Monday, September 27, 2010

Mom to Maaike Rose 
Born still October 27, 2009
Patterson, CA
I “officially” found out I was pregnant on May 6, 2009. Of course, I knew I was pregnant before I went to the doctor - they just confirmed my fears. I was scared and had no idea what I was going to do. I was raised to be pro-life, and I was wholeheartedly...until I was faced with that choice. I didn't think I could face the shame that I was sure would be coming. I set an appointment for an abortion. About four days before I was scheduled to go in, I had the overwhelming urge to tell my cousin that I was pregnant. Being a person of faith, I took that urge as a bit of a divine intervention. Once it was out, that was it. I knew that I could not kill the life growing inside me. I was going to have a baby.

For the first bit of my pregnancy, everything seemed to be going well. My baby was growing and I was healthy apart from the fact that I wasn’t gaining much weight. That fact nagged at me, but I asked my doctor about it and he told me I was doing fine and ­ not to worry about it too much.
Things started to take a downward spiral around my 20-week ultrasound. The technician said that the baby was a little small, but that it was nothing to worry about. The doctor told me the baby was only measuring at about 17 weeks, so the he wanted me to have another U/S done a few weeks later to see if anything changed. At 23 weeks I got another one done and at that point the baby was only measuring at 19 weeks.

I was sent to a perinatologist to get a more thorough U/S in order to see if they could determine what was causing the baby to be so small. They found that the flow in the umbilical cord wasn't very good, and it was assumed that the baby was probably not getting all the nutrition needed from it. That day I was given some of the worst news of my life...that my baby was probably going to die, and that there was a good chance it wouldn't even make it another month.
I could not believe what was happening. Hadn't I made the choice to keep my baby? It was very loved and wanted. I couldn't understand what I had done to deserve all of this.

Well, a month went by and my little baby was still going strong. I was given the option of getting amniocentesis, which I declined at first. I knew there were risks involved, and I didn’t want to make anything worse. I was also given the option of terminating my pregnancy, which was unfathomable at that point. After a lot of thought and prayer, I opted to go ahead with the amnio. Nothing was found in those test results that explained what was going on, but I did find out that I was carrying a girl. My little Maaike Rose (pronounced like Micah).

I had weekly appointments with the perinatologist and I started visiting the hospital at UCSF every few weeks to get other testing done. She wasn't growing very much, but she was growing. I started to see a small ray of hope. And then I went in for what turned out to be my last appointment at UCSF. The doctor told me that he wasn't seeing the kind of growth he had hoped for, and that the chances of a good outcome were incredibly slim. He told me things no one ever wants to hear...that if she survived she would be severely handicapped, with a whole host of maladies that I wouldn't wish upon anyone. He gave me three options: 1-Termination, which was only possible at that point because of her size; 2-Induction of labor, followed by making her comfortable until she passed; 3- Wait and see what happens.

The only thing I was comfortable with at that point was to wait and see...unfortunately I did not have to wait very long. 5 days later at my routine appointment I was told that my baby no longer had a heartbeat. I was induced that night, and Maaike was born at 3:28 a.m. on October 27, at 31 weeks 2 days. She was 1 pound, 1 ounce and 10.8 inches long. She was perfect - small and delicate - but absolutely beautiful.

Her autopsy did not show anything at all. It was expected that there would be lots of clots in the placenta, there were none. She had no chromosomal issues or genetic disorders that they could find. And there was no evidence that she would have had any of the handicaps they were expecting. So, I’m left with the knowledge that she was perfect, and just too beautiful for this world. I still don't understand why I had to lose my daughter. But over time I've come to realize that some things just aren't meant to be understood. I'd much rather not be a part of the baby loss community, but I'm so thankful that there are other women willing to share their experiences and remind me that I am not alone, even though it may feel that way sometimes.
Andrea can be contacted at


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