At five weeks into Alyssa’s pregnancy, the midwife couldn’t find a baby’s heartbeat. Alyssa was sent for an urgent ultrasound. They managed to find a heartbeat but it was not normal. Alyssa’s baby had a small heart for it’s gestational age and the right side of the heart was tiny. This meant a lot of uncertainty for the baby’s life and Alyssa was offered a termination. Alyssa and her husband declined this. They were prepared to face whatever was going to happen to their unborn child.
As Alyssa’s pregnancy was considered high risk, she had regular check ups and ultrasounds to monitor the development of her baby, Cassie. At every appointment medics would find something wrong with Cassie’s heart; it was too small or the heartbeat was abnormal. The doctors kept on offering Alyssa a termination but she had already decided from the very beginning that she was going to continue with her pregnancy no matter what the outcome would be. She knew, deep down, that somehow everything was going to be okay.
Alyssa had heard about the Pregnancy Centre from a friend who had been here before. This friend assured her that we could help her with practical needs, like clothing for her baby. Alyssa came to the Pregnancy Centre for practical help, but she also received emotional support throughout her pregnancy. This was a place where she could come and feel safe to talk about what she was going through.
It was highly likely that Cassie would need surgery straight after birth, so Alyssa was sent to Starship hospital, at 9 months gestation, for a check up. At her Starship appointment she was given the all clear to give birth back home in Christchurch.
Alyssa had her scheduled C-section, with surgeons on stand-by, ready to whisk her baby away for heart surgery. Cassie’s birth came with a surprise. This beautiful baby girl, who had been misdiagnosed from 5 weeks gestation, had no signs or symptoms of any heart defect whatever.
She was healthy at birth and has been healthy ever since!
Alyssa had not been afraid to follow her inner instinct. “If I had agreed with the doctors, I wouldn’t have Cassie. I encourage anyone going through something similar to talk to someone who can support you, someone who will listen, like the support workers at the Pregnancy Centre. Don’t be afraid to do your own research and listen to your heart.”
If you, or anyone you know is going through a similar experience, the team at the Pregnancy Centre are here to support you and advocate for you. You don’t have to go through this alone.