Mom to Olivia Marie

Born sleeping on May 18, 2011

Portland, Oregon


It was exactly 4 Mondays ago that my life was perfect…and the last time my life was perfect.

Rewind 5 days earlier…It was our 20 week ultrasound, and we were so excited to get to see our little lady. She still hadn’t been 100% confirmed as our baby girl, but I knew. I was nervous because despite being on bed rest for the last month, I was still bleeding…a lot. But to my and Sam’s relief, she looked perfect and the ultrasound tech had nothing but great things to say regarding Olivia. 12oz, 10″ long, 10 fingers, 10 toes..she was being a bit shy so still only 90% sure she was our girl. I had felt so much relief. We were halfway there. I could finally breathe and enjoy the pregnancy. That was until my doctor said the word “unfortunately…”. They had discovered that my blood clot that started out as “nothing serious”, had grown to be 9cm (3.5″). She said I was going to be on bed rest the rest of my pregnancy, and most likely be hospitalized after 24 weeks. I tried to brush it off as just a bump in the road. I thought Olivia wouldn’t make it this far for things to fail now. If I only knew then what I know now, I would have asked more questions, I would have demanded more answers. We left feeling optimistic and thankful that everything with Olivia was perfect…

Now, back to Monday…

The day had been great! The bleeding had stopped, I hadn’t had any morning sickness the previous week. We were making plans to go register and start planning for the arrival of our Olivia Marie. We were both so happy. I remember not really being able to get to sleep that night, Olivia was giving her mommy quite the beating. In fact, I was talking to a friend saying I couldn’t believe how much she was moving! We made plans to meet up that next day and I couldn’t wait to tell her all about Olivia.

I lay in bed that night with Sam, listening to her heart beat with our home doppler and trying to move his hand around my tummy to feel her kicks. I was saying, “She’s trying to say, ‘Hi Mommy and Daddy!!'” I wasn’t showing too much yet and thought, “Next week you will feel them for sure!” I felt so much love for her; I was so excited. I put the Doppler away and decided I should get some sleep. I was just about to doze off when I suddenly felt sick. This wasn’t rare, I was sick often during my pregnancy, but never at night. I got up to go to the bathroom, but nothing happened. I thought maybe she just hit my stomach weird, and went back to bed. I was so happy…I didn’t know that those would be the last kicks I felt from my daughter. I didn’t know that in less than 8 hours my world would come to a complete standstill…

Well here we are… his is the morning I will never forget…

It was about 8 in the morning. I woke up still feeling sick from the night before. I usually try to brush off morning sickness, typical stubborn me…like I can control it or something. I had gotten up and moved around a bit, went and laid back down. The nausea wasn’t leaving. So I did as I usually do, I gave in…I went to the bathroom and let my body take over. Right as I finally thought it was over, I felt it. It was like someone just popped a water balloon in my pants. Only I wasn’t at a Summer BBQ, and there was no laughter from people throwing over filled balloons at each other. I knew what had just happened. As soon as I could I quickly woke Sam up. I said, “Something’s wrong!!! I think my water just broke!” I was trying to stay calm but the thoughts in my head were pouring in faster than I could think. I called my doctor’s office and left a message for the on call nurse. I called my mom…I can’t remember if I was crying yet or not. I told her what happened and she told me what I already knew…I was in a state of total denial. “Maybe that wasn’t it! Maybe I just peed my pants…” the one time in my life I was praying I had just peed my pants. I thought, OK, even if it was my water that broke, I’m sure it’s fine! I know the fluid can rebuild itself…I just have to make it 23 weeks. Just breathe. Take a shower. Calm yourself down. It felt like hours before that nurse called me back. She said I needed to come in right away, my doctor was out for the day, but I would see someone else. I was used to that; I had already seen almost every doctor in their office. Sam was going to call in to work, I tried to convince him to just go. It would be fine..Olivia would be fine. I had to rush to the doctors many times before, and it always turned out fine. I think that was the denial talking. I’m glad he didn’t listen to my craziness. We got ready, and headed out. We drove there in silence. I don’t think either of us knew what was going to happen…and I certainly didn’t want to think or even face the fact that this wasn’t good…I couldn’t.

