Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mother to Katherine Rose Mooney Thelin
Born March 18th, 2008
Died March 16th or 17th, 2008
Fairfax, Virginia

I found out I was pregnant with my first child, Katie, on July 14, 2007.  It was the first time I had ever been pregnant and I was so excited.  I remember going out to buy "What to Expect When you are Expecting" on the very first day!  My husband and I had just celebrated our 2 year wedding annversary and we were both thrilled to be expecting a little one. 
When I saw my doctor, he told me my due date was March 22, 2008.  It was almost exactly my own birthday (March 24).  I was so excited.
On October 27, 2007, I felt Katie move for the first time.  I was 19 weeks pregnant and so happy.
On November 6, 2007, we learned we were having a baby girl.  We felt total excitement.  We both really wanted a girl.
On November 22, 2007, my husband felt Katie kick for the first time.  It was so exciting for both of us that our baby was growing bigger and bigger and we were experiencing this miracle together.
As we got closer to the end, around mid to late February 2008, my doctor scheduled an induction date for March 18.  He told me I had four dates to choose from that were good on his calendar.  He said that he was in the hospital every Tuesday and Thursday and suggested four dates.  I chose a middle date available.  (If I had chosen the first available date (March 13, my daughter would be alive--at least that is my belief). 
On Monday, March 10, 2008, I saw my doctor and he said that my cervix had not changed at all from week 37 to 38.  My doctor had some concern about macrosomia and worried that my baby had not dropped into my pelvis due to an incompatibility with the size of her and the size of my pelvis.  
On Tuesday, March 11, 2008, at the end of my pregnancy, I went to see a perinatologist at the hospital to evaluate the size of my baby with a level 2 sonogram.  The appointment went well and the doctor told me that everything looked good.  I was so excited to meet my new little baby!  I was tired of looking at ultrasounds and I was ready to deliver.
On Saturday, March 15, 2008 I went to dinner with some girlfriends, one last hurrah before I was to deliver!  I ate pasta and it was yummy.  After dinner, I felt Katie had the hiccups.  It was so cute to me.  She often had hiccups.
On Sunday, March 16, 2008 I felt something was different.  I told my husband "I don't feel her moving as much today."  I felt a little scared but brushed it off.  We went about our day.  Later in the evening, I felt like I might be having contractions.  I talked to my husband and started monitoring them.  After a while they faded but I said "I really don't feel her moving."  I felt a little panic.  My husband told me to remain calm.  He told me that we were probably just freaking ourselves out over nothing.  I told him I wanted him to take me to the hospital.  He didn't want to.  It was late and we had an appointment with the doctor for the very next day around noon.  Doesn't everyone say that the baby will naturally slow down at the end because there is no room left to move?
I went to sleep that night and prayed that my water would break and that I would go into natural labor and deliver a healthy baby girl.  That prayer was not answered.
The next day, Monday, March 17, 2008, I went to see my doctor at his office, we were to discuss the plan for the following day, my scheduled induction.  My doctor asked me how I was feeling and I said "I have some anxiety actually because I don't feel her moving as much."  He said, "Oh, not to worry!  That probably means she's dropped into your pelvis like I was hoping!"  He was upbeat and did not seem scared. 
When he started looking for her heartbeat, he kept looking and looking and looking.  He was becoming more frantic.  I just remember looking away and holding my breath.  I was thinking no, don't let this happen, this cannot happen.
My doctor told me to get dressed and meet me in his office because he was calling the hospital and sending me over immediately.  My husband hugged me and apologized for not taking me to the hospital the night prior.  I told him to not say that.  I told him that everything would be fine.
We met in the doctor's office and he told us to go immediately to the hosptial and that they would be expecting us.  He told us that there was a chance that there was a faint heartbeat and that they would be able to detect it with better equipment there.  He said that if there was a faint heartbeat, that they would rush me for an immediate c-section.  But he also told me, "this is not good."  I could see he was frantic.
We rushed over to the hospital and I ran up to the same place I had been seen just six days before.  The lady behind the counter made us wait 45+ minutes to see the doctor.  I wanted to kill her.  I really sat there frantic and in emotional stress, thinking, is my baby dying right now while this lady is making me wait while someone has some routine exam?  I thought I was going to murder her.  Finally she put us in an exam room and the doctor (same one as six days prior) rushed in and apologized (it was as if she didn't know we had been there waiting).  She immediately started looking with the ultrasound equipment.  I think immediately we all knew.  The image was different than it had been before.  She moved around the scanner over my belly and said something--I can't recall and then my husband said "There's no heart beat, is there?"  And the doctor said "I'm sorry, there's not."  My husband let out a scream unlike anything I had ever heard before or since.  We both sobbed.
