Tanya Drinkwine-Cortes Amaya Grace

First post: Nov 8, 2018 Latest post: Nov 10, 2018

Sunday, October 28th, 2018 -- our sweet Amaya Grace was born at 7:27pm at just 18 weeks gestation, weighing 1.6 ounces and 4.75" long.  Jesus took our sweet angel into His arms, and right now our hearts are broken.  

Our first ultrasound on September 1st confirmed we were 10 weeks pregnant.  That afternoon we also learned of a "possible" problem with our sweet girl.  September 5th -- it was confirmed, our baby had a Cystic Hygroma.  This Hygroma was a "symptom" of a bigger issue, one we had no answers for.  We were told it would be a process of waiting and testing -- and were given the run down of possible scenarios.  Trisomy 21 (down syndrome), Trisomy 18, 13, Turner syndrome, Klinefelter Syndrome, etc.  In short -- our baby was believed to have some chromosomal disorder.  The majority of them listed resulted in heart, brain, or other organ failure and babies usually survive less than a year; if not miscarriage or stillbirth, first (minus the down syndrome).  We were stunned then, and I still find myself stunned writing this. We just didn't understand.

At that appointment we were told that there was genetic testing we could undergo to see if our baby in fact carried one of these.  IF the results came back normal, the next common problem where a hygroma is present is in a baby who has a heart problem.  If this was the case, we wouldn't know more until 17-20 weeks where an ultrasound of the heart would show more.  We were just a few days over 10 weeks, so we decided we'd take our chances at the genetic blood test and hope for the best.  I remember sitting at this appointment and being asked if we needed to make another appointment to "hear and make an informed decision" pending the results -- and I just didn't understand.  Our genetic counselor wanted to give us as much information as possible, as early as she could - so we could make and "informed decision".  In other words -- end our babies life should we not be able to handle one of these disorders.  I was honestly BROKEN.  How on earth could I possibly end a life God gave me.  We knew right then and there this was NOT an option.  No matter what our baby did or did not have, it is NOT my place to take their life.  God will give us exactly what he will prepare us for.  And no matter what our baby had -- they were ours.

A week later we were called with the results of our testing.  It came back inconclusive.  Or, in other words -- positive for "no problems" at this point -- but they wanted a re-test.  Apparently there wasn't enough of the babies DNA present to accurately test, given we were at the earliest marker they could perform the test.  We were given an option to come back in an repeat just a week later, or wait until our 14 week ultrasound to perform the test again.  Given the fact the results wouldn't change our minds on our pregnancy, we decided to wait.

At the 14 week ultrasound we got the devastating news.  Our babies hygroma had tripled. At 10 weeks it was measuring 3.5mm.  4 weeks later, 11.6mm and had now went from the back of the neck/spine to circle over the babies head, face, abdomen, legs and arms. We were then told that insurance may not cover another genetic test since it was a repeat -- but we could also wait until our 17 week ultrasound (of the heart), and then decided if we wanted to repeat the test . Again, since it wouldn't change what we did with the pregnancy, we decided to put it in God's hands.  We would wait until the 17 week ultrasound which hoped to get an early look at the heart.   IF a problem was seen there -- we'd have a CAUSE for this hygroma.  If not, we would repeat the genetic testing and then a 20 week ultrasound of the heart (the best time to be seeing a problem if there was one).

We were going home with no answers, no news, no real sense of what to say to our kids or family -- or how.  We had told no one.  Not even our kids. I wanted to be able to give them SOME sort of news, some sort of answers and prepare them for the life that was to come -- the change our family would endure, and the love we would give to this baby for as long as she was here.  We had also declined to find out the sex of the baby until we could SEE it in an ultrasound, even though the 10 week blood test done had our results.  It was on that car ride home we decided 17 weeks was the date.  We would find out if Mommy and Daddy were right (we knew it was a girl), or, if we had yet another baby boy on the way.  After that ultrasound, we'd tell the kids and make our BIG reveal not only announcing baby, but the gender as well.  That day never came.

On Tuesday, October 23rd we were at our 17 week (and 3 days) ultrasound -- and INSTANTLY knew something was wrong.  She wasn't moving.  I KNEW our baby girl was gone.  The ultrasound tech apologized and told us she was sorry, our baby seemed to have passed. She recorded and measured at 80bps -- instead of the usual 160-170 range.  She apologized, told us she'd be back shortly to discuss next steps, and the door closed.  I can't explain what that day felt like.  Not only did we learn our little girl was passing away, but we were then prepped with conversations of death, how to tell our kids, what the next steps were, etc.  We had decisions to make and I had no idea what to feel.  We were sent home to "wait" until she passed.  We could come back every day to check, or, as they recommended -- wait a few days as these things can sometimes take time.  

A few days later our baby girl had passed. Sunday morning, October 28th -- I began the process of inducing labor of our sweet girl.  I remember sitting there over and over asking Luis if we made the right decision.  Some who had found out were asking WHY I would go through this,  WHY not have a D&E (D&C wasn't an option this far along), why I would want to go through this, did we know how much it would cost, etc.  For a short minute -- I wondered WHY that hadn't ever crossed my mind -- and if that meant we made the wrong choice.  BUT, we had not, and here's why.  That evening, after the 9 short hours (My shortest labor yet), I delivered our angel baby.  All of her fingers, her toes, her sweet little mouth, her button little nose.  She was OURS.  We held her, we cried.  We loved her, we cherished her -- and for that short time -- we HELD her for as long as we could.

Our sweet Amaya Grace was our daughter.  She was our little treasure -- and her life, no matter how short should be celebrated.  While Luis and I made the decision to process the short 8 weeks we knew actually knew about our pregnancy, privately, the reasons we did so are reasons I would do it all over again if I had to. As I look back on everything that has happened and how -- God really prepared us the best he could.  We spent the last 2 months holding on to each other, our Faith in Him, going through this as a couple -- and putting Him at the center of all of it.  I would do it exactly as we did all over again.  With this, I want to share the details we have - not because I felt I had to, but more so because these details were the details of her short life.  These details were her journey.  Our journey.  And these details led up to the most painful days we have ever faced.  We will continue this journey. We will learn from it.  We will live MORE because of it.  We will love HARDER in spite of it.

The name Amaya (Hebrew definition) means God's angel, our sweet baby girl was just that.  Two years ago while pregnant with Lucas, although we knew he was a boy -- we couldn't help but come up with a girl name, little did we know then as to why.  God has a plan for us.  He did then, he does now, and He will forever hold our future.  We love each of you and we ask that you continue to lift us up in prayer as we navigate through the upcoming weeks ahead.  

Luis & Tanya