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My Baby Was Misdiagnosed with Trisomy 18

“If the baby is born, she likely won’t make it to her first birthday.”

I could already feel her kicking inside me when our doctor told us the news.

It was just after our anatomy check and gender reveal appointment. The ultrasound took what seemed like forever. We were in the room for more than 45 minutes. When the sonographer told us our baby was a girl, I was so happy, I cried. I had dreamed of a little girl with dark hair and squinty eyes, just like her dad. But when the sonographer asked me if I had done the genetic screening, I knew something was wrong.

Once the doctor came in the room, there was a distinct lack of candy coating. No bushes to beat around. “Do you see these dark spots on your baby’s brain?” she asked. “Those are a distinct marker for Trisomy 18.”

She said it like I should know what Trisomy 18 was. My husband’s face turned white. He’s a physician, so he knew.

About 2,500 pregnancies in the U.S. are affected by Trisomy 18. Most of those babies don’t survive the second or third trimester. Those who do face heart defects, kidney problems, clenched hands, clubbed feet, and several developmental delays.

Just a few weeks before, my husband and I had opted out of the genetic test we were offered at the 12-week appointment with little thought. We had a quick conversation that went something like this: we’re not going to terminate no matter what, so what will be will be. We didn't even consider life-threatening abnormalities.

The next 48 hours consisted of inconsolable crying, praying, worrying, and not talking to any of our family about the possibility that we would lose this tiny baby girl we hadn’t even met yet.

My husband, who was on break from his department at the same hospital, went back to work. I got my blood drawn for a quad screen test, which would let us know for sure about Trisomy 18, and somehow ended up in bed, though I barely remember seeing the road on my 20-minute drive home.

It took the longest two days to hear back about the screening results. And while waiting, at home, I did my own research.

I learned there are a small number of T18 babies that are able to survive into their twenties and thirties, though developmental delays mean they need constant caregiving. I’ve since learned a friend’s brother, in his early twenties, was born with Trisomy 18. He’s happy, has a job and more Facebook friends than I do.

On day two of waiting, I emailed the doctor first thing in the morning. Nothing. By the end of the day, I called her office.

The quad screen came back, and it was good news. No indication that my baby was likely to have Trisomy 18 or any other chromosomal abnormalities. In fact, the doctor said, it was likely that the baby’s brain hadn’t fully developed and those “dark spots” were just places where the brain wasn’t mature.

It turned out they had scheduled my 20-week sonogram at 17 weeks, and I just showed up when I was told to. Had I known that coming in early would mean I was going to be told my baby could die and that I would spend the next two days in a tear-induced fog, I would have demanded to come in at 20 weeks or later. And I may have even opted for the genetic tests.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, women who have a family history of birth defects, are over the age of 35, have diabetes, use harmful medications, have had a viral infection during pregnancy, or have been exposed to high levels of radiation should take the test. None of those applied to me and likely won’t during my next pregnancy, but the test is easy and could save days and hours of agony. So with clear 20/20 hindsight, my husband and I will do the quad screen test in future pregnancies.

The test determines your likelihood of giving birth to a baby with Trisomy 21 (down's syndrome), Trisomy 18 (Edward’s syndrome) or any other chromosomal abnormality. It also helps you plan ahead for the future. The APA says this test is essential in helping parents of children with chromosomal abnormalities find potential interventions to help their babies, like fetal surgery for spina bifida. It also gives them the time they need to plan for a child with special needs, find a support group and address lifestyle changes. The quad screen also gives parents the opportunity to decide if carrying a child with such abnormalities to term is right for them.

The case for the quad screen is simple: it doesn’t hurt mom or baby; and whether you choose to learn the gender of your baby or not, you will find out if there are any physical markers for chromosomal abnormalities at your anatomy scan sonogram. Doctors need to know so they can be prepared; you need to know so you can be prepared. If for some reason, your sonographer finds a physical marker for a fatal abnormality, you’ll want to have those quad screen results in your back pocket.

And for parents who are just learning their baby suffers one of these abnormalities, there are so many support groups online and likely in your area. Check out trisomy18.org, trisomy.org or trisomy18support.org. Connect with other parents in similar situations and find a friend to take you to coffee who will empathize, support and be there for you.

I’m now nearing the end of my pregnancy, and I return to the sonographer every 3-4 weeks to rescan the baby’s brain. By week 21 though, her sweet little brain was perfect. I can’t wait to fill it with Otis Redding and all the names we call our golden retriever and, when she’s old enough, with J.D. Salinger short stories.

Photography by Hannah Leigh Photography.

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With two babies in tow, getting out the door often becomes doubly challenging. From the extra things to carry to the extra space needed in your backseat, it can be easy to feel daunted at the prospect of a day out. But before you resign yourself to life indoors, try incorporating these five genius products from Nuna to get you and the littles out the door. (Because Vitamin D is important, mama!)

1. A brilliant double stroller

You've got more to carry—and this stroller gets it. The DEMI™ grow stroller from Nuna easily converts from a single ride to a double stroller thanks to a few easy-to-install accessories. And with 23 potential configurations, you're ready to hit the road no matter what life throws at you.

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2. A light car seat

Lugging a heavy car seat is the last thing a mama of two needs to have on her hands. Instead, pick up the PIPA™ lite, a safe, svelte design that weighs in at just 5.3 pounds (not counting the canopy or insert)—that's less than the average newborn! When you need to transition from car to stroller, this little beauty works seamlessly with Nuna's DEMI™ grow.

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3. A super safe car seat base

The thing new moms of multiples really need to get out the door? A little peace of mind. The PIPA™ base features a steel stability leg for maximum security that helps to minimize forward rotation during impact by up to 90% (compared to non-stability leg systems) and 5-second installation for busy mamas.

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4. A diaper bag you want to carry

It's hard to find an accessory that's as stylish as it is functional. But the Nuna diaper bag pulls out all the stops with a sleek design that perfectly conceals a deceptively roomy interior (that safely stores everything from extra diapers to your laptop!). And with three ways to wear it, even Dad will want to take this one to the park.

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5. A crib that travels

Getting a new baby on a nap schedule—while still getting out of the house—is hard. But with the SENA™ aire mini, you can have a crib ready no matter where your day takes you. It folds down and pops up easily for sleepovers at grandma's or unexpected naps at your friend's house, and the 360-degree ventilation ensures a comfortable sleep.

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With 5 essentials that are as flexible as you need to be, the only thing we're left asking is, where are you going to go, mama?

This article was sponsored by Nuna. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy.You've got this.

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Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

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When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

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The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.


Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

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