Mom to Noel Elizabeth
Born sleeping on October 27, 2012
I found out I was pregnant on July 22, 2012. My husband and I had not been trying as we have three boys already, two from his previous marriage and a 3-year-old together. The timing was just not right for our family. After letting it sink in for a few days, we started to get excited about a new baby. What if this one was a girl? We started talking about plans and how excited we were at the possibility of having a little girl. I dreamed of pink ribbons and tutus. We went in for our first appointment August 16th. We saw our little peanut with the heart just flickering away. We fell in love immediately. The first trimester flew by without any major problems except for terrible morning sickness. I took this in stride and with the help of Zofran was able to go about my days normally. Before I knew it, it was time for our NT scan. I couldn’t wait to see Peanut again. It was there that we found out Peanut was most likely a girl. I was so incredibly happy. Everything was falling into place. With her birth, our family would be complete. My husband and I immediately started thinking about names. We kept going back and forth on different names. I wasn’t worried about picking out a name right away, as we had plenty of time.
Several weeks passed and my nausea improved and I was starting to have more energy. I went to my 16-week appointment on October 15th, looking forward to seeing peanut again. Little did I know that would be the last time I would get to see my daughter alive. I had scheduled an elective ultrasound for October 25th so that we could find out for sure that “she was really a she”, as my husband would be unable to attend the anatomy scan due to work. The evening of the ultrasound approached and I couldn’t wait.We brought our 3 year old to the ultrasound to help him understand “the baby in mommy’s tummy.” My husband sat on a sofa with our son while I climbed on the table next to the ultrasound machine. The sonographer applied the ultrasound gel and put the wand on my stomach. The sonographer moved the wand here and there looking around. Then she asked me if I had felt the baby move. I replied I had felt some flutters and maybe a kick. I started getting really nervous. I knew she was looking for the heartbeat. She kept moving the wand around and around. I started to get upset. My husband looked at me and mouthed, “Are you ok?” I just shook my head no. Then she looked at me, put her hand on my shoulder and told me words that I will never forget, “Jessica, I’m sorry, but I cannot find the heartbeat.” My world stopped. I started crying. My husband came over to console me. My sweet, wonderful 3 -year-old asked me,“Mommy, what’s wrong?” I just hugged him close and kissed his sweet cheek. We immediately called my doctor and left a message with the on-call service. While waiting for her to call us back, we went home. We called family and friends and told them to start praying for us; for our baby. My husband did not, could not believe it. He needed to hear from a doctor that she was gone.
After what seemed like an eternity, my doctor called us back. She was shocked to hear that they could not find a heartbeat. I had no risk factors and she was perfect just 10 days prior.
She gave us 3 options:
1. Go to the ER for another ultrasound. The problem with this was there was no OB-trained radiologist to read it.
2. Be admitted to the hospital to start an induction after repeat ultrasound confirmation
3. Wait until morning where she would either meet us at the office to perform an ultrasound or schedule us an appointment with a specialist.
We opted for #3. We spent the night holding each other, crying and hoping that this was all some terrible mistake that we would laugh about later.
The next morning we got up early, took our son to daycare and waited for the doctor to call. Her office finally called around 9:00 a.m. to tell us we had an appointment with a specialist at 11:00 a.m.We drove to the specialist’s office in near silence, praying that everything was ok. When we arrived, we filled out the necessary paperwork and were taken back to the ultrasound room for a “viability scan.” Viability scan; those words seem so cold. They really should come up with a better name. I climbed up on the table once again and the sonographer started the scan. I knew immediately that it was true. Our little girl had been called to heaven. She talked to us and confirmed that she also could not find a heartbeat. I started crying once again. My husband came to stand beside me and held my hand. The sonographer continued to take measurements and then left to get the doctor after giving us her condolences. The doctor came in and talked to us. He was very nice and gentle. Unfortunately, he was unable to tell us what happened and why our daughter’s heart stopped. We left his office in a daze. We called our OB who scheduled us for an induction that afternoon. We went home, ate lunch, showered and then headed to the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital at 2:30 p.m. that afternoon and got settled into a room. My first nurse, Rachel, came in and introduced herself. She asked a lot of questions about my medical history and explained the induction process. They were going to insert 4 tablets of Cytotec into my vagina; a medication that would cause my cervix to dilate and my uterus to contract. They would insert an IV and give me IV pain medication as needed. She then gave us an information packet from the hospital about how to deal with grief, a list of grief counselors and support groups, and other such information. She then started talking about autopsy and burial options versus cremation. “What, what do you mean burial arrangements?” I wanted to scream. I knew that I had to deliver my precious daughter, but had not gotten any farther than that. I hadn’t thought that my husband and I would need to make those decisions. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen.
The first dose of Cytotec was placed at 5:45 p.m. Over the next few hours I was cramping, but was able to manage the pain on my own pretty easily. My husband and I talked and played games on the iPad. We talked about trivial stuff, nothing important. We danced around the questions that we needed to answer. What are we going to name her? Do we want to bury her or cremate her? Those decisions could come later. My next nurse was Kristen and she was wonderful. She was compassionate and caring, everything I needed at the time. She placed the second and last dose of Cytotec at 11:00 p.m. The cramping started getting worse, so I was given a small dose of pain medication. The medication made me very sleepy, so my husband and I decided to try and get some sleep. He climbed in the hospital bed with me and held me until I fell asleep. Around 1:20 in the morning, my water broke. I woke my husband up and screamed at him to call the nurse. I was worried that she was going to be born right then as I had been warned that when it was time, it would happen quickly. A different nurse came in and checked me, as my nurse was on break. I was only 1 cm dilated at that time. I got cleaned up and tried to get some more rest. About an hour later, I felt a lot of pressure and the need to push. I told my husband to call the nurse. It was time. It was time to say hello and goodbye to our daughter. We called the nurse who came and checked me. She then left and called my doctor, who had driven to the hospital for the delivery after my water had broken. When my doctor arrived, I was told to give a little push.
Noel Elizabeth was born into heaven at 2:27 a.m. on October 27th, 2012. We held our angel. She was so tiny and beautiful. The nurses took her to be weighed and measured. She weighed 2.9 ounces and was 6.5 inches long. The nurses wrapped her in a crocheted blanket and brought her back to us. We held her some more, but it will never be enough. We took pictures of her, but they will never be enough. We left the hospital later that afternoon, empty handed and broken-hearted.