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Mom to Faith Ann

October 25, 2018

Alexandria, Virginia

In my lifetime, I have carried two daughters in my belly. I watched and felt them both grow and kick. I heard their beautiful hearts beat – steady and strong. The first came into the world pink and crying. 6 pounds, 5 ounces of joy.  My second daughter came into the world silent in a cold operating room. A 2 pound, 4 ounce precious little person we would never get to know. They are both our children. Both our beautiful, sweet daughters. But only one is with us.

Since losing Faith, I find that I continually describe how I feel as lost. I was in the Army at one point and land navigation was not my strong suit. During one leadership course, the instructor took away my compass and told me to just use my map and terrain associate to find my way. Now I’m on land that hasn’t been mapped before with no terrain to associate. But the weird thing is that others are here on this unmapped land. Even in the short time since we lost Faith, I have found myself in the singularly painful and loving space where I must share that Faith is gone and in the next breath the person I am talking to shares their own loss. It’s painful and loving and intimate and horrifying all at the same time.

When Faith was 10 weeks old, we learned she had Down Syndrome. Neither myself nor my husband had much experience with children with special needs so we aimed to learn what we could while Faith was still growing and yet to join us in the world. We joined a new parents group, we read articles, bought books. When we learned months later that she had a problem with her stomach, we learned again, and went to more appointments, changed doctors, changed hospitals, and toured a NICU. At 28 weeks we learned she had a heart issue but not one that would cause a need for surgery. The doctors treated Faith and I as though everything were progressing smoothly, certainly with a need to monitor, but no heightened sense of alarm. Two days later, Faith did not have a heartbeat. To say we were shocked and numb would be an understatement. I’ve never felt what it left like to live a nightmare until that day at the hospital. The doctor kept coming in hour after hour to saying it would be longer because of other babies being born in the operating room. Even then, I understood rationally that it must be that way, but that didn’t make the pain lessen. Comfort came in the form of three amazing young nurses who treated Faith with such love, taking photos, wrapping her sweetly in blankets, giving us time with her. My older brother was also with my husband and I. As he had been during the birth of our first daughter. In dark hours of the night, waiting with us, praying with us, mourning with us. Faith’s family around her. We miss her every single day. I don’t know if it gets easier. Maybe it shouldn’t.

You can email Lee here.

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Mom to Landon Ross

June 19, 2017

Olympia, Washington

I am 29 years old and my fiance and I got pregnant in January 2017 and we were over the moon excited and beyond happy to be finally having a baby and growing our family. At the time I got pregnant, we lived in Montana so for a bit of my pregnancy we lived there and then in April we moved back to WA state where my mom lived.

We found out after moving back [that] our baby was a boy so we named him Landon Ross. During my pregnancy he was measuring small and I had IUGR. He ended up having fluid around his heart and so I was referred to see Maternal Fetal Medicine and from there I had to get an amniocenteses test done. They thought he was going to have Down Syndrome but the test came back [that] he didn’t have it.

Things were going well but on June 16th I wasn’t feeling very well so I took a nap and woke up and I still wasn’t feeling well. We used my home doppler test to find the heart beat and we couldn’t, so then we went to the hospital and they couldn’t find the heartbeat [either].

We returned home that night and processed everything. I was to return Monday Morning at 7 a.m  to be induced, but Sunday night my body was already starting to have contractions, so we went to the hospital. I was having small contractions so they gave me some medicine and I fell asleep. In the morning, they induced me and I had him at like 5:56 and he weighed 1 pound and he was so adorable.

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Mom to Mercy

Phoenix, AZ

October 22, 2014- April 19, 2015

I was in my 29th week of pregnancy when I found out that Mercy had a hole in her heart.

