Mom to Emily Grace
October 6th, 2010
Raleigh, North Carolina
It was my second child.
My husband and I got married and decided shortly after to start a family. I got pregnant right away and had a wonderful uneventful pregnancy. I delivered a beautiful healthy girl with no complications. I was a bit concerned that because of being of advanced age I might had difficulties but with my little girl it proved that there is nothing wrong about getting pregnant after 35. A year after we decided to try for our second child. I was very confident that nothing would go wrong as it was with my first. I knew of mothers that lost their babies and I knew it could happen but it was more like thinking driving and having a car accident.
The first trimester passed and like I was hoping, everything went fine. The ultrasounds were good and I had a complete uneventful pregnancy just like I had with my first child. I was overall more tired but this was because of having to care for my energetic toddler. The last week before my due date came by and I started to have contractions. I thought I was going into labor any time. I was just waiting for them to get stronger to make the call but they didn’t.
The day I was going to have my last checkup I had not felt the baby move but I wasn’t worried about it because in my previous pregnancy I didn’t feel the baby move much at all. Also during the last weeks babies don’t have much space to move around so I didn’t think that there could be something wrong. At the appointment the midwife tried to find the heartbeat and she couldn’t find it. I asked her if there was something wrong and she said she had to call the doctor. Right there I knew. The doctor came in, did an ultrasound and confirmed my worst fear, there was no heartbeat. He said to me “I’m so sorry. It is not your fault.” And he showed me the screen where I could see her still heart. I didn’t cry. I was in shock and everything felt so unreal.
I called my husband to tell him the horrible news and to meet me at the hospital as they decided to induce me the same day. I had everything ready so I went straight to the hospital. I wasn’t given the option for a cesarean delivery and I don’t know what I would have chosen if I had been given the option. The truth is that either method of delivery was not going to take away the heart wrenching pain of having lost my daughter.
After my husband came to the hospital they drew a lot of blood for testing and they started me on pitocin. It was a long hard labor. I wish I could say it was easy but it wasn’t. In the end after 16 minutes of pushing I delivered my precious baby girl. Like a new mother I first looked at her wanting to see how she looked like. She was so beautiful and perfect. And then it hit me and I couldn’t stop crying as I held her in my arms. My entire universe crashed down on me at that very moment. She was such a beautiful baby and gone without warning. I couldn’t believe it and still I can’t believe it.
That day a chaplain came and she was blessed. We decided to not have memorial services. A funeral was just too much to handle. We also decided for cremation and have the ashes returned to me. We had a lot of counseling in the hospital and with only a bag of mementos of our precious little girl we left the hospital and came home with empty arms.
The following weeks were undoubtedly hard. I just wanted to be alone and grieve my loss. My parents were with me so that helped with taking care of the house and my surviving child. She was too young to realize what was going on. I read all the grieving books they gave me in the hospital. I began to ask the why’s. Why this happened? What went wrong? I was desperate for answers. I was aware I might not have an answer but I was hopeful for one. A month after we got an answer. They found out it was an umbilical cord accident. They told us the cord was “hypercoiled” and a twist in it seemed to have caused the demise. They said hypercoiling of the cord can’t be seeing in ultrasounds so there was no way of knowing about it. There was nothing we could have done. I felt relieved there wasn’t anything wrong with me or the baby but it was frustrating to see how healthy babies don’t make it due to cord accidents with technology so advanced and babies surviving as early as 25 weeks.
What I can say now is that I am a new woman and I think I am a better person for what I have gone through. I will always love my baby and I will always feel proud of giving birth to her. She was worth every second I carried her. It may not seem like it but I have learned that we are capable of surviving anything that is thrown at us no matter how terrible it is. There will always going to be dark days, but someday, you will find the light again.
Marilia can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org