In early January 2013 my husband and I found out I was pregnant with our first child. We were so excited about our future and our unborn child. One Sunday morning around mid to late January I started experiencing what I thought was a miscarriage. I went to the emergency room where they did an ultra sound. Based on the ultra sound, they could not tell me if the baby was okay, and they thought it was just too early for them to see, so instead they checked my HCG levels and said I would have to go to the doctor's office and have it checked again to determine if the baby is okay. Their conclusion during that visit to the emergency room was that I had a 'threatened miscarriage'.
The following week I went to the doctor's office for the first time, and they performed an ultra sound. Again, they could see what they called a clearing, but they could not see the fetus. The doctor told me that I am 5 weeks pregnant, and that they should be able to see something at 5 weeks, and since they could not, she could not call it a viable pregnancy. I left the doctor’s office that day frustrated, sad, and disappointed because they still could not tell me if the baby (not named yet) was okay. I later received a call from the doctor's office saying that my HCG levels had increased, which means our baby is still alive and growing. I was so relieved to hear that, and they wanted me to come in for another ultra sound the following week. At that moment I had a whole new appreciation for life.
The Thrill of a Beating Human Heart
The following week when I went in for the ultra sound, I saw our baby, and I saw her heart beating. It was such a relief and an amazing feeling to not only know now that our baby was okay, but to see her heart beating for the first time. After the ultra sound, the doctor wanted to see me. The doctor came in the room saying that baby looks fine, but as she looked at the ultra sound pictures she said something didn't look right. She told me she was going to go show it to some one else for a second opinion. When she came back in the room she told me that it looks like the baby is in the wrong part of the uterus. As she continued to explain, she told me that this would end up causing death to me, and the baby.
The doctor ordered an MRI for the following day so they could get a better picture and view of what was happening. Once again, I left the doctor's office feeling sad, worried, and scared. The following day I had the MRI, and later that evening I received a call from the nurse saying the MRI looked fine, and nothing is wrong. However, they were going to prescribe medication for me because my progesterone levels were low. Once again, I was relieved that after multiple weeks of worrying and questioning if everything is okay, I finally found out that the baby is fine and the only problem is that my progesterone level is low. Soon after, i made a decision to switch doctors, and everything continued to go smoothly.
At 17 weeks I was scheduled to have another ultra sound, and this time they were expecting to be able to tell us the gender. We were so excited for this day and could not wait to find out if we were having a boy or girl. We woke up that day with so much excitement and anticipation and we headed to the doctor's office. The ultra sound technician was looking at the picture of the ultra sound on the TV as we waited for him to announce the gender. However, instead of announcing the gender, he started asking me questions, such as "is this your first ultra sound" and when I told him no, he asked me 'What did they tell you during the first ultra sound?" He then proceeded to ask my age and a couple other questions. He then told us he would be right back, and that he had to go get the doctor. Not knowing what was going on, a million things ran through my mind. We knew something wasn't right due to the strange questions he was asking. When he came back in with the doctor, we were told that the right leg was shorter than the left leg, and the right foot was turned in like club foot.
After going multiple weeks thinking everything was finally going smoothly with my pregnancy, and that the baby was doing great, it was very disappointing to hear that something was wrong with her leg. He also told us that he thinks it is a girl, but coudn't tell for sure. We went into that appointment ecstatic about finding out the gender, and we left frustrated and worried and almost confused about everything that we were just told, and we still didn’t know the gender for sure. The doctor scheduled an appointment with a specialist for 2 days later. At that appointment we met with a genetics counselor, who basically told us this probably isn't genetic, and sometimes it just happens for no reason. The specialist then told us that the 2 bones in the right leg were shorter and weeks behind the growth of the left leg (he also confirmed it was a girl). He also said he wanted to see us every 4 weeks and that they wanted to watch the baby throughout the pregnancy. For the next 20 weeks or so we would go to the specialist's office for an ultra sound, where every week they would tell us the exact same thing about her leg. They also had us talk to a pediatric surgeon about what we could do after she was born.Other than her leg bones, everything else was fine and the pregnancy continued as normal until about 37 weeks.
Time for Briella to Arrive
At 37 weeks when we went in for another ultra sound at the specialist's office, he noticed her stomach was small. He had concerns about the nutrients she was getting inside, and told me he didn't want me to go the full 40 weeks. So at 39 weeks pregnant, exactly 1 week before my due date, we went into the hospital, where I was induced. After a quick and easy labor, Briella Waliema Mavis Angsomwine was delivered at 2:52 am weighing 5 pounds 13 ounces, and 19 ¾ inches long. Just hours after she was born, her pediatrician set up an appointment for us at Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas so she could be seen about her leg and foot. When she was just 6 days old we took her to the hospital, where they looked at her foot and did X-rays on her hips. The doctor said she was too young to really tell, but it appeared that she had hip dysplasia in her right hip. He asked us to come back when she was 5 weeks old. At 5 weeks, we went back and after doing a sonogram, the doctor determined that she would need to be put in a Pavlik Harness, and kept in it for 24 hours a day, only taking it off to wash her body quickly. He told us we would need to keep it on full time for 6 weeks. After the 6 weeks, he said we would wean her off of it, for another 6 weeks. He asked to see her back in 1 week, but warned us that in 1 week, nothing would change. When we brought her back the next week for another sonogram, the doctor was surprised that her hip looked better already. We had to keep the harness on full time for 3 weeks (instead of the original 6) and then we weaned her off of it for 6 weeks. The leg was connected to the hip and we were so thankful to God, and all the people praying for Briella.
Very Thankful for God's Answers and Miracle of Life, and Promise for Full Healing
After all the things the doctors told us and all the frustrations that occurred during the pregnancy, we couldn't have been more happy to finally have our little baby girl with us and to be able to hold her in our arms. Through the threatened miscarriage, the low progesterone levels, the mention of death to me and Briella, the MRI, and the small stomach (which was never an issue, and nobody even mentioned it again), God brought us through it all. Each one of those things was a minor disappointment and setback, but God was always faithful and we delivered a strong, healthy baby. Today, we are completely confident and believe that God will also heal Briella's leg and foot and allow her to walk. She has been His miracle child and our pride and Joy. The doctors call Briella's sitation 'tibial hemimelia type 2'. However, we know that God sees her leg and foot as perfect, and we choose to believe that what is perfect in heaven, will become perfect on earth. At the bottom of this letter is a picture of Briella's leg that we know will be yet made perfect on earth.
The World, Parents, and Children Need More Testimonies of Healing
We hope that through this story of Briella, you will be encouraged and strengthed if you are going through uncertain times. No matter what difficulty your facing, no matter what doctor's tell you, no matter how things appear to be, God is stronger and is capable of anything. Briella's Hope is like our hope; and that is... that more people embrace the reality that healing is a clear and first choice for parents and children. We appreciate all the doctors have done, and yet know that the Greatest Physcian named Jesus, is desirous to have every one like Briella put their hope in Him (Briella's Hope). He has met her needs and our needs so far, and will continue to be found faithful.
We clearly understand that amputation is an option for some people with issues with their ligmants. However, we also believe that God is honored and pleased when we give Him a vote of confidence that He can and does Heal. We have set up a page with all the scriptures we believe will encourage you, and an online forum to help people share their stories of hope.
"Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed." ~ Hebrews 12:12-13