Abigail's Tale

"Source of Joy"

About July 21, 2011

The Hellmer Clan

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

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

Big Sister

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?

Source of Joy

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.


15 Responses to “About”

  1. Seretha Potts Says:

    Hello to the Hellmer Family. What a joy it is to be blessed with children. God has blessed you all with two beautiful babies. I will keep you and family in prayer. Put your faith in God and He will provide and see you through.

  2. Pat Murray Says:

    Thank you for sharing………we continue to pray for all of you and the blessings you are living. Abigail is indeed, beautiful and precious (and would fit in our doll’s clothes). She has a good amount of dark hair. As you can imagine, we have seen a few of the pictures from the local photographer.
    What an eventful month………..congratulations on your 5th anniversary already and on celebrating Josie’s 1st birthday this week. Enjoy each day
    Love and Blessings Always

    Pat & Bob

  3. Janey Kendrick Says:

    Great blessings and strength to you. You bless us be sharing Abigail’s story. Praying for all of you.

  4. Jamie Smith Says:

    Oh Jess…she is beautiful!! You know God chose you for a reason! Enjoy and celebrate each day with her!!

    Love and hugs,

  5. Cheryl Martin Says:

    Hello, I wanted to welcome Baby Abigail Mae to this wonderful world. I was happy to hear that she was home with her family. She looks alert and content in the picture on your main page. I wish you all the best. Keep updating your blog.
    Your friend
    Cheryl Martin

  6. James P. Dieker Says:

    Thanks for sharing the web site. I continue to hold you daily in prayer. frjim

  7. Dana Vallejo Says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! I am a childhood friend of your cousin Andrea. What beautiful girls that God has given you! We will keep your family in our prayers.

  8. Tiffany Simpson Says:

    Such a beautiful family!

    Please continue to keep us updated!

  9. Kris Green Says:

    Your story touched my heart today. What a beautiful family you have! We will pray for you all. Living in “Holland” isnt always easy, but my trip there has brough me the greatest blessings and the most incredible joy I could never imagine. Stay strong.
    Kris Green

  10. Matt Mooney Says:

    she is awesome guys!

  11. Jim DuBois Says:

    Our heartfelt thoughts, feelings, and prayers are with you both. We plan on being there for you on Saturday.

  12. John Says:

    may God continue to richly bless you and your family. ours is in the middle of a similar experience, so thank you so much for sharing

  13. Jenny C Says:

    Thank you for sharing Abigail’s story. She is beautiful. I lost my daughter with t18 almost a year ago after having 382 days together. Sending thoughts and prayers your way.


    • jandrhellmer Says:

      Thank you so much for your comment and prayers. What a blessing to have 382 days with your daughter, although no amount of time would ever be enough with our daughters, we most certainly cherish all our memories. Wishing you the very best!

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