Jessica
Mom to Maggie Marin
Born still on September 30, 2010
Kansas City, Missouri
 
I don’t really know where the beginning or end of Maggie’s story is, and I think I like it that way. Although there was a clear end to Maggie’s physical journey, she is very much alive in spirit and in the fabric of our family.
Maggie was our second surprise baby. At first I was pretty shocked, but soon felt that familiar surge of love for this new little life. We had decided to find out the sex of the baby at the 18 week scan, and it was then that we learned that we were expecting a little girl. I excitedly imagined my firstborn and her new little sister together.
 

It was a few weeks later on Mother’s Day that we decided on our baby girl’s name…we had been debating about two names we loved, Maggie and Marin. My husband asked me what I thought about using both names, instead of choosing just one…so Maggie Marin was named.
 
My pregnancy progressed very normally, with little to report at each prenatal appointment. I remember marveling with my obstetrician, Dr C, about how quickly the time seemed to fly by between each appointment as I had a little one at home to take care of this time. The biggest complaints I had were sore hips and insomnia. In retrospect, I’d give anything to have a few aches and pains as my most pressing concern. Soon enough we were going in once a week for our routine check-up, listening to Maggie’s heartbeat and measuring my swelling belly.
 
At our 39-week appointment, however, things were anything but routine. I lay back as usual on the examination table and lifted my shirt for Doctor C to listen to Maggie’s heartbeat. All the time we were chatting and joking, my husband and daughter watching on at the foot of the table. As usual I looked forward to hearing the familiar sound of horses galloping…that’s what I think of when I hear an unborn baby’s heartbeat.
 
Doctor C shifted the Doppler around, covering all angles. She thought the baby was curled up or in a strange position, which seemed quite normal. We kept picking up my own heartbeat, but hearing nothing but static where Maggie’s horses hoofs should have been. My own heart started racing, and I glanced down at my husband. He smiled, and I forced a smile back.
 
The moments after this are a blur…I think because if I try to relive it again in my mind, the intense emotional pain is too much to bear. Doctor C stopped searching. She looked down at me for what seemed like an eternity, and her gaze said it all. I started crying, then wailing. A creaky old ultrasound machine was wheeled into the room, and Dr C’s partner came in to confirm what we all knew. Dr C looked at me again. ‘I’m sorry…I’m just not seeing what I need to see’.
 
With those words, a flood of shock, disbelief, sickness and pain swept over me. Through the tears, I kept repeating ‘I’m sorry…how could I let this happen? I’m sorry.’ How could I let my baby die?
 
Doctor C wiped a tear from her cheek and explained what would happen next. She would meet us at the hospital as soon as she could, after she was finished seeing patients. In the meantime, another colleague would be there to help us. ‘Dr Maggie is wonderful.’ My tears started again. Maggie. That was our baby’s name, I explained. It seemed right that our Maggie would be cared for by another Maggie.
 
Somehow we made it to the hospital a few hours later, where we were shown into our room. Again the time between getting into the hospital gown and being hooked up to the Pitocin and actually delivering Maggie is a blur, but the memory of holding her afterwards will never leave me. She was bundled in a white blanket, so still but so perfect. She was completely normal, and we don’t know why she left us so soon. We spent a few hours with her, telling her how much we loved her and cherishing everything about her, and we were given some beautiful keepsakes when we left the hospital a day later. Her tiny wobbly footprints and ID bracelet are the few items of Maggie’s that we can hold in our hands, which I craved so much in the days and weeks afterwards.
 
It has been 4 months since that day, and I now feel a sense of peace and acceptance that I never thought possible. When I think of our beautiful baby girl, I feel so much love, as well as gratitude for the chance to carry her and be her Mummy.
 
Jessica can be contacted at: jessica@themyers.net
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