Mom to Savannah Rae
February 27, 2012 – March 2, 2012
I found out I was pregnant on August 22, 2011. I will never forget the feeling of disbelief and excitement. I must have looked at that home pregnancy test a thousand times just to make sure it was true. Since Scott was at work that day I had to keep the news to myself until he came home. I decided I would make a sign that said “Congrats Daddy To Be, I’m Pregnant” and tape it to our garage door. All day I patiently waited for him to come home. It was such an exciting day!
A couple weeks later, 6 and 1/2 weeks pregnant, we went to have our first ultra sound. She looked like a little blob on the screen but that heartbeat was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It was love at first sight!!
For the most part I had a very uneventful pregnancy. I had no morning sickness, no usual aches and pains and felt pretty good. Even though my doctor assured me the baby and everything was progressing just fine I always felt like something was wrong. I cannot really explain the feeling but I worried a lot during my pregnancy.
We found out at our 18 week ultrasound that Baby D was a girl!!! We were actually shocked because we all thought she was a boy. In that moment I thought about what it will be like to have a daughter. I started imagining little dresses, flowered headbands, prom and her wedding day. The thought was so exciting and I could not wait!
At around 23 weeks, on a Saturday morning, I woke up to my baby girl wiggling like crazy. It was the first time I knew for sure that I was feeling her move. No question that it was just gas bubbles this time. It was incredible. That same day we went to register for our baby shower. Anyone who has registered for baby stuff can understand when I say, ” it was a long day (for me and baby).”
Savannah’s entrance into this world started on February 27th, 2012. We were very excited that morning because we knew later that evening, we’d get to see Savannah in 3D. I was in my 30th week of pregnancy. We scheduled our 30 week check up at another office because they were the ones who had the 3D ultrasound machine. The day went by as normal, then 6pm came and it was time to meet at the doctor. Since Scott and I were both coming from work, we decided to meet at the doctor’s office. My mom and step dad also came along. They really wanted to be there for an ultrasound so we invited them to this one since it will probably be the last one we get before she’s born and because it will be the coolest with it being the 3D type.
We sat in the waiting room for what seemed like an eternity. We discussed all sorts of baby things leading up to delivery in 10 short weeks. Shortly after debating whether or not we’d allow a camera in the room during delivery, the nurse called us into our room. The time is finally here to see exactly what “Baby D” looks like.
Once set up in the room, the ultrasound technician began her regular tests. Baby….check. Baby Heart Beat….check. 3D Baby….not yet, trying to get her in position. 3D Baby….still can’t quite seem to get a good shot. Once she tried a couple times and couldn’t get a good picture, she had me drink a sugar drink (I had the Orange one) in hopes the sugar will get the baby to be more active and then we’d get a good picture. After finishing the sugar and waiting a few minutes, she tried again. Unfortunately she still wasn’t cooperating, so she suggested that we have our check up with our doctor, then come back in after we meet and she’ll try again. Up to this point, we had no idea there could possibly be anything wrong. Then our doctor came in.
It felt like slow motion, like a movie. He didn’t seem his happy self, he didn’t have his usual pep in his step. Then he told us some devastating news that will forever change our lives. He first told us that he is concerned about the health and wellbeing of our baby. He said based on the measurements the Ultrasound tech just took, the baby’s placenta and her mid section is measuring considerably smaller than a typical 30 week baby. Along with that, he is seeing some decreases and elevations in her heart rate which is leading him to believe she is in distress. All I can think is, “there must be a mistake because we have had zero issues during this pregnancy”. The next few minutes are a blur, but I will never forget what he said needed to be done. The Doctor explained that he wanted us to get straight to the hospital, to labor and delivery, for further testing and possibly an emergency C-Section. Did he just say Labor and Delivery?
Scott and I left the doctor’s office in a daze and went straight to the hospital. We got out of our car, walked into the maternity wing and told the receptionist we needed to go to labor and delivery. The person at the front desk asked, “are you having a baby?”, to which we responded “we don’t know”.
Once in the room they connected the heart rate monitors to my belly. If they saw dramatic drops in the heart rate, it would tell them that the baby is in distress and she would have a better chance of survival outside of my body where they can take control and help her along. After about 40 minutes of monitoring, the head doctor came in to talk to us. She told us that she thought it was important to have the c-section and get the baby out.
I was prepped and wheeled into the O.R. Once I left the room, the doctors had a lot of papers that Scott had to sign….permissions, releases, and all kinds of forms that no one should ever have to fill out. They then had him change into scrubs and put him in the room next to me. For what seemed like forever, Scott kept asking the doctors how I was doing and if he can go see me. They kept telling him no. Finally after asking so many times, they finally let him in to sit next to me and be there with me.
The operation went quick. I didn’t feel too much except for pressure and tugging. Then, at 11:03pm, we heard two small cries. She was here! Scott immediately kissed me and asked me what her name was. I responded, Savannah Rae. They cleaned her quickly, put her in a bed, and wheeled her past us so we can quickly say hi. Her fight has just begun. Now it is up to the doctors and God to look over her and make sure she thrives outside of me.
