Mom to Ella Marie
Born Still on September 3rd, 2010 at 39 weeks
have always wanted to be a mommy. My husband and I decided that once I was done with nursing school we would start trying. We were thrilled to find out that we were expecting on 12/31/09, just two weeks after finishing nursing school, our first month trying.
My pregnancy was fairly easy. I didn’t have severe morning sickness, just some nausea in the beginning. Our 8 week ultrasound was fantastic as was the 12 week first trimester screening. Our “ pumpkin” as we called the baby until we found out the sex was quite stubborn- moving when the ultrasound tech didn’ t want her to and not moving when the tech wanted her to! I started to feel her move around 15 weeks. At our big ultrasound in April we found out we were expecting a baby girl. She was again very stubborn so we got to have a second ultrasound a week later so they could get all of the views of her heart that they needed. I was excited to get to see her again. We had already decided on a name, Ella Marie. At 35 weeks I developed a case of PUPPPS, an itchy, harmless skin rash. Once that resolved, I felt great again and was so excited for Ella’ s arrival.
We had been house hunting the entire time I was pregnant. We lived in a one bedroom condo and wanted to find a house so that Ella would have her own room. We finally found a house that we loved in May. We closed the end of July. Although we had a lot of work to do to update the house, we were thrilled that all of our dreams were coming true- a house with a ton of potential and a baby girl on the way!
I had planned to work until my due date (Sept 10th) or until I went into labor. I work the night shift as a nurse and although I was exhausted, I was determined to work until the end of my pregnancy so I could spend as much time as possible at home with Ella once she was born.
All of my checkups had been perfect. The summer was hot, I swelled and gained more weight than I wanted to, but my blood pressure was always great. We chalked it up to long nights on my feet and the heat of the summer. I had two baby showers, one in my hometown and one where we live. Ella was going to be so spoiled!
I had my 38 week check up on Monday 8/30. I was not dilated yet and Ella was moving around like her usual crazy self. We heard her heartbeat for what was to be the last time.
I worked the night of 8/31. I thought that Ella was unusually quiet. I was hopeful that she was slowing down in anticipation of her big arrival. I left work that morning (9/1) and went home and went right to sleep- I was exhausted. I awoke around noon to go to the bathroom. I again noticed she was not moving much, but was so exhausted I fell right back asleep once I was back in bed. I again woke around 2:30pm. Again, I couldn’ t get Ella to move. I lay on my left side, drank water, still nothing. Once my husband got home from work, I mentioned this to him. We went to Panera and picked up dinner. I got lemonade hoping the sugar would wake her up. We went to our new house so my husband could get some painting done. I sat in my comfy chair and ate my dinner and drank my lemonade. Still nothing. At this point I got very worried. I texted my mom who is a L& D nurse and asked her what I should do. She said I should call the OB if I was really worried, but that it was probably nothing.
I called the OB around 6:15pm and was told to go to the hospital for a non-stress test. I started to get upset over this. I asked if I could just come to the office and have them check her heartbeat, but they said no, to go to the hospital. We stopped at our condo so my husband could change out of his painting clothes and grab the hospital bag. We arrived at the hospital around 7pm.
One of the nurses led us to a triage room. She started by trying to find Ella’ s heartbeat with the Doppler. She couldn’t find it. She went to get the ultrasound machine. She returned with the ultrasound machine, a resident and the doctor from my OB practice. I realized this wasn’t going to be good. The doctor then told us that there was no heartbeat. We were devastated. The doctor told us I would need to be induced and deliver my little Ella.
They left the room so we could have some privacy. We both broke down and cried. I was 38wks 5days pregnant- this should not be happening. We had bought a new house so we would have a nursery for Ella. She had a closet full of beautiful baby girl clothes and a bright pink room. Now instead of being excited to meet our daughter, we were devastated to find out we would never get to hear her cry, to watch her grow up or to take her home.
We called our parents. My parents were coming from out of town. I was so worried about them driving so far with the news I had just told them. My husband’ s parents arrived shortly after we were led to our L& D room and my parents arrived a few hours later.
I was given cervadil that night to soften my cervix. The next morning a cervical bulb was placed to help with dilation and pitocin was started. I labored all day with no pain medication. The cervical bulb fell out around 7:40pm. The OB broke my water at 8pm, I was 5cm dilated. The contractions started coming faster and were terribly painful. At this point I decided I could no longer handle the intense contractions and the horrible emotional pain. The anesthesiologist placed the epidural at 9pm. It took three tries because I was so scared and would not sit still. The pain relief was immediate once it was in.
I was checked again around 2:30am. I was fully dilated. It was time to push. At this point I freaked out. I didn’t think I could do it, I couldn’ t push and deliver my daughter and not hear her cry. I am so thankful for my wonderful delivery nurse, my amazing husband and the support from my awesome mom. I started pushing with contractions at 3:15am. Forty minutes later, on September 3rd at 3:55am my beautiful Ella Marie was born. There were no cries to be heard except those from myself, my husband and my mom.
Ella was perfect. She had daddy’s dark hair and his lips. She had my nose. She had the cutest long fingers and toes. She was 6lbs 8oz and 21 inches long. Perfect.
We were able to keep her until I was discharged at 7pm. I changed her and put a clean onesie and diaper on her. I napped with her. I held her and kissed her and cherished every moment I had. Our families got to meet her. In the afternoon we had a pastor come and bless her. My sister, who was in Argentina for a study abroad semester, was able to Skype in and be present for the blessing and our families were both present. The pastor performed a beautiful ceremony.
It was heartbreaking to leave the hospital without my Ella. The hardest part though, was going to the funeral home to plan her funeral. No one should have to bury their child. We ended up having her creamated so we could bring her home with us. We didn’ t have a service because it would have been too much to bear at that time. We are planning to plant a memorial garden in the spring and have a memorial service at that time. I am thankful to have many pictures of my daughter. I cherish every one of them.
At this point we have no reason for why her heart stopped. At delivery there was nothing apparent- the cord and placenta looked fine and Ella was perfect. If I were asked if I knew the outcome of my pregnancy would I do it again, I would say yes in a heartbeat.
Although we didn t get much time with Ella, the 39 weeks we had with her, along with the lessons we’ ve learned since her passing have made us better people. My marriage is so much stronger than I ever thought possible. We’ ve had to lean on each other throughout this and will continue to do so for the rest of our lives. We have learned who we can count on and who we can not. We have an amazing family support system and some pretty awesome friends. We know we have our little angel looking down over us. We’re hoping she will help our future children arrive safely into this world. She will be a wonderful big sister one day.
My name is Lauren. I am mommy to my angel Ella Marie. I am the face of full term stillbirth.