Mother to John Matthew Ennis, 6lbs, 6oz., 22in. Long
November 28th, 2009-November 29th, 2009
Great Mills, Maryland

My husband and I began to build our family in 1999. He’d just finished flight school in Pensacola, Florida and we were headed to North Carolina for several years of duty. It was a perfect time to start a family.

Life happened. Things didn’t go as planned. We tried on our own for about 2 years and realized that we might need to look into some help as nothing was working. We saw several specialists and I went through several procedures (and he deployments) over the course of the next 4 years and no pregnancy still. The main diagnosis was unexplained infertility, though in one of the many procedures I’d had, mild endometriosis was found and various doctors wavered back and forth on whether that had any effect on my infertility. It didn’t matter; by that time, we had already had several IUIs and were essentially told IVF was the next step.

We were stationed to Maryland in 2006 and looked into various clinics. As we were about to start a cycle, John decided he’d rather adopt because he felt that was a ‘sure thing.’ A year and a half later, as the country from which we were adopting closed, and we were still childless, we turned back to IVF and miraculously got pregnant in March of 2009!

I knew Matthew was a boy from the first ultrasound at 6 weeks! Even when others, including doctors, said he was a girl, I told them they were wrong. And they were. We were finally going to be parents and after over 10 years of trying and waiting faithfully, we had been blessed with our miracle son.

It was a relatively easy pregnancy. At Matthew’s anatomy scan at 20 weeks, the doctor only saw one kidney. This worried me at first, but it is actually very common to have only one kidney and as long as it is a good and functioning kidney, all is fine. It was, though we continued to be heavily monitored for his growth, any other possible problems and my reassurance!

In honesty, though, I felt invincible. Matthew was our promised blessing and I KNEW he was going to be fine. I never, ever doubted that.

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Mother of Kenny
Stillborn on May 1, 2010
Easton, MD

At 35, when my husband Ken was 44, I finally got pregnant for the first time through fertility treatment. We had had three failed IUI’s, and without much hope for success, we attempted a fourth IUI cycle, not because we or our doctor thought it would work, but because insurance had already approved it, and we couldn’t attempt our first IVF cycle until I lost some weight. Much to our thrilled surprise, it did work! My due date was August 12, 2010. 

My pregnancy was completely normal and healthy. I didn’t have a single complication or worrisome symptom. At every ultrasound, Baby was right on target for growth, and at 20 weeks we learned we were having the boy we had so hoped for, and that Ken had predicted from the beginning. We were over the moon.

Because of the difficulties we had had getting pregnant, I had sort of expected a miscarriage in the first trimester; I just felt like that would be par for the course for us. But it didn’t happen. We sailed into the second trimester, and naively believed we were home free! We spread the word to co-workers, neighbors, church friends, and of course family. We collected used nursery furniture and tons of baby hand-me-downs from friends, we registered, we narrowed down a list of names, we had plans. I met with my Headmaster and planned to miss the beginning of the next school year on maternity leave.

And right when everything was going so well, when I was looking forward to decorating a nursery, when we were trying on different names for size, when my mother-in-law had just finished crocheting a beautiful blanket for our son, and the day after invitations went out for what was to be the first of two baby showers, our lives changed forever. In the middle of a beautiful spring afternoon, while sitting in bed reading with the windows open, my water suddenly and inexplicably broke. I stood up, terrified and confused. I was only 25 weeks. It was way too soon.

Within minutes I discovered that my son’s cord had prolapsed, and I went into panic mode. I was home alone. Ken was at work, over an hour from home. I called 911, and in the ambulance, the paramedic called Ken to tell him I was on my way to the hospital. At the hospital, prepared to perform an emergency c-section, they took me into the Labor & Delivery OR and turned on the ultrasound machine. There would be no surgery. My baby was dead. The pressure on his cord had blocked bloodflow.

In shock and despair I was admitted to the hospital, with plans to be induced, but I asked to wait for Ken before this was started. As it turned out, it would take him 2-1/2 hours to arrive because of traffic. When he arrived, I was given an epidural, induced, and spent a night of fitful sleeping, in labor, but not feeling a thing.

Kenny, named after his dad, was born the next morning, Saturday, May 1, 2010, at 6:24am. He was beautiful and perfect, and even big for his age. He was 1lb, 13oz, and 15 inches long. He looked like his daddy, but he had my nose. We spent seven hours with our beautiful, precious boy, heartbroken and unable to understand why this would happen to us after everything we had been through to get pregnant in the first place. I cherish every moment I spent with him, but they will never be enough. I treasure every photo we have of him, but there will never be any more. I remember every kiss I placed on his cold body. We will never get to hear him laugh, to see him take his first steps, to teach him his ABC’s. He will never be a student at the school where I teach, and he will never watch a Steelers game with his dad. Our hearts ache for all the things Kenny will never get to do.

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