Mom to Gemma Grace

Born still August 14, 2012

Portland, Oregon

We tried for a year to have another child, and had two early losses that broke my heart and made me wonder if I would be able to get pregnant.

In February 2012, we had another positive pregnancy test, and began to hope a little. As things went on, my blood levels looked good, I got sick, and we were celebrating. I was sure this baby was a boy, because I felt so different than I had with my daughter. I was taking Lovenox and aspirin because of the previous losses, vitamins, and being generally as healthy and conscientious as possible.

At 12 weeks we had a scan and baby looked healthy. We scheduled our big anatomy scan for our older daughter’s birthday, thinking about what a fun day that would be and anticipating the news of BOY. Instead, we were told something could be wrong and sent straight to the perinatologist. There we learned that our baby GIRL had fetal hydrops, and was very sick. As the weeks went by and we had several more scans, it became clear that her condition would be fatal. None of the tests showed a reason for her hydrops, although they suspected a rare form of skeletal dysplasia.

We spent the next 11 weeks loving our precious daughter as much as we were able to. We took her places, took a million pictures, rubbed the tummy, kissed it and listened to her heartbeat endlessly. I sewed a beautiful rainbow quilt with special fabrics given to me by loving friends and family. And we waited, knowing her life would end.

On August 12th we woke late after having spent the better part of the night in labor and delivery triage with bleeding. We had heard her heart loud and clear the evening before on the fetal monitor. That morning I was unable to find her heartbeat with my Doppler and we knew she was gone. We were admitted to labor and delivery and began the process of being induced, which took 3 long days.

On August 14th, Gemma Grace was born still at 29 weeks gestation. She weighed 2 pounds 3 ounces, with lovely dark hair and teeny tiny delicate hands and feet. We held her, bathed her, dressed her, and had the whole family there for her blessing. All of our precious family came and looked at her and held her, to say hello and goodbye.

Life without our baby girl has been sad. Grief has been intense, and everyday life can feel overwhelming. We miss her so much. Through the sadness of missing her, I still feel joy that she came to be my daughter for a short time. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to make memories, and I will treasure that time forever.

You can contact Stephanie at

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  1. Stephanie,
    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I have had 3 misscarriages and by little boy was born still on August 17, 2011 at 27 weeks. I know how you are feeling right now and I hope that you are managing. You can see my story on this website as well.
    Take care,

  2. Stephanie, I am so sorry for your loss. My son was stillborn on 9/12/00. I have said a prayer for you that God would give you comfort and peace, and that you would hold your daughter in heaven one day.

  3. Emily Haight says:

    My heart aches for you, Steff. St. Louis was sad and angry for you today. We had thunder, lightning and intense rain. Then, it turned into a light mist. I have hope that tomorrow will be a brighter day.

    Crying, shouting and cussing are allowed though. I love you, Steffo!


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