Mom to Noelle Kathryn
Born still March 1, 2012
Rock Island, Illinois
I gave birth to my second child, our beautiful daughter, on March 1, 2012. She was already in Heaven with our Savior.
I found out I was pregnant in August of 2011. We had been waiting to try for our second child because my husband had gotten a new job at the end of 2010 and we were without insurance for 7 months. As soon as that probation period was up, we started trying to conceive, and we were elated when it happened so quickly. As with my first pregnancy, I had quite a bit of “morning” sickness (that came at all hours of the day and night) and honestly felt reassured by it. I had many people tell me that sickness is a sign that things are going well. Though I had lost some weight and was having a hard time keeping food down, the baby was growing right on track.
In December of 2011, my husband suddenly became very ill. At first, he was diagnosed as just having an inner ear infection, but quickly it became apparent that he was struggling with something much worse. After two trips to the ER, he ended up being admitted to the hospital. After days and days of blood work and other testing, the doctor told us that he had no idea what was wrong. We made the decision after a week to transport my husband to a University hospital about an hour away. When we arrived there, they began all the testing again. Originally, he had symptoms of having a stroke, but he is young, and this seemed unlikely. After two MRIs and CT scans, a stroke was ruled out, along with many, many other things, but there was still no diagnosis. A week into our stay at the second hospital, we finally got some answers. My husband was diagnosed with Cerebellitis. At some point weeks before, he had gotten a virus and not known it. The virus then ended up attacking his cerebellum, which affected his ability to walk and talk, and made him constantly dizzy. He was treated with a dose of steroids for the dizziness, and was prescribed physical therapy to basically re-learn how to walk and talk. Thankfully, he could receive this treatment at the hospital back home, so we made plans to return.
On the day my husband came back to our area, I had my 20 week ultrasound. We were so excited to find out the baby’s gender, and we had come to a decision about a name while spending all this time in the hospital. If it was a girl, we would name her Noelle, because she was our Christmas gift, the thing we had to look forward to during all of this struggle. I had to go to the appointment without my husband as he was still in the hospital, and when I found out that we were indeed having a little girl, I got a balloon and a flower to put in his room to surprise him. When he came in and saw it, he began to cry. We were both SO happy.
After 4 weeks in the hospital, my husband was finally able to come home. He was on medical leave from work and had PT scheduled three times a week. I was now taking care of him and our son full time, and though we had a great deal of support from friends and family, I was feeling the stress. I was worried that this would affect the baby, but my appointments continued to be good. She was growing right on track and her heartbeat was normal. This was the case at my last appointment, on February 28th, 31 weeks along. I did tell my doctor that I was feeling some pressure in my lower abdomen, but she did an exam and everything was fine. She suggested I get a support belt, and I did. I wore it the entire next day, which may have explained why I didn’t pay much attention to the baby’s movement. However, that night I noticed I had not felt her move much, and upon waking the next morning, I was still concerned.
I called the doctor’s office and was told to go straight to the hospital. We arrived, they showed us to a room, and they began to check for a heartbeat. They found none with the doppler, but I still felt that they would find it. She had been stubborn in letting us hear it at a few of my appointments before. They brought in the ultrasound machine, and after about a minute of no one talking, I knew. Our sweet Noelle was gone.
My first response was to tell myself that she was never really ours, she belonged to God. Though I knew this to be the truth, it did little to calm me. I had to come to grips that I was going to be induced into labor and have to deliver my “sleeping” child. Three of my wonderful friends, along with my mother and mother-in-law, came and stayed with us the entire day. My friends were amazing. They helped me make the decisions that I never knew I was going to have to make for my beautiful baby girl: whether or not to see her, hold her; whether or not to bathe her or dress her; to get her pictures taken and whether or not to have a service. We prayed throughout the day, and God gave me the strength I needed, the strength I knew I did not have myself.
At 10:38 PM, I gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl I have ever seen. My precious Noelle Kathryn. She weighed 3 pounds, 7.2 ounces, and was 16 1/4 inches long. She was perfect.
The past 6 months have been the hardest of my life. I feel like a part of me is missing, and I know it will never be replaced. Every time I see a pregnant woman, or someone holding a newborn girl, I am saddened. But I know my daughter is in Heaven, and that she is at peace. I know that we will see her again one day. My husband and I are confident that God will use us and this situation for good, and we hope that in some way we may be able to help others. We are enjoying our 3-year old son and look forward to welcoming more children into our family in the future. And we will tell them and everyone else who will listen about our beautiful Noelle.