I'm really excited today to have a guest post by Rachel from A Lasting Footprint and mom to Emily. Rachel has also been busy putting together a Pregnancy and Infant Loss Blog Directory to help angel parents stay connected and find the resources they need. She has done such beautiful things to honor her Emily and all those that have lost their sweet babies! You can read Rachel's guest post below........
Our daughter Emily Faith was born on January 26, 2011 at 23 weeks 3 days. She lived for almost 10 hours and then went into the arms of her Heavenly Father. Two days after Emily died I started my blog as a way to express my grief. In the days after Emily died I found some wonderful women who also blogged about their journey through grief and it was so helpful to me to find other moms who had lost a child and that life does go on.
I decided early on that I did not want Emily’s memory to die with her, that I wanted to do something to give back to the baby loss community. For several months I have tossed around ideas, but recently I decided on my project.
I have created the Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) Blog Directory. There is another directory that was so helpful to me in the first few days, but I soon realized that it has not been updated in over a year. It was this realization that started me thinking about starting a new directory. I am pleased to announce that two weeks ago the new blog directory went live. I have been overwhelmed by the response. I invite you to visit the Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) Blog Directory, and please submit your blog to be added to the directory.
Emily Faith’s Story
(This is the shorter version of Emily’s story. To read the full story please go here)
Our story started in November 2006 when my husband and I met on Match.com. We were married on February 23, 2008, and on January 14, 2009, we welcomed our first child Madalyn into the world 5 weeks early. She was healthy and we took her home a few days later. We knew that we wanted to add at least one more child to our family, but were not sure when that would be. On September 14, 2010, we got a positive pregnancy test. We were excited for the arrival of our 2nd child.
From the beginning, the pregnancy was very different from when I was pregnant with Maddie. I started spotting at 5 weeks, but no reason could be determined and after a day or so the spotting stopped and the pregnancy progressed easily.
At our first official doctor’s appointment at 10 weeks we discussed our concerns over having another preterm delivery. I fall into a category of 10% of women that they have no explanation for why they deliver early. It is not very comforting to have your doctor tell you “we don’t know why it happened and we don’t know if it will happen again.” However, the doctor told us that research suggested that a weekly progesterone shot, starting at 15 weeks and continuing through 35 weeks, helped prolong pregnancy in over 50% of women.
During the first 15 weeks, there had been some minimal spotting, but it had always been really light and only lasted a day or so. So, when I started spotting two days after my first progesterone shot and it went on for several days I began to get worried. When I went in for my shot at 16 weeks I mentioned the spotting and the doctor saw me that morning. He was not sure what was happening, but did not seem concerned. The spotting stopped that day and was gone for several weeks.
Then, the Saturday before Christmas I started spotting again. It was heavier and so I called and talked to the doctor on call. He did not seem very concerned since I was not having any contractions. He told me to wait until Monday and mention it to my doctor. By Monday the spotting had stopped, so I mentioned it to the nurse and let it go at that.
On January 7, 2011, I started spotting again and this time also passed a blood clot. I immediately called the doctor on call and he did not seem concerned since I was still not contracting. But I was scared so we went to the ER to be seen. We spent 4 hours in the ER that day and were sent home with instructions for modified bed rest.
Just 3 days later on January 10th we had an ultrasound to check growth and we also found out we were expecting another girl. There was a bit of discussion that the baby was measuring a bit small and that maybe they should change my due date, but no changes were made. Our Due date was May 23rd.
The next week was great, no spotting or bleeding. We celebrated Maddie’s 2nd birthday and started our baby registry for our new little one. Our next doctor’s appointment was scheduled for January 24th; we never made it to that appointment.
On the evening of January 18th, I felt like I had horrible gas. I decided that was what it was and went to bed. By 4AM I realized that I was having contractions. I started timing them, hoping they were Braxton Hicks contractions and would go away. But they didn’t.
At 8AM I called the doctor’s office and by 9:30AM I was at the doctor’s office. They did an ultrasound and determined that my cervix had thinned from the last ultrasound. The doctor put me on a med to try and stop the contractions and sent me home.
I took it easy the rest of the day. The contractions stopped for a while but by the next morning they were back, so we went to the hospital.
We got to the hospital about 5AM and saw the doctor at 7AM. During the time between they tried to monitor the baby, but it’s hard to keep a 22-week baby on a monitor because there is so much room for the baby to move. They also had me mark when I was having a contraction.
