Baby Lucas is born perfectly healthy after Trisomy-18 diagnosis from Acu-Gen
Lucas Kian Rivera
Minutes after birth
Just a few hours ago as I write this, a nightmare pregnancy came to an end for Erin Rivera. A time that was supposed to be filled with joy and expectation became instead an agony of anxiety and worry when the Florida mother received a phone call, early in her pregnancy, with bad news. Erin was told that genetic analysis had revealed "chromosomal abnormalities" in her baby.
But the call didn't come from Erin's doctor, and Erin hadn't requested or agreed to any genetic testing of this type. On the phone was a complete stranger, Chang-ning Wang, from a company called Acu-Gen. A few weeks earlier, Erin had sent the company three drops of her blood with the Baby Gender Mentor kit to find out her unborn baby's gender. She thought it would be fun to tell her husband, a soldier deployed in Afghanistan, their new baby's gender long before an ultrasound scan could reveal whether it was a boy or a girl. "Congratulations, you're having a boy!" was the result.
But the "fun" was replaced by fear and confusion when Wang's unexpected call informed Erin that his lab hadn't stopped with the gender test, but had gone on to perform additional genetic testing that, he said, revealed a chromosomal defect. He wanted Erin to know this information so that she could make a "choice" about her pregnancy. Erin says Wang would give no further details about what was supposedly wrong with her baby, and advised her to have an amniocentesis. When she burst into tears, she says Wang hung up on her.
Erin's obstetrician, however, told her that her pregnancy seemed normal in every way. Erin decided against risking her baby and did not have an amnio.
Nearing the end of her pregnancy, Erin would get another shocking "diagnisis" from Wang, but this time, it came from the television. Although Wang refused to provide Erin with details of her baby's supposed "abnormality", he told ABC's Linda Hurtado with utter conviction: Erin's baby had Trisomy-18, and would "cease to exist" soon after birth. "We don't make mistake. Period." he concluded. Erin had just received a death sentence for her baby on the evening news.
Erin spent the remaining weeks of her pregnancy under this dark cloud, wondering if her baby boy, now named Lucas, would be born healthy, or with devastating birth defects, or would even survive to come home.
On March 10, the verdict came at last, as Lucas Kian entered the world weighing 6 pounds, 15 ounces, and 20 inches long. "Is he normal?" were the new mother's first words. "Perfect!" declared the doctor, after checking him all over. "This baby does NOT have Trisomy 18," concurred the nurse. Erin's mother Nova would share the news in bold, capital letters: "MR. WANG WAS WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!"
Lucas was, in fact, a normal, perfect, healthy baby boy in every way -- and had been so from the instant of his conception. His mother, his family and their friends had worried needlessly throughout a pregnancy that should have been filled only with joyful expectation.