Mom to Juliet Elizabeth
August 30, 2010 – May 2, 2011
Grover Beach, CA
After my husband and I got married, we decided to leave the baby-making up to fate and see what would happened. We were pleasantly surprised when, six months later, we found out we were expecting.
The beginning of my pregnancy went great. It wasn’t until about 15 weeks that I started spotting. I went in for an ultrasound to make sure everything was okay and the doctors couldn’t find the source of the bleeding, saying as long as the blood was “old” I would be fine. I then started bleeding heavily and bright red. I was put on bed rest at 18 weeks. We were still unable to locate where the blood was coming from. Things on bed rest continued to worsen. I was waking up to large gushes of blood and passing blood clots.
At 21 weeks I was admitted to the hospital for pre-term labor. I was given a pretty grim prognosis. They said there was a 50/50 chance I would have my daughter in the next two weeks. Chances were that she would not survive. In the slim chance she did make it she would be severely disabled. I went home on Terbutaline and prayed I would make it to at least 24 weeks, so she would have a chance.
I made it. At 24 weeks I went in for steroid shots for Juliet’s lung development. I mentioned that I thought my water had broken. They did all the tests which came back negative for amniotic fluid; my fluid levels were a low normal, so they sent me home. One week later I had another appointment scheduled. My fluid levels were extremely low. I had been leaking fluid and was now at risk for infection. At 25 weeks, I was hospitalized and taken off any medicine to prevent pre-term labor. Two days later, Juliet made her way into the world.
Juliet was born a whopping 1 pound, 9 ounces. She actually had a pretty good start, all things considered. We were very hopeful. Juliet’s brain, heart and gut were all working well. We just had to work on her lungs– these tiny, hypo-plastic, undeveloped little lungs. Our focus was to get Juliet growing; the bigger she got the more healthy lung tissue she would grow. We spent eight months in the NICU. She fought and grew, while we hoped. Unfortunately as Juliet grew, things got worse. Because her lungs were so damaged, it began to take a toll on all her other body systems. After a failed tracheostomy surgery and elevated liver levels we decided to end Juliet’s suffering. She was giving us signs that she was ready; she just needed us to be. She was too feisty of a soul to live life on a ventilator.
Saying goodbye to our beautiful, sweet daughter was the most difficult choice we will ever have to face. I am so grateful for the months I was able to spend holding and loving her. Juliet’s spirit and fight for life have forever changed us. There is not a day or a second that goes by that we don’t wonder what she would be like, but we find peace in the fact that she is breathing easy.
You can contact Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org.