At first, I was told that it was just a small hole that the hole will close up before she was born. I was sent to a specialist who performed an ultrasound. I will never forget his words as he said, “I have some bad news for you, while it is true that your baby has a hole in her heart, unfortunately this is the kind that doesn’t close up on its own.” I could not stop crying after receiving this news. As the doctor tried to calm me down, he explained to me further that “we see two holes in Mercy’s heart and she is measuring a size smaller than what she should be.” He continued to explain to me “I believe that Mercy may have Down syndrome.” I asked him “what do you mean by, may have Down syndrome? What is Down syndrome? How can we find out for sure?”. He continued on to explain that there was no sure way of knowing for certain if she really has Down syndrome but they can draw my blood and that would tell us if she carries an extra copy of chromosome which is also called Trisomy 21.

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Mom to Justin & Baby #2

Born and died February 23, 2012 & Early 2013

Laidley, Australia

It was on the morning of the 20th December, 2011 that I noticed that I was pregnant with my first child and my initial reaction was one of joy and adulation, mixed with a certain amount of anxiety and apprehension regarding the pregnancy at the thought of breaking the news to family and friends around me and the ‘unknown’ in terms of how they’d receive the news. I also didn’t want to go getting too excited too early on in the pregnancy given that it was still only early days. [Read more…]


Mom to James Dean

Stillborn April 2, 2010

Golden, Colorado

Wow, where to start. We found out we were pregnant with our son in late August of 2009, just after our daughter turned 4. Once we found out we were having a boy we were very excited. We ended up getting some upsetting news in December, just before Christmas. I was at work and got a call from the Doctor saying that the blood tests came back showing that our son had Downs Syndrome. They scheduled me to do an amniocentesis not long after that. We went to have the test done and they were still confident he had Downs Syndrome. In my heart, even still to this day, I do not believe he did have it. Its not just me wishing and hoping that he didnt, it is a gut feeling (call it mothers instinct.) Right away my kids’ father thought we should get an abortion because of him being diagnosed with Downs Syndrome. But the way that I am, I was not going to go for that. I’m the type that no matter what, I will give the baby a chance at life and not take it from them no matter what happens. [Read more…]


Mom to Stella Grace

Born at 23 weeks + 4 Days

December 23rd, 2010

Asheville, North Carolina

My husband, Trey, and I were married August 8, 1998 after almost 8 years of dating.  I think we both knew deep down we wanted to get married long before the question was ever popped, but we weren’t certain we wanted to commit to such a “grown up” act.  Over the years we’ve experienced many ups and downs, like watching our dogs die from cancer, him suddenly developing Epilepsy and me battling my own health issues with undiagnosed Celiac Disease, but for the most part we counted ourselves lucky living a charmed life.  [Read more…]


Mom to Lily Rose Lambert

Stillborn yet still born, April 22, 2011

Durango, Colorado

Lily Rose Lambert, stillborn yet still born, April 22, 2011.  This date marks perhaps the most tender moment of my life, a stillbirth I was certain wouldn’t happen, not if Lily’s fighting spirit were anything like mine.  And boy did she give a good fight!  My name is Angela and I’m 41 years old, mother to Lily Rose.  [Read more…]

Melissa Bernatz

Mom to Eden Elizabeth

May 29th, 2011

Hastings, MN

May 27th, 2011 was supposed to be a day of joy and excitement as we were finding out the sex of our baby at our 20 week appointment. It quickly turned into one of the worst days of my life and one I will never forget. [Read more…]


Losses on December 31, 2006

January 20, 2009

October 20, 2009

December 23, 2009

July 12, 2010

April 2011

Cohoes, NY

My name is Samantha and I am a 33 year old woman who has had one live birth and has suffered 6 miscarriages.  My husband and I were married in August of 2006 and decided we wanted to try and have children right away.  We found out in November that were pregnant and were so excited.  We decided to tell our families right away.  They were all so excited, as were we.  We had no idea what to expect, but things were going well.  I started having some spotting just after Christmas, and was very scared by what was going on.  I went to the ER with my husband and they said that it did not look good.  By now I was having heavy bleeding and spotting.  I ended up miscarrying our first child at 7 weeks.  It was December 31, 2006.  Sadly as I was in one hospital miscarrying, my niece was being born in another.   [Read more…]



