Allison and Eric Blosfield were excited to welcome their third child to the family when they got some scary news early in the pregnancy. Doctors told Allison that their baby, a boy, had a 77% positive test for having Down syndrome.
Allison was scared of what challenges her child might face. “It was just kind of this instant sinking feeling,” she told Inside Edition about receiving the diagnosis. However, when she told her husband Eric, his response was positive.
“My husband’s reaction when I told him that our baby was going to have Down syndrome was very calm, and it was just, ‘Whatever happens, babe, we’ll roll with it. It’s cool. Don’t worry about it.’ While I’m sitting there sobbing, freaking out,” Allison recalls.
She soon took to social media to share her son’s diagnosis and received overwhelming support from the Down Syndrome community online. Other parents assured her that she would love having a child with Down syndrome and that they were in for a new normal full of ups and downs but mostly ups, and a whole lot of love.
But then at their next pre-natal appointment, the Blosfields received much more devastating news. After a routine test, the doctor entered the room with a grim diagnosis of a life-threatening condition.
“The doctor came in to tell us that the test results weren’t good and that they believed he was developing a condition called hydrops,” Allison remembers. “Which is when excess fluid builds up underneath the baby’s skin, and it goes throughout their body. hey told us that eventually it would reach his heart and his lungs, and then his heart would stop beating.”
This condition could happen to any child and had nothing to do with the baby’s Down syndrome diagnosis. About half of children diagnosed with hydrops in utero do not survive. The Blosfields steeled themselves before their next appointment, hoping for no more bad news. But before they went back in, Allison says, she felt a strong urge to name their baby boy.
They chose the name Ethan, Allison says, “which means strong and enduring, is just so fitting for him.”
Armed with a name for their child, the Blosfields entered the doctor’s office again, and were told bad news, again. They were told the fluid build up from the hydrops could stop Ethan’s heart at any moment. Doctors offered to terminate the pregnancy, citing the low chances of survival.
“At that point, they offered us a termination,” Allison says. “And I remember sitting there when the doctor said, ‘Here’s your options. We can terminate.’
She admits she thought about it for a brief moment, wondering if she should jump off of the roller coaster. “I was just like, I could walk away. I could be done with this whole nightmare,” she remembers. “Because the level of fear that you feel, the level of anxiety that you feel, and I was just like, I could be done. I could just be done and run away. And after I took a breath and thought it through, I was just like, ‘no.’”
She and Eric let doctors know that they would be continuing the pregnancy, hydrops and all. Doctors said that Ethan would probably not survive past 16 week gestation, so in a strange, emotional existence, they prepared both for his birth and for the fact that he could pass away at any moment.
Then one day, Allison felt it: a kick! She was ecstatic. Her baby was alive!
At 18 weeks, still pregnant with a living baby, Allison and Eric went back to the doctor for another ultrasound. This time, they received the kind of news they had longed for. Allison describes the incredible moment: “The doctor comes in, and he just goes, ‘Well, this never happens,’” Allison said. “And they were just like, ‘The hydrops is gone, you guys.’ We just sat there, we’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, is this what it feels like to witness a miracle?’”