Every year we have cake on her birthday in her honor.
Before going in for my first sonogram, I dropped my other two children off at my parents’ house. My sisters and their children were there, along with my pregnant sister-in-law, and everybody was excited to find out what sex my baby would be.
My husband was away in the service and we had not seen him for six months. He had recently come home and this pregnancy was a surprise, truly a miracle. We thought that we were done having children. I had so made many plans, was already buying new baby furniture since my youngest was five years old and I had given all our old baby items away.
I strolled into that doctor’s office high on life, believing I had truly been given a gift. At first, the ultrasound technician answered the questions I asked her, but after a few minutes all she would say is “The doctor will have to talk to you.”
My heart sank I knew something was wrong. A few days earlier I had stopped feeling the baby move.
The doctor said my baby may have dwarfism. I was shocked. They scheduled me for a more intense sonogram.
I drove back to my parents house in a daze. My nieces and nephews and my children had made me cards and were hugging me and wanted to know if the baby was a boy or a girl. I told the kids we couldn’t tell yet.
I slipped out to the yard where my sister was, and began to cry uncontrollably, unable to explain what I had just heard. I didn’t want to say anything to anyone because I didn’t want my pregnant sister-in-law to feel bad.
My father was scheduled for open heart surgery the next day and I didn’t want him to worry about me. However, he knows me too well and figured out that something was terribly wrong. I talked things over with my family and my husband. There was no question that what ever special needs this child may have, I was going to help him or her. This was my miracle baby and as long as it was healthy I would be thankful.
The next sonogram ended every hope, dream and desire I had to carry this baby to term. I was told that nothing was looking good, nothing was developing properly. Her chest was too small and the heart was not developing properly, the lungs hadn’t even fully developed yet and there was no more room in the chest cavity. I was told I had limited time to make a decision. It was Friday and on Tuesday I would be five months pregnant. In my state after, at five months I would be required to go before a committee to seek permission end the pregnancy, even though my doctors were certain my baby would never make it full term.
Monday I entered the hospital and was induced. I was told that my baby no longer had a heartbeat. I went through 12 hours of labor and the baby was stillborn. My daughter had Osteogenesis Imperfecta Type II; a bone disorder in which the bones break just by walking or sitting up. Type II is so severe that most infants born with this die within the first year of life. They told me that the bones in my baby girl’s legs had already broken several times.
The first month was very hard. I didn’t know how I was going to go back to work. I ignored all my friends. I slept most of time. Until one day my husband told me that I needed to get myself up and go to work and also to talk this over with my oldest child. He said our daughter was worried about me and was grieving as well. I got out of bed and cried with my daughter and showed her the box I had received from the hospital with her sister’s tiny bonnet in it and a blanket.
I went back to work the following week.
Every year after that on her birthday I have a very hard time getting through. But my children and I remember her and talk about what she would have looked like, and how old she would be now. We have a cake on her birthday every year.