Mom to Isla Marie
Stillborn on September 27, 2011

Smyrna, Georgia

On February 3, 2011, I got the news my husband Todd and I had been hoping (and trying) for during the previous 6 months. A positive pregnancy test confirmed my suspicions. I was pregnant with my second child. I was relieved, excited and anxious! Mostly, I was happy for my daughter, Emma (age 4), who had been asking for a “baby” for some time. She immediately began insisting she was going to have a sister. Well, her wishes came true because in May 2011 an ultrasound confirmed that indeed Emma was going to have a little sister of her own. She came to the ultrasound with us and was fairly non-phased. “I told you so” is what she said to us as we were leaving the office! 

The pregnancy progressed in standard fashion. I was tired, nauseous and anxious for October to come. During an ultrasound in July, Isla was measuring a little behind in the weight department. The doctor recommended increased rest so as to increase blood flow through the umbilical cord to deliver nutrients more effectively. I worked on that and things looked a bit better at the next visit. They continued to monitor the situation closely. At the beginning of September, they were still finding that she was measuring a bit small for her gestational age and they wanted to increase my rest more. So I began working half days from home so that I could dedicate more time to lying down.

On September 22, I went in for another follow up ultrasound and there was a lot of concern about her rate of growth at this point. She wasn’t showing a big increase in weight gain over a week, so they brought up the possibility of inducing me that evening. My initial thought was YES! Let’s do this…I can’t wait to meet my little girl and be done with the pregnancy (I hope that doesn’t sound terrible…but the discomforts of late pregnancy were getting to me). However, the doctor warned that she was only weighing approximately 4 ½ pounds and that they do not like to deliver such a tiny baby if it isn’t necessary. I didn’t want to see my little girl in the NICU and thought it would be selfish to proceed with an induction just because I wanted to meet my newest princess and be done being pregnant. The doctor said if I could commit to more rest, they would let me go another week. I decided that was best. My in-laws were on their way that weekend to be with Emma whenever it was time for me to go in to the hospital to deliver, so I committed to another week of increased rest.  Isla’s bio-physical profile was good (heartbeat, blood flow, fluid, kicks). So they sent me home and told me to monitor her movements, which I did all weekend long.

Monday morning, September 26, I woke up and went about my usual business. Towards later morning, a worried thought crossed my mind that I didn’t feel a whole lot of movement. I sort of dismissed it and reassured myself that I had a doctor’s appointment in just a few hours. I finished work and took to the couch for a bit before heading off to the doctors. My mother-in-law asked if I needed her to go with me and I said nah, I’ll just be in and out…it was “just” the weekly check-up…pee in a cup, check blood pressure, listen to heartbeat , check dilation and schedule next week’s appointment. I cheerily left the house, asking if anyone wanted anything from Starbucks on my way back, as I had planned to stop for a latte on the way home. That was the beginning of the end of innocence.

I got to the doctor’s, peed in a cup, had a normal blood pressure and went back to be hooked up to the heart rate monitor. The nurse had a hard time finding the heartbeat. I showed her the spot it was found last time and as she fiddled around some more, I pretty much wanted to rip the thing out of her hand and show her myself, because I KNEW where it was. I wanted to be like “Give me that thing, I’ll find it.” She went and got the Nurse Practitioner and she came in and asked if my baby was giving us trouble again. One time recently, Isla was moving so much that she circled my tummy several times with the doppler before pinning that bugger down for a reading on her heartbeat! So when she came in the room, we laughed knowingly. She circled…..and circled…and circled. I looked at her expectantly, hoping to share a laugh about where Isla was hiding, but saw a shadow of concern. She kicked on their ultrasound machine and said she wanted to get a better look. A picture came up and I wasn’t seeing the normal movement I was used to and I started to get nervous. I asked what she was seeing and she said she wasn’t finding anything…I asked her what that meant and she said that they call it a “demise”. WHAT!?!?!?!?!!? So she told me she was sending me to the doctor where I had my regular ultrasounds (where I JUST was the past Thursday when Isla’s bio physical profile was great and we decided NOT to induce). They would be able to tell me more. I called Todd to tell him. I can’t even remember exactly what I said…except for crying out that they couldn’t find the heartbeat and that he needed to come to the ultrasound office. I live about 2 miles from my doctor’s office, so I called my father-in-law to tell him and he had Todd’s mom waiting in the car for me as soon as I pulled up. The ride seemed to take forever and then I got to the office and had to WAIT for what seemed like forever. They finally brought me back and I hopped up on the table, eager for them to show me on their MUCH better equipment that they had found Isla’s heartbeat and that this was just a big scare. They squirted the gel on my tummy….and started moving the wand around. The silence was deafening and the still vision I saw up on the monitor was louder than words. I hesitantly asked, “What are you seeing??” The tech shook her head that she was sorry. I bowed my head and sobbed.

