Thursday, July 22, 2010

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.

By 40 weeks, it was pretty obvious that Matthew was very comfy in “Hotel Mommy” and my doctors made a plan to induce me at 41 weeks. I was 40w2d (Thanksgiving Day) when the hospital called and offered to have me come in the next day! The hospital was very busy the day I was scheduled and if I came in the next day, it’d be a little less busy. We were scared, but excited and checked into the hospital at 7 pm on November 27, 2009.

My labor was slow, and I never progressed past 5 cm, even after nearly a whole day. It was pretty much the consensus that I’d be a c-section, but before that final decision was made, my OB decided to use the internal fetal monitor and see if she could get a better read on Matthew. At that time, she said she’d go ahead and break my water to see if that made a difference. I asked her not to, because if I was going to be a c-section anyway, I didn’t want to make a mess for the nurses. She laughed and said, “Fine,” but while in there, said, “Well…I’m going to go ahead and see if we can make this happen.”

Within a minute, she said, “Mr. Matthew has forced my hand,” and the next thing I knew, I was being prepped for emergency surgery. I was bleeding and they didn’t know what was happening. My OB had me in surgery and Matthew delivered within 10 minutes. The staff said they’d never seen a faster emergency surgery. He was born at 4:56 pm on November 28, 2009.

Matthew was born without a heartbeat, but was revived and whisked to the nursery. I still had no idea of what was going on, and really, no one else did either. Initial guesses were a placental abruption had occurred. My hospital is a small one, without a NICU, and they had a difficult time doing things to a sweet little newborn that he needed to have done. Arrangements were made for him to be med-evaced to Georgetown University’s NICU and he left the hospital around 7:30 or 8. Before he left, they wheeled his helicopter isolette into my room and I was able to touch his little cheek and shoulder. It was the softest skin I’d ever touched. I blew him kisses and told him I’d see him soon.

I still did not believe what had happened, but him surviving was never an issue. He was a perfectly healthy miracle. He would be fine.

Matthew left this earth in his father’s arms at 1:26 am on November 29. He’d lost too much blood, had too much organ damage and just couldn’t survive.

Matthew and I suffered from a very rare pregnancy complication called vasa previa. It occurs in 1:300-5000 births and when prenatally diagnosed, can almost always be managed and babies survive. When not prenatally diagnosed, the fetal mortality rate is 95-100%. Essentially, fetal vessels are not all contained within the cord and when they rupture (or are ruptured when the water is broken), the baby essentially bleeds to death. Even though we’d had extensive monitoring, including looking for conditions like vasa previa, it was a rare presentation of a rare condition and the recommended diagnostic screenings still could not pick it up.

My miracle was gone and I never got to even hold him or see him face to face.

My world will never be the same.

Lori blogs at
You can contact her at


Lilly's Mom (Desiree) said...

your story breaks my heart over and over again every time i read it. :( praying for you lori!!

Debbie said...

Oh Lori. Your story makes me so sad. I am so sorry you never got to hold him.

Thinking of you. <3

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