Mom to Baby

Miscarried at 9 Weeks – November 2001

and Elise Hope Meehan

February 20th, 2010 – February 20th, 2010

Cranston, Rhode Island

I am 29 years old and have been married for almost 9 years.

When I was 19, in November 2001, and dating my now husband, I was shocked to discover I was pregnant. I had been on the pill since I was 14 so this was extremely surprising. What was even more shocking was the doctor’s telling me that the baby did not look viable and that my uterus was tipped, my ovaries were a mess (covered in cysts) and I had a thin  cervix. Only 3 days later, I miscarried the baby. I had not even worked up the courage to talk to my boyfriend or any family, so I simply suffered in silence. I fell into a deep depression with the knowledge that I may never have children. I started to blow off work and school and eventually was dismissed from college.I had always dreamed of having a big family and that was gone. I shared part of the story with my boyfriend when he proposed to me in April 2002. I told him I did not know if I could give him children. Despite this, he still wanted me. We were married in August of that year and, because of my diagnoses, quit using the pill right away since it didn’t seem like we needed to prevent anything anyways. We left the baby making up to chance and were delighted to find me pregnant in August 2004 almost 2 years to the day of my marriage. At this point I still had not shared the fact that I had lost a baby with him. It was time to tell him and I broke down, mostly scared to death I would lose this baby too. At first he was mad that I had never told him, but then he just wanted to make sure I was ok. He is my rock.

My pregnancy was delightful and normal. Every visit I would be apprehensive and every time I was left happier than the visit before.

When I was about 5 1/2 months pregnant, I decided to find out the sex and was so excited to be having a healthy baby boy. I finally let my guard down when I hit the 7 month mark. At exactly 36 weeks to the day, I woke up with slight cramping and went to work as normal. I was out getting my employer’s car washed, I was a personal assistant at the time, when I doubled over in pain. I had a massive cramp that would NOT stop. I called my husband who was getting our taxes done and told him I thought I was in labor. When I arrived back at work, after a grueling drive home in agony, my husband was there. I had not packed a bag for the hospital yet so I decided to run home quickly and pack one. As we were pulling into our apartment complex, we went over a speed bump and I felt a tremendous gush of fluid. I giggled, despite my nervousness, and told my husband, “My water just broke, I cant believe this is it! He’s early!” and then got nervous. We ran into the apartment and I decided I had to pee. When I went to the restroom, my heart sank and I screamed. I was covered in blood. The gush I had felt was blood, not my water breaking at all. How we had failed to see this as I was wearing khackis was beyond me. We said screw the bag and ran back out the door and into the car to get to the hospital. We called the doctors on our way and were wheeled into the emergency examination room upon our arrival. The doctors surmised that I was having a massive placental abruption and would need an immediate emergency c-section to rescue my son and save my uterus. So much for my natural childbirth plans! My son, Aiden Riley, arrived at exactly 3:30 pm on April 14, 2005 at 5 lbs 12 oz and 17 inches long. He spent a week in the NICU but, other than some asthma, is a perfectly smart and healthy 6 yr old boy.

After Aiden’s birth I felt that God had given me a miracle baby. I prayed for a second chance at motherhood so that Aiden would have a sibling. We started to try again as soon as Aiden was 11 months old.  Years passed and month after month I got my period. Sometimes, I swore I was miscarrying but I never had confirmation. As the years went by I became depressed again. My son was now old enough to ask for a sibling and did so frequently. Finally on New Years Eve 2010, I just had this weird feeling. It was also my husband and I’s 10th anniversary of being a couple. I was beyond ecstatic when after 4+ years of trying I was finally actually pregnant! I literally jumped up and down and giggled like a school girl. Immediately after that, I got this panicked feeling and told myself it was just nerves.

On February 16, 2010, I went to the bathroom and I had the slightest pink tinge but my heart dropped. I just knew I was going to lose this baby. The nagging thoughts that had not allowed me to be excited, beyond those first initial moments of discovering I was pregnant, all came rushing back in. On February 17th I had sat in a tiny room listening to the words that will haunt me forever, “You’re baby’s condition is incompatible with life.” As the doctor droned on and on about anencephaly and how my baby’s brain did not develop past the brain stem; how the baby had a 50% chance of death before labor, 25% during labor and 25% right after labor, all I could think of was, “That adds up to 100%.”

Yes, the doctors told me that my baby, my precious loved, dreamed of and hoped for baby, would die. I kept asking how this could be, are you sure, prove it. They showed me the 3-d ultrasound images. Not only did my baby have anencephaly but also complete spina bifida (the fatal one where nearly all the spinal column is bulged). Both conditions are thought to be caused by a lack of proper folic acid during neural tube development, but I had been on a prenatal since the day I found out I was pregnant…The baby had the condition most likely before I even discovered I was pregnant though… Another reminder that if you plan on children, to be on folic acid long before you plan to conceive..I was heartbroken by my own (I felt) negligence. In addition, the condition could put too much strain on my already fragile uterus because of a large build up in fluid that tends to occur with anencephaly babies. Since I had preterm labor AND an abruption with Aiden, to continue my pregnancy put my life at risk too.

