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Unborn child given death sentence becomes a miracle

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Certain Death

Unborn child given death sentence becomes a miracle

Levi Hill/News-Sun

You’re pregnant with your first child, and for you and your husband it is supposed to be a time of joyous anticipation, mixed with a little worry about getting everything right and being a first-time parent.

But for Tim and Katie Amezcua, their first pregnancy was a terror-filled nightmare that only their faith could pull them through.

Katie was in her early 20s and the newly weds were excited.

Katie had just inked a contract to start a job as a teacher. She and Tim had just learned she was pregnant with their first child, granted it had taken the couple a year to get pregnant, but it had finally happened.

Life was moving along on a nice, clear track.

Then came the 10-week ultrasound appointment with the doctor. The doctors looked at the images of the developing fetus and their expression became grim.

What were they seeing in those ultrasound images? It didn’t look right. They suggested the couple see a specialist in Midland and probably shook their heads as the couple shuffled out the clinic door.

A week later the specialist took another look at the unborn child’s scan and returned with a verdict that turned the couple’s worries into outright terror.

Their unborn baby had a growth on the back of its neck — a cystic hygroma.

Cystic hygromas are tumors that appear as a fluid-filled sac, often forming on a newborn’s neck. They form because of a lymphatic system blockage, which causes fluid to build up under the skin and can be life-threatening leading to miscarriage or stillbirth

The doctor said the chances of the child surviving to term were just 10 percent, and even if it was born it would likely die within a few days, a month at most.

If by some miracle it did survive it was almost a sure bet the child would have Turner Syndrome — a condition that affects only females where one of the X chromosomes is missing or partially missing, causing a variety of medical and developmental problems including short height, failure of the ovaries to develop and heart defects.

“They took us in a scary little room and urged us to terminate the pregnancy,” Katie said.

The couple, devout Christians, didn’t believe in terminating the baby’s life.

For Tim, the diagnosis was painful, but he focused on the odds.

“I looked at the lady and told her, ‘so either it wouldn’t come to term or she’d have problems, what’s the difference? If we terminated that’s a certainty,’” he said.

The doctor urged them to reconsider and do so quickly, the time was running out to terminate the pregnancy legally.

The couple left that day sick with despair.

“I think I remember my mom calling to see how it went and having to tell her something was wrong was tough,” Tim said.

“I’d always wanted a girl,” Katie said. “It was devastating. We were the first in the family, on either side, to be pregnant with a grandchild.”

The next Sunday the couple went to Sunday worship at Crosswinds church and when the time came went to the front and spoke quietly with the pastor, explaining the situation and pleading for prayers.

“He kind of stopped and brought it to the whole church,” Katie said. “The whole church was praying for her continually. I have a cross from one of the church members that says, ‘For this child we pray.’”

The couple decided not to terminate the pregnancy, and so began making monthly trips to the specialist in Midland for another round of scans.

Third month, their baby was still alive, but the hygroma was still there.

Fourth month, no change.

Fifth month, still alive, but the hygroma was still there in the scans, a massive growth on the spine behind the head.

Then came the sixth month visit.

One can only imagine what went through the doctor’s mind as the ultrasound image began taking shape. There was the unborn child and there was the … wait. Where was the growth?

The hygroma, wasn’t in any of the images no matter the angle of the scan.

“They didn’t have an explanation and they didn’t want to act like it was going to be fine,” Tim said.

Doctors couldn’t find the hygroma anywhere, but they were reluctant to say all was going to be well. They caution the couple to keep their expectations low.

Then came the big day and Tim rushed Katie to the hospital and their baby, Mia, came into the world a bright, beautiful beacon of health.

“She was completely perfect when she was born,” Katie said.

“I remember asking the doctor if there were any signs of anything and they told me no,” Tim said. “It is hard to fathom when she came out healthy after everyone who is supposed to be smart is telling you there is going to be problems and then there isn’t any.”

“I knew other couples with babies who had something similar and they didn’t make it to term,” Katie added.

Today, Mia is 15 and wants to become a pediatric surgical oncologist working with children with cancer.

She and her sister Sophia, 12, are top students and keep their parents run ragged between band practice, nine dance classes a week, 4H and swim practice.

The couple couldn’t be happier to have two such vibrant daughters and it makes up for some of the misery they suffered through with that first pregnancy.

“It stole the joy out of the pregnancy,” Katie said. “It should have been a happy time and it was more of a scared time.”

“I think it brought us closer together,” Tim added. “We had to rely on each other.”

“It definitely strengthened our faith,” Katie said.

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