A doctor from my OB's practice came in after the perinatologist took some more photos of our baby--which she said may be helpful in diagnosis.  The OB talked to us and I said that I wanted to deliver now and now go home.  I said that I wanted a C-section.  The doctors discouraged it.  They told me to attempt a vaginal delivery.  I was taken upstairs and admitted into the hospital.
My husband and I tried to call our parents.  The cell reception was terrible in the hospital room.  We cried and cried.
The labor did not go well and I ended up having a c-section the next day. 
Katherine Rose came into this world on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 at 12:26 p.m.
She was so beautiful.  I loved her and still do.  I felt amazing joy and pride at her birth.  She weighed 7 lbs., 13.2 ounces and was 21 1/2 inches long.  She was so amazing.  The time went by too fast and at 9 p.m. I had to turn her over to the nurses who came to take Katie to the morgue, so that she could be refrigerated for an autopsy.  The other babies were going to the nursery but my baby was going to the morgue.  The pain was intense.  I wanted to run out with her.  I wanted to say, "NO!  You cannot take her from me."  I could not run though.  There was an epidural in my back and my legs did not work.  I was stuck and I knew it.  She had to go and it hurt more than words can express.
The next morning they brought her back into my room for a short while.  A priest came to baptize Katie.  This was an Anglican priest because the Catholic priest (I'm Catholic) on call had refused my request.  When they brought Katie back to us, she was cold from being refrigerated all night.  Both my husband and I were upset that she was cold, but we ignored it and just focused all out happiness that were were able to see her again.  Every moment felt like the last moment we'd every have with her and it was so special.  Katie had to leave us again.  She went back to the place where she waited to be examined by the hospital's doctor who performs autopsies. 
On Thursday, the engorgement began.  I did not expect it and no one warned me.  The pain was terrible.  My body was making milk for Katie but she could not nurse.  It felt like someone was playing a cruel joke on me.
On Saturday my husband and I went home from the hospital.  We drove home with an empty car seat in the back seat of the car.  The pain was intense.
That day we made funeral arrangements, bought her cemetary plot, and picked out her tiny baby coffin from the catalog of tiny baby coffins that the funeral director showed us. 
We asked to see her and they let us view her body through a viewing window.
On Sunday it was Easter.  I wept.  I was in physical pain from my c-section and the engorgement and the emotional pain was intense and overwhelming.
On Monday it was my birthday. I wept and my pain continued.
On Tuesday we had Katie's funeral.  We got to see Katie at the funeral home and allowed some close friends and family at the viewing.  Over 125 attended her funeral and that made me feel good to see that people cared.
On Wednesday Katie was buried.  We got to see her one last time at the funeral home on the morning she was buried.  I didn't want them to bury her.  Again, I wanted to grab her and take her home with me.  I couldn't understand why this happened and I wanted her so badly.  I just wanted to take her home with me and to be her momma and raise her.  I was so lost.  I knew my thoughts weren't rational but I could not help but wanting to take her home with me so badly.
The doctors were never able to determine why Katie died.  The autopsy was normal.  The chromosomal tests were normal.  There were no high-risk factors in my pregnancy.  There was no sign of infection or trauma.  There was no sign of blood clot or "cord accident" or placental abnormalities.  There is no explanation for my beautiful baby's death.  
Momma misses you and loves you Katie.  You are forever in our hearts.
Tara created a memorial website for Katherine at


Anonymous said...

Love you, Tara. We miss Katie so much. Thinking of you always.

Amber and George

Rylie said...

Your story sounded so similar to mine. I hope that you have been able to find some peace through your difficult journey.



Gabriel's Mommy said...

I am so sorry you lost your precious Katie. Your story is very similar to mine. I was 39 weeks 2 days with Gabriel George when we found out he died inside of me. I delivered him on June 21/10. We still do not have an explaination for his death. He was 7lb 2 oz. and 21.5 inches long. He was so beautiful. I, like you, just wanted to take him home. It drove me nuts knowing that he was sitting in the morgue, and I was at home without him. I would have even taken him home the way he was and kept him forever. When my milk came in and dripped I could not help but feel that my body was crying for him and mourning him also. The loss is so immense and surreal it is difficult to comprehend or explain to others. I will never stop loving, missing, or thinking about my beautiful little man.

Gabriel's Mommy said...

Like you, I also felt so proud and overjoyed to meet him, but also so sad at the same time. I truly do not think I knew love until I met him and held him in my arms. I never expected to feel such intense emotions and certainly not for his life to end so soon. It has been so confusing and sorrowful.

Thank you for sharing your story.

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