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Carleigh's Story

At 17 weeks gestation, we found by prenatal ultrasound that our daughter would have Spina Bifida. Doctors offered me the option to terminate, which I refused. In an amniocentesis at 22 weeks gestation, Trisomy 18 was found. I was ENCOURAGED to terminate. Doctors told us that our daughter would most likely be stillborn. In the chance that she was "born alive", she would probably only live a few hours. The mortality rate for Trisomy 18 is 30% by age 1 month, 50% by age 2 months, and 90% by age 12 months.

I noticed that there was a 10% chance that she would live longer than one year. I decided that 10% was better than no chance at all and I would give our baby the chance to live. I knew if I killed her, I would never forgive myself and would live the rest of my life wondering "what if". On November 8, 1999, I gave birth to a very beautiful little girl. We named her Carleigh Lauryn Grace and she is the light of our lives! She has Trisomy 18, congenital heart defects, Spina Bifida, Arnold Chiari Malformation, Hydrocephalus, and bilateral clubfeet.

Even with all her health problems and numerous doctor trips, she is alive and thriving. Had I listened to the doctors and terminated the pregnancy, I would not have had the privilege of knowing my beautiful little girl. I feel my child has just as much a right to life as any other child. To all parents expecting a Trisomy 18 baby, PLEASE do not terminate! Don't ever let a doctor tell you that you will never hold your baby. It is not their choice, it is God's choice. You are receiving your special baby for a reason - hold on to him or her for dear life. I will never regret my choice to keep my daughter.

For Carleigh's story in the long version, please visit:Carleigh's Corner

Andrea Williams,
Mommy to Nicky (age 2 1/2) and Carleigh (age 15 weeks - our little miracle)
"Miracles Happen to Those Who Believe..."