Mom to Grace

December 16th, 1998 – December 17th, 1998

Tasmania, Australia

After many months of trying to fall pregnant after a miscarriage we were thrilled to learn we were expecting a new baby. This baby was due February 22nd, one day after Granddad’s sixtieth birthday. The whole family was excited to be getting a new arrival.

At about seven weeks I became very sick and was admitted to the hospital four times for dehydration caused by severe morning sickness. At about 20 weeks the sickness left and I started to really enjoy being pregnant. The next 10 weeks went by uneventfully.

At 30 weeks I felt the baby had hardly moved that day and I was worried. My family kept telling me that I was overreacting and that it meant she was a girl because boys move more than girls. I think my mothering instinct was telling me something was wrong because I insisted in going to hospital. When we got there Grace’s heartbeat showed her to be in severe stress, so arrangements were made to transfer me to a larger hospital, three hours from our home. We were airlifted and on arrival they did the scan and we knew if she was to have a chance, she needed to be born now. They told us at the scan that something was very wrong with the baby and had been for awhile; they doubted that the baby would live through delivery. When Grace was born she gave a cry and that was the sweetest sound I’d ever heard.

Grace surprised everyone and was showing excellent stats, so she didn’t require ventilation or anything. She was very small, weighing in at 1 pound 13 and a half ounces. Neonatologists continued to reassure us that she was doing really well. Her stats stayed great for the first 30 hours, and my family, son, husband and myself all spent time with her.Then on my first visit the next morning we were told that she’d been naughty and her stats were dropping. The head of neonatology came to see her and still encouraged us with comments that she was a girl and premature girls are stronger than premature boys. He told us she’d make it.

I went back to my room to wait on a test result for her; not long after, the doctor burst in the door. You just know what they are going to say, don’t you? She had started to bleed from her lungs. We raced to the NICU and I was praying that she still be with us when we arrived; she was. The next part of her story is hard to tell as it is an unimagined horror to watch your child struggle and die. The mother in you wants to hit or punch every one away from them, but the other bit knows that you have to let them do all they can.Unfortunately most babies don’t survive pulmonary hemorrhage, so 32 and a half hours after she was born, she went to sleep in my arms. It is so unfair, all those dreams and hopes.

Birth and death should NEVER go hand in hand. Life since then is not the same. In some ways it has changed for the better; we have learned to appreciate every moment in life and the people we love. In other ways I forever miss the extra little person who should be with me. I know many times during my grief journey I thought I would never make it without my little girl, but I am still standing and am very proud of that fact alone.

On the airplane I had decided that if she made it I would name her Grace, because I thought it would be by God’s grace if she made it. I really felt that he hadn’t kept his part of the deal and that that had made her name a bitter irony. I can say it was by God’s grace that I got to hold her and have her in my life even if it was not as long as I’d like. I am so fortunate to have heard her cry and to see her kick her legs and stick her tongue out at us. I miss her every minute of every day and I can’t wait for that day when we meet in God’s home. Until then I will picture her sliding on moonbeams and playing with the stars. My forever baby.

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  1. Theresa, I am so very sorry for the loss of your baby girl Grace. I also lost my daughter and the pain is completely indescribable and all consuming. You should be very proud of the fact that you have had the strength to move through this journey of loss and grief. Grace is watching over you everyday and is so proud of her mommy too. I wish you comfort and peace.

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