Once I got stitched up, they brought me up to the mother/baby wing. Only there was no baby. Savannah was down in the NICU fighting for her life. It took the doctors about 3 hours to get her stable. She was on 100% oxygen, but she was alive. The head NICU doctor that was on for Savannah delivery came up to our room to give us an update. He told us that she was very small (1lb, 9oz, 13″) and it took them a long time to get her stabilized. Right now she was stable, but she is not doing good. He suggested that we go down and see her before it is too late, because he didn’t have high hopes for her future. We immediately went down to the NICU where we were greeted by one of the nurses. She told us that she has made vast improvements in the last 20 minutes and she is getting her color back. What a relief, maybe there is hope she’ll be ok after all!
We visited Savannah for a long time, staying by her side. We talked to her, let her know we love her, and even got to reach into the incubator to touch her fragile skin. Savannah had a few abnormalities: She had syndactyly which is where some of her fingers and toes are fused together. She had clubbed feet. She had one side of her nose was a little smaller than the other. Her head was large for her body. She had a skinny aorta and a small hole in her heart. All we saw, was the most beautiful little girl anyone can ask for. We knew that each day we got to see her was a blessing in disguise.
Each day, Savannah had her up’s and down’s. We went through a rollercoaster of emotions. From thinking we are about to say good bye to our little girl, to thinking everything will be ok. Then, in the morning of our 4th day, we got a phone call from the doctor giving us an update. He told us that he is not seeing improvements in vital functions of her body. Her lungs are not improving, her EKG still shows heart problems, and she is back on 100% oxygen. We knew that we cannot be selfish and put her through this pain.
Savannah’s last hours were the hardest hours of my life, however, at the same time, the most magical. The rest of the day we coordinated with the nurses to be able to do a lot of special things with Savannah. First they let us give her a bath and comb her hair. She had a lot of hair for how old she was! We had the Chaplin do another prayer with us to bless our little girl The last, and most amazing thing we finally got to do is hold our little girl. We were finally able to hold her chest to chest. I will never forget the feeling when they placed my baby on my bare chest, skin to skin, and just sat there listening to each other’s heartbeats. The world stopped. I sat there rubbing my chin on her soft hair and felt a calm and peace come over me. Nothing could have taken my attention off of her. I was finally having that bonding moment every mother dreams about. I felt overwhelmed with love and had no idea how I was ever going to let her go. I will hold this moment in my heart forever. We spent a few hours with her, just the three of us. We talked to her, told her everything will be fine, and that we don’t want her to suffer any more. One of my favorite quotes is , “Some people dream of angels, we held one.” We were blessed to hold the most beautiful angel of all.
When we thought the time was right, we put Savannah back into her incubator. Scott and I stood with her as the doctors removed her life support. She was gone. Our family was there with us the whole time. We have had such a great support group alongside us this whole time. We know that our little girl is in a better place, away from the tubes and needles, and will always look over us. She is truly our little angel!
It was about a week later that we received the results from the chromosome tests. We were very nervous as the doctors told us they did not expect these tests to tell them anything. This scared me because I HAD to know why my daughter was so sick. Luckily, the tests revealed her diagnosis. She had a rare chromosomal disorder known as Triploidy. Triploidy is when a baby has a complete third set of chromosomes, 69 total. This is a disorder that doctors call, “incompatible with life.” 99% of babies with this disorder miscarry in the first trimester, usually before the women even knows she is pregnant. Only 1 out of 10,000 live births has Triploidy.
Savannah Rae is truly a miracle baby. She fought all odds against her. She made it past the first trimester, second trimester and into the third. She was born alive and lived for 4 days. She is my hero! I believe with all my heart that she was brought to me for a reason. I may never know why but that is ok. What I do know is that I have learned lifelong lessons from her. Lessons some people will never learn. She has made me a better person. I was recently given a picture book from my Grandma. The book is called Angel in Disguise and was written by my Grandma’s cousin. She lost her granddaughter from cancer at the age of two and a half and wrote this book in her memory. The book is about God sending an angel to Earth (the baby with cancer) to touch the lives of her parents and family. When her work was done God asked for her to come home. I feel like this is exactly Savannah’s story. I know that God sent my angel to me to touch and change the lives of everyone who met her or knows her story. Her work on Earth only took 4 days. She has impacted more people’s lives then someone who lived a lifetime.
I miss my baby girl so much every day. I think about her always. The grief was crippling at first but as time goes on it does lessen. I am finally to the place where when I think of her I smile and feel so blessed that she was given to me. God chose me to be her Mommy! All I can do now is to continue to spread her story and keep her memory alive. Please contact me if you have experienced the same thing. I love connecting with others and would love to help in anyway.
You can contact Courtney at firstname.lastname@example.org