Once the doctor came in, I was started on Ibuprofen to stop the contractions. It worked and I was sent home after 6 hours, with instructions to rest, but not to take anything. I spent the rest of Thursday and all of Friday resting, but by Friday evening the contractions had returned. I spoke with the doctor on call and he told me to take more ibuprofen and see if that worked. It did work for a while but at 5AM on Saturday I woke up with bleeding so we got dressed and went to the hospital.
I was monitored in the ER first because there were no beds available in L&D. In the ER the doctor did an ultrasound and discovered that my cervix had shortened even more. I went from 4cm on January 10th; to 2.5cm on January 19th; to 1.3cm on January 22. We had been told that 4cm was normal; 2.5cm was border-line and 1.5cm was a concern. As soon as the doctor knew the cervix length he said I could not get out of bed and immediately put in a catheter. Not the most fun experience in the world, but they thought it would help.
Within the hour I was moved to L&D and put into Trendelenburg. They also started me on an antibiotic in case I had an infection, Ibuprofen to stop the contractions and Zantac to help with the heartburn.
The plan was simple: see what would happen over the next day or so. I responded well to the Ibuprofen so I was moved to another room that was less busy and they continued monitoring me.
On January 23rd I was doing so well that they removed the catheter and allowed me to get up and go to the bathroom. The doctor had even talked about letting me go home that afternoon. But after some discussion she agreed to let me stay until the morning and get my weekly shot before letting me go home.
I am so glad that she listened to me and let me stay because things got crazy after that.
By 4AM the next day, I was contracting and bleeding again. It was decided that I needed to be airlifted to a hospital 300 miles away. Usually they will not even think about a transfer until 24 weeks gestation, but by a miracle the Chief Doctor agreed to take me (I was only 23 weeks at the time of transfer).
The rest of the day is mostly a blur of being transferred to a new hospital, meeting a whole new team of doctors and undergoing many tests. I had to do all this on my own since my husband was taking care of things at home before he could drive over and be with me.
It was discovered at the new hospital that I was 1cm dilated and the bag of water had slipped down causing an hourglass effect. I was so nervous to cough or sneeze or really even move, but the doctors assured me that it was all okay. I need not have worried, my membrane never ruptured.
January 25th was a good day. No contractions and very little bleeding. We were very encouraged and began to think maybe this pregnancy would last for several more weeks. Around noon Ron sent a text to our family saying, “Update… Today has been a good news day. Baby is no longer Breech. Rachel’s bleeding has slowed down and she has not had any contractions for over 13 hours! Thank you for all your comments and prayers!”
That night we spent an hour looking at names and decided on a name for our daughter. I just had a feeling that we needed to do it that night. I am so glad that we took the time that night since we would be in no frame of mind to come up with a name the next day.
I had a really rough night, lots of contractions and bleeding, the nurse later told me that she was pretty sure I would deliver in the next 24 hours based on what was going on with my body.
By 5am things were really starting to get intense, and by about 9am, when the doctor checked me I was already 10cm dilated. Emily Faith was born at 12:10pm fully enclosed in her bag of water. The doctors ruptured the membrane and took her to the warming room, she was alive. A few minutes later they brought her by for me to see on their way to the NICU. I remember thinking she looked like a little elf, so perfect, but so tiny. She weighed 15.3 ounces and was 13.4 inches long.
Just before 3pm we were told I needed to come to the NICU because Emily was not going to make it. I had still been recovering from the birth and the loss of blood. I quickly got up, but before I could make it to the NICU my husband came back and told me that she had died.
I still wanted to see her so I was transferred to a wheeled chair and we began the trip to the NICU. But before we left my room the doctor came running down the hallway with a smile on his face. After they had stopped trying to resuscitate Emily and turned off the machines she started breathing on her own. The doctor told us he had never seen that happen before. It was a miracle.
We finally made it to the NICU to see Emily and I got to touch her and spend time with her.
The rest of that day was spent with family and friends who had made the drive to be with us and with Emily in the NICU. About 8pm everyone had left for the night and we went back to the NICU to be with Emily. We spent a lot of time talking to the doctor about how much we wanted to do and for how long. While we were there Emily had to be resuscitated two more times. When her stats started to drop a third time we decided that it was time to stop, she was getting worse and the doctors had done everything they could for her. We decided to spend her last few minutes of life holding her and letting her know how much she was loved. So the doctors disconnected all the wires and tubes and gave Emily to me. She was still alive and breathing when she was placed on my chest. She actually took a few more breaths while I was holding her. I am so thankful that we had that time with her before she died. She knew she was loved and the three of us has that precious time together. Emily Faith died at 10:30pm on January 26, 2011.
I was discharged from the hospital the next morning.
Thank you Rachel for sharing your sweet Emily with us and for putting together such a Baby Loss Directory!