Mom to Mariah and Juliette

Born and died March 5, 2012

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

My husband and I have been married seven years and through patience, hard work, dreaming, and a bit of luck – we have managed to build a beautiful and fulfilling life together. A couple years ago we decided we were ready to start trying for our family.

Unfortunately the journey to make our family larger than just the two of us has led us down an unexpectedly rough road. I had an early miscarriage a little over a year ago and struggled with  adiagnosis of “unexplained fertility.”  We finally decided to try IVF and I got pregnant with twin girls – my Mariah &Juliette!! I was over the moon with happiness. I experienced a fairly normal pregnancy until my water broke when I was at school (I am a teacher) at twenty weeks. I didn’t realize at the time that my water had broken but I knew something was wrong. My husband rushed over to my school and drove me to the hospital. That is where I was told that my water had broken and that I would most likely deliver my girls within the week and there was nothing they could do at this early stage to prevent it. My husband held me as I cried at this devastating news.  Just a week and a half prior I had a detailed ultrasound where I learned my babies were girls and that everything was perfect!  I couldn’t believe this was happening to us! They gave us the option of inducing but I wasn’t showing signs of infection and both my girls had strong heartbeats so I didn’t feel that was an option for me. I was put on bed rest at the hospital and prayed for a miracle.

My Mom and one of my sisters were able to drive in from out of state that day and were with me in the hospital every day. My husband slept next to my hospital bed every night. I truly don’t know what I would have done without them!! Every day I had an ultrasound and saw Mariah’s fluid was decreasing but her heartbeat remained strong. Everything remained perfect with Juliette. After just a few days of bed rest I went to the bathroom one night and started frantically yelling to my husband to get a nurse because the cord to one of my babies was hanging outside of me. They told me Mariah’s cord had prolapsed and now I was at a much higher risk for infection. The doctor on call that night told me I should be induced immediately. I couldn’t stop crying but I refused to be induced as long as my babies had heartbeats.  Again my husband was strong for me and held me while I cried and supported me as we stepped further into our nightmare. The next few days were a struggle. I was told that as soon as I showed signs of infection that I would be immediately induced. I prayed every day for a miracle. The cord hanging out of me was so strange, but at the same time it created a unique connection between Mariah and me. Every time the cord moved I knew it meant my Mariah was moving and that she was hanging in. For two days I felt her moving for the first time inside of me along with the cord moving.

However, just a few days later I woke up one morning and knew immediately something was wrong. The cord was no longer moving or spongy looking – instead it was totally limp. When they did the ultrasound they confirmed that my brave little fighter’s heart had stopped. I was so heartbroken. The doctors then did a procedure where they clamped her cord and cut off the part that had been hanging outside of my body. I then had to pray that my body would somehow keep Mariah inside for a few weeks to give my Juliette a chance for survival. That night I felt Juliette moving inside and my husband felt her move under his hand for the first time. In the midst of our nightmare we had a moment of pure happiness!

The next morning I woke up and again knew something was wrong. I didn’t feel well and contractions had started. As long as my fever didn’t reach a certain temp the doctors wouldn’t induce me and maybe my body would deliver Mariah but keep Juliette inside. I struggled the whole day but deteriorated physically. I tried meditating, praying, everything. But my temp escalated and the doctors finally did blood work and they said I definitely had an infection. By this point I was so weak that I couldn’t even rise from the bed without assistance. The doctors told me they needed to speed things up because now I was at significant risk. They gave me a low dose of Pitocin and my doctor just sat on the bed with me while I pushed Mariah out. She was so tiny and the infection and lack of fluid had wreaked havoc on her little body but she was still breathtakingly beautiful!!She even had my long and skinny nose. She came out with her arms crossed over her tiny chest – her delicate hands touching her shoulders. My heart was broken but I couldn’t stop smiling at my beautiful little girl.

The doctors immediately stopped the Pitocin to see if my body would keep my Juliette inside. Unfortunately Juliette’s water broke not too much later and my fever remained high… so the doctors said they had no choice but to give me another low dose of Pitocin to speed things along. I then gave birth to my perfect Juliette. It broke my heart to see her perfect little body and what should have been had I been further along in my pregnancy. My sweet baby looked like she was just sleeping and had the same features as my husband! Everything about her was perfect and she had one hand by her head… I couldn’t stop touching her tiny fingers and toes. My heart ached with how perfect she was and again I smiled at my beautiful baby girl.

My husband and I got to hold both of our girls for a while that night. I never wanted to let them go. My heart cries every day for my girls. I love and wanted them so much. I don’t understand why I didn’t get to keep them here on Earth. I will love my angel babies forever and I hope they know how much their Mommy loves them. XOXOXO

Jen blogs at

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  1. I am so sorry. I lost my son to pPROM too (premature rupture of membranes) after years of infertility. it’s heartbreaking, hanging on, wondering if you will make it to viability or not. We did, but he still died at 17 days old. I am so sorry you had to go through that. xxx

  2. Dawn Houser says:

    Jen, I lost my son on the same day. He was 30 weeks and had a cord knot. I wish you peace and know that your girls are your angels. You are a mom to twin angels. God Bless.

  3. Melissa Kho says:

    My name is Melissa… I lost my little angel Olivia July 27 2011… I live in Philadelphia, I really have no one to talk to about how I feel… Been trying to find someone who lives in the city to talk to… My Olivia was born July 2, 2011 at 1lb 2oz she loved for 25days… She past due to NEC an infection in the intestines… I also walked in the March of Dimes… I am here if you need someone to talk to… I do know our stories are different but our hearts feel the same broke;( ((((HUGS)))) I work at Whole Foods on south street…

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