Mother to Leia Grace

Delivered still on January 11, 2011

North Carolina

Our story begins just over three years ago. My husband and I had met two years prior and were married in April 2008. We were both very ready to start a family and build our lives together. We tried for almost one year on our own and then we both went to get checked out and make sure there was nothing wrong with us. Our doctor diagnosed us with “unexplained infertility.” They were not sure why we were not having success with conceiving on our own as there was nothing medically wrong with either one of us. [Read more…]

Amy DeLozier

Mom to Bear

March 9, 2011

Mansfield, PA

Monday, March 7th, 2011, my husband and I found out that the baby we were expecting on 8/1/11 no longer had a heartbeat. I find tears leaking out of my eyes as I write that. We found out we were pregnant in mid-November. Okay, well November 17th to be exact. I have all of these dates seared in my brain. I went to my primary care doctor on November 19th to confirm. My husband and I got married in October and started to try to have a family right away. We were so blown away to find out that we got pregnant during our first month of trying. It felt like an immense triumph. I waited until I was 35 to start having my family. That is quite a challenge in itself. Wondering if I was going to be able to conceive, worrying about all that could go wrong in pregnancies in women over age 35, all of that went out of my mind when that positive sign appeared. I had gotten pregnant and everything was going to be perfect. Little did I know….
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Mother of Jack Damian Wilbee

October 4th, 2010 – March 3rd, 2011

Abbotsford, British Columbia


My child died suffering, after two months of pain in the ICU.  His name was Jack Damian Wilbee.  He died March 3 2011 just 20 min before he turned five months. [Read more…]

Mom to Noah
September 29th, 2008

The last week of January 2008 we found out that I was pregnant. Although it wasn’t planned, we were very excited. I went to the doctor for the first time on Feb. 18th. I saw the heartbeat in the little black circle that would become the baby that we were already in love with. Seeing the heartbeat just made the love even stronger. I was about 4 to 5 weeks along and due to deliver in October. The doctors and I disagreed on the actual due date. They thought I was about 2 weeks farther along than I thought I was. 

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Mom to Baby Jackson
October 14th, 2009
Missouri City, TX
Matt and I got married on July 15, 2006.  We started trying to have our first child just shy of our 3rd anniversary.  I wanted to try sooner since I was already 35, but we decided as a couple to wait and enjoy being married for a little while.  On June 28, 2009, I had a pregnancy symptom and decided to take a pregnancy test.  It was positive!!!  Matt didn’t believe it, but a line is a line, so I went to the drug store and bought a digital…”Pregnant”!!!  My parents were visiting that weekend and told them over lunch right before they left.  We told our immediate family and closest friends right away.  We were all so excited and was going to have the first grandchild on both sides of our family.  I love kids and wanted to be pregnant for as long as I can remember.  I even pursued a career to only work with children.  I called the doctor the very next day to make my first appointment. 

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Mom to Duncan Lewis Garibaldi
November 14th, 2008
Wilmington, NC
My sweet Duncan was born still on November 14 2008 at 35 weeks. He was our third baby and first son. He had very severe cardiac and pulmonary defects that were incompatible with life. The autopsy and pathology report confirmed he had Down Syndrome, which we were not aware of during my pregnancy. 

