Heather

Mom to Makenna Allene

Born still September 1, 2012 at 39 weeks

Alexandria, Virginia

I am the face of…a yearned for baby that was taken from me, full term.

Geoff and I had thoroughly discussed and planned for having a child; we thought this was the penultimate display of our love and commitment to each other. So, when I went for a fertility consultation at 38 years old and was told, basically, that I “should not” be thinking about having a child and that I potentially could not at “this age”, imagine our shock and surprise when I became pregnant a month later. We considered our baby girl, Makenna, a miracle baby from the beginning. We celebrated announcing our pregnancy with a party, and when we found out at 18 weeks that we were having a healthy baby girl we celebrated with another “gender reveal” party. Our friends threw us a huge co-ed baby shower. Every chance we could, we joyfully jumped headlong into planning for and celebrating her arrival. All through the pregnancy I avoided caffeine and alcohol, ate right, drank water, exercised, slept on my side – you name it, I did it.

At 36 weeks we were given a 4D ultrasound so we could see her chubby little face; she hid her nose and sucked on the cord. I felt that we were so close to seeing her face and meeting her for the first time that there could be nothing stopping us…until my 38 week appointment. I relive the anguish of that day over and over in my mind, trying to come to terms with the most horrible words any mother can ever hear: “There is no heartbeat.” I panicked, I bargained, I tried to make my life go into her – anything to bring her back. I just kept crying, “NO, NO, NO!” The doctor was frustrated and confused: “The fluid is fine! Her monitoring from the evening before – fine! I don’t understand!” But yet, Makenna wasn’t there.

My world shattered that day, yet I was faced with having to come to terms with what happened and come back to the hospital that night to start my labor induction on the first day of my 39th week. To know you are going through labor for stillbirth is inexplicably tough. But I did, and had the vaginal delivery with the help of a doula that we had wanted all along. Just like every other part of my pregnancy, labor was easy for me. We were able to see her face and hold her, once. I felt her warmth and her weight, and for that I am eternally grateful. She was a miracle baby, and we still consider her a miracle baby. She was so miraculous and beautiful, her spirit went on to live with the stars.

I am not ashamed. I see no reason to be; we never had a reason to be before, and she continues to be our beautiful child. I did not “lose” this baby like some trivial thing I would misplace – she was taken from me in a random and horribly unfair event. We wanted Makenna, we celebrated her, and she was such a source of joy in the time we had with her. I loved her and loved having her in my belly. I loved the chance I had to hold her once before I had to let her go. We had a memorial ceremony for her – one last event to celebrate her. Why would we not continue to celebrate her as we had all along?

Now that she is gone, I cycle through so many feelings: longing for her and missing holding her; anger at the medical profession, the world, the universe, myself; guilt that if somehow I would have known her cord was compromised and we could have gotten her out that she would be alive now; and most of all – sadness at how unfair life is sometimes. I also cycle through fondly and wistfully thinking of what was and what could have been. Geoff and I talk about what’s to come and having another baby, so that Makenna can be a big sister. We have saved everything, so that in time and in my healing process, we have remembrances of her. We love her always and will never forget.

You can contact Heather at heathert_email@yahoo.com.

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Comments

  1. You are so unbelievably strong. I like what you said about how you didn’t “lose” your baby like a pair of keys. I will be praying for you and your family. It is so courageous to tell your story and I want you know that it does make a difference. Thank you. I started a blog about my miscarriage http://www.badthingshappentogoodpeople.com for me so that I could get how I feel out there and hopefully later will be able to see how far I have come.

  2. Stephanie says:

    I am so sorry your little Makenna did not get to stay with you.
    My daughter was stillborn in August, I can really relate to that feeling of knowing you wanted your child so much and did everything right… and yet she died. Be gentle to yourself, those feelings are so rough.
    Love and hugs. -Stephanie

    • Mariela says:

      I am so terribly sorry about your beautiful Makenna… I cannot find words of support, I’m sure there’s nothing to be said to make it better…
      I’ll tell you our story so you know why I am looking to this website: my younger sister had her third pregnancy (for her second child) where the only thing that was weird was too much amniotic fluid. They could not find the cause.
      A month before her due date they found out she had Truncus Arteriosus, a rare congential cardiopathy, and they would have to operate soon after birth and again before her beautiful Julieta turned one year old.
      She had her c-section on Sept. 26, and on October 2nd the baby had her surgery. My sister was not able to hold her until Oct. 5th. They had been in separate hospitals almost right after birth, and she could only go and talk to her and touch her hand.
      Last Friday she was allowed to hold her and nurse her by the first time. She was in cloud nine, and the baby was doing better.
      That night Juli was very agitated and seemed to have run a marathon, and had to get intubated.
      Saturday at noon she was getting better quickly. Things were looking up.
      At five pm my sister and husband ran home to get some things and came back at 8pm. They were not allowed to see the baby, “they were working on her, helping her”, that’s all they said. At 10pm they told them the baby had had a cardiac arrest and they were trying their best,but she was in a very delicate state.
      At 12 am they were finally allowed in: their little Angel had departed. After 5 hs of trying to save her, they could not do anything else. She had left us.
      My poor sister held her little Angel and could not let go. We live in different countries and I cannot embrace my sister and tell her it will be alright, because I am not there and because I know it will not be alright.
      I don’t know how to help her, and I cannot imagine anything worse than having to let go of your baby, after such little time, when you had so much love to give her…
      I wish I could make it better for her and for everyone who was forced to have to live through this tragedy.
      It’s unfair, wrong, and it must be a stab in your heart that never stops hurting.
      Hope sooner than later the good moments come up first in your mind, the tenderness and love, rather than the hurt and the anger you have all the right to feel.
      Big squeezed hug to you.
      Mariela.

