Penny
Mom to Ella
5/10/10-5/11/10
Lost to Anencephaly
Valdosta, GA

My husband and I lost our first child on May 11, 2010.

We found out that I was pregnant last August. We were very excited. My pregnancy was coming along fine. We had heard our baby’s heartbeat many times and it had been perfect. We were scheduled for our first ultrasound on November 26th- the day before Thanksgiving. I was 16 weeks and 6 days pregnant. We were so excited to find out if we were having a boy or girl, and we planned on telling our family at Thanksgiving dinner. We went in for the ultrasound Wednesday afternoon. A few minutes into the ultrasound I knew that something was wrong. The tech seemed to be focusing on one thing. She wouldn’t answer any of the questions I was asking. After a few minutes she left the room and said “I’ll be right back” I kept telling my husband that something was wrong- he kept trying to calm me down.

A few minutes later she came back in and bluntly said “your baby doesn’t have a skull.” I lost it. I am a nurse, and I knew that meant my baby had anencephaly- a fatal neural tube defect. Our doctor told us he was sure that our baby was anencephalic-but he wanted me to go for a more detailed ultrasound and to see a specialist to confirm it the next week. We spent Thanksgiving Day and the weekend crying at home alone. The following week I saw the specialist and the diagnosis was confirmed. We were given the options to have a d + e, induce labor early or carry to term. We chose to carry to term. We also found out that we were having a girl. We named her Ella.

Carrying my baby to term knowing that she was going to die was so difficult-but I loved being pregnant with my daughter. We were told that Ella may die before she made it to term, may die during birth, or shortly after birth. I began searching the internet and found that a few anencephalic babies had lived months. Ella was so active in my womb- she kicked and turned all day. She hiccupped almost everyday. We had another utrasound at 32 weeks to see how she was growing. Our tech was awesome this time. She let us watch Ella move around and gave us 17 3d ultrasound pictures of her. Ella was sucking her fingers, sucking her toes, playing with the umbilical cord-it gave me such peace to know that she was so content and safe inside. She was also breech.

At 39 weeks 6 days, we decide to schedule a ceserean for May 10th. Ella was still breech and I am so glad that we decided not to try to delver vaginally. That would have been more traumatic to Ella and I don’t think I would have gotten any time with her.

I was admitted to the hospital at midnight on Mother’s day. I am so glad that I got to spend this Mother’s Day with my daughter safe inside. I was so scared when they were getting me ready for surgery. I was scared that I would never hold my daughter alive.

Ella was born at 8:11 a.m. She came out screaming. It was the most amazing sound ever. She weighed 5lbs 9.4 oz and was 19 inches long. She was beautiful. She had the softest skin I have ever felt and the most beautiful pouty lips. Ella never went to the nursery. She stayed in our room and the nursery nurses came in our room to take care of her. We spent the day and the night holding her and loving on her. She was the most amazing baby ever, and holding her in my arms was the best feeling I have ever felt. She passed away in my arms a little after 4:OO the next morning.

I asked my doctor to discharge me when he came around that morning, and he did. I didn’t want to spend another day on the postpartum floor without my baby. Leaving the hospital without her that morning was one of the hardest things we had to do. I miss her so much. I am so thankful that we got those 20 hours with her. She has changed me forever and I can’t wait to see her again in Heaven.

Penny blogs at ourangelella.blogspot.com
You can contact her at ynneps04@yahoo.com
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Comments

  1. Penny, you describe your time with Ella so beautifully. I am so glad you got that precious time with her. xx

  2. I am so sorry Ella couldn't stay, but you really do describe that time so beautifully – I can feel your love for her in the whole story. I am glad you carried her to term and I am glad you got to spend time with her to create precious memories you will hold your whole life. God bless you and God bless Ella.

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