February 23rd, 2018. I bought a pregnancy test, and took it on break at work. Waiting for the results, I already knew. The two lines showed up and I cried, I cried because I wasn’t ready for a third child. My relationship wasn’t even really a relationship yet. It was way too new and we weren’t even sure about each other (clearly). So my emotions took over and I cried and panicked and cried and panicked. And I hid the test in my desk at school and went about my day. I finished my work day with all sorts of crazy, fun, loving kids and told myself it wasn’t true (knowing that it was). That weekend we went to warren for a dance competition. I went on about life as usual. Monday came, I took the second test. Same results. So now my mind wonders. All the what if’s. All the conversations I don’t know how to start. The thoughts of having three kids, how terrifying but at the same time how great. Of course, I thought I can’t do this again another c-section. Another child. All so scary. But all so wonderful.
March 2nd, I went to Akron pregnancy center for my very first ultrasound and verification that I was pregnant and that the baby was where it needed to be.
Even more panic enters my body. By now, only two people know. Not including my partner. I’m trying to figure out how to tell him because we are not in a good place right now so how could we be in a good place to have a baby. So I think and think and the only thing I can come up with is a card with the ultrasound picture and written in the card was an apology that this happened and how I knew we weren’t ready and I understood if he wasn’t. We fought, he was upset, we barely spoke. But that was normal and I mean goodness it went better than the last time (that’s a whole other story). Things were said. Feelings were hurt but a few weeks went by and things were civil. Still no one in my family knew. His did though. I felt shameful because I was hiding my baby but who wants to feel like a whore and a let down of the family because dang, this was baby number 3 with baby daddy number 3. How do you tell your family that.
My panic has eased a little bit and my heart is happy and I’m getting use to the fact that I’m having a baby and how great of a big brother Micah is going to be and how I can’t wait to see how great Malawna will be with this new baby.
April 9th, I go into the doctor for an ultrasound. I’m 12 weeks. I’m not sure how to feel. I had fear I felt like there was something wrong and prepared myself for the worst when I walked in. I laid down on the table and she puts the gel on my stomach and there my baby was.
Look at my little baby! Look at how perfect his leg is.
And there’s my babes, looking as perfect as he could. His heartbeat was strong. He was moving all around. And I had a sort of ease come across me like I was freaking myself out for nothing.
Weeks went by. My baby’s father and I decided to separate because we didn’t have time for one another (also a story for another time)
I got blood work done testing for chromosomal defects but also the gender.
They called me all the tests came out negative, YAYYYY! And they also told coco the gender on the phone. She made cupcakes pink or blue. (I knew my baby was a boy) I wanted another girl, and anyone who knows me knows I usually get the opposite of what I want. Lol. My baby’s dad came up to the preschool and opened the container and there were blue cupcakes. It was really weird him being there because we hadn’t really been talking I hadn’t seen him but I knew he should be there when we found out the gender. So we saw they were blue cupcakes and then we just stared at each other wondering who was going to hug who first. (Poor coco she was in the middle of all of this weirdness)
May 10th. 16 weeks and 4 days. I went into my appointment still not feeling movement so expecting the worst. Again. My doctor put the Doppler on my belly and there he was running away from her with a heartbeat of 155. Everything looked good she said. My next appointment was in four weeks. But once I scheduled it, I realized that was recital week and I had way too much going on so I rescheduled it for June 21st.. June 10th, laying in my bed I felt him move for the first time. It became a reality. My heart exploded. I wanted to tell everyone but I still couldn’t get myself to.
June 21st.. 22 weeks and 3 days. That appointment everyone is excited about. I got to see my baby again. I thought I’d get to watch his little body move all around. But I didn’t. He wasn’t as active as before. I knew something was wrong. It was taking longer than normal but I was just thinking more pictures being taken. More measurements needed. And hey, that means I get to take more pictures home of my baby that I still didn’t have a name for. Maverick, Mack, or Milo. All names I liked and of course he had to have an M name because years later on his life he would have thought I hated him if he wasn’t like the rest of us. Lol
The ultrasound tech was kind of quiet but not totally quiet. She made me keep moving saying she couldn’t get a good measurement of his brain and spine how he was positioned so I kept rolling and getting up and moving but there was still an issue with his position. So ya know I didn’t think anything of it. He’s my baby and already stubborn.
