Hello from the Hellmer Family! We have created this blog as a way to share the story of our beautiful daughter, Abigail. We hope that you will find this website not only informational but also inspirational. Our daughter Abigail was only with us for 118 days, but has taught us so many things! This is her story! Abigail Mae Hellmer Tribute Video
Abigail Mae was born on 7/11/11 at 12:44pm. She weighed in at a svelte 1710 grams (3lbs 12ozs) and measured a whopping 16.5″ in length. We had known throughout our pregnancy
that Abigail was going to be small. There were a number of issues that were concerns to one doctor or another, but we waited and watched and waited and watched. Finally at 35 weeks gestation, the perinatologist noticed a significant drop in growth rate. After consulting with a friend (who happens to be an OB/GYN) as well as our physician, the decision was made to induce the following Monday. We had a wonderful birth experience. Jessica and I really wanted a VBAC and our doctor was totally on board. We were a little nervous about the induction, but the VBAC was a smashing success!
Due to her age and weight, we knew a stay in the NICU was in our future, but we were hoping for something a little different. After an initial assessment, and with the “soft signs” from pregnancy, chromosome tests were ordered. The day after Abigail’s birth she was diagnosed with Trisomy 18. Another week and a half in the NICU and we convinced the doctors that Abigail was tough enough and we were skilled enough to take her home. On July 23 we loaded up the whole family, mom (Jessica), dad (Ryan), big sister (Josephine) and Abigail were on their way home.
Once home, we took it one day at a time, loving every minute we had together. We had Abigail at home for 3 short months. In that time she exceeded all of our expectations. Every Dr. visit was surprisingly upbeat. We had received tons of support from family and friends and from the hospice care company and TARC and parents as teachers. Abigail was certainly on a path of her own, a path that was filled with joy and torment.
On November 6, 2011, Abigail Mae passed away. 118 days old.
This blog was envisioned as a way for us to reach out to you and to get all the information, as well as our experiences, out to our friends and loved ones. Now that Abigail has died, we hope to continue this blog both for our own outlet, but also as a way to honor Abigail’s life and the sanctity of all life. We appreciate all your support and encourage you to read a little, read a lot. We hope that through this blog, Abigail can reach out and touch your heart as she has touched ours.
What Is Trisomy 18?
Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome, is a chromosomal defect caused by an extra copy of the 18th chromosome. It occurs in about 1 out of every 3000 live births. The numbers increase significantly when early pregnancy losses are factored in that occur in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy.
Unlike Down syndrome, which is also a chromosomal defect caused by an extra copy (of the 21st chromosome), the developmental issues caused by Trisomy 18 are associated with medical complications that are significantly more life-threatening in the early months and years of life. 50% of babies who are carried to term will be stillborn, with baby boys having higher stillbirth rate than baby girls.
With a median life span of 5-15 days, many children with Trisomy 18 spend their lives in hospital neonatal intensive care units. Some children (like Abigail) will be able to be discharged from the hospital with home nursing support for their families. And although less than 10 percent survive to their first birthdays, some children with Trisomy 18 can enjoy many years of life with their families, reaching milestones and being involved with their community.