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Mother to Gracie
Stillborn on August 1st, 2009
Montgomery, PA

My husband and I got married in July of 2008. We had been together for 14 years already, so we knew that we wanted to more or less start our family right away. We got pregnant at the end of November 2008, which thrilled us both. I went into pregnancy with a pre-existing diagnosis of chronic hypertension. It had been well controlled by medication for several years, and I had gone through the process of switching over to something pregnancy safe before the wedding. It’s funny the reactions that that pre-existing condition elicits from health care providers, though. From day one of my pregnancy, everyone expected that I would be pre-eclamptic by the end of the pregnancy…that expectation was always there.
With the exception of the first trimester screen, the first 7 months of the pregnancy were uneventful. The first trimester screen came back with an elevated risk (1:47) for Down Syndrome. Right away, the OB wanted to do an amniocentesis. After giving it some thought, we declined. We knew that a diagnosis of Down Syndrome was not going to be cause for us to terminate the pregnancy, and we figured that if there were major problems present, they would be identified without an amnio, at which point we could decide on appropriate medical testing, monitoring and/or intervention. There were never any soft or hard markers for Down Syndrome identified during the remainder of our pregnancy. 

During my 32 week appointment my blood pressure was a little bit elevated. The mid-wife sent me over to L&D for a few hours of monitoring and an ultrasound. Everything looked good with the ultrasound – Gracie was measuring in the 30th percentile for her gestational age. I left with instructions to increase my BP medication and follow-up with one of the docs in the office first thing Monday morning. The follow-up was uneventful – continue at the increased med dosage and start non-stress-tests and biophysical profiles.
At 32.5 weeks I was seen in my primary care office (but not by my regular doctor) for some fluid buildup in my ear that happened to start the same day I went to L&D. The doc said I had a middle ear infection and gave me Amoxil. Two days later I started with a GI bug and had an on/off fever and pretty bad diarrhea for 3 days. At 33 weeks, after speaking to my PCP, I went to the E.R. on Saturday morning for some I.V. fluids (to combat the diarrhea) and also get my ear re-checked, since my hearing on that side had become substantially impaired and the pressure/pain was getting worse. Long story short, it was an entertaining trip to the E.R. Everyone except my PCP wanted to make the diarrhea about the Amoxil, but I have never had that reaction to Amoxil. In the end, I got confirmation that I did not have an infection, the antibiotic was D/C, and I got some I.V. fluid. After the GI bug passed, I had a good couple of days. 
At 33.5 weeks I woke up in the middle of the night with terrible upper belly and back pain. It was some of the worst pain I had ever experienced. Another long story short, after two nights of pain and a subsequent work day of pain, I called the OB office. It turns out that I was having an acute gall bladder attack. I felt pretty dumb for not recognizing that…but because everyone had wanted to make every ailment about pre-eclampsia, I had done the same thing in my head and convinced myself that it was my liver. Once again we headed to L&D. Spent a few hours there, had an ultrasound of the gall bladder (sludge and gravel found), discussed things with the midwife and opted for an IM injection of Morphine so I could go home. Felt FABULOUS over the next two days – better than I had felt in a few weeks.
34 weeks was our first NST and BPP ultrasound. The NST turned out to be a rather drawn-out adventure. Because Miss Gracie was such a sound daytime sleeper, she didn’t do much during the NST, and as a result, she did not demonstrate the elevations in heart rate that they wanted to see. Everything looked GREAT in the ultrasound – scoring an 8/8 for that part of the BPP. Gracie’s size, in terms of growth percentile, was not measured during this BPP. I noticed when they weighed me at the beginning of the appointment that I had lost a few pounds since my 32 week appointment. The next ultrasound would be in two weeks unless there were problems. We had another NST at 34.5 weeks. It took Gracie about 90 minutes to decide to cooperate and move around enough show the desired heart rate elevations. Aside from her stubbornness, all was well.
35 weeks brought another NST; again, non-reactive results, so the midwife really wanted another ultrasound. All looked well with the ultrasound – scored 8/8 again on the ultrasound portion of the BPP. Talked to the midwife (not the one we normally saw) about my continued weight loss – I had lost 7 pounds since our 32 week appointment. Gracie’s growth estimates had also gone from the 30th percentile to the 19th percentile in that same period of time. The midwife said that some of the weight loss could be a result of getting rid of some of the excess fluid that I had been carrying in my arms and legs for a few weeks. She went over my fundal height measurements, which were all right on, and reminded us that some people grow 6 pound babies and some grow 10 pound babies. She reminded us that the measurements on the US were just estimates, +/- about a pound, and that it was certainly possible that she was larger than the 19th percentile. I suggested that it was also possible that she was smaller than the 19th percentile, and she said we would see how things measured up in the ultrasound scheduled for our 36 week appointment, but there was no concern about growth restriction until we got near the 10th percentile. 
35.5 weeks brought another non-reactive NST. We saw a doc that day that we had not met previously, who said that although the NST itself wasn’t concerning, it was considered to be non-reactive and it was desirable to follow-up with an ultrasound. The hubby and I both had time constraints that afternoon because of work, and neither of us felt that doing an ultrasound was necessary since we had just had one a few days before and we were scheduled for another in 3 days – and the data collected in each ultrasound is considered to be valid and reliable for 7 days. We declined the ultrasound and headed back to work.
At 36 weeks we were scheduled for another ultrasound and NST. I woke up that morning with the immediate realization that I had slept all night (with one very brief exception) and almost felt refreshed. This really hadn’t happened in the preceding 12 weeks. I immediately panicked a tiny bit, but then thought that perhaps she was starting to get her days and nights straightened out. I got a shower and went to the office to see my only patient of the day at 9:00. I had planned to use the remainder of the morning for paperwork and then head off to our 12:15 appointment for ultrasound, NST and midwife follow-up. By 10:00 I still had felt no movement, and I was also unable to find Gracie’s heartbeat with my stethoscope. At that point I headed home with the stethoscope for my hubby to listen. He listened for about 20 minutes, and as each minute passed, the fear of every expectant parent started to become my reality. 

