Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Christian - 11/2008 at 9 weeks
Faith Christina - 7/22/2010 at 23 weeks (birth and death)
Chicago, IL

Most of our story started in July of 2008. My husband of almost 2 years at that time and I decided we wanted to start our family. I saw my first positive pregnancy test on October 15th, 2008. We were thrilled, and it only took us 3 months of trying. Our due date was June 18th, a perfect time of year to be off for 3 months with a brand new baby.

My morning sickness didn't kick in until I was about 6 weeks along, and I was miserable! I couldn't eat anything and was always on the verge of being sick. At around 9 weeks, the sickness subsided significantly. I remembered emailing friends worried that it may be too soon for morning sickness to subside, and think something might be wrong. I wasn't cramping or bleeding, so I knew I wasn't having a misscarriage, so just figured I was lucky and my morning sickness just wasn't as bad as most.

We had our 11 week appointment on November 25th. I went alone, so my husband did not have to take off of work and I was told there wouldn't be an ultrasound, so really did not think it mattered if he made it or not.

As I sat in the room, a thought crossed my mind, what if something were wrong and my husband isn't here... what would I do.

A few moments later, the doctor came in and attempted to hear the baby's heart with the doppler, and just couldn't seem to locate it. She then asked if I wanted an ultrasound, I was definitely okay with it, but just wished my husband could have been there to see our baby for the first time.

I remember looking at the screen and seeing our tiny little baby. Our baby was measuring only 9 weeks, which was way behind where we should have been, but worse than that, the doctor could not detect the heart beat.

She told me that it could be their ultrasound machine, being poor, or that I had misscarried. She wrote up an order for me to get an better ultrasound in Radiology that day.

I called my husband and he left work. We waiting in the waiting room for almost 3 hours. I just remained hopeful, that all was well with our baby, and that it was a mistake.

We went through with the ultrasound, and while we waited until later that evening to get the results I knew things weren't right. The doppler did not show any flow to the baby. The doctor confirmed my greatest fear that evening, that our baby had died a couple of weeks ago. We had what was called a missed miscarriage. My body did not recognize that the baby was gone. Our hearts were broken, all of our hopes and dreams came crashing down, time seemed to stand still.

We decided to proceed with a D&C the following day, as thanksgiving was just 2 days away. I never regret having the D&C as it helped my husband and I start to move on, and become hopeful for our future. We know that this wasn't the baby that God wanted us to have, and that something must have been really wrong with the baby.

We named this baby Christian, as it is the root of both of our names. We planted a tree in our front yard on Christian's due date (June 18th), and I have a pearl necklace I wear on occasion, which is our baby's birthstone.

After we lost Christian, we decided to try again. We waited the recommended 2 cycles before we did so, just to ensure we wouldn't have any regrets if something were to go wrong again.

Month after month, all we were seeing were negative pregnancy tests. My cycles were becoming more and more irregular going from every 30 days to sometimes 40+ days. We were about 8 months into trying again, when I decided to start charting my cycle to see if there were any obvious signs that something was wrong, and to hope to improve our timing.

After charting for 3 months, it was very obvious I was irregular, and I was not ovulating normally. I went to the doctor the end of January and we discussed our fertility options. The doctor assumed I have a problem ovulating and prescribed Clomid for me to try after I got an ultrasound to check for cysts.

This was frustrating as we had to wait another month before starting Clomid, but I had my ultrasound and it appeared that I may have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). While we couldn't start the clomid that cycle, we decided to still try for a baby. I ordered Pre-seed online, which is supposed to help reduce the acidity and make the environment better for the sperm. We figured it was worth a shot.

On March 7th, 2010 we had another miracle, after 13 months of trying to conceive, we had done it again, on our own, without fertility medication. The pre-seed made all the difference in the world. We were beyond excited, and our baby was due November 16th, the day before my husband's birthday.

After losing our first child, this preganancy was very different. I was a lot more skeptical, and definitely much more nervous. Things were progressing just fine and morning sickness kicked in full force, just as last time.

Our first appointment was when the baby was 8 weeks. We had an ultrasound just to confirm gestational age, as I told them I was irregular. According to my last menstrual period I was supposed to be 10 weeks, but because of charting I knew that I should be 8 weeks and a few days. They set up the ultrasound and as I expected our baby was in the 8th week. A few days behind what I expected, but I knew that could all be related to when implanation occured. Our due date was confirmed to be November 18th. The day after my husbands birthday. This was truely our miracle.

On the ultrasound we also saw the most beautiful sight, our little ones heart beating, this was something we never saw the first time around. I also didn't mention, that my husband was determined to be present at all appointments this time around. He did not want to miss out on anything, good or bad. I was thankful that we got to experience this together.

Week after week things were progressing normally, at our 12th, 16th and 20 week appointments, we heard the baby's heartbeat and were thrilled to be out of the first trimester. This was it, our rainbow baby would be with us this November. We were so thankful and blessed to have this child.

On July 1, at 20 weeks we had our anatomy scan, the day after our regular OB appointment. At the 20 week OB appointment the doctor measured my fundal height and said everything was right on track.

The anatomy scan was in the morning, I was so nervous the evening before, that things wouldn't be alright, this again I associate with having lost a child. The innocence of pregnancy was gone. My husband always said do not worry until you are given a reason to worry. He was so right, because worrying is not going to change fate.

