Mom to Kristiana
Born and died April 27, 2010
I found out I was pregnant in late August 2009 right after my 27th birthday. I thought it was the best birthday present anyone could ever give me. Being a mother was all I ever wanted. My pregnancy seemed normal until February 24, 2010. I was 27 weeks pregnant and went for what I thought was a routine ultrasound. I brought my Mother, Grandmother, Aunt, and my daughter’s Godmother to this appointment. The ultrasound tech asked my family to leave and told me a doctor would be in to see me.
I thought it was strange because I was not at my doctor’s office so I did not know what doctor would see me and why they would see me. At that point I should have known something was wrong, but I just kept smiling and waited for the doctor. When the doctor came in she looked at me and said, “No one told you anything about your baby?” I said, “No, why?” She then began to tell me she thinks my daughter has Trisomy 13, 18, or 21. I thought to myself, “Okay, so my daughter is going to be special needs. I was a pre-school teacher; I have been around children with needs, I have taught children with needs…it will be hard, but this is my child, it doesn’t matter.” Then the doctor looks at me and says what no mother ever wants to hear: “Your child will not survive very long outside the womb, if at all.” I looked at her eyes…she had no feeling or emotion behind what she was telling me. She was saying it as if it was no big deal. I just sat there looking at her and thinking to myself, “How can this lady be so cold?” and, “Please God let her be wrong!”. At that moment I felt my spirit leave my body. I was a shell of a person. There was nothing inside of me. I couldn’t talk to anyone, not that I really wanted to, because whatever anyone said to me was not what I wanted to hear. She then proceeded to tell me she wanted to run some tests to know for sure what we were dealing with. At that point I told her I needed my Mother in the room, because I could not comprehend what she was telling me. My Mother came in and the doctor told her what was going on, and the next thing I knew I had a needle (the biggest needle I have ever seen!) poking in my belly. The strange part was I couldn’t feel the needle and usually I am a big baby when it comes to needles. I do remember my daughter kicking and she must have kicked the needle because they had to take it out and do it again. The whole time my mother kept asking me if I could feel it, but I couldn’t; I couldn’t feel anything, I was numb. That test was an amniocentesis and a few days later a genetic counselor called me and said that my daughter has Trisomy 13, and although abortion is illegal in the state of Massachusetts after the first trimester, if I wanted to go to Colorado it was legal there. I thought to myself, “That whole office is crazy,” and I was so glad I never had to deal with them again. Did they really think I was going to Colorado to have an abortion? Don’t get me wrong, I am pro-choice, but this is my child growing and kicking inside me and I felt like they just wanted me to toss her away like a defected toy.
When I returned home, my boyfriend was there and I remember just hugging him and asking him, “Why our baby?” We just held each other and cried. I felt like he was the only one that understood. I didn’t need anyone to speak to me, I just wanted to cry and he let me do that.
A few hours later my doctor called me and he told me he’d just found out what had happened, and then he asked me if I had any questions, and I said, ” How do people expect me to continue my day-to-day living knowing that any day could be my daughter’s last?” He said to me, “The hospital has a social worker I would like to put you in contact with.” I was thinking to myself, “How is this lady going to help me?” That lady turned out to be my guardian angel…without her support, I do not know if I could have made the choices I made for my daughter as well as myself. I met with her once a week until my daughter was born. We talked about palliative care, funeral arrangement, baptism, labor, and much more. She also introduced me to the hospital staff that would be helping me the day my daughter was born, which was great because I was able to build a relationship with them and it made it easier to trust them and their choices the day she was born.
On April 26th, I went into the hospital around 7 p.m. to be induced. My doctor came about 8:30 p.m. and put the Cervidal in my cervix and explained that in the morning they would start the pitocin. Well, my daughter had other plans. I started going into labor about 11 p.m. My daughter was born on April 27th at 7:02 a.m. The labor was pretty easy and my doctor was amazed at how fast she came. I remember the neonatologist taking her to clean and assess her. At that time, my boyfriend went over to see her and she started crying and that cry was music to my ears. After she was cleaned the nurses handed her to my boyfriend and as he was walking over to me he was telling her how much he loved her and she let out this cooing sound. It was amazing. I felt like she was talking to him and I know that doctors probably have some scientific reason for her making that noise, but to us she was talking to him and she was saying, “I love you, too, Daddy!” I will remember that moment for the rest of my life. I can still see him and her talking to each other. That moment was priceless and exactly what we needed to get us through the next few hours. We had friends and family come visit all that day. We even had a Baptism for her right in the hospital. It was amazing. Then, at 2:35 p.m., my daughter took her last breath in my arms. I remember just staring at her for a few minutes, hoping she would take another one. That night we were able to keep her with us and then the next morning she was taken to the funeral home.
The funeral was hard. I remember seeing her for the first time since the hospital. She was lying on a table with just her diaper on. I ran to her and picked her up. I remember just saying,” My Baby! My Baby! She is so cold!” I was able to dress her and put her to rest. Looking back on it now, I was still numb. I was sad and broken, but I kind of just went along with what people were telling me I should do. I think about it now and I wonder how I was able to leave her after the services at the burial site. I guess it is true what they say: just keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually you will make it.
It has been two years since my daughter passed, and sometimes I feel like it gets harder instead of easier. Some days my arms just physically ache to hold her. I am constantly thinking about where she is and what she looks like. I would love to hear her laugh or see her smile. I think about her walking and talking. My daughter was the most amazing person I have ever met. She has changed me in so many ways. I am stronger because of her. Before her, my life had no direction no meaning, and now I have a reason to live, a reason to smile. She is my reason for everything I do. Since the loss of my daughter, I went back to school and I am working on a bachelor’s degree in social work. I would love to help other women the way that my social worker helped me.
The last two years have not been easy and there have been many times where I just wanted to give up, but then I think of my daughter. She would never want to see me give up. I have her foot tattooed on my foot, so now every step I take she takes with me, and I will never let her down. She was a fighter; she survived the pregnancy and her birth when doctors didn’t think she would. She lived for seven and half hours when doctors didn’t think she would take one breath outside my womb. She was a fighter and so am I, because of her. I remember reading other people’s stories and they helped me feel like I was not alone, so I am hoping my story will help other mothers and families.
You can contact Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org.