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Angela's gone

by Karen Carpenter

Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2000

I am sure my pain and my loss is no more devastating than yours but I am hoping in telling my story it will help me with my grief.

When I was quite young I realized I was going to have problems later getting pregnant. I did not have menstrual periods. I have since come to believe that is because I was raped when I was very young and I decided being a "girl" would just be too painful. Even with that knowledge I wanted more than anything to be pregnant and become a mother. It was not to be - at least not for a long time. I took drugs to help me ovulate, I had several surgeries I did the temperature charts - I did it all - to no avail.

I finally changed directions and adopted two beautiful little girls and had the pure magic and joy of raising my kids. I was finally a mommy.

My youngest daughter graduated last June - 1999. I was having a really hard time believing my "mothering" was over. It went so quickly and now my home was empty. Very classical empty nest syndrome.

I had started having my periods when I turned 40 years old. No one could explain it but for the first time in my life I felt like other women. I felt normal. The periods were sometimes late but always there.

I was not feeling well in November and my period was later than it had ever been. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I was pregnant.
Not at 45 years old. I had never used birth control and had no reason to believe it was anything other than pre-menopause. In mid-November I took a pregnancy test. It was positive. I could not believe it. In fact, I took 5 pregnancy tests using every brand available in my local drug store.

I had never been happier in my life. I went the next day to my doctor and it was confirmed. I cried for days from the joy of it, the miracle of it. By the time I saw my doctor, I was already six weeks pregnant.
Everything looked great. Everything was fine. The heart beat was strong and healthy and so was I.

My doctors only caution was my age of course and all the tests were recommended. I have gone to this doctor for 25 years. I had every faith in him and his record was impeccable. He explained the amniocentesis to me and after some consideration and research my husband and I agreed to have it done. Month after month we went into the doctors office had the ultra sound and saw our baby. I knew it was a girl. I don't know how I just knew. She was growing healthy and strong. I was healthy and strong and then came my 19th week. It was time for the amnio. I was scared because I knew it was invasive but my doctor assured me that he had never had a problem with one in 30 years and that it was the very best thing for me and my baby. I believed him. I trusted him. I had the procedure done. He told me that if there were going to be a problem that it would be within 3 days and I should call him immediately if I had any bleeding or leaking of fluid.

Two days came and went and I believed all was well, then the third day came. It started out fine. I was on the phone with my mother, finished the conversation and stood up and fluid leaked from me. I could not believe it. I immediately called the doctor and he said to wait for a few hours and call him back. About 2 hours later I leaked more fluid and I called him again. He wanted me to come to the hospital immediately. I did. He did a ultra sound and I saw her heart beat.

SHE WAS ALIVE. The heartbeat was slow but she was alive. Then he did an examination. My cord had prolapsed and he said he was sorry but the baby was going to die. I was in total shock. I can't even explain what I was feeling. I stayed in the hospital and they gave me the drugs to start me labor. I was one week short of 5 months. I was in labor for 8 hours. I gave birth to my daughter, Angela Lynn at 12:03 a.m. January 23, 2000. They cleaned her up and brought her to me. They let me hold her and talk to her and then they took her from me. The grief has been unbearable. The results of the amnio came back about 2 weeks after she died. She was perfectly normal. My doctor at my 6 week check said she was normal that I had a perfectly normal pregnancy and healthy baby and that her death was a direct cause of the amnio. He said it was just "bad luck".

I am trying to be strong. I am trying to keep perspective but I signed that paper. I trusted that doctor and every part of my being is screaming at me that if I had not had that test done I would have my baby.

The normal stuff, "you can have another", "you are young", "it was meant to be", none of that comforts me. None of that makes since to me.

If I had it to do again, I would never choose that test. The "odds" are fine until and unless it becomes you and your baby.

I don't really blame the doctor. He is a good doctor and would never have intentionally hurt my baby but the loss of her is something I will never understand. I loved her so much.

I have looked and looked for other stories about women that lost their babies as a result of the amniocentesis. I have found nothing. I just feel so lost and alone. I have heard time and again that time heals all wounds but I just am not sure I believe it is true........

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