Next thing I knew, Todd was walking in to the room and I was crying and telling him how sorry I was for not keeping our baby safe. He hugged me and told me it wasn’t my fault. If only I could rewind a few days back and be sitting in the doctor’s office saying “Yes, let’s go ahead and induce tonight.” Instead, I was scheduling my check-in to the hospital to be induced that evening. The next 48 hours would be some of the toughest we have ever faced.

After learning that Isla had passed away, it was yet another blow to realize that I was going to have to go through labor and delivery to give birth to a baby who would not be waking up…that we wouldn’t be taking home. I was scheduled to check in to the hospital to be induced that evening. When we arrived at the hospital at 10pm, thankfully it was pretty quiet, with no other women rushing in with contractions around me. Once I was all checked in, the receptionist took my hand and looked me in the eyes and said “God Bless You” before I headed up to my room.

We got settled and I was hooked up to all the necessary equipment and IV’s to prepare me for induction first thing in the morning. Once the nurse left us alone, Todd came to my bedside and opened up a flood of emotions. We just sat there and hugged and cried for our lost baby and broken dreams for our family. Last time we were here was so joyous, the beginning of our family when we brought Emma in to the world. This was so different. It seemed so cruel to be there….the baby bassinet sitting there, ready to hold our lifeless baby. It was so quiet and lonely and somber this time.

The next morning the nurse was there at 7am to start the induction. I requested an epidural right away. The anesthesiologist was very gentle and did a great job with a painless insertion. Once that was complete, I laid back and waited….wishing that this was all just a nightmare. A few hours later it was time to push. Three sets of pushes or so and it was over. Todd and I held hands and cried as our lifeless and silent daughter was brought into the world…living through the cruel irony that she had died before even being born.

Isla was taken off to be bathed, fingerprinted and photographed. She weighed 5 pounds, 11 ounces. Small, yes, but not nearly as small as it was thought she was going to be through recent ultrasounds. In fact she was only 1 ounce lighter than Emma. When they brought her back to us, she was a perfect little baby with a head full of dark hair. Why oh why couldn’t she just wake up?? We spent some time holding her and a chaplain came in to give us a blessing and assured us that all babies who die go straight to heaven and become angels.

We scheduled Isla for an autopsy to seek out some answers. After that, she would be cremated and buried with other little souls who shared her fate at a cemetery with a plot dedicated to their memory. Now it was time for the physical and emotional healing to begin.

Leaving the hospital empty handed was as depressing as it sounds and I cried as I walked to the elevator yearning to be toting Isla in her pink car seat on the way home to begin the rest of our lives. Instead I was facing a maternity leave with no baby…an empty crib and broken heart.

Katy blogs at http://loveyoutoinfinity.blogspot.com.

You can contact her at ksantell@comcast.net.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Katy, I am so, so sorry for your loss. I lost my daughter Lauren around the same time you lost your beautiful Isla. Nobody should have to endure this loss. Blessings to you and your family.

  2. Im so truly sorry for your loss. Our sweet Lorelei was born sleeping Nov 5th 2011 36 hours before our scheduled c sectin. The pain is so deep…i wish i could say something to help but all i can offer is to say you are not alone. May we all someday find peace.

  3. Katy,
    Thank you for sharing your touching story. I am so very sorry. I had a stillborn too but he passed away during labor. I cannot imagine the added agony of knowing. May God give you peace and comfort.

  4. Oh mama, my heart goes out to you and your family and especially sweet little Isla. Our sweet Kamryn passed away at 38 weeks and that changed us forever. We will never be the same (any of us) but it’s who we are, the Faces of Loss. I hope each day gets a bit easier for you although the pain never goes away. <3

  5. So, so sorry for the loss of your sweet baby girl…This life can be so intensely sad. I hope you and your family find peace and hope. May the God of all peace be near to your hearts…

Show Your Support


© 2011 Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope | PO Box 26131 | Minneapolis, MN 55426 | Contact Us