What felt like hours later, we finally saw the doctor. She listened to me tell her what happened. She explained that sometimes a blood clot can build fluid around it and maybe that’s what I had felt. And since I was bleeding so much that made perfect sense. I was silently begging…PLEASE!! PLEASE LET THAT BLOOD CLOT BE GONE. She did a test for fluid and it came back negative. My hope had increased even more. I felt good. She wanted to do an ultrasound just to be sure. They brought in the portable ultrasound machine. Loaded me up with gel and she took a look. Now I wasn’t totally new to this ultrasound thing, I had already had about 10 before this. And while I certainly wasn’t a professional…I knew that what we were looking at was not good. I couldn’t see Olivia. Where was my girl?! I was struggling to look, frantically searching the screen for the flicker of her heart beating. Phew…there it was. She was there. But I knew something wasn’t right. The doctor didn’t say much, she wanted to get me into a room with a higher quality machine. We went right over to another room…I knew the drill.

As we came in, they had my ultrasound pictures from last week up on a couple different computer screens. I could tell it was pictures of my amniotic fluid, which last week they said I had more than enough. I laid down on the bed. My eyes were burning a hole through the TV screen on the wall in front me. I waited as she loaded me up with more gel and there it was again… a jumbled image of what was inside of me. I couldn’t see the Olivia I saw last week. It was blurry, black and jumbled. I watched as she measured the fluid..and my worst fears were officially confirmed. No fluid. My water had broke. We were then taken back to the other room. Our doctor came in.. she looked like she was struggling to say what I was already thinking. She handed me a box of tissues, and started going over our options. It hit me like 500 tons of bricks, all at once…I just burst into tears. I couldn’t handle it. I am so grateful that I had Sam there, full of so much strength. He kept me from breaking, even though I knew he felt exactly as I did. My hope was fading…fast. There was so much information being thrown at us, I couldn’t keep up. My doctor said, “You can choose to end the pregnancy.” They said even if Olivia made it the risks of health problems were overwhelming. I hardly even blinked before I said, “No.” I thought, who I am to play God. I’m not going to decide to end her life just because my body wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do. I didn’t care if she came out blind…as long as she came out. Breathing, smiling, living. So we were told the quick version of what had to happen now, they sent us off to the perinatal OB over by St. Vincent’s with a prescription for antibiotics and a prayer.

This day so far had been filled with a lot of waiting, hoping, and questions…and it wasn’t going to end. The perinatal OB said that the next 48 hours were crucial. I could go into labor, I could get an infection, Olivia could get an infection. I was to not move, to drink more water than I could even handle, and to pray like I had never prayed before. Once I made it to 23 weeks I would be hospitalized. I thought OK, Olivia…14 days. Please….Please hang on for 14 days. I was trying to stay strong…to stay relaxed for Olivia, and for my body. We left feeling as hopeful as we could. I wasn’t in any pain, no contractions…I even managed to laugh a few times. I went straight to bed when we got home. I laid there trying to calm myself down. Trying to get a sense of what was going on. I hooked up the Doppler and listened to Olivia’s heart beating…there was no sound more calming to me. Knowing she was with me still gave me peace. I felt like our chances were good. Olivia had survived all the other trauma my body had gone through. I begged and pleaded and prayed…please…please let this work out. Two weeks away had never felt longer…

A few hours later I started feeling some cramping, but it wasn’t consistent, it wasn’t painful. Jennifer came over, she brought me ice cream and just laid with me and talked. She tried to time the pains…they seemed to be about 10-15 minutes apart. We called the on-call doctor. He said to stay put for now. If they get stronger call back. Looking back I should have just gone in, I always think maybe they could have done something. Maybe they could have stopped what was about to happen. Eventually Jen left, and I decided to try and sleep, which was nearly impossible, but I managed to doze off for an hour or two. I woke up at about 1am to use the restroom. I never understood how I was supposed to be drinking all this water, but not supposed to be getting up. I don’t really know how to write what happened next. It’s hard for me to even think about….I didn’t feel any different. The pains had stopped. I thought I was going to go back to bed and wake up the next morning and be 24 hours down and feeling great. But when I went to wipe…I felt something. At first I had no idea what, I thought I had started bleeding again. But when I felt again I couldn’t deny it…I ran into the bedroom. “We have to go!! We have to go NOW!!” Sam didn’t know why and I couldn’t bring myself to tell him. To tell him it was over. That I didn’t see a happy ending anymore. That what I had felt was our baby girl’s foot…

