Kara

November baby

November 2, 2005

Faith Elisabeth

December 5, 2007

Westminster, Maryland

 

I always thought that baby loss was something that happened to other people.  No one in my family had suffered any type of pregnancy loss, so why would I have anything to worry about?

When our son was about a year old, my husband and I decided to try for another baby.  We conceived our firstborn easily and our second pregnancy wasn’t much different.  I got pregnant within 4 months of trying.  I went in for a dating ultrasound and I knew something was wrong when the technician said to me, “Oh!  You’re very early.  Are you about 6 weeks?”  I was 8 weeks pregnant.The technician didn’t comment either way.  She said she wanted me to come back in a week to see how much the baby had grown.  When I went back a week later, she said to me, “You’re here for a slow heartbeat, right?”  I was shocked.  Why wouldn’t someone have mentioned this the week before?  I was even more shocked when the tech said, “I’m sorry, I can’t find the heartbeat.”  I immediately saw a doctor who recommended that I have a D&C the following day instead of waiting for the miscarriage to occur naturally.  After the appointment, I went to my car and had to call my husband to tell him the bad news.

I had the D&C the following day.  That was November 2, 2005.  I went home to grieve.

In April 2007, we found out that after a year of trying, I was pregnant again.  I felt really good about the pregnancy.  This one was going to be my Christmas baby, with a due date of December 24, 2007.  We were so excited.  I felt certain it was a boy.  Our 12 week scan looked good- the baby had the cutest legs, crossed at the ankles as if the baby was just relaxing.  We felt like we were in the clear.

At 19 weeks, we went in for our “big” ultrasound and to hopefully find out if I was right and we were having another boy.  I remember laying there watching the screen as the ultrasound took place.  I thought to myself that the baby’s arms and legs looked really short, but neither of the techs said anything to me, so I thought everything was fine.  I was surprised (happily) when they told us that I was, in fact, wrong, and that we were having a little girl.  The techs left and I turned to my husband and said, “We have a boy and girl now, we’re done having kids!”  The perinatologist came into the room and asked us to come into his office.  Why would we need to go into his office?  Little did I know that what he would tell us would change our lives forever.

The doctor, as kindly as he could, informed us that our baby had a type of dwarfism.  That’s okay, I thought, people lived with that all the time!  As I was thinking this, he went on. “Your baby has a lethal form of dwarfism.  She won’t survive.”  Of course, then he went on with our options.  We could terminate, which if we chose that option, would need to be done soon.  Or we could continue with the pregnancy with the probability that our daughter would be stillborn.  We didn’t even need to discuss it.  We would continue on.

Soon after this appointment, we had a second opinion at Johns Hopkins.  There a more definitive diagnosis was made.  Based on our daughter’s multiple broken bones and evidence of healed breaks, the “softness” of the baby’s skull and the grayish color of her bones, she was diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta Type II, otherwise known as Brittle Bone Disease.  Sadly, the prognosis was still the same.

We spent the coming weeks and months grieving our child who hadn’t even been born yet.  On the outside, we appeared to be keeping it together, staying strong for our older son.  Inside, we were broken.  I dreaded going in public when people would ask me when I was due or if I knew if I was having a boy or a girl.  It killed me to put on the happy face and answer their well-meaning questions (on a side note, to this day, I never ask pregnant women those questions).  This became our daily life until our daughter was born.

In November 2007, at around 35 weeks, ultrasound showed that the baby’s heart was beginning to fail due to the limited space in her chest.  There was a 50% chance she wouldn’t survive long enough for me to go full term.  I prayed that she would hold on long enough for us to meet her.  During the next two weeks I expected doctors to tell me she had already passed away.  But while she was failing, she hung on.  She was my little fighter.

Finally at 37 weeks, my OB informed me that my body was ready to be induced.  We didn’t wait a minute longer.  The following day, I began the induction.  Labor was horrible.  Not only was the pain unbearable, but I didn’t even have the added incentive of being able to take my living baby home.  My OB was so extremely sensitive to our situation.  Because I delivered at a teaching hospital, it’s fairly common to have medical students in and out of the delivery room.  She made it known to all staff that the only people allowed to be in our room was her, our nurse and the NICU doctors.  Because of her, the birthing process was as calm as possible.

When it came time to give birth, I was extremely calm.  I still can’t explain the calmness except that I knew that God was with me.  Our daughter, Faith Elisabeth, was born on December 5, 2007 at 4:22 p.m.  When she came out, I thought for sure that she had already passed.  They immediately took her out to the hallway to clean her up and get her vitals.  The nurse came back and said she had a heartbeat, but it was slow and would we like to hold her?  We spent the next 5 minutes holding her and telling her we loved her as she passed away.  She took a few ragged breaths and peacefully left us.

Our families came in to hold Faith and say goodbye.  We spent the next few hours holding her, taking pictures of her and making memories to last us a lifetime.  At 10 p.m., we agreed that the nurse would take her away.

I spent the night in the hospital and requested to be discharged the following morning.

Time following Faith’s passing seemed to fly by- every day that passed was another day further from my daughter and I hated that- and yet it seemed to drag at the same time.  Funeral, grief, everyday life..they all took their toll on us.  We had to learn how to not only survive, but embrace this new “normal”.  I learned that I am so much stronger than I ever imagined I could be.  I learned that not every positive pregnancy test ends in a happy ending.  I learned that prayer works, but not always in the way you had hoped.  I learned how to be a better mom and person from my two babies, one who I only knew as a whisper of promise and the other who I had much more time with, but had to say goodbye to before I was ready.

 

You can contact Kara at Kepereira79@aol.com

 

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Comments

  1. Hi Shaina,

    I’m so sorry to hear of your losses. I just wanted to write to say that I lost my son to the same devastating disease (OI type 2) less than a month ago. I draw some strength from your story – thank you for sharing it.

    Mel

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