I go upstairs after my ultrasound. Go in to the office, get weighed,have my blood pressure checked, talked to the MA, and then BAM my whole life shook…
My doctor came in and told me there was something wrong in the ultrasound. My babies brain is too small and he has a case of spina bifida. I immediately shut down and went numb. My doctor came and sat on the bed and hugged me and cried with me and then the nurse came in with another appointment. For tomorrow. At a high risk doctor and a geneticist… Okay, I know a few people with spina bifida not something easy to live with but do-able. Right?!
I have to go back to work. My mom has my other 2 kids because she still has no idea that I’m even pregnant. How am I suppose to go through this without my mom even knowing I’m pregnant. I get to work and my boss knows something is wrong and it’s not okay. She sat with me and cried with me and hugged me and told me she was coming with me the next day to my appointment because that is not enough time to tell my mom “hey I’m pregnant but don’t be mad and come with me to this appointment tomorrow” no way could I have done that. At work that day, every one of course said the clichè “everything is going to be okay” but in reality, no it’s not. I tried my hardest to stay off google but not knowing much about spina bifida my mind wondered. I found that There were four cases.
Reading up on some of them, ya know he could be just fine. Have occulta and live a normal happy life. Or he could have the most severe case and not have much quality to life. Needing multiple surgeries and having to live a life of pain and sorrow. Or ya know he could have nothing wrong with him and be the perfect little boy I prayed for because I thought that the God I serve knew I couldn’t handle what all could be wrong.
June 22nd. Crying and heartbroken. Confused. And unworthy because I made my decision of what was going to be the outcome depending on the diagnosis. After about an hour in the ultrasound room, the words “myelomeningocele” came out of her mouth. His spinal cord was pulling down on his brain and it was going to fill up with fluid. I read enough the night before to know that then would mean a shunt that continuously needed drained and even more surgeries. I had also read that there was an in womb procedure they could be done for the right candidates. Not as a cure but for some improvement. His spinal cord was leaking fluid on his lower vertebrae’s that meant he wasn’t a candidate. It was too low that it couldn’t be closed.
My boss and I talked to the geneticist for what felt like forever. Going over all of my options. Termination, adoption, having a baby that never makes it home, or raising a child that had no quality of life.
Termination was never an option for me. I never felt ill about others who chose that way. But it just wasn’t in my beliefs and morals for myself.
Adoption, was hard because how do I explain to Malawna and Micah that I’m going to have a baby but not coming home with one and to set something up with someone and my baby never make it out of the hospital.
Going full term and never coming home with a baby would also be very hard on my other two children.
Raising a child with the severity of his diagnosis was not something I was equipped to do or something my other kids could have ever handled if he were to ever make it home. And in Pain.
So I talked and thought and thought and talked and told myself it’s what was best for everyone. Malawna and Micah and myself and most importantly my baby boy. He was the one suffering and i could only protect him from their world the short time is was inside me.
I decided on a name. I decided on Mylo because how fitting it was already a name I was thinking and now it means more. Milo means merciful and we serve a God who is very merciful. Mylo means gracious and what and loving and gracious soul my baby has.
My heart shattered. I couldn’t even get myself to pray about it because how dare i pray for myself while I’m doing such an ungodly thing I told myself.
I tried to hold myself together until Saturday to tell my parents that I was pregnant and I had to decide one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make. But on top of making that decision I was pressed for time. I was over 22 weeks so I was not able to have it done in Ohio. So I called Pittsburgh where the geneticist whose law allowed termination up to 24 weeks. I was almost missing that. I had to wait to get an okay from the hospital over there that they could get me in and if they couldn’t then I waited it out and had to live my decision of even thinking about ending the life of my unhealthy baby.
I couldn’t hold myself together. I texted my mom and said I needed them to come over it was about 930 at night. My poor parents had to think about what it could be that was so important on that drive over. I was a mess. When I opened the door. We sat down on the couch and I just let it out. Saying “I’m pregnant but there is something wrong with my baby and I’m choosing to terminate” is the hardest thing to swallow. Still can’t say it. Thank goodness I’m typing it.
The hospital in Pittsburgh called me later that Monday and told me they could get me in on Wednesday the 27th of June. To start the process and then the procedure would be the 28th. Let me tell you, not having time to fully think about it all and being so very rushed was a blessing and a curse.
