Allison's Maternity Journey

Allison's Maternity Journey

Allison and Michael Rice were heartbroken after losing two baby boys due to a rare genetic abnormality. 

“We kind of had that conversation with God and we were like, ‘Okay, one of our babies?’ Maybe I can come to terms with losing a child. But two of my babies ... that seems pretty cruel,” Allison said. “You’re forever changed."

The University Health support care team worked with the Rices during both pregnancies and after each son was born, ensuring they made the most of their time with them. 

Detecting a Genetic Mutation

After losing their second son, Allison and Michael learned from lab testing that both of their baby boys had inherited a harmful genetic mutation.

"There was a genetic mutation that was inherited from Michael and from me that both of the boys had on chromosome 22 called LAMA5. It affects the production of laminin, which is an amino acid that’s important for cellular structure," Allison said.

Technology to Use Healthy Embryos in In Vitro Fertilization

Allison's care team gave her the option of in vitro fertilization. “Fortunately, with the latest technology, we have pre-implantation genetic testing," said Dr. Randal Robinson, Allison’s fertility doctor.

They had the technology to detect this gene mutation in embryos before implanting them. This way, Allison would only become pregnant with embryos unaffected by the mutation.

“Michael and I sat and talked to each other and we were like, ‘If we don’t continue to push forward, at some point in our life, we were always going to look back and wonder what if?’ We learned that we had five embryos that were unaffected by LAMA5, that were genetically healthy," Allison said.

A Healthy Pregnancy

The Rices decided to move forward with in vitro fertilization with the healthy embryos. "We would have an ultrasound every two weeks. To see Nathan develop like that was just beautiful,” Allison said.

Throughout this process, Allison and Michael had the support of Mariza Rodriguez, perinatal support care coordinator at University Health.

“Allison’s third pregnancy with Nathan was just different because it was a mix of emotions,” Mariza said. “Even though the doctors assured her everything was going well during the pregnancy, I think there was always some cautious optimism.”

Welcoming Baby Nathan

On the day of her delivery, Allison had her whole care team in her corner, including Mariza. 

“My delivery with Nathan was unimaginable," Allison said "It was this incredible moment where time kind of stopped. I just remember looking at Michael and being amazed. We have a healthy baby.” 

Today, Michael and Allison get to cherish their time with their healthy baby boy and remember the two who came before him.

“Without University Health, I don’t think our life would look the way that it does now. They continue to search; they continue to seek answers. They were here for us and without them, we wouldn’t be where we are. We are just so incredibly thankful,” Allison said.

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