Mom to Hope Allison

Lost August 11, 2011

Rhode Island

My boyfriend, Brandon, and I met in kindergarten. We’ve lived in the same neighborhood for as long as I can remember.  The summer before our senior year of high school we started dating seriously.  He quickly became my best friend. We talked about our bright future together, getting married someday and having children in the future.  Being stupid teenagers, we thought the pull-out method was an effective birth control.  We were wrong. In April of our senior year of high school, I found out I was pregnant. Being only 17 and totally dependent on our parents, we were so scared.  However, both of us have awesome sets of parents and after the initial shock, they agreed to help us until we could both finish school. We made an appointment with my OB/GYN immediately.  I had an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy and determine how far along I was.  I was 6 weeks on the day of the ultrasound.  My due date was December 21, 2012.  I was scared to death, but I loved my baby more than anything already.  I started researching everything I could to ensure I had a healthy pregnancy.  I figured I was already one step ahead since I don’t drink or smoke and I never have.  We started to get excited, despite my all-day morning sickness.

A few weeks later, I came home from lunch with a friend and found bright red blood when I went to use the bathroom.  I froze. It was a weekend and had to wait a few days to see a doctor.  I was glued to my computer looking for anything the bleeding could be except for a miscarriage.  I had just started to look forward to this baby and I couldn’t believe God would take him or her away from me.  I had an ultrasound that Monday and there was a strong heartbeat. I was so relieved.  The bleeding continued through the rest of my first trimester, sometimes so heavy I thought, “This has to be a miscarriage.” But that little heartbeat stayed strong. I had six ultrasounds in my late first trimester.  Around 12 weeks, the bleeding stopped and we were relieved.  We thought that we had been through the worst and the rest of the pregnancy would be a breeze. 

I was so excited to find out the sex of the baby.  I knew it was a girl from the beginning.  I could just feel a connection with this baby and I just knew.  So, at 20 weeks, my boyfriend, his mom and my mom went in for the ultrasound.  I couldn’t wait to see my baby again and hear his or her little heartbeat.  At first, the tech seemed just as excited as we were.  She asked if we wanted to know the sex and we said of course.  But a few minutes later, her demeanor changed.  She left the room abruptly and when she came back she was very quiet.  We all knew something was wrong.  But she told us it was definitely a girl and I tried to convince myself we were probably just being paranoid and everything was fine.  We waited for my midwife to come see us for what felt like forever.  When she came in with the doctor we knew this wasn’t right.  The doctor sat down and said, “Your baby has a rare condition called anencephaly.”  I was waiting for her to say what we could do to fix it.  I would do anything. Then she said, “This condition is not compatible with life.” A flood of emotions flew through me: anger, sadness, guilt, denial.  If that wasn’t bad enough, she said we had to make a decision.  We could a.) have a D&E, b.) be induced or c.) go full term and have a possibly stillborn baby.

The next few days were horrible for Brandon and me.  Brandon had told me I had his full support in whatever decision I made.  I went back and forth.  It was agonizing. We went to have a consultation with my doctor to get a better understanding of what each of our options entailed.  Finally, we decided that a D&E would be best for our particular situation.  Judge me all you want, but no one knows what decision you would make unless you were in my situation.

On August 11, 2011, our little Hope became an angel.  We decided to bury her with my grandfather, who had passed away in July the year before.  We had a ceremony with a priest who is very close to our family and an excellent person all around. (I’m not very religious.) You may say “it was for the better”, “you were too young” or any of the other things anyone has said to us.  You may be right, but I can’t think of anything worse than losing a child.  You feel helpless, lonely and sometimes angry.  I think, “Why me?” Why do bad parents who hurt their children get healthy babies and I don’t? Why does anyone lose an innocent child?  The only answer I can give you is God has a plan for each and every one of us. God needed my daughter more than I did.  I still get sad and mad sometimes, but I take comfort in the fact that my beautiful baby is watching over us and she knows how much we love her.  My life still continues on.  I’m in school and I have a new appreciation for every single day I’m on this earth and all of my beautiful friends and family.  I always have Hope for a bright and beautiful future.

You can contact Erica at

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  1. So sorry you all had to go through such a hard time so early in life.I am 34 and no matter what age it still hurts all the same.All you can do is take things one day at a time.Not every day will be easy if you ever need someone to talk to I”m here I still don”t sleep much these days.

    Your in my prayers are with you and youe family……………..Sara Abell……………

  2. So sorry for your loss.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it must have been for you to have to face that decision.

    • Erica! I am so sorry for your loss of your sweet Hope. I’m 19 now, and I know exactly what you mean about people saying things like, “well maybe its better this way”, or that now we have “another chance at life.” They don’t understand that we can feel loss just as strongly as an older woman would. Try and remember that they simply have no idea how that feels for us , and usually are trying to help. Anytime you want to talk, I’d love to hear from you! Again, I’m so sorry about your angel baby <3

  4. Im so sorry for your loss, I cant even imagine being faced with that.

    Btw Im from RI too :)

  5. Tamara Odgaard says:

    I am very sorry to hear of your loss and my condolences go out to you. I am 35 years old and have been married for over a year and have found myself faced with a somewhat similar situation to yourself earlier on this year upon losing my first child, a son whom I called Justin through a medically induced termination, as a result of severe birth defects in the form of Down’s Syndrome in conjunction with a Cystic Hygroma and an underlying VSD – which is a heart defect characterized by a hole in the Ventricular Septal wall.
    Like you I know all too well the pressures that women like us are faced with when faced with a having to make some difficult and tough decisions of whether to proceed with the pregnancy based on that child quality of life and the pressures placed on women like us faced on us by those around us with all their bias and judgmental oppinions, which despite being all well intentioned and well meaning can tend to come across as more insensitive and meddling than good.

    Reading your story, I think you sound very brave to have endured through what you’ve been through and come out the other side. I’m sure you’ll make an excellent mother down the track.

    I wish you all the best of luck for the future and will be keeping you in my prayers.


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