Couple prepared to be ‘special parents’

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 16, 2010

Today will be a day of celebration for Brooke Miller as friends and family surround her at the first of two baby showers for the impending arrival of Miss Ashlyn Faythe Miller.

It’s also a celebration for a baby that almost wasn’t, after medical professionals uncovered a genetic condition and recommended abortion.

The laughter that will fill the room this afternoon will be a much different sound than the voice on the telephone months ago telling Miller there was something wrong with her baby girl.

“At 18 weeks, I went to the OB, who did an ultrasound and found a bit of swelling at the back of the baby’s neck,” Miller said. “They sent me to UAB for amnio(centesis). A couple of weeks later, the nurse called with the results — Turner Syndrome.”

Turner Syndrome is defined as a chromosomal condition affecting girls and women with a complete or partial absence of the second sex chromosome. The syndrome is named after Dr. Henry Turner, who was among the first to describe its features in the 1930s. It occurs in approximately 1 of 2,600 females born and in as many as 10 percent of all miscarriages.

“When the nurse called, she said there was no hope for my baby, that it wouldn’t be born because generally TS pregnancies aren’t carried to term,” Miller said. “I thought my world was crashing to an end, but I knew there was no way I was going to end my pregnancy. God would help us through it. I knew that.”

It’s that positive attitude that led Miller and her husband, Jarrett, on a quest to learn as much about the syndrome as possible before her daughter’s Feb. 11 arrival date. She joined an online support group and even discovered a family in McKenzie whose daughter was diagnosed at age 2. She now knows that there may be severe issues with the baby’s heart and kidneys, and it is likely her daughter will never have children.

The Millers now know their baby has a variation called “Mosaic Turner Syndrome,” which is said to be a less severe variation of the syndrome.

“When she grows up, to look at her, you wouldn’t think there is anything wrong,” she said. “We know there was nothing we could have done to prevent (the TS). Her due date was actually Feb. 20, but we’re going to induce on the 11th. I’m nervous on many different levels.

“I’m a first time mom working fulltime (at Andalusia’s CCB Community Bank) and going to school fulltime (to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration) and on top of that, we will be facing issues,” she said.

Plans are to have a pediatric cardiologist on hand at the delivery, in anticipation of heart issues.

“There’s no way to know what her heart will do, or her kidneys,” she said. “We’ll find out when she gets here.

“There was never any question of us deciding not to have this baby — she’s our miracle,” she said. “I know that everyone has the choice to make for themselves but it shouldn’t be because of lack of information.

“It has been a struggle to keep going in the right direction, not knowing what the road leads to ahead,” she said. “We have not only kept going but we are ready, willing and able to conquer whatever is in our baby girl’s future. And with a lot of faith and God’s help, we will survive.

“Right now, we’re trying to look forward and think positive,” she said. “God has His hands in all this. He has chosen us to be special parents. I’m ready. I say bring it on.”