I called the hospital – told them we were coming in and we left. I was admitted to Meridian Park Hospital. This wasn’t the plan…This wasn’t supposed to happen until September. Everything after that is very blurry. Our nurse Mary Ann…she was so sweet. She fought back her own tears as she explained to me what was happening. I was dilated 4cm. And Olivia’s leg had come out of my cervix. That there was nothing they could do. That even though my babies heart was still beating away…I had to let her go. I didn’t know how I was going to say goodbye. How I could just let this happen. I wanted to die. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. But all I could do was listen…everything was happening too fast. I was finally hooked up to an IV after 5 attempts…and received an epidural after 3 attempts. I had been poked, prodded, stabbed…devastated. I couldn’t feel any more pain. I went numb. Physically and emotionally. They wanted to induce me but I said no. I wanted it to happen on its own…  couldn’t bear the thought of forcing Olivia’s heart to stop beating. The rest of that day was filled with family, friends, tears, smiles, sadness, laughter…you name it. Sam and I couldn’t believe what was happening. Sam was being so amazing and strong. How do you prepare to lose a daughter that you’ve never even met? We had decided we wanted to see her, to hold her… they said she might come out alive but wouldn’t stay that way for more than a moment. We wanted to share Olivia with everyone. There were so many people in that hospital for her, so much love for her. I didn’t understand how someone who was so wanted and loved didn’t even get a chance to survive. I was heartbroken. About an hour or so before I went into actual labor, I asked Tammy, our angel of a nurse, if we could listen to Olivia’s heart beat again. I wanted to hear it one last time. She looked at me, and agreed even though we both knew it might not be there. After a couple seconds of searching…there it was. The most perfect sound. I never want to forget that sound. I silently said my goodbyes and felt like it was time to let go. Finally, at 6:47pm on May 18th, Miss Olivia came into this world. Her heart was no longer beating, but she was perfect. I remember holding her and thinking…breathe…please breathe. I knew it wasn’t physically possible but all I could hear in my head was her beating heart we had just heard not long before…I had never felt such devastation and love in the same moment. In a room filled with tears…everyone said their hellos, and goodbyes, to our baby girl. She had left us.

The rest is a blur…I couldn’t wrap my mind around it.. Sometimes I still can’t. I miss her every moment of every day. She was a part me. She was something we created. She was our daughter, and she was gone. As painful as it was, I never want to forget those 2 days. Or 21 weeks for that matter. I want to look back on this and remember, and know that while her life was short it was powerful…

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  1. I cried at the beginning…. 4 Monday ago, your life was perfect. I know that feeling, very well. Although it was much longer than 4 Mondays ago….. I am so sorry for your loss. <3

  2. Bethany says:

    your story is very very moving…. It has been 8 months to the day since i held my little girl. I know what youre feeling to some extent. she will ALWAYS be with you and love you. stay strong<3

  3. my tears were unstoppable reading your story. i literally feel your pain. “There were so many people in that hospital for her, so much love for her. I didn’t understand how someone who was so wanted and loved.. didn’t even get a chance to survive.” Those were the same exact words I thought to myself in the 3 days my family and I waited in the hospital for me to give birth to Emme. I am so very sorry for the loss of your sweet Olivia.

  4. Megan’s I am so sorry for your loss. Your story really touched me, we just went through the same thing with our daughter Kinslee Nicole a week ago. I was as far along as you, and probably would have had a very similar story had I gone to the doctor more often prior to it happening. Words cant even begin to explain the pain..I miss feeling her kick more than anything. You are an amazingly strong woman and may God bless you and Sam.

  5. i started sobbing as i read your story and im at work so i had to close my door and everything so nurses would stop looking at me. you are such an incerdibly strong woman,i could have never been as optimistic as you. although i never got past 11 weeks and didnt get to hold my little man ( we just knew it was a boy ) i will never forget those 11w5d. They were the most amazing moments of my life. Im so sorry for the loss your beautiful olivia.

    My story was just published on here as well.

  6. I read your story and went to your blog. I am so sorry for your loss. I too lost a daughter named Olivia in May of 2011. I hope that you’re journey has gotten easier, mine has some but then I am reminded and it kinda starts all over again. Sending you love and hugs. Bianca

  7. My little girl passed at 20 weeks from a hematoma :( this sounds like my story of waters breaking and baby coming out, her heart was still beating :(

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