Honestly, I could have cared less about the potential risks to my life, I had faith I would be fine, but how could I make my poor baby be born just to suffer and die? How could I give birth and watch it suffocate, go into cardiac arrest or seize until death? How could I let Aiden watch me get bigger, feel kicks from his sibling and then, at the end, tell him the baby died? Aiden had asked for this baby for years. I was already thinking of how I could protect both of my children, not of me. The chance that I could once again have a placental abruption was the least of my concerns. I wanted to hold my baby, despite the inevitable. I would have liked to look upon the face and say “Good-bye” properly. I did not know if I was strong enough to do this, but, in the end, my children were my priority and I would not allow EITHER of them to suffer needlessly. I made the very painful decision to release my baby to God on February 20, 2010.

Several weeks later, I had a doctor’s follow-up appointment. She told me that they had done an autopsy and my baby was a girl. I had felt in my heart all along that I was having a girl and now it was confirmed.  They also told me that she had complete Trisomy 13 which both anencephaly and spina bifida can accompany. My poor daughter had a triple fatal diagnosis. After weeks of second guessing my decision and crying every day about what I had done, this news reaffirmed that I had done what was best for her.

It has been almost 18 months. In that time, my husband and I have named our daughter Elise Hope. Elise means “consecrated to God” which I actually did not find out until AFTER I named her. How fitting is that? There is not a day that either of us do not think about her, and, more often than not, talk about her. Aiden knows about his little sister, and continues to add “and thank you for watching over Elise Hope in Heaven” at the end of his prayers. He understands that his sister was sick so the doctors sent her to heaven. I am sure he will realize much more when he is older.

On the year anniversary of Elise’s loss, I got a tattoo for my daughter; a dragonfly. Among other things, dragonflies are said to represent, “change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life” and “the ability to live your life without regrets.” I worked on this design for the last several months. I had a professional artist help “tighten” up the design and I love it. It is a dragonfly encompassing a broken heart (pretty self-explanatory), a broken triple spiral (the triple spiral is supposed to represent the three parts of every woman) and elise’s name as part of the tail. I got it placed on the inside of my left ankle; Aiden’s birthdate, name and footprints are on the inside of my right ankle. I had always planned on putting my second child’s footprints here so why not put Elise’s tribute there anyway?

That morning, as I was crying to my husband and getting ready to go get my tattoo, I got a sign that Elise was ok. I was sitting on the couch with my computer and noticed that the reflection from the light off my screen was making a perfect heart on the wall. It has never done this before and it stopped doing it shortly after I was able to take a photo with my phone. Then I was sent this poem today from a “friend” I have never met… She is another brave woman who lost her child…She seems to have edited the original poem to fit my situation….I have added it below.

“I thought of you and closed my eyes,
And prayed to God today.
I asked what makes a Mother,
And I know I heard him say:
A mother has a baby,
This we know is true.
But, God, can you be a good mother,
When your baby’s still not with you?
Yes, you can he replied,
With confidence in his voice.
I give many women babies,
When they leave is not their choice.
Some I send for a lifetime,
And others for a day.
And some I send to feel your womb,
But there is no need to stay.
I just don’t understand this God,
I want my baby here.
He took a breath and cleared his throat,
And then I saw a tear.
I wish that I could show you,
What your daughter is doing today,
If you could see her smile,
And hear, to the other children, she has to say:
You went to earth and learned your lessons,
Of love and life and pain and fear but,
My mommy loved me oh so much,
I got to come straight here.
I feel so lucky to have a mom,
Who had so much love for me.
I had to learn my lessons very quickly,
So, my mommy set me free;
Free from the pain I would have endured,
Free from the disease that had no cure.
I miss my mommy oh so much,
But I visit her each day.
When she goes to sleep,
On her pillow’s where I lay.
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek,
And whisper in her ear.
“Mommy don’t be sad today, I’m still your daughter and I’m here.”
So you see my dear sweet one,
Your daughter is OK.
She is here in My home,
And she’ll be at heaven’s gate for you.
So now you see what makes a good mother.
It’s the feeling in your heart.
It’s the love you had so much of,
Right from the very start.
Some on Earth may not realize the sacrificed you made.
As they point fingers and they judge,
I know that you were brave,
You let her go so she could be free,
And that is true love to me.”

Aiden still asks for a sibling and I still have not given up on having another child. I am battling my depression and have been doing well. I hope to one day hold a baby in my arms again, but, until then, let me just say, rest in peace, my little angels. Please continue to watch over Aiden, Daddy and me… until we meet again..Elise Hope Meehan 2/20/10-2/20/10…Miscarried Baby 11/2001…

You can contact Carissa at

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  1. thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story, I am so very sorry for your losses. Your story gave me goosebumps, as my 2nd rainbow baby is also named Elise (born march 30th 2011) and during her pregnancy I called her my Little Dragonfly, and still do now. My first angel baby was diagnosed with a heart issue (heart was beating at 180 beats per minute) and very little brain tissue at 6wks 4d, very early, but confirmed later after testing, I often wish I had carried him longer.
    I am sure my little Tomas Reece is playing with your precious Elise Hope and your other precious angel baby xxx

  3. Update: Our prayers have been answered yet again! We welcomed a beautiful baby girl (Olivia Rae) to the family on August 11, 2012. She just had her 1st birthday, and big brother Aiden is now 8+ years. I had my tubes tied following her birth so she will be our last. Not a day goes by where I do not think of my two angels (“Bean” and Elise Hope) but I know they are watching over us.

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