Mom to Victoria Elizabeth
Lost at 6 Weeks, D & C at 11 Weeks
June 29th, 2004 – July 8th, 2004
Thatch, Lost at 4 Weeks
and Ella Mae, Lost at 8 Weeks
Sylva, North Carolina
It was my 38th birthday. My husband and I were on a mini vacation in Las Vegas, and I got pregnant for the first time ever. When I found out I was beyond thrilled! I had recently started seeking adoption information because I thought I couldn’t conceive.
At 10 1/2 weeks my husband and I went for our first appointment, and ultrasound. It was there our hearts were broken for the first time. Our baby had died at about 6 weeks. We were devastated.
We opted for a D&C so we could find out what had happened to our baby, and its gender. Our first child, whom we named Victoria Elizabeth (we lost her the day they found Elizabeth Smart) was a little girl who had not only Down Syndrome, but a mosaic on her 8th chromosome. She had no chance of surviving. Then joy beyond joy, the week that she was due, we conceived once again. This time it took!! Our new baby was due in June 2004!
I had a pretty typical pregnancy, and a very active baby. We used to joke that he was building a condo in there because of how active he was. Yes, we were having a boy. We chose the name Archer Nicholas after two of our grandfathers.
The last few months of my pregnancy I quit my job, and started preparing. When the time came it seemed he didn’t want to. My doctor decided to induce me at about 41 weeks. We went into the hospital Monday morning, and they finally had to take Archie out by c/section on Tuesday night, June 29th. He was BEAUTIFUL! He was also unusually strong and alert! I was in love instantly. I wanted to do nothing but hold and look at him. We stayed in the hospital for a few extra days because of the c/section, so we only ended up being home two nights when the morning of July 6 we discovered an odd mark on his leg. He had been agitated all night, and I slept sitting up with him in the boppy. I thought I broke his leg in one of my 15 minute stretches of sleep.
We immediately took him to the pediatrician, who had no idea what was going on. By the time we left the pediatricians office an hour later Archie’s lower left leg was a dusky, splotchy purple mess. We were sent to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where we spent the entire day in the NICU. Test, after test, after test, and no one could figure out what was wrong. At 9 pm they finally admitted him, and began more tests up in the NICU. Sometime in the middle of the night one of the doctors came to us and explained what they “thought” it was. Although it was not presenting as such, Coarctation of the Aorta was their best guess, and they scheduled heart surgery for the next morning. When we came out of our sleeping room early that morning it was like watching a movie. There was a whole team gathered together discussing the symptoms and the forthcoming surgery. It was then that Archie’s attending physician decided that there needed to be one more test done before they cut open his little chest, due to the inconsistencies in the presentation.
When they returned to us, we were informed that Archie’s heart was fine, but that he had a BLOOD CLOT in his aorta, for absolutely no reason! For those that don’t know, the aorta is the fastest flowing blood vessel in the entire body, and, more importantly “neonates do not get blood clots for no reason.” Archie’s attending physician told us that in his 30 years of practice he had never seen anything like it.
Now, armed with this new information the doctors started a whole new course of treatment. They began pumping our little guy full of drugs to break up the clot. It was later that night that we learned that the drugs were not working, but that due to the lack of oxygen to his lower extremities our beautiful baby boy’s intestines had perforated, and there was no chance of survival. Archer Nicholas died in my arms the next morning. It was July 8th. He was 8 1/2 days old. My life will never be the same again. My heart will never fully heal.
Sadly, about 6 months after Archie died, I had another miscarriage. No testing this time. I always imagined it was another girl though. I call her Thatch–short for Thatcher.
It was after that that my body seemed to shut down completely. We tried for over a year to get pregnant again with nothing. Finally we started fertility treatments.
When I was 41 we were blessed with our twin boys. It was a little less than 2 1/2 years since Archie died. We named them Jacob ARCHER and Asher NICHOLAS.
When the boys were 9 months old I got pregnant again. Unfortunately this ended in another loss. Once again we opted for testing and discovered another little girl, this time with Trisomy 18. I like to call her Ella Mae.
I had always imagined I would have 3 children–two boys and a girl, so when I got pregnant again at 43 I knew that is what she would be. We have now been blessed with our little girl, Amerie Rose. Our quiver is full, especially in Heaven, where we have one beautiful boy, and I imagine 3 beautiful girls. One day we will all be together. Until then I will miss all of them, but especially Archer who I shared so much with.
Traci can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org