Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mom to Charlotte Jean
Born Still on January 8, 2011
Jamestown, Ohio
My story starts like many others. I fell in love with my soul mate and best friend, Peter. We met in college and married in August 2006 after I graduated. We somehow, only God knows how, ended up living and settling down in the middle of no where Ohio. God has so richly blessed us in our 4 years of marriage and we were ready to add to our family.
Peter and I found out in September that we were expecting our first little on, due in May 2011. We were actually a little surprised to get pregnant with only one try, but more than overjoyed! We went to our first OB appointment just to see what we needed to do...with this being our first baby we wanted to do everything right. At that 7 week appointment we were able to hear a really strong heartbeat which reduced both of us to tears. It will always amaze me how our bodies are made to make and nurture another being. We set up an appointment for a 12 week ultrasound to check the progress and development of our baby. The day of our ultrasound we got caught in a horrible traffic jam and there was no way to make it, so we rescheduled. On November 12th we showed up on time and we were more than excited to see our little peanut on the big screen. After the ultrasound the tech said she needed to go talk to the doctor and would be right back. We had no idea that this wasn't normal, so we were still on a high of seeing our baby's heart fluttering and her arms moving around like crazy, at this point I was 13.5 weeks pregnant and things looked great to us.

Apparently we were wrong. Our baby was sick. Her nuchal fold was measuring 15mm and there was a lot of fluid in her chest cavity around her heart. To make our long story shorter, we were told to wait for more answers and to come back at 15 weeks for a follow up ultrasound and possible amniocentesis test. November 30th we had a follow up scan. Again, the doctor came in and told us that things had gotten worse, much to our dismay. We (and so many others) had been praying so hard for the weeks leading up to the appointment with the hope the our God had performed a miracle for our sweet baby. Because the ultrasound looked worse the doctor advised us to do an amnio to find the exact issues we were facing. Again, to make this a little shorter, the results came back that our baby was a girl (woohoo!) and she had turner's syndrome, meaning she was missing and entire X chromosome. We were told there was less than 1% chance that our baby would be born alive and that due to the severity of her disorder, her heart could stop beating at any time. She had already beat so many odds by making it past the first trimester and we were still praying for a huge miracle!
I started blogging about this time, trying to raise awareness of our baby's future and get more people praying for her! At our 18 week appointment, on December 17, things had again gotten worse and we were asked if we were truly ready to be parents to a child that would be severely disabled (things were not worded that nicely, but that's beside the point). Peter and I had decided before we were pregnant and before we knew there were problems, that God would never give us more than we could handle, including a baby with a compromised future. We knew that we would never terminate. We wanted our baby long before she was given to us, period. We were given somewhat of a break from appointments to enjoy time with our family during the holiday season. Our next appointment was scheduled for January 7, 2011, I would be well over 21 weeks along. This is where things all went wrong.

On Thursday, January 6, I had not been feeling right all day. Not physically sick or anything, just off somehow. I didn't think that my belly felt as hard and I couldn't feel the baby moving when I pushed on my belly like "normal". When my husband and I talked later that night I had a freak out moment. I knew that she was gone, but I didn't want to say that without proof. I didn't want to freak Peter out or be "that crazy paranoid pregnant lady". As things worked out, because I had a bad feeling, I went and bought a baby blanket to take with us to the appointment the following day. We had been told at 15 weeks to always come to our OB appointments prepared to stay over in case things "didn't work out". I showed Peter the blanket and we both cried. We cried more because our baby was going to be up against so much. This pregnancy was starting to take a big toll on us in just about every way and we were so frustrated. I shared some of my concerns with Peter and we decided to finalize a name for our sweet baby girl. We knew that her first name would be Charlotte, meaning "little girl or petite and feminine". We then decided that her middle name would be Jean. Jean is the middle name of my mom and both grandmas, all of whom are strong women of faith...I couldn't wait for Charlotte Jean to follow that legacy. We both went to bed apprehensive about how to feel and spent a lot of time praying for our sweet baby and for ourselves.

Friday, January 7th, we had scheduled an appointment at 11 am with our beloved physician to check my progress and listen to the baby's heartbeat. We were then supposed to meet with a group of people to come up with a birth plan that would be best for Charlotte and for us. That group was supposed to include our OB, a NICU doc, a labor and delivery nurse, and a social worker. At 2:30 pm we were then scheduled to have an ultrasound to see how her fluid levels were doing. As we were sitting in the doctors office waiting to be called back, my heart was beating like crazy and Peter was trying to comfort me with out giving away any of his fears. I weighed in (somewhat excited that I had only gained 6 lbs total so far) and had my blood pressure taken, which has pretty stable given my nerves. Our doctor came in, squeezed my hand and told me that I looked good. I told him I was concerned so he got right to work. He measured my belly noting that I was right on track for being over 21 weeks. He then pulled out the Doppler to listen to the heartbeat. I made Peter come over and hold my hand so that I had something to bear my fear into. Our doctor listened for several minutes, all over my belly, but could not find a heart beat. He told me not to worry yet. He called down to ultrasound and told me to go directly there. We knew what they would find, but needed to be sure. As the screen came alive, we immediately noticed the lack of flutter. Our doctor was back and we were crying. We all decided to go ahead and get admitted (the perk of having our OB office at the hospital) and start the process of labor. We were told that this whole process could take anywhere from 24 to 36 hours...ugh! We were given a large private room because of "our situation" which was nice. Our labor and delivery went as well as expected considering all that we had going on (there is more info on our blog about the labor and delivery).

Saturday, January 8th, Charlotte Jean was born still at 1:10 pm. She was rushed out to be made presentable. We knew that she was very sick and in order to make it a little easier they wanted to get her dressed and wrapped in her blanket. I was blessed that my placenta came without problem. As soon as the nurses helped clean me up a little, our sweet angel was brought in to us. Peter and I chose to be alone during the delivery and during our first meeting. We were warned that she did not look good but that we really needed to see her to say good bye. Charlotte Jean was our perfect little girl. Yes, she was very very sick and did not look "great" but she was so beautiful to us. She had the most perfect lips...big like her daddy's. She had perfect little her mommy's. We spent time with her telling her how much we loved her, how much we always wanted her, and how much we wish she were with us. We let our family come in for a visit and asked our pastor to come in to pray for us. We knew that Charlotte was already with our God, our Creator, and that He was taking such good care of our baby. We then asked everyone to leave so that we could somehow begin to say our good byes to our baby. That was the worst thing that I have ever had to do. I DID NOT want to let her go. I really didn't want to leave with out her. The only thing that helped me was knowing that my baby was longer sick, I knew that she was safe and healthy in the arms of my Savior!

Things have been very difficult since Charlotte was born. My arms ache and my belly is empty. My husband is so sad and we both cry every day. The following is a post from my blog about how I feel. Please feel free to contact me for more information about our story and please feel free to read my blog. Thank you for all the encouragement through this network! love and many hugs!
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