A whirlwind romance swept Andrea West off her feet when she was a senior in college. The then 22-year-old met her future husband, also a senior, just a few months before they graduated.
They ended up moving back to Andrea’s home state of New Jersey where he dropped to one knee and proposed marriage the day they moved into the apartment they planned to share. Everything was happening so quickly, but they were in love.
The two married right away, bought a home and became pregnant. Sadly, Andrea ended up in the emergency room at just 11 weeks gestation where she tragically suffered a miscarriage.
“I was an absolute wreck. I didn’t know what to do, who to talk to, what was appropriate to discuss, or who could help me. Little did I know that 1 in 4 women suffer the same and people just don’t talk about it. I didn’t know if I could ever deal with being pregnant again.”
After Andrea tampered her anxiety thanks to her supportive husband, she was elated to discover they were pregnant again with a rainbow baby. This time, she vowed to do everything right in her mind for this pregnancy, having blamed herself for the miscarriage, she told Love What Matters.
“I didn’t drink any diet soda (my life blood), didn’t eat lunch meat, soft cheese, sushi … nothing on the ‘naughty list.’ I followed the blogs and community pages. I read the books and set up my nursery the ‘right’ way. When I found out I was having a boy, my heart grew 3 sizes. I have always had many guy friends and I couldn’t wait to be a ‘boy mom!’”
Andrea made it all the way to her September due date without any trouble. She began having a few small contractions the day she was due, so she headed to the hospital where the nurses chalked it up to first-time mom jitters and prepared to send her home — until they performed an ultrasound.
The test revealed she had hardly any amniotic fluid left so they induced labor. Andrea experienced complications during labor, but finally, the baby arrived that night.
“We decided to name him after my husband’s college roommate who passed away at 21 from a brain tumor. This means our child’s name became Adam West. Let the Batman jokes begin…”
But as soon as the baby arrived, the medical team began frantically rushing about. The doctor quickly snipped the umbilical cord instead of Andrea’s husband and the baby was whisked off to the medical cart.
Her husband cautiously approached the team while they were testing the baby’s vitals, then paused. He turned back to Andrea and uttered a heart-dropping sentence.
“‘Honey, there is something wrong with Adam’s leg.’ I was exhausted, a bit delirious, and just wanted to hold my baby, but I will never forget my response. ‘I’m sure it’s just a bruise.’ I gave birth in a teaching hospital and before I knew it at least 20 different people were in the room. Doctors, nurses, and students got to see my newborn baby before I got to really see him. They brought him over to me for a few minutes before whisking him off to the NICU. Then… everyone left.”
Andrea’s mom left the room to speak with family. Her husband headed out to find his parents.
She was left alone with thoughts swirling around her head, wondering what on earth was wrong with her baby. Frighteningly, no one had any idea what was wrong with Baby Adam.
The right side of his stomach and entire right leg was covered with a purple and black mottling. Eventually he was diagnosed with Cutis Marmorata Telangiectatica Congenita (CMTC), an extremely rare vascular malformation with less than 500 cases (at the time) ever reported in the world.
“My mind didn’t know what to do with this information. How does one process this sort of rarity? In my mind, he was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid my eyes on. My rainbow baby. But, would he be OK? I was euphoric and crushed at the same time.”
Baby Adam endured a barrage of tests, which he joyfully passed. Andrea spent as much time as she could with him while he was in the NICU and finally, Adam was discharged, but with explicit directions for his care.
“We made follow up appointments with a dermatologist, geneticist, and orthopedist. Every test came back ‘normal.’ He baffled them all. We were told a list of things to watch out for and sent on our way.”
After attending a conference for families of children with CMTC, Andrea and her husband’s eyes were opened. Granted, doctors and others are very suspicious of the cause of his “bruising,” but that’s not the case.
Fortunately, Adam has grown up to be a healthy boy who loves math, playing chess and has even tried a few sports despite having low muscle tone. Andrea proudly states that her rainbow baby has never once allowed his differences to hold him back and that he is “one of a kind.”
It takes all types of wonderful people to make the world go ’round, including families like the Wests. While their initial journey was frightening, thank goodness everything turned out wonderfully in the end.