As we walked into the ultrasound waiting room, we noticed that it was packed! So many people were in there. We walked up to the counter and I signed in. “Oh, the doctor called for you.” was the response I received from the secretary. People all around us were complaining about their long wait. Ten minutes later, my name was called. We followed the technician back to the room. As she prepped me, a doctor walked in. He said “I am not going to talk to you throughout this. When I am done, we will talk.” I replied “That’s fine, while you’re there, do you think you can see what it is, the other lady couldn’t tell.” He did that first, got a straight shot between the legs. “It’s a girl.” I just wanted to scream with excitement. A little girl, my little girl. I started thinking about everything I was going to do with her, what she was going to be, what she was going to play, how she was going to dress.
The next couple months were full of doctor appointments. I had an amniocentesis done. We had to rule out all other medical problems. If it was just the hernia she had a better chance at life. Thecame back normal and reassured us we were having a girl. We spoke with doctors who would be there at the time of her delivery. They told us how the hospital sees this illness at least once a week and they have never had a baby die from it. We had an done to check her heart. Everything looked good. We had ultrasounds done once a week. Every time we went everything looked as good as could be, nothing ever changed much, which was a positive thing. We decided not to have a baby shower. We would have one as soon as she got home from the hospital. We picked out her name. I picked out Shannon and Steve picked out Elizabeth. We didn’t buy anything for Shannon really, her death was always in the back of our minds, but we honestly didn’t see it happening. Shannon continued to put on weight. I always wanted to know how much she weighed when we went for her ultrasounds, it made me feel better. She was constantly kicking me. She moved so much, even the nurses commented on how active she was. Steve would come home everyday and talk to her. She loved hearing his voice, she would go nuts! At night I would lay beside him on my side, and she would go to town on him! I played with her, I would poke and she would kick. We planned as best as we could for her delivery. I was going to be induced. All the doctors would be there. Shannon was gaining weight, had no other problems, chances of her living were better and better. It all seemed to be going good.
When I got to the hospital, they started to tell me about how she had a heart defect also, something calledLeft Heart Syndrome. A big word just to describe that the left part of her heart didn’t grow and that her aorta was narrowed. They were giving her medicine to keep her , an extra in the heart every baby has but closes shortly after birth, open. We could have done aggressive medical intervention, but the doctor told us there was pretty much no hope. No one had ever seen a baby with this combination survive. So the only thing to do was waiting until we were ready to stop her life support. Steve and I sat there all day. We slept at the hospital and got up early to be at her side. We stayed with her as late we physically could, just to be up and do it again the next day. While by her side, I would put on her lips (which were exactly like mine) and put a water swab in her mouth so her tongue wouldn’t be so dry. I even changed her diaper a couple times. A sister came in and she was baptized. The nurses stayed with us. They described everything to us and even shared their own experiences. January 19th, we made the decision to stop her life support at some point that day when we were ready. First, I gave her a bath. I combed her full head of hair. I changed her diaper. I put lotion all over the left side of her body, and Steve put it on the right. Her nurse bought her an outfit that said “Angel Bebe”, it even had angel wings attached to the back of it. We took about a million foot prints from her. The nurse insisted on having the perfect pair. We stopped her medicines about 8 or 9 that night and held her while she was still on her vent. We put a ring around her finger. It was a small ring, but still too big for her fingers so we had to use tape. An angel baby’s parents had supplied the hospital with rings for situations like ours. She kept opening up her eyes, the first we’d seen them. Almost like she knew we were there and she was off all of that medicine. Like she was happy. She had blue eyes just like Steve and I. I talked to her for the first time. I told her that she could go and that I would be okay. I told her she had to promise me that every baby she sends down for me has to have a part of her, but that the next baby had to have her nose. She had such a cute nose. I went into a waiting room and Steve stayed with her as the nurse removed her tubes. He told me how she held his hand so tight. He brought her into me, still alive. I held her so close and cried. The doctor came in to check her. She held on for about twenty minutes. She was pronounced dead at 11:15. After she passed, I just held her and sang to her. I took her back to her bed, so proud that I was holding her. Steve cut some of her hair and we took her picture all laid out. I put her cross necklace on her and took off her ring and Steve put it on my necklace. My brother in law is a Funeral Director and his boss came and picked Shannon up. Michael kept her company the next couple days as we went out and bought her a beautiful dress and blanket to be buried in. I worked on a collage for her viewing with all the pictures from the hospital. While she was at the funeral home they even got her for us. She looked perfect. She had no makeup on and had such rosy cheeks. I was so proud as I stood next to her for that day, so proud to show off my beautiful angel.