Rediscovering Joy

Told by: Teresia

On Wednesday March 26th, 2009 we found out that our baby daughter was fatally sick. They found a cystic hygroma which was what looked like two fluid filled sacks on the back of her neck. They also found fluid surrounding all of her organs and throughout her body. Under normal circumstances we would never have considered an amnio but since more than one doctor confirmed that they were CERTAIN she would die we decided to have it to get some answers as to why she was so sick. Her heart was beating strong and we watched her swim around and wave to us. The doctor had been clear he thought we should terminate. I wanted to have her inside me every day possible since I knew they would be the only days I could have her since she would die before or after birth. At the time I wasn’t sure if it was my grief or if the doctor really did this but looking back I knew he did remove the ultrasound probe so that we could not see her any more. You aren’t supposed to remove the probe till the needle is out to make sure the needle doesn’t nick the baby. Then he forcefully pushed down deeper into my belly before he pulled the needle out. I asked him to show me my baby again and he said it wasn’t neccessary as we had just seen her. I just wanted to know if he had killed her by what he did.  He refused but said I could ask the sonographer when she got back. The sonographer agreed to letting us see her one more time. She was still alive. It was the last time I would see her alive; in the next day I would hear her heartbeat which I had listened to sooo many times before, begin to fail. It would slow down to almost nothing and then later go back up, but I knew she was dying. I don’t know if what the doctor did killed my baby but I know she was going to die any way. I trust the Lord that He had a plan for the day she was going to die but I feel cheated out of the weeks or months I would have been able to spend with her until her natural death. After a long day of being sent from one doctor to the next and having one ultrasound after another we sadly returned home to tell our other 4 children the news.  They were devastated. We have a doppler at home that we rented and they had listened to her heartbeat many times over the previous weeks. We were getting ready to move and they had talked about plans for her new nursery and different things we would do with her. The next day I felt deeply sad and slightly crampy. I listened to her heart beat 4 or 5 times and crocheted a small blanket for her. My children all wrote letters to her and drew pictures for her. They also traced their hand for her to send with her. Right before I tucked them all in they sang “Jesus Loves my Lia Joy” to her. Then they each kissed my belly and talked to her and said good night. I went and listened to her heart beat right away so I could be sure to tell them the next day if she passed away in the night that she had heard them and was alive. I heard a heartbeat! I got my journal out to her and wrote for almost 2 hours. At 11 pm I stopped and planned to listen to her for a long time before I went to sleep. Unfortunately she had died while I was writing to her!  I sobbed and tried to decide on what to do next. I decided not to call the doctor until morning. I knew if I tried to sleep I would never drift off. So I went down and prepared things to bury her with. I put a hem on a piece of flanel that would be tiny enough to wrap her in. I tried frantically to finish the crocheted blanket. At 1 am I tried to listen for her heart beat again. I listened for about 30 minutes to the sad silence of my womb. Then again at 3:30am. Finally I gave into sleep till 6:30 am when my husband’s alarm went off. I told him that I thought she was dead. I asked him to listen with me to make sure he heard what I heard, or didn’t hear what I didn’t hear. When my children woke up we told them together that we were pretty sure that she had died. We got them all settled with different child care and my husband went to wrap up what he could with the buisness he owns. I called the doctor and told them what I suspected and asked if I could wait till I was done with the blanket. My tired and trembling fingers worked frantically till 12:30 pm to finish a beautiful little girl blanket. We headed to the hospital to receive confirmation of our suspisions. They also gave us the results of our amnio. They said that she had Turner’s Syndrome, which is a rare and non-repeatable chromosomal abnormality. We then prepared ourselves for the birth or our daughter. It was a long drawn out induction. When I got to the front desk to be admitted a security guard asked me to go to another waiting area because that area was just for moms who were there for delivery.  I had to politely through my tears let him know I was there for the delivery of my baby.  At one point a very pregnant nurse came into my room to speak to my nurse.  In hushed tones I could tell my nurse was telling her that she shouldn’t be in there and I saw the pregnant nurse with an embarassed face quickly exit the room.  I felt sad for her knowing she had to think of the baby in her wombs fragility of life and I quickly forgave her of her mistake.  My water broke towards the end of labor. Again I felt it made it more like a full term delivery to experience my water breaking.  Even though it was hard to be in a real labor and delivery room I was grateful to have all the experiences with her that I would have had if she was full term.  She was a whole person, and I loved her as much as any child.  The pains were not as intense as with a full term baby but definately there.  I was fearful of what it would be like pushing her out knowing she was dead and I would not get to hold her. They offered me an epidural but I refused it.  I wanted to have every experience with her as I did with all my other babies. I wanted to feel everything.  After the third dose of medication Lia Joy  was finally born.  I didn’t have to push her at all.  She was so small she just came out; with a rush of pressure suddenly she came out.  She had already been dead for 48 hours, so her skin cells had already started to deteriorate.  The doctor and nurses had tried to prepare us for the worst in her appearance and it was worse. They told us she would be gray. The doctor was a bit suprised himself I think. He explained her red coloring by saying he should have told us that she would probably have some bruising from the birth process. I think it was because it was so long after her death and that she was so young in gestation and had such thin skin to begin with. I was able to look past her discoloration and see a beautiful perfectly formed little girl aside from the cyst on her neck. She had tiny finger and toe nails. Her little bottom was a tiny little tushy I wanted to pat like any full term baby. I could see each finger and toe, tiny veins. I could feel tiny ribs and skull bones. Her little mouth could open and close. She had teeny tiny little ears. Her umbilical cord was the width of an iv tube. I held her and wrapped her in the blankets I had prepared. She weighed 3 ounces and was 5 and 3/4 inches long. Very tiny! But fully formed and so so sweet. I had to wait for the placenta to be delivered like any other labor and delivery. Afterwards I started hemorraging. They started pumping pitocin into me faster than I’ve ever heard an IV pump go. The nurse was up on the bed beside me on her knees pushing down on my uterus. It didn’t last long but it was scary. We finally had said our goodbyes and waited on the funeral home to get her. It was so difficult handing the little bundle over to him. We gave him everything we wanted in the coffin and my husband walked with him to the hearse. They treated everything as if she were full term which gave me great peace and closure. We had a memorial service at our church the next day and a burial on the day after. She is buried in a cemetary very close to our home. It was a long a difficult week following her birth. I fought a fever for 5 days and almost had to have a D&C. But my fever finally went down and slowly I got better.  It seemed fitting to me that I was sick afterwards; it matched how I felt inside. It gave me an excuse to not lift my head, to not look at anyone and just lay there with my feelings. Eventually I was able to heal and avoid a D&C, and in the years that have passed since the Lord has allowed me to love her even more, and to use her sweet little life to encourage others. I am grateful for stillbirthday.com and pray that many others find comfort from my story.

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This entry was posted in 18 weeks, 19 weeks, 20 weeks, 21 weeks, 22 weeks, All Newborns / Diagnosis, Electing Guilt. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Rediscovering Joy

  1. Tesha says:

    Thank you so much for sharing I am so sad right now it’s only been a month since our Jonathan went to heaven. I was just shy of 20 weeks. I am so happy to have found a place to connect to other mommies. It was hard to see Jonathan he was very bruised from dying, but I am so thankful for that experience.
    Tonight your prayer was answered! I am a hurting mommy, up and alone at 1:20 am searching for hope and understanding. I will go to bed soon with a little more joy from the comfort of reading this post. I AM NOT ALONE. THANK YOU!

  2. amy says:

    Teresia i am so so sorry for the loss of your precious baby. I. hurt for you. i understand your pain. im here if you need a friend. you are not alone.

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