Mom to Brenna
March 5th, 2008
Bay City, MI

I found out I was pregnant the day after my 31st birthday. I was totally stunned because my doctor had told me years ago that I didn’t ovulate and probably couldn’t conceive. After the initial shock, I quickly became excited. I knew right from the beginning that I was carrying a girl; which excited me even more because I had always wanted a little girl. My husband and I had a 10 year old son, and a daughter from his first marriage. They both were very excited to be having a new sibling.

I was worried right from the beginning because I had been having a bit of bleeding. I went to the ER the next day (it was a Saturday). After several ER trips and doctors visits, and many diagnosis of a “threatened miscarriage” I learned I had a low laying placenta and it would heal on itself. It did. The bleeding stopped and soon I saw a healthy, wiggly baby on the ultrasound. Seeing that melted my heart. I instantly fell in love.

The rest of my pregnancy was pretty uneventful. I hadn’t been pregnant for almost 11 years, and I was definitely tired and felt run down. I just chalked it up to being older than I was the first time. I got excited when I started feeling the baby move, and when I got to hear the heartbeat on the doppler.

It was a Wednesday that I got what I thought was the flu. My stomach hurt so bad I could hardly walk. I was throwing up, but I figured it was a 24 hour thing and I just had to wait it out. I didn’t have a fever so I didn’t’ worry to much. The next day I felt better and by Friday I felt fine. Over the weekend I felt run down but I thought that’s because I was pregnant and recovering from the flu. I didn’t have any bleeding and people I was with over the weekend had the flu, so I just chalked it up to that.

On Tuesday I woke up and didn’t feel that great. I took my son to school and I remember my stomach hurt as I walked into the house. I took a bath and then took a nap. When I woke up I threw up and figured the flu was coming back. I called my husband and told him that I needed to go to the ER when he got home. I felt faint and just plain crappy. I was sick of being sick! When he got home we went to the closest ER to us, even though my OB didn’t have privileges there. By the time I got there my husband had to get a wheelchair for me because I was so light headed I couldn’t walk. I remember seeing my reflection in the car mirror and realizing my lips had no color. I was literally white as a sheet.

When I got in the hospital they took one look at me and took me back. My blood pressure was 69/40 and my heart rate was something like 70. I didn’t realize how sick I was. They immediately started an IV in each arm because I was dehydrated. The ER doctor called me OB and they agreed I needed to go to Hurley hospital which had a specialized OB floor. That was my first, and hopefully last, ambulance ride.

As soon as I got to Hurley a ton of doctors came in. I still didn’t realize it was anything serious until a surgeon came in and told me that he thought I needed surgery. Being knocked out is one of my biggest fears in life and I tried to talk them out of it but they were convinced that something was wrong with one of my internal organs. Since I was pregnant they couldn’t do an MRI. Instead they did an ultrasound. I saw (and felt) the baby moving around. The tech even gave me a picture. They also saw a lot of fluid in my belly, which they assumed was blood because of my low hemoglobin.

I was really worried. I remember asking my husband, “Why is this happening to us?”. I honestly wasn’t worried about the baby. I just had this feeling she was going to be fine. My OB and the surgeons assured me that they didn’t think it had anything to do with the baby, and that “the pregnancy” was going to be OK. They were thinking I had a ruptured spleen or something like that. I was 100% confident that my baby was going to be OK. I went to sleep praying for us.
The first thing I saw when I woke up was my husband looking at me. He was crying. I said, “What’s wrong?” and he said, “We lost the baby”. My only reaction was to say, “It’s OK” and close my eyes.

That day is kind of a blur for me. I remember some parts really well, and others are fuzzy. I remember my husband saying he wanted to name the baby Brenna, which is our daughter Jenna and son Brendan’s names put together. I didn’t even think about it, I knew that’s what I wanted to name her. I do remember a doctor coming in to tell me that I lost a tremendous amount of blood, and that I almost died. (Later I found out I recieved at least 6 units of blood.) I also remember another doctor telling me that if I ever got pregnant again it would “be fatal”. My heart sank. That was the second worst thing I could have heard.

A nurse came in with a picture of Brenna, but I didn’t want to see it. She also told me that she could bring the baby in if I wanted to see her but I didn’t. I hadn’t shed a tear, and I just didn’t have it in me. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. My mom wanted to see the baby, and my sister went with her. My stepdaughter went downstairs and then my husband and I were alone. I asked him to hand me the envelope that had her photo. I took it out and started to cry. I could only shed a few tears because I had 30 plus staples in my belly and the pain was tremendous. The first thing I thought of was how much she looked like my son.

Once everyone left the hospital my husband and I decided we wanted to see the baby. I remember reading something 10 years before when I was pregnant with my first- “See your baby, hold your baby, name your baby. What you imagine is far worse than reality.” I was barely over 20 weeks, and I was imagining an undeveloped fetus. The nurse brought in a baby. She was small, but she had every part a baby is supposed to have. It blew me away. We took some pictures, and I wish we had more. It just doesn’t seem like enough. Even though she was small, she looked so much like my son. I couldn’t believe it.

The next day I had to tell my son what happened, and that was the hardest part for me. He’s almost 11, but has never really had to deal with death before. I made sure we were alone in the hospital room, and then said I had to tell him something. He smiled at me and said, “You know if it’s a boy or a girl don’t you?” My heart broke because I knew his life was never going to be the same after I told him. He cried, which broke my heart. I cried, which broke his. Telling him was even worse than losing her.

I hadn’t really cried that much. I’m not much of a crier to begin with, and I really couldn’t “let it out” in front of strangers. My husband is much more emotional than I am. I remember at one point, while still doped up on meds, I opened my eyes and told my husband to stop crying. It had been hours and I was tired and disoriented, but I still feel guilty for that. The nurses told me they felt I was “doing great” emotionally, but they were worried about my husband. Just because someone is not a blubbering mess doesn’t mean they are “doing great”. Inside I was dying. I just internalized it.

I was in the hospital for five days. When I got home is when I began to deal with the loss. I think I cried everyday for six months.

That was two years ago. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. After much internet research, I discovered that it is possible to have a successful pregnancy after a uterine rupture. I considered trying for another baby, but there were just too many things against us. My husband does not want to risk losing me to have a baby. I have to respect that.

Nothing can prepare you for going to sleep pregnant and waking up with a dead baby. I never, ever expected this to happen in a million years. It has taken a lot of soul searching, praying, crying, and blogging to get where I am. But today, I can honestly say I am at peace with my life. I wish she was here, but I do not dwell on her death. Instead I cherish the people I have in my life.

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  1. My UR sister, my fellow leftie, my friend…


  2. Holli, just ((hugs)). Lots of them. This is so hard…

  3. I know this is late but I was looking for my story and I came across yours. Your story is SO similar to mine. Athough I didn’t have a uterine rupture, I had placenta accreta. Long story short, I hemmoraged and I also went into surgery foolishly thinking that I would wake up and she would be ok. Instead I woke up to a abdominal hysterectomy and my baby girl being an angel. It happened July 4, 2010 and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her.

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