November 12, 2007. Amanda Josephina Lopez-Cugurs is born into this world. A very special baby girl, special to me because she is my first and only child, special for my wife as she is her first daughter, special in this world because she has Trisomy 18.
Trisomy 18 is a very scary diagnosis. The medical profession classifies this condition as incompatible with life. You are lectured over and over about the fact that these babies most often do not survive birth or live a very short while. They are born into this world to suffer. It is suggested to you to terminate the pregnancy.
We chose not to, we researched this condition, got in contact with parents of children who have or had this condition. We put our faith into our God that he would help us get through all of this. And besides she was our baby girl and nothing was going to change that. She would get all our love and care.
On the day Amanda was born we put our faith into her. Amanda would guide us from here on. She would guide us. My wife said to Amanda on the second day “It is up to you if you wish to stay or leave. If you stay there are many people here that love you very much. If you decide to leave there are many people up there that love you just as much”.
The medical staff painted a grim picture. She would not make it through the night, prepare for the worst. She made it through her first night. The next day did look grim; we decided to have her baptized in the hospital. By the end of the week, on morphine and little food we decided to take her home.
We cared for and nurtured her. Day by day she grew stronger and stronger. She had made her decision to stay with us.
Amanda will be celebrating her first birthday very soon, she already spent her first Christmas with us, and we are looking forward to her second Christmas with us.
There have been few complications with Amanda, despite her VSD and PHT, which are quite normal to have with Trisomy 18 she is a healthy and very happy child. Just recently she was hospitalized for two weeks to treat a cold and viral infection in her kidney, but she is back home with us and happy to be back.
We do not know how long we will have her with us, this is why we try to make the most out of every moment of every day that we have with her. Amanda has made us stronger both physically and emotionally not to mention spiritually.
The bond we have with her is so strong. When you have a child with a terminal illness and require so much from you it can be quite draining. It is very draining but we devote ourselves fully to her care. We see a very happy child, she recognizes us, and she laughs and smiles. Amanda brings so much love and happiness like you cannot imagine. We treasure every moment with her. She has made us much more aware of what it is to care and love someone. We would not want to change anything about her, well except her trisomy, and that is impossible. We have learned to accept his fact about her. She is our baby girl and deserves all our love and care which we provide willingly.
We have learned that these children deserve to live as we all do. It is not up to us to decide otherwise. They bring you joy and they love you just as much.
We would love to share more stories about Amanda, what we went through during her pregnancy and even our interactions with all the medical professionals and institutions that we had to deal with. Feel free to contact us if you want to know more.
Eric Cugurs, Father of Amanda