I found out I was pregnant just a few days after Christmas. I was excited but a little nervous about becoming a mom again. My happiness was to last only a few days.
I did everything I was supposed to, but on New Year’s day I started bleeding. I bled so much that I thought I’d miscarried and so did my doctor. I grieved, but felt I could deal with it because it was so early on in the pregnancy. They had me come in to check my HGC levels just to make sure they were coming down. I didn’t get a call with the results, so about a week later I called to check. The nurse said “The levels are doubling just like they should for a normal pregnancy”. I almost fell over.
She said the doctor wanted me to come in for an ultrasound. I didn’t want to go because I didn’t want to get my hopes up. When I did go they said everything looked fine with the baby and that there was just some old blood that would have to work it’s way out. Nothing to worry about…. Month after month I kept bleeding and at ultrasound after ultrasound they assured me that my baby was OK and that the blood wasn’t affecting the baby. I asked about bed rest and they said it wouldn’t help in my case, so I kept living my life while trying not to get too attached to my baby with this pregnancy feeling so tentative.
I didn’t want to buy maternity clothes because I was afraid I would still lose my baby. At 19 weeks, my family send me to see a perinatologist. They did such a long ultrasound. I saw my baby waving her arms and kicking her feet. She was beautiful. The technician took a lot of measurements. After more than an hour the doctor came in and said there were soft markers for Down syndrome and I should consider having the amniocentesis. I decided to do it, not because I thought I would ever end a pregnancy but because I couldn’t live with even more uncertainty for another 20 weeks.
The doctor said that he was concerned that all of the bleeding for so many months could cause early rupture of my membranes, so I should go on strict bed. I wondered why no one had mentioned this earlier.
I work a lot of hours on my job. When I told my boss everything that was going on, he ordered me a laptop and and got me all set up to work from my recliner at home. He’s a wonderful boss!
Two days later, I started having such severe cramping that I had to have my husband carry me to the car to take me to the hospital. I started bleeding really bad on the way there and continued while I was there. They said that there was just a lot of blood built up but now that it was out there was nothing to worry about, and again my baby looked fine. I went in the next day for a regularly scheduled appointment and they did an ultrasound. The doctor said it looked like my membranes had ruptured but that they couldn’t be sure.
I was instructed to go home, drink as much water as possible and return in a week. When I came back, my amnio results were in and they were all normal, but my amniotic fluid was very low. This would prevent the baby’s lungs from developing, and they said likely they had stopped developing around 20 weeks. They told us we needed to consider whether to terminate the pregnancy because the outlook was not good for the baby. They also said I would get an infection due to the ruptured membranes and continued bleeding.
We met with a hospital social worker who suggested we consider the impact of continuing this pregnancy on the whole family. There was the baby’s quality of life if she lived, my health if I got an infection, and the quality of life for the whole family, including my living child, if the baby survived and was severely disabled. She was very kind to us, listening to all of our concerns and explaining our options. She even explained how other couples who ended wanted pregnancies dealt with their grief and memorialized there babies.
I was devastated. How was I supposed to I decide what to do? I loved and wanted my baby so much, but I also valued a normal life for my family. My husband was so worried I’d get an infection and he’d lose both me and the baby. But still, what if she was fine and I could hold on? How could I end my precious child’s life if there was any chance at all?
We spoke with our pastor. I prayed very hard for God to tell me what to do. The doctors wanted my answer in a week. I requested another ultrasound to check if maybe the fluid levels were higher. I had to know if there was any chance she might be OK. At that ultrasound they said there as almost no amniotic fluid at all. They also said there was fluid around our baby’s heart and it was beginning to fail. They said we would not have a good outcome.
I felt that God had answered my prayers, but it was not the answer I had hoped. But God had indicated what we needed to do. If my baby wouldn’t make it then I could no longer risk my life, not just for my own sake but for my son. We knew we had to end the pregnancy.
Since they had the amnio results I asked to know the baby’s sex. It was a little girl. I was crushed. I had wanted a little girl so badly. I cried at the thought of losing her. I was to be induced the next week.
The day before we were to go in, I laid on our deck and talked to my baby girl for a long time. I told her how sorry I was that I couldn’t protect her, and how very much we loved her. I told her how much her brother had wanted a baby sister and that she would need to be his angel and protect him now.
They wouldn’t let me deliver her without stopping her heart first. We had her blessed by the hospital chaplain before they stopped her heart. I lay on the table, begging God to take care of my baby girl. It still hurts terribly to think that when I walked into the hospital she was alive, and when I left, she was not.
We returned the next day to have my labor induced. The nurses and social worker were extremely kind and thoughtful. They helped prepare me to see my baby and say goodbye to her. My labor lasted two days. During that time we picked out an outfit for her, wrote letters to her, and selected an urn for her ashes.
When she was finally born I held her in my arms just like any mother would do. I sang to her, prayed with her, kissed her, and cried as I held her. I took a nap with her on my chest just like I had dreamed I would. She was tiny and so beautiful. Her nose looked just like her brother’s and her little fingers and toes were all perfect. My husband and I had her baptized during the three hours we had her with us. He also held her and cried. We had her footprints done and took pictures of us with her so that we would never forget.
I have a memory box of her things, and her receiving blanket to hold onto. All these things I hold very dear, but oh how I wish I could have my daughter back.
We had a small memorial service with only our immediate family. Now that all of the hellos and goodbyes have been said I guess I will start healing. Right now though it just hurts more.
When my body still hurt from delivering her I felt close to her and didn’t have to fully realize that she was gone. Now I have nothing left to do but feel the pain of my empty womb and empty arms. I miss my precious angel, Tamera, more than I can ever express. I am so glad I was able to hold her and give her a proper goodbye, but it hurts so much to know she is gone.