June 27th my mom and I went into Magee hospital in Pittsburgh and they were all so great to me. I cried hysterically even when I told myself not too. I laughed. Because all who know me knows I do that when I’m nervous. They put the laminaria in and it was terrible. I knew that was the start of the most horrendous thing I was ever going to have to do. I bled. I cramped. I cried. Over and over and over again. After they placed that. My mom and I went back to the hotel and I ate pretzels and took a nap with my heating pad because the cramps were terrible. Once we woke up we decided to go take some pictures of my belly with my baby in it. Still moving and kicking and so innocent.
We went back to the hotel and decided to go to Olive Garden. We had a fantastic waitress and she gave my mom some fantastic wine. Then the night was ending and reality was hitting so my mom and I stayed up and searched riddles for one another for hours..
This day I don’t wish upon my worst enemy. We got to the hospital and I got registered and they called me back in to my room and I took my clothes off and put my gown on and I just couldn’t think anymore. I had to become numb or I was going to loose myself. I didn’t say a word unless it was absolutely necessary. The doctors and nursing staff was great on both days. Really they helped me through it all as much as they could.
They came in with papers for me to sign. These papers were awful. Signing to have my innocent baby’s body sent to the funeral home signing to go through this D&E. Terrible is not a word to describe how I was feeling.
I explained to my doctor about my previous health issues and my blood loss issues and made her aware that my body just hates me. Clearly. It let me down in the one thing it’s suppose to do right.
My procedure got pushed back so I laid in bed my mom beside me with Mylos blanket on my face and just silently cried.
It was time they came in and told me. At 12:40pm they gave me medication that put me out almost immediately as I left my mom in the room. I can only imagine her feelings watching her baby be wheeled out to loose her own baby and feeling like a failure. I can’t thank my mom enough for being so strong for me those few days.
I don’t remember much but I remember the operating room and one of my amazing nurses trying to get the arm rest on my bed and it getting jammed and that was it.
I briefly woke up in the recovery room and all I remember hearing is “Mallori I need you to wake up, I need you to breath” and I ripped the mask off my face and panicked and feel right back asleep. I woke up again with ice all over me because I had a cup and spilled it. I hear “Mallori I need you to wake up, I need you to breath” over and over again and was trying but just couldn’t.
It was time to move me into the step down unit. That’s where my mom was and as I was being wheeled into there the clock said 17 32. I bought to my self this was suppose to take two hours totally why is it almost 5 hours later. I got into my step down unit and there was my mom. She explained to me that my uterus ripped and they couldn’t stop the bleeding. They had to stitch it back up and put a mesh block in. I finally got up to go pee and the toilet was red. The nurse panicked. I panicked. my mom panicked. That means I have to stay in this place longer. And I didn’t want to be there anymore. I wanted out. I just sat their and stared because I just ended my baby. I just put my body through complete hell. What kind of person does that.
About an hour later we were released to leave and some cute little college girl wheeled me out and talked to me about a rascal flats concert and made me laugh. Which I didn’t think was even possible.
On the way home, my mom didn’t say much. I mean what is there to say. The ride was pretty quiet once we figured out which direction we needed to actually be going.
We talked a bit my mom explained to me some more what had actually happened and why there were complications. She also told me that the doctor, the only person that had ever seen my baby said, “she made the right decision. He had one of the most severe cases I’d ever seen. He was not developing right. ” and if I can find peace in anything I’m trying to find peace in that.
MYLO DEAN BARLOW was way too perfect for this earth and he is my merciful baby boy. he is my gracious baby boy. That I want to celebrate. I want to let everyone to know he was here and he is a baby that is loved so much. And that there is another angel up in heaven and I know he will be there waiting for me when it’s my turn. He was brought onto the earth on June 28th 2018, he was baptized and he is now living in happiness and pain free and watching over his older brother and sister and I can’t wait until I am ready to share that they have a little brother in heaven who loves them very very much.
My merciful, gracious baby boy is now with my merciful, gracious savior. 💙💙
And for those who know me well enough knows that I am horrible crier. I don’t know how to grieve I don’t feel worthy to grieve. I struggle with anxiety and have fought depression and am hoping that the world knowing about my too perfect for earth baby boy I will be able to grieve or atleast learn how to and not be ashamed to do so. Because ending a wanted pregnancy is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.
And I’m decided to post this today, because Malawna found a picture and asked me about it and I feel like I may be ready to tell her about her baby brother if I can tell the world about him as well.