experience. i do so hope that you recover and take strength from the story above about Abigail. It does make bonds stronger and make you truly appreciate how fragile and precious life is. I only wish there was an easier way. it is heartbreaking to read all the sadness and loss and it is also so heartbreaking to lose a baby.

asia sumpter
Sun, Jan 16, 2011
i was 15 when i found out i was pregnant with my little boy. the day i wnet into labor i was only like 33 weeks. my little man was 2lbs 09oz and 15 inches long when he was born a week later i went to see him at the hospital and we had to have a family meeting my mama daddy and my baby's godmother went with me the doctor got us in the room and told us that my little boy had trisomy 18 and that he would not live past 2 weeks. but were they wrong yes they were me and my fiances little man made it to 3months and he passed away on the 11th of december of 2009 in my arms just mintues before we went to go Christmas shopping for him. istill look at his pictures i sitll talk about him i still wish he was here with me to make all of my problems go away and i still cry until this day i have very sad days to were i just cry for no reason i really have no one to talk to about that will actually listen i just miss him so much and i know how eveyone feels that actually lost a child to this i might be the youngest one up here but i really understand it all.... thank you so much for having this amazing story up here for us to read it brought joy to my heart to know im not the only one that has went through this.

Jacinta Borradale - Australia
Mon, Jan 10, 2011
It was February 2003 when I was diagnosed at 13 weeks into my pregnancy that my baby had T18. What was T18? I had never heard of it before but was told my option was to terminate the pregnancy. I was in total shock and absolutely devestated by this news. I am not a religious person so God didn't enter my head with this news and went along with the doctors and terminated the pregnancy of my baby daughter. Then in August I fell pregnant again and had a healthy baby boy who is now 6 years old. A few years later we decided to give our son a sibling and after twice falling pregnant, going for my ultrasound and both times having no heartbeat was so painful. We decided to try again. Each time I went for my ultrasound I would sit in the waiting room feeling extremely ill and just hoping that this time baby was ok. I gave birth to another healthy boy in Aug. 2008. I now think back to my T18 baby daughter and have a heavy heart for the daughter I could have had and didn't even think to carry to term and hold her. I didn't have the internet back then to research T18. I didn't know of T18. But if things were different I don't know what I would have done and probably wouldn't have my 2 precious boys! But how I wish I could have held my daughter. Thank you for sharing your story and giving me the chance to share mine.

Tue, Nov 16, 2010
Thank you for sharing your story with us. We lost our beautiful Kayleigh under very similar circumstances, almost identical. She also passed away shortly before I was due to be induced. We were given a grim prognosis as you were and being faithful Christians, decided it was up to God when Kayleigh would be taken from us. She was born on August 6th, 2008. I think of her every single day and look forward to seeing her once again. We had a healthy baby girl shortly after Kayleigh and she inherited Kayleigh as a second name. We are also about to have another baby girl in the next couple of weeks. Despite finding the strength to move "forward" with life, having these girls has struck a chord of guilt with a touch of bittersweet pain. I do not regret any of my 3 beautiful girls. And these two that we have will know all about their sibling kayleigh. I take my hat off to all parents that lose their babies and find the courage and goodness to move onward. It is the most difficult thing to ever endure and the pain never subsides. We simply learn to live with the pain....
We miss you and love you Kayleigh xo

Mon, Nov 01, 2010
I just lost my daughter to trisomy 18. At 36 weeks she was born because of infrequent fetal activity. 10-20-2010 and she survived for 9 long days. I had a csec but I visit with her everyday and almost all day and night long. At 6 weeks I was bleeding very heavy and that's when the heart starts to beat. At 16 weeks I was told through a blood test I was 1/10 chance of T18. I prayed. I did not get an amnio bcuz I'm 33 and did not want to lose the baby. At 27 weeks they changed my due date and said that could have triggered the T18 result 2 weeks change. Even before they said we are taking her today on 10/20 the dr said she does not think she has T18 cause she calculated my due date and it was off two weeks. Baby was born and I heard them say trisomy. I only had the 9 days with her and I feel so blessed bcuz the day they took her her heart rate kept dropping to 134 bpm back to 161. I kinda knew in my head something was wrong. My stomach was small the entire pregnancy. She weighed 3.5 lbs at birth. On her last day alive I recorded her for a long time and when I left I never made it home. They called exactly at midnight. I returned and she passed in my arms 10/29 at 1:30am my original due date. It was and still is hard but I'm handeling it. I guess I'm stronger than I thought. Her name is Kawainani and if you type her name on google it will show up on YouTube. She has a long Hawaiian middle name which means the precious gift from the heavens. My first daughter. I pray I have another daughter bcuz I had a baby shower and everything and I have tons of things unused until next time. I love her and miss her so. She is my angel now. Thanks for listening.

Andrea Davis
Tue, Oct 26, 2010
Bless your hearts! We lost our beloved Mya secondary to Trisomy 18 at the age of 2 days almost 9 years ago. She was our firstborn. We found out the something might be wrong at 35 weeks gestation and then delivered our beautiful daughter at 39 weeks (induced). Our OBGYN was hoping she would be small and healthy.....he cried after he delivered her. She had the Edward's Syndrome markers including club feet, an extra digit on her right thumb, low-set ears very pretty. She died in our arms as I felt her spirit leave her body and rise into the hands of God the Almighty. It was an intense spiritual experience and our lives are forever changed! What a blessing if only for 2 days!

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