A Very Positive Sign

After undergoing more tests, a pregnant woman receives a sign of reassurance.

- Posted on Sep 6, 2013

Kelly Mahony, husband Brian and son Liam

On Halloween afternoon, I sat at work, daydreaming: little Liam dressed up as pumpkin, going door to door in his stroller, my neighbors saying, How adorable...

I stole a peek at the sonogram photo I kept in my purse, still finding it hard to believe that this blurry black-and-white peanut was my son. For nearly two years, my life had been consumed with infertility treatments, pills, nightly injections, and surgeries.

Even at this point, there was a high risk of losing the baby. My doctor monitored me closely. But the day before, the start of my second trimester, my husband, Brian, and I had learned our baby’s sex: a boy!

We had the name picked out. We were still waiting for more test results to come back, but I couldn’t help dreaming: Christmas morning, Easter egg hunts, his first day of school—I couldn’t wait to do it all with my little Liam.

The phone rang, a number I recognized. The doctor. I hesitated, afraid, then grabbed the receiver.

“Ms. Mahony, I’m calling about your results,” a nurse said. “The blood work came out positive.” Positive? For what? Was that good? I barely remembered the list of things the test screened for. Genetic disorders? Down syndrome? “Is there something wrong with my baby?” I asked.

“We need to get you here tomorrow for another sonogram,” the nurse said, keeping her voice neutral. “The doctor will be able to tell you more after that.”

I left work in a rush, calling Brian on the way. “I’m sure everything’s fine,” he said, but I could hear the heartbreak in his voice. I got in the car, rested my head on the steering wheel and gently rubbed my belly. A baby. That’s all I asked God for. All those treatments. All my prayers. Did they mean nothing?

Please, God, just give me a sign my son will be okay!

The next day, Brian and I arrived at the clinic and were immediately ushered into the examination room. It was dark, with just the ultrasound screen giving off a faint flicker of light. I positioned myself on the gurney, frustrated that I couldn’t see the screen.

“Now, this might be a little cold,” the technician warned. He slathered gel all over my swollen belly. Brian stood behind him, staring at the screen. The technician moved the ultrasound wand, pausing here and there to capture images.

“Does everything look all right?” I asked. I knew the technicians weren’t supposed to say anything, but I was so nervous I couldn’t help asking.

“The doctor will determine that,” he said. I squeezed Brian’s hand.

“Wait a second,” the technician said. He pointed to something on the screen. Brian’s eyes grew wide. The technician snapped an image. “Did I get it? Did I get it? I did!”

“What’s going on?” I asked.

The printer hummed and the technician pulled out the sonogram of our son. “In all my years, I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said, shaking his head. My husband looked at the photo and began to laugh. Then he handed it to me.

Liam's sonogram, in which he is giving a thumbs-up signThe doctor later explained that I’d tested positive for elevated levels of alpha-fetoprotein, which could affect our child’s development. We’d have to remain vigilant.

He seemed surprised at how well I handled the news. No matter what issues Liam would face, I knew my dreams about our future would come true. I’d received a sign I couldn’t miss.

Four months later, we welcomed Liam into the world. If you ask him how he’s doing today, chances are my healthy six-year-old will respond the same way he did back then:


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