Mom to Ashley Antoinette

Born and died April 22, 2011

Rosedale, Maryland

It was St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2011 when I went to the hospital from getting the WORST pain in my life to find out after the hospital nurses took samples that I was pregnant.

I was so shocked and thrilled at the same time. How was I pregnant for so long and not really know? I’m pregnant?! Yay! Wow!

I was told by doctors prior that without medical assistance I would never get pregnant; however, here I am on the phone calling my husband telling him to get here as soon as possible because I was about to go in for my first sonogram to make sure the baby was alright. Still in shock :)

My husband makes it to the hospital right before they take me back for the sonogram. As soon as the technician starts rubbing my belly with the device, a recognizable baby pops onto the screen. Not dots, not some spots, but a big baby :) The technician looks at me and says how far along are you? I told her I don’t know. She said you have to be pass your first trimester and she continued to say some other things that I don’t remember because at this point all I could see was my baby on the screen. Tears are flowing because on the screen was the answer to so many prayers. Right there, my baby. Go to find out that I was not only pregnant. I was 16 weeks pregnant! I just thought my butt was getting bigger LOL.

So as soon as I get my discharge slips, my husband and I go straight to Barnes and Noble and I get the book I’ve wanted to get for so many years– What to Expect When You’re Expecting. I’ve dealt with babies all my life growing up through siblings, babysitting, god children, and friends’ children– but this was MY first pregnancy. I wanted to be as prepared as I could be and since I missed the entire first trimester without any symptoms, I wanted to make sure I knew what to do during the second and the third and the pending labor and birth. My due date was August 31st and I felt like I really did not have much time left before my baby would be here. The next stop was Walgreens for the prenatal vitamins (I was already talking a multivitamin every day but I wanted to make sure the baby got everything the baby needed).

I just remember being so happy with my news. We made sure we told all of our family and close friends before we made the ultimate Facebook status update— posting “I’m Pregnant!” with your sonogram pic as your new profile picture LOL.

The next few weeks I was making sure to eat more healthy than usual, drinking tons of water, getting rest, shopping for baby things, and most importantly– rubbing my belly every chance I could get. I would sing to my belly.  Looking back on it now, I am glad I did spend that time with my child.

My doctor sent me for a routine 18 week sonogram even though I had one 2 weeks before to try to see if we could tell the sex of the baby. Let’s just say my baby was not shy about it at all. All the sonogram technician kept saying was “All your baby wants to show is feet and cookies” :) That’s how I found out I was having a girl. My husband couldn’t attend the sonogram with me because he was at work but the way I told him was I went to Burlington Coat Factory and purchased one of those beautiful dresses they carry for little girls. He was putting together the dresser in the nursery the day before and was going to finish when he got home that day. So I laid the dress on top of the dresser before he got home. When he got home I told him the clue to what we are having is on top of the dresser in the nursery. He had tears in his eyes while holding the dress with a smile on his face.

Ashley Antoinette Simmons. That’s what we decided to name her. By week 19, I actually felt her kick and so did my husband. The next two weeks were just great. Everyone from the people in my neighborhood, to my church, to my job, and even strangers all seemed happy that Ashley was coming into the world. I loved watching my belly finally stick out at week 20 and felt relieved that I made it to the halfway point. Everything was going so smoothly.

Then around 5:30 am on Good Friday, April 22, 2011, I went to the bathroom (I know it’s TMI but there is a lot of going to the bathroom when you’re pregnant that it’s just what pregnant women do). I came back to bed to rest another 5 minutes before going to work. Then I felt the need to go again. Then (DISCLAIMER: This is about to get a little graphic so if you don’t want to read details I suggest going to the next paragraph) I felt what I thought could be the baby’s head (later found out it was the amniotic sac) between my legs. Completely freaked out. This can’t be happening! I’m only 21weeks! This is way too soon!  I get my husband up and get dressed with water just coming down my legs.  He rushes me to the hospital that is thankfully less than 6 miles away. Since this was our first pregnancy, we did not know to go straight to the maternity ward. We went to emergency. I am losing more fluid.

They finally get me into a room. The emergency doctor comes in and get a sample. The nurse tries to comfort me. The doctor just as cold as he could be. Even the nurse looks at him as if she too could not believe how much of a jerk he was being. Once they left, my husband let out a cry I never thought was humanly possible. I tell him to come over to me and comfort him. In the moment, I was holding on to hope. God would not allow this miracle to come into my life to just take her away. No way!

The nurse comes back and transport me down the maternity ward. Thinking back on it, the room was beautiful. Very spacious. In the moment though, I did not care. I just wanted them to do whatever it was they needed to do to save my baby. The midwife who is my doctor comes in to let me know that my membranes ruptured and that they would do a sonogram to see how much water I had left. Thinking back, I knew from how much water came out that it was probably not much but since I wanted so desperately for my child to live I was really hoping for a miracle.

I go down to radiology. This was the last time I saw Ashley inside me. It was close noon that day. Hours have gone by and even though I had no water left, she was in no distress. Her heartbeat was still going like nothing was going on. The head of radiology came in to explain to me that even though she was a perfectly formed baby that without water Ashley’s lungs would not develop (she was right on schedule for forming her lungs) and therefore she would not ever survive outside of the womb. The head of radiology and my doctor both gently explained that my options were to either allow my daughter to die inside of me or to deliver her and she would die anyway. My options were death or death. Death now or death later. What really hurts is I had to make a choice. Not a choice to take my baby home but how do I want her to die.

Well, so much was happening that I could not fathom having her die in me. So I went ahead and allow them to induce the labor. Everything was becoming so surreal. How did my dreams become this nightmare all in a matter of weeks?! I got an epidural; however, my epidural did not work. The first technician put it in but I could still feel my legs, toes, and everything. Then another technician came in to check it and still– full feeling. That’s when the head of anesthesiology came to administer a direct injection into my spine and check the epidural again— However, during labor I FELT IT ALL.

At 4:51 p.m., Ashley Antoinette Simmons was born alive at 13oz and 10 inches long. My husband cut her cord and she was placed into my arms. She was sucking her thumb. I kissed her and told her I loved her. I handed her over though because the doctor was having a world of a time getting out my placenta. I was in worst pain with the doctor’s efforts to get out the placenta than I was with the actual labor. I came coming in and out. Before I left the delivery room to be rushed to the operating room for a D&C for my placenta, I held Ashley one last time and told her I loved so much and that I was so sorry. The last thing I remember after that was being asked my birth date and to count down from 10 before they performed my D&C. I don’t even remember leaving the delivery room to get to the operating room.

Once I woke up from out of the operating room, it was after 9:00 pm. I just popped up and demanded the nurses get me back to my room. In my heart, I knew my daughter was gone. But I had to see her. I had to…even if her little soul was no longer there. I had to see her. So they rushed me back into my room and I saw my husband. I asked him where is she? He went to the incubator that was in the room and picked up her. He handed her to me and she was already gone.

My husband told me Ashley died at 7:16 p.m. and he assured me that he held her to the end.

Even though my baby’s soul had already left hours before, I just held her body and looked her over. Tried to take in as much of her as I could because I knew that when this day was going to be over, I was going to have to leave this hospital without my baby.

Shan-Nel blogs at

You can contact her through her blog.

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  1. I am so sorry for the loss of your darling baby girl. I lost my girl Ava at 41 weeks this febraury, its a pain no mother or father should know. Thankyou for sharing your story.

  2. I am heartbroken. I am so sorry for the loss of your precious little girl. ((hugs))

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