Sawyer Reuben-James


Baby Sawyer was the blessing I didn’t know I needed. He came as a surprise and really rocked my world through morning sickness, though it lasted day and night, and enough mood swings to last a lifetime. I thought everything was fine with this pregnancy as my regular OB had seen nothing suspicious on either US I had done, though at my first US baby Sawyer was already measuring 9 days behind. Unfortunately at 28 weeks and 5 days I think I lost what was my mucus plug and eventually started leaking what I didn’t realize was amniotic fluid. I had went to my OBGYNs labor and delivery unit, they thought it was a UTI, and sent me home. fast forward to Monday when I was 29 weeks and still leaking what I originally thought was pee from the UTI, I called my OB and they got me in to be seen. They swabbed me to see what fluid it was and told me my water had broke and that I was leaking amniotic fluid. I got my belongings and headed to Riverside where I have spent the remaining weeks of my pregnancy being cared for. The doctors did an in depth US and found at least 1 major defect, his middle brain stem was underdeveloped, but they also saw massive amounts of amniotic fluid and his size was very very small for his gestational age, he was measuring 3-4 weeks behind on a lot of portions of the anatomy scan. Upon finding the defects they asked about genetic testing and I agreed to do an amniocentesis to see if he had any conditions or anything that would make sense of the findings on the US.

The results came back positive for Trisomy 18. We were devastated when we learned about this condition, and were lost and confused. Luckily the team here at Riverside provided us with an abundance of information and resources for learning about this disorder. We talked about all of our options and continued towards making goals for what we wanted to do after birth. I continuously got ultrasounds to measure him and eventually went to twice a week because his umbilical cord was not doing what it was supposed to be doing so they wanted to monitor him more closely to help us meet our end goal of meeting baby Sawyer alive. I made it 31 weeks and 4 days before I possibly developed an infection because of the broken water, my stomach was super tender and I was throwing up a lot. My doctors moved to have me induced to protect myself and baby. Sawyer and I were monitored the entire time throughout the entire process. I had some different medications to help with the dilation process but we were very slow moving. Eventually I got the epidural, and they re-broke my water shortly after. They had commented about how much fluid came out, saying no one had seen someone soak the bed the way I did. It was all sorts of traumatizing having my water eebroke, but it needed to happen so I could meet him safely. Contractions eventually picked up and I was dilating more and more. At about 5:30 in the morning, I was 5-6 cm dilated, Sawyers heart rate dropped and when they did a cervical check they found I was 9-9.5 centimeters dilated so we moved forward after getting him a bit stabilized. Birthing is not what it seems, and this experience was not at all that bad.

Baby Sawyer was born at 6:41 am, we got to do comfort care and lots of skin-to-skin contact, he was beautiful. He was with us for only a short while as he passed at 10:26. This disorder really put my significant other and I in a situation we never thought could happen, and it’s hard. We knew he wouldn’t last long, but he was loved and he will be loved for as long as I am still alive.

To anyone fighting this battle, just know whatever decision you make is the right one for you and your baby. Making decisions from a place of love is one of the hardest but most beautiful things a parent can do. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to speak up and advocate for yourself. Love you all xo, and attached is a beautiful picture of my baby boy.

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