We went a little early for our ultrasound appointment and I told the ultrasound tech what was going on – his response was pretty upbeat, and to the effect of ‘well, let’s see what we find.’ In complete silence he put the ultrasound transducer on my belly and went right to Gracie’s rib cage, and I had the answer that I knew was coming. There was no flicker within the rib cage – no heartbeat. Still in complete silence, he took a few still pictures, asked me again when I had last felt her move. Then he excused himself and got a doctor, who came in to officially tell us that Gracie’s heart was no longer beating. The doc (whom we had met 3 days earlier) gave us the option of inducing labor that afternoon or returning the next day for induction. 

Labor was induced around 3:00 that afternoon and Gracie was born at 2:29 on the morning of August 1, 2009. She weighed 4 lb, 3 oz and was 17” long. She was buried next to my grandmother, after whom she was named, on August 5, 2009. 
We have just completed the first year without her. So much has transpired and come to light in that year, yet time has simultaneously seemed to stand still. I now believe that the brief exception that I had to sleeping through the night before our last scheduled US and NST was directly connected to Gracie’s death. I sat upright out of a sound sleep around 0130 that night with gall bladder pain. Much to my surprise, the pain lasted literally only a minute or two and then I went right back to sleep. I am now certain that it was not gall bladder pain, but the moment Gracie died. In the months following her death we learned that, because of dropped communication between departments in the hospital, the chromosomal analysis was never done on my placenta; as a result, we will never know with 100% certainty whether or not she had Down Syndrome, but the medical consensus at this point is that she very likely did have Down Syndrome. We have been told that my placenta was about half the size it should have been, which can be common with chromosomal abnormalities, and there was also a higher than normal amount of infarct in the placental tissue. The small placenta caused IUGR, which was virtually undetected (and undetectable using the most common indicators) until we questioned the backslide in her growth at 35 weeks. Her death came at 36 weeks, 1 day…at which she was in the 7th percentile for overall growth…well below the 19th percentile where she had been estimated one week earlier.

I sometimes amazes me that, even with all the extra monitoring because of my pre-existing hypertension, our pregnancy ended without bringing our first born home.

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