mom to Audrey Katniss

born September 21, 2012; died November 23, 2012

Sparks, Nevada

I was a happy-go-lucky mom and wife.  I was happy with the way my family and life were.  Then came the surprise.  I was in the ER dealing with some major cramping, and the nurse looked me dead in the eye and asked me if I could be pregnant.  I honestly looked at her and laughed til I almost peed myself.  She said it was protocol to ask and that they have to do the test anyways so I gritted my teeth and peed in the cup.  Lo and behold, the nurse came back with a positive test result.  I honestly was in a daze because I was on the [birth control] shot. I so wasn’t expecting this. They did a quick ultrasound, and everything was okay as far as the ultrasound could tell.  She wouldn’t let me see the baby but she said the heartbeat was strong and that it appeared I was 22 weeks along.  

Well then came the weird moment of having to tell hubby that we have a new little one on the way and that it was going to be rather soon.  I set up my OB appointment right away and was so excited but worried at the same time. That first appointment was probably the worst of the pregnancy, stressing that the baby was okay and hoping so.  Well, everything was perfect, bloodwork came back perfect.

Then the ultrasound machine again. This time we got to peek at our little one and we found out we were having a baby girl.  I was excited and bouncy.  I gained the right amount and ate what I should and tried to be as careful as I could all the way through it.  Then came the night of September 20th.  I was anxious to meet the newest baby to cuddle.

Audrey Katniss was born on September 21, 2012 at 9:46 am.  She was a perfect 19 inches long and weighed in at 7 lbs 1 oz.  She was gorgeous.  She had these gorgeous little feet, and long fingers, and I can’t help but think back to my grandmother saying that babies with long fingers are meant to be piano players.  She had a beautiful head of strawberry blond hair and these amazingly large crystal blue eyes.  She was absolutely perfect I swear.  That first night she didn’t want to sleep, and neither did I so I laid in that hospital bed staring at this little body of pure perfection and couldn’t help grinning from ear to ear the entire time.  I took her home the next day after all the tests and poking and prodding were over with.  After that I went through the daily rituals just like I had always done.  

Thanksgiving day started as every other year had. We ate our turkey and fixings, enjoyed the company of family and friends and just enjoyed the holiday.  We decided to camp out in the living room since we had my wonderful stepdaughter Kim and her friend Sierra with us to go black Friday shopping with.  We all went to bed and I curled up between my hubby and our gorgeous 2 month old daughter.  She was sleeping almost all the way through the night at this point.  At about 3:30 she woke up so I fed her, changed her and then laid her down between my hubby and I.  I warned Rick that she was there and then waited for her to fall asleep.  I went back to sleep.  

 I woke up for no reason whatsoever at about 8 am, looked over at Little Audrey Katniss and thought something didn’t look right, so I reached over and tried to wake her up.  She wasn’t responding, I screamed at Rick to wake up and call 911.  I started CPR right away and kept at it until hubby took over so I could unlock the front door for the police and such.  An officer came in and took over the CPR.  I just stood there dumbfounded for a moment until the paramedics rushed by.  I honestly don’t think I realized I was even awake.  It just felt like a really horrible bad dream. I stood there watching the paramedics through the door and answered the officers questions as best I could.  The next thing I knew, they were getting her ready to go.  
I thought for sure this is going to all be okay.  I swear I knew it would be OK, nothing like this could happen to an innocent child.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I love being a mom, I love my children so  much.  The officer asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital with my little Audrey and I ran inside long enough to grab my shoes and headed for the cruiser since they already had the door to the ambulance closed. I rode in that car and all I could think was that she would be OK, these people saved lives every day and who more deserved to be safe more than my little one.  
We got to the hospital maybe 30 seconds after the ambulance and followed her into the ER. The nurses and doctors were rushing around so they made me stay outside the room and I just stood there crying.  I don’t even know how long I stood there until a wonderful woman came over and gave me Kleenex and a chair.  I sat for who knows how long and just waited.  They stopped rushing and I am not sure what I did, who talked to me or anything.  
I remember someone asking me if I wanted to spend some time with her.  I walked into that cold little room and she was wrapped up in a blanket on the bed.  They told me I couldn’t pick her up and so I stood next to her and just kept rubbing her head and kissing her beautiful little face.
They finally asked me if I was ready to go give my statement.  I followed the officer outside and as we are were walking out the officer looked at me and said, “I have children myself and I can’t imagine the pain you are going through. I’m sorry.”  They put me in an interrogation room and that is when I realized I didn’t have my purse, my wallet or my phone.  I sat there and just waited and cried.  My little redhead was gone. my little bit was no longer in my arms.  
They came in and took my statement and honestly I don’t remember who I talked to or how long I was there.  They finally let me see my husband for a moment and then sat me back in the room until it was time to go to another room.  I walked into this rather nice room with couches and pillows, but then I saw the other side was covered in baby items. Diapers, toys, you name it.  I just cried until they finally ushered my husband and my Kim in. We were given a couple minutes to comfort each other and then came the social worker and more counselors.  We were given information that they said would come in handy later and then they got ready to take us home.  
They warned me that we would have to re-enact what happened so that they could figure out what happened.  Up until this point I was kind of in a stupor of sorts.  We got home and they ushered me and Rick into the house and asked us to set up the bed with us and a doll so that they could take pictures.  We had to answer so many questions that I couldn’t tell you what any single one was.  Then the social services case worker had even more questions and more information for us.  Then we were left alone because my other 3 children were with Alissa [a babysitter].  
Rick and I wandered around for a bit until we started to realize that everyone needed to know what had happened. We started sending text messages to everyone only because neither of us wanted to say it out loud.  Maybe it was just a misguided way of believing that it hadn’t happened.  Not soon after the visits and hugs and tears were abounding through my house.  
That first night I had so much trouble sleeping. At one point, I woke up and couldn’t find her, I freaked out and ran through the house before I realized why she wasn’t there.  I curled up in the bed with one of her blankets and  cried myself to sleep.  It has been a couple of days now [at the time of writing this] and let me tell you that the pain seems worse now than it did before.  I cry most times, have some laughs from family and friends but it never lasts.  My husband is my rock, without him I would have lost it.  
I miss her so damn much and my arms and heart are empty.  That hole hurts, and it will always remain empty.  We have decided to cremate our Katnip and have necklaces to put some of her ashes in so that we can carry her with us always.  We are not having a service, instead we are going to have a celebration with family and friends.  Our family is going to take Audrey on her first motorcycle ride and then make a huge noise with a ton of bikes sounding off in her honor.  
I love her and always will and miss her something fierce.  Audrey Katniss Hepner born September 21, 2012 went to be with my father, Rick’s father, my grandparents, and our very good friend Patrick.  She left us physically on November 23, 2012 but will forever be in our hearts and minds. As I sit here writing these final words I can almost feel her in my arms and see her smiling face looking up at me.  I love you, Audrey.
Sylvia can be contacted at 
Her blog is


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