An OB/GYN relayed her family’s experience getting to know the daughter they knew would never have a chance to grow up.
Talia Gates and her husband, Josh, were preparing for the arrival for their second child in July 2015.
“We were thrilled,” she told WLTX News. “I always thought the ideal spacing was two-and-a-half years apart. My son’s birthday is Jan. 6, and my due date was July 8.”
As an OB/GYN, Talia had unlimited access to sonograms to measure the progress of her developing daughter, who was to be named Aubrey. However, the sonogram taken at 16 weeks alerted her to a potential problem, as Aubrey’s legs were not developing at the same rate as the rest of her body.
“We joked because Josh, Kye and I all have really long torsos and short legs, so we thought she would be just like us,” Talia recalled. “At 18 weeks, I saw that her legs were still measuring at 14 weeks, but I sort of blew it off and thought we weren’t getting a good angle, or that she was sitting funny."
After having obtained the same measurements at 19 weeks, she consulted her mentor. He got her an appointment with the Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
“I will never forget how incredibly compassionate and straight-forward he was,” she recalled. “He looked right at me and said, ‘The pictures I am seeing are consistent with a skeletal dysplasia that is lethal.’”
According to Healthline, skeletal dysplasia is an umbrella term for hundreds of conditions that lead to differences in the size and shape of a child’s legs, arms, skull, or trunk. More commonly known as dwarfism, skeletal dysplasia affects one in every 4,000 births.
Four weeks later, a follow-up appointment confirmed that Aubrey had little to no chance of survival.
Toward the end of her pregnancy, Talia was told that she needed to consider induction. At 36 weeks, Aubrey’s head was measuring at 42 weeks.
On June 12, 2015, the family welcomed Aubrey Lea into the world for 49 minutes.
“You have to acknowledge that life and the loss,” Talia said. “You have to celebrate it no matter what form it takes.”