We were so excited to find out that we were expecting Rose. We’d begun trying when our oldest daughter turned one, and just a few short months later, got the happy news of a positive pregnancy test. When we learned another girl was going to be joining the family, we were over the moon excited. Two precious girls almost exactly two years apart – everything we could have dreamed for was going to come true.
The pregnancy went smoothly, all our tests came back normal, baby was growing on target, Mama was healthy, baby was healthy and all seemed well. Later in the pregnancy, I had a few high BPs at the OB appointments, but it was always resolved within the visit after a few minutes of rest. Then at my 38 week appointment, my BP was high, urine proteins and worsening edema, so I was sent to L&D to check for hypertension. Because both of my pregnancies had been so uneventful, and ‘normal’ I was nervous about being sent to L&D, and started to cry, but the nurse practitioner assured me that everything was fine, it was just precautionary. So off I went to L&D for a NST, blood work and monitoring. For nearly two hours on the NST, our baby girl was healthy and strong, kicking and moving up a storm – the hospital sent me home with a clean bill of health & to check in with the OB in four days.
I left the hospital relieved that our baby was healthy, and that we’d meet her when she was ready. That was Tuesday. I never could have imagined that when we finally did meet her, she would already be gone.
Wednesday, Thursday and through Friday morning I continued to feel her strong movement, and then sometime during the day on Friday it stopped. In hindsight, I can’t pinpoint when her movements stopped or slowed, and I’m not sure if it would help, or I would find comfort in knowing when she passed. We went into the hospital on Friday evening for a check because I was concerned… We’d done the same thing once with our oldest daughter, so were really just hopeful they would send us home with an all clear and that I was just being neurotic.
Full of nervous tears, they signed in at the desk, and took us into a room to do the checks. One nurse told me to put on a gown, but thankfully another nurse said, lets just have you lie down and get you checked out right away. I am so thankful she did that, as I could bare another minute of not knowing.
The nurse was not able to find our daughters heartbeat on the Doppler. I was grasping my husbands hand and in a panic by this point. My heart was racing, my BP was through the roof and it felt like my heart was being ripped out. The nurse said that she’d get the ultrasound machine and as she left, she pulled the curtain closed behind her. At that point, I knew. I knew our baby was gone. The ultrasound tech came in and we saw our baby on the monitor. She brought up the heart beat monitor and there was nothing. She said “I’m sorry”. The image of the heart beat monitor still is just burned in my head. I remember crying out and then burying my face in my husbands chest. The thought that our little baby had died was too painful to bear.
An OB from the practice came in to talk to us and explain what would happen next with induction. I could never have imagined that I would have to go through the labor and delivery process only to deliver our little girl, dead.
We opted to go home for the evening and begin the induction the next day. We decided to wait to call family until the morning. We tossed and turned all night, not quite sure what to think or feel, scared of what was to come, trying to process everything before starting the birth steps. How were we going to make it through today and the weeks, months to come?
We started to make calls to family early on Saturday morning. It was not the call they were expecting, and all I could get out on a call I made to my sister was…”I need you to be calm”…I knew that the heartbreaking and shocking news was going to devastate so many. I still now can’t believe we had to make those calls, that this happened to us.
We arrived at the hospital around 10 to get signed in and begin the induction process. The sweet nurse who’d looked after me during the NST just a few days before greeted us with so much sadness in her eyes. Like me, she was in shock – she’d monitored our girl just days before and had seen how healthy and strong she was.
Around noon I was given half a dose of a pill to induce labor. We spent the afternoon walking around outside, calling family and friends and talking with the nurses about what to expect. At 4pm I was given another dose. By 7pm we were starting to see dilation progress, and by 8:30pm I was having strong and frequent contractions. The epidural was started around 10 – by this time the contractions were extremely intense. Once the epidural was in, I finally felt calm enough to rest a bit. By 1:30am I was fully dilated, but it was a busy delivery night, so we waited until after 2am to start pushing. Rose was born at 2:30am. The delivery room was so quiet…just my husband, a nurse and the doctor – the delivery room definitely did not have the excited buzz that was present when our older daughter was born.
Rose emerged perfect. While the cord was apparently wrapped around a leg, there were no obvious signs of why she had passed. The placenta and cord also showed no obvious signs. We held Rose for a few minutes, studying her face, and trying to imagine the sound of her cry, or the feel of her beginning to nurse.
I was scared, my husband was scared. While we knew that Rose was our daughter and we felt so much love for her, her little body was lifeless. While the nurses had prepared us well for what to expect, emotionally, we could not have imagined ourselves holding a lifeless body, and the experience felt so foreign and wrong.
The nurse took Rose to bathe her and change her. After she left my husband closed his eyes to rest for a bit. It had been such a long emotional day for us both. I laid in the bed, trying to rest, trying to relax, but all I could think of was my sweet girl Rose, and wondering when the nurse would bring her back. I no longer felt scared of holding my little girl, instead I felt a longing to be with her, to hold her close to me, and to love her for what little time I could.
While we took photos of our sweet girl, we opted to not have NILMDTS come. I regret that.
We spent 12 hours with Rose before walking out of the hospital empty handed. We visited her again the next day, and then again at the Funeral home to say goodbye again. I swaddled her up, spoke to her, loved on her and tucked a family photo into her swaddle blanket before we said goodbye for the last time.
Everyday since then I say goodbye to her.
While they speculate it could have been caused by a clot in her cord, we have never learned what caused her death. We miss her everyday. Everyday.