*Trigger warning – Infant Death and Pregnancy Loss
On October 25, 2011, we received a confirmation of pregnancy. June 8, 2012, we would be a family of four! We were super excited that we would be completing our family. The news couldn’t have come at a better time. The pregnancy was going well. January 13, 2012 was the day we would find out if we were having a boy or girl. We were elated and quietly hoping for a girl, but mostly we were hoping that the baby was healthy. I chose to wear the same shirt I wore the day we found out the gender of our now 10-year-old son. It was all black with a lovely purple heart on the stomach portion of the shirt. Sounds super cute, right?
We arrived at the doctor’s office giddy and full with anticipation. As we were being escorted to the room, the nurses were laughing at how happy I was about finding out the gender. My husband and I walked into the ultrasound room. I sat on the table and prepared myself to hear, “It’s a boy or girl!” The ultrasound technician put the probe on my stomach. I was not looking at the screen. I chose to look at her for some odd reason. I noticed her facial expression went from happy to uneasy. I immediately looked at the screen and the image was definitely different from what I recalled of a normal ultrasound. I knew something was terribly wrong. The ultrasound technician urgently called for the doctor. She came in to review the condition of the baby via the ultrasound. They confirmed that there was no amniotic fluid in my uterus. Additionally, the baby’s kidneys were heavily filled with cysts and had no viable blood supply.
We were in a state of shock, fear, and confusion. How did this happen? Did I do something wrong? Can we fix it? At this point we were no longer concerned about the gender. Instead, we were worried about the well-being of the baby.
We were advised to see a perinatologist immediately. We rushed to the office. While in the waiting room, my husband and I began to anxiously research the conditions noted in the ultrasound on our smartphones which gave us false hope of being able to fix this. Based on the medical analysis, our baby suffered a genetic anomaly called Bilateral Polycystic Kidneys. The haunting words recited by the doctor that I will never forget were, “This condition is not compatible with life.” She bluntly stated, “Your child will most likely die in utero or very shortly after birth.” At that moment, I literally felt like the world was closing in around me. This was not the news we were supposed to receive that day. My husband and I cried and prayed and cried even more.
We left the office devastated. What are the next steps? What do you do with such information? Miracles happen, right? What will life look like for the months ahead? I spent the next week readjusting “life” to embrace the uncertainty of this pregnancy. I proceeded with regular prenatal visits and the testing that came along with each milestone. Our child was alive, not in great condition, but alive.
Our daughter was born June 5, 2012 at 7:58am, through C-section because she was in a breeched position. She came out screaming vigorously, which was not expected. My obstetrician yelled, “What do you want to name her.” I responded, “Faith!” She giggled.
The neonatologist said, “She doesn’t look as bad as we thought!” I got an opportunity to kiss her sweet face before they took her to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). My husband went with her.
I was returned to the recovery room to await her delivery to me. After 30 minutes in my room, I heard an innocent cry. It was my daughter. I reached for her and they placed her in my arms. They knew time was running out. I held her and embraced the time I had. She struggled to breathe. It was very hard to witness. As I was holding her, she so peacefully fell asleep in Jesus. The Neonatologist pronounced her death at 10:05am.
Even though the outcome was not what we wanted, we remain blessed. Even after the experience, I continued to experience difficulty with conception. In December 2014, I found out I was pregnant again.
“This is your fifth pregnancy.” That’s what the doctors told me during early prenatal care. Based on my history, I don’t think they had much hope for a successful pregnancy.
Considering my prior fertility issues, I was required to see a perinatologist during the early prenatal phase. As I laid on the table in the doctor’s office and the ultrasound technician poked and prodded my stomach, I recognized when she made her way to “the area.” I saw no appendage. Before she uttered, “It’s a girl!” I knew. All I could do was graciously chuckle and instantly think of what dance school she will be joining when the time comes. The doctor came in and gave his final analysis to ensure organ function was fine. He said, “Everything looks great! You will see your regular OB for the remainder of your pregnancy.”
Sometimes blessings are wrapped in the most painful circumstances. Don’t get weary while waiting. Be gracious while enduring the things that hurt the most. You never know who you are inspiring.
My now almost two-year-old ball of energy is here and thriving. Rainbows always appear after the storm.