Mom to Anna Melissa

Lost on July 13th, 2011 at 15 weeks

Racine, WI

I have always considered myself blessed, even though things haven’t always been easy for us.

In 2006, we were blessed with a  happy healthy baby boy who has helped us through so many things. I didn’t realize he would be my saving grace this year.

Hayden had been begging us for a baby brother or sister for a while now, and though we had wanted another baby for a long time, we felt guilty having to wait, but we decided to finally jump in and start trying again.
By the middle of May, I had already started not feeling well, and upon taking a pregnancy test it confirmed I was indeed pregnant.

My husband and son were both elated, and from the beginning Hayden wanted to tell everyone he was having a baby sister. But through all the excitement, I was very unsure of telling anyone. Even though I knew it was true, I felt off because I didn’t feel that bond, the one every woman feels from the moment they’re pregnant, the one that unconditional love can only describe.

At first I thought I was hesitant because I had already had 2 early miscarriages. One just before Hayden’s first birthday, which we never thought too much about because it was unplanned, and it happened at 6 weeks. Another earlier this year, that we lost at 7 weeks, and was a little more emotional, but we quickly decided that I had been too stressed which is likely what caused it.

When I went in for my first appointment, I was quickly stunned when the doctor told me that I was A-, and would be receiving a rhogam shot later on. My surprise was because when my son was born in the military hospital, they had told me I was A+, the same as my husband. Immediately it was decided that was probably what caused the first 2 miscarriages. I relaxed when they said they could probably give me a smaller dose soon, and then the regular dose later on to keep my body from rejecting her. But I still had the feeling something wasn’t right.
My first ultrasound was scheduled for the 20th of June. Atfer seeing her move, and dance, I finally got excited and showed off her picture all day. I even posted our excitement that night on Facebook, finally feeling like everything was going to be ok. No more than 10 minutes later, my cell phone rang. It was the doctor calling me personally after hours. All I heard was I’m sorry, something is wrong…

She continued to tell me they found a growth on the back of the baby’s neck, called a hygroma. If it was a small one, it could easily be nothing, and the baby could continue to grow and develop normally, but the radiologist was afraid it was a large one. She had scheduled me an appointment first thing in the morning with the perinatologist. She would be able to give us more insight, and answer any questions. After I hung up the phone, I went in to talk to my husband, and I couldn’t even get one word out. All I could do was cry. Thankfully my mom had Hayden up north with her until tomorrow. Chad wanted me to call her to tell her what was going on, but I wanted to wait to see what they would tell us in the morning. Maybe they were wrong, maybe it is a small one, and she would be ok.

The next morning, we were quick to get ready, but we could do nothing but wait when we got to the hospital. The doctor had managed to squeeze us in, and it was over an hour before we got back by the ultrasound tech. She took some pictures for over an hour, and went out to get the doctor. When she came in, she had a look on her face that I couldn’t deny…it didn’t look good.

It was a large hygroma, the one thing I feared, and it was larger than even I had anticipated. It was already measuring 2 cm, but her heartbeat was strong. They also found a severe cleft palate, and the hydrops we were told wouldn’t be far behind. Her little body was already filling with fluid under the skin, and the cyst was keeping her body from growing. There was nothing we could do for her, and it could take 6-8 weeks for her heart to finally stop.

Afterwards, the doctor took me into her office while Chad made a few phone calls. She shut the door, and hugged me while I sobbed. Telling me it was ok, and it wasn’t my fault. It was nice for a doctor to seem like she was feeling for you, rather than just being there to tell you. We went through our options, and basically trying to decide whether to terminate, or wait for her heart to stop.

We left there feeling helpless, hopeless, and despaired. How could this happen? Why did this happen? We had waited 5 years to have another baby. Why are we being kept from it now? Chad had told me that he called my mom, and they would be home that afternoon. All I wanted to do was hold my little boy. Knowing I still had him was what kept me from losing it altogether. But telling him was one of the hardest things I had to do. Even though he is 5, it can be a little more difficult to explain things to him. Hayden has Asburgers Syndrome, and he has a hard time looking past the facts of what’s going on, but we managed to explain it to him. The baby was sick, and there was nothing the doctor could do to help her. She was going to go be with God.

Getting through the next few weeks was difficult. Sometimes I wonder how I did it. Being told that your baby is still alive, but no matter what you do, you have to wait for it to die. I can’t think of anything worse as a parent to hear. But somehow I knew, it wouldn’t be as long as the doctor said it would be, and 2 weeks later, I was right. I went in for another ultrasound, and this time proved to be much worse than the last. Her heartbeat had slowed to 132 from 171, the hygroma had grown another half cm, and her chest and stomach were significantly filled with fluid. The prognosis went from 6-8 weeks, to no more than another week or 2. We were supposed to go out of town that weekend, and something had been telling me to just wait til Monday. Our choice would be made for us then.

We got home early Sunday, and I spent the rest of the night not feeling very well. I went to work the next day still not feeling well, but the doctor wasn’t back in until Tuesday. I called first thing in the morning, and was told to come in right away. I didn’t wait long this time. The tech took me back, and within seconds of putting the ultrasound on, she told me there was no heartbeat. I cried…I cried for my daughter, I cried for my family, I cried in relief…relief that the agony was over. Relief that she was no longer suffering. Our little Anna was now with God.

Unfortunately I still had to wait another 24 hours until they could get me in for a D&C. I had never been in surgery before for myself, and I had never been put under. I was scared to death. From what I could tell, everything went OK. I wasn’t in too much pain, but the doctor had put me on iron supplements. I guess I scared Chad quite a bit because I lost a little too much blood. Thankfully it was nothing serious. I was just put on bed rest for a few days. I cried when the nurse came in with a certificate for us, to remember our little girl. Along with a little gold ring that I wear on my necklace now, right next to my cross. Anna was put to rest July 13, 2011.

The funeral home dropped her ashes off this morning, and we’re still waiting for the results of the chromosome testing, but the doctor said there’s no reason we can’t try again and have a happy healthy baby, and this time I was given my rhogam shot. But for now we’re letting my body, and our hearts heal. Hayden keeps telling us that Anna is in heaven, and we take comfort in knowing she’s now with God, watching over us. We have our own guardian angel.

Melissa can be contacted at

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