We told the ultrasound tech we didn't want to know the gender, and she was so exited as most people find out these days. She contined to scan us, and was pointing out the hands, arms and head. She took a lot of measurments and I started to realize that our baby was smaller than she should have been, by several weeks, and I figured, well we must just be having a small baby. The tech mentioned that she would like to call the doctor to determine if he would like to see us after seeing the measurements behind.

Sure enough we were scheduled for later that day. We were a little weirded out by the fact that we were being rushed to get in, just because the baby was small. But figured, they know what they are doing and are likely being precautious.

We met the high risk doctor later that day, who when  he came in the room stated our amniotic fluid was lower that what he would expect to see at 20 weeks. This was definitely not something we expected to hear as the tech never let on to this. In addition our baby had 2 soft markers, indicating there may be a chromosomal issue.

I broke down at that moment, hardly able to ask questions and keep it together.. I felt the world, the world with our healthy child, start to be pulled away, once again. We were offered the opportunity to get an amniocentisis, which would help the doctor determine what could be causing the small size and low fluid. In addition, it would help them with monitoring the rest of our pregnancy.

We weren't given much time to decide, as they said there may not be enough fluid in a week to even be able to perform an amnio, so we decided to proceed with it, knowing if the baby had Downs Syndrome, it wouldn't change anything for us. I was most worried about the issues incompatible with life.

The amnio was a lot more painful that I would have ever expected it to be and I definitely wasn't prepared for it. It only lasted about 60 seconds, but I felt the needle penetrate through every inch of my skin and especially most when it went through my uterus.

The doctor also injected dye into the fluid just to be sure that I wasn't leaking fluid, so I had to wear a tampon for the next 6 hours. No fluid was being leaked as they predicted as they had already performed a couple of tests at the clinic, so this was good news.

6 days later we received the results of our amnio. Everything looked great, the baby did not have TS13, 18, 21 or any XY chromosomal issues. We were so excited and all hope was restored that our baby was going to be just fine. It was just a minor scare. We went away on vacation until the 12th of July, and had our follow up scheduled for the 14th. In the mean time, I continued to enjoy the pregnancy and drink as much water as possible. My husband had a great time on vacation and we were able to share our little one's heart beat with my family and friends while we were visiting. It was amazing to experience this with them. The baby's heart was so strong, we were sure everything was going to be okay. I of course was nervous that the amnio may have hurt the baby, but the Doppler proved otherwise.

We returned from vacation well rested and excited. I went to work on the 14th in the morning, but had to leave early for our appointment.

We waited in the waiting room with the rest of the high risk women. I feel a little naive now, as I was nervous, but not scared. We got in to the ultrasound room, and low and behold our baby had grown in the past 2 weeks, just as expected, but was still the same amount behind as before.

The doctor came in and immediately started talking to us about the severity of the lack of amniotic fluid. He stated that he cannot even locate any pockets to measure. At this gestational age, fluid is necessary for lung development. Our baby was already showing signs that the lungs were not developing as needed for survival. The abdomen chest ratio was below threshold, and baby was measuring small. There were no clear indications on the ultrasound what could have been causing the low fluid, he kept mentioning it could be the baby's kidneys, or a placental insufficiency, as the chromosomal tests all came back normal.

The doctor then proceeded to give us our options. Proceed with the pregnancy as is, keeping in mind the baby has a 1% chance of survival and even making it to term, terminate the pregnancy, or seek a second opinion. The termination option is only an option up to 24 weeks, and I was currently 22 weeks. We didn't have much time to decide. We both left the office in complete shock; it didn’t really hit us until we got to the car, where we both just broke down. This baby was also not the baby god wanted us to have. Something was wrong; we would not be taking this baby home with us in November.

We went home and continued to grieve that evening. Our hopes and dreams for this baby were being taken away from us again. I felt so stupid for thinking everything would be okay if we made it into the second trimester... I never could have imagined the magnitude that a 2nd trimester loss would have on us.

My husband and I decided to seek a second opinion, which was 6 days away. I remained in bed drinking as much water as I could in an attempt for a miracle. On the 22nd of July, we had our second opinion, and the doctor confirmed the first doctor’s diagnosis. My husband and I did not want our child to suffer, we knew what we had to do, we had to say goodbye to our much wanted, loved, rainbow baby.

My husband and I had a lot of time to start to accept the fate of this pregnancy, and our upcoming loss. We tried to enjoy everyday we had with our baby as much as we possibly could. We were preparing ourselves to say hello and goodbye, and re-start our lives without this child.

We were admitted to the hospital on the evening of July 21, 2010. I couldn't believe this was actually happening to us. Our child was going to be born soon, and we were going to have to say goodbye.

After 16 hours in labor, at 2:10 PM on July 22, 2010 Faith Christina came into this world without the assistance of doctors. She was so tiny, beautiful and perfect. The first thing I saw was her tiny little feet and I could not have ever imagined how much I would love her, and could not imagine my life without her.

While Faith had left us during the labor process, my husband was able to cut her cord and announce her gender. We spent 4 amazing hours with our daughter. We took so many pictures to capture her memory always. I will never forget our time together, her soft skin, pouty lip and the way she smelled. She was a beautiful angel, a creation of our love.

Our precious daughter Faith is now in heaven watching over us always, she will never have to feel pain or sorrow, only the love we have for her. She left us to soon, but will be in our hearts always.

We are still awaiting the final diagnosis, but remain hopeful that we will get the family we have always wanted, when it is our time.


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