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Heather,
      We lost our son Noah last August due to a cord accident. Makenna knew how much you loved her and she loved you back. Take care of yourself,
      Melissa

      • Heather says:

        Thank you, Melissa. Cord accidents are hard, since you know you had a healthy baby otherwise and a normal pregnancy…

    • Heather says:

      Thank you, Stephanie. I have met another Stephanie through this blog whose son was stillborn on August 31. So many children – it’s just so heartbreaking.

  3. Jillian says:

    I’m so sorry to read about your dear, sweet Makenna. I too suffered a full term loss with our daughter Sarah at 38 and a half weeks. And I’ve felt, and still feel, so many of the emotions you described. The way you speak about not “losing” Makenna is the same exact way that I feel.

    Many hugs to you. Maybe your Makenna and my Sarah will meet…

    Jillian

    • Heather says:

      Thank you, Jillian. Not that you would wish this on anyone, but you have helped me feel less alone…I do believe there must be a beautiful, wide meadow where all our little ones are together and happy…

  4. Millie says:

    Heather,
    I am so sorry for your loss. Your story has encouraged me to share this site with my daughter. She just gave birth to a still born baby girl 3 days ago. We are having a very difficult time dealing with our loss. I am so heart broken as I see the pain she is going through. I want to share your story with her so she can know she is not alone.
    Thank you again,
    Millie

    • Heather says:

      Thank you for reading our story, Millie, and I hope this has helped your daughter as a stillbirth mother – and you as a grandmother! You and your daughter are definitely not alone, Unfortunately in circumstance, fortunately in support.

      • Chakri says:

        That photo would bring tears to my eyes without the slwnfoake just because of that sweet, beautiful, little angel. But add the necklace, and I’m a mess. I can’t wait to see the photos of your slwnfoakes, Lacie!

  5. Grandma Linda (Nanny to some) says:

    Sweet, beautiful daughter=wonderful Mommie to beautiful (perfect) Angel Makenna; may you (as I will) see her in the twinkling stars, the warm, glowing sun, the cool nourishing rain and those beautiful rainbows; Makenna’s beautiful spirit will always and forever be with us. Continue to be strong MY beautiful, previous daughter.

  6. Heather says:

    Thank you to all the moms (including my own) that wrote me! I have not checked the website since shortly after the story was posted and had no idea there had been so many comments!! I truly appreciate each and every one of them. I’ll be responding to your messages directly, so you know I saw them.

  7. Marlene says:

    Hi Heather,
    My name is Marlene. I had to fight so hard to fight back the tears after reading your story because it seems like we share the same feelings. I also lost my daughter…but at 36 weeks. Her name was Arianna. I had a pretty healthy pregnancy. I went for my 36 weeks ultra sound, and she wasn’t moving. I layed there during all the checks and when it came time to listen to her heart beat, there wasn’t one. My husband was out of town at the time, and so my doctor insisted that I waited for him to return. He came back later on that day, and I was induced and in labor for 72 hours. I had my angel on all saints day, November 1, 2011. All the tests came back negative. So I can understand your feelings of Why? And utter anger. Like you, I did everything right. I even only gained 16lbs during her pregnancy. But I just want to tell you that my mom had me at 40. DON’T GIVE UP! Since Arianna, I got pregnant 6 weeks after her death and had a baby boy at 36 weeks. He is now a rambunctious 18month old, and I am currently 7 months pregnant with another boy. I guess my daughter is truly my angel. I haven’t been blessed with another daughter, but I know she’s around me all the time. I feel her all the time. My only advice to you is to not go past 36 weeks with your following pregnancies. I have been so lucky to have a doctor who shares the same sentiments with me. He has advised me to get induced at 36 weeks, and I agreed. My son was born at 36 weeks, and he was fine, with the exception of temperature regulation problems, which were minor, but fixed in a week. Please don’t give up. I know exactly how you feel. I have Arianna’s ashes in my closet and I feel her presence all the time. I wish you luck…now hurry up and get preggo!!

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