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Our Daughter Angelica Elizabeth

by Rose

Update: Wed, 3 Jan 2001

Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999

My name is Rose and I need to share my story with all of you. I have 3 children from a previous marriage. Mallerie 15 1/2, Ashley 12, and Brandon 11. I have been married to Marty for almost 6 years. Marty did not have any children of his own and for the longest time, he didn't believe that he wanted any of his own. He is the GREATEST Stepfather that any child could ask for. He loves my children as if they were his own and the love him back just the same. Marty has always been fascinated with little kids and babies. He loves to be around them and kids love him too.

Over the last year I told him that he had until the end of the year to make a decision regarding having kids of his own because I was turning 35 in September. He is 37, 38 in February. He said no at the time. In September of 98 we went to his company picnic and there were all of his co-workers with all of their little ones. I again asked him if he was sure that he didn't want any children of his own. This time he shocked me with the answer " I don't know, what do you think?" That night I believe that we did conceive our daughter. Keep in mind that I had not been pregnant in 11 years and I thought that it would take at least a couple of months.

We tried for 5 days that month and the next thing I knew, my period was late. I couldn't believe it so I bought a pregnancy test and sure enough...there were those 2 little pink lines. Marty wanted to be the first to see it-he was so excited! I was too, but I was really surprised because it usually took a couple of months to get me pregnant. Right away he told EVERYBODY. I could not stop him, he was that happy. Being though I had 3 previous pregnancies that had no problems what so ever with and the fact that I never had a miscarriage, I didn't really mind him telling people. I did tell him though that the next 12 weeks needed to pass before you could really relax. Boy was I wrong! My pregnancy progressed just like all of my previous 3. I never really have morning sickness, spotting, or cramping. Looked like it would be uneventful until she was due in June 99. My OB appointments were less then pleasant.

Unfortunately I had a Dr. that was really not skilled in people skills. For example, he would be in the middle of doing my pelvic exam and stop to take a personal phone call. He kept telling me that I was off on my dates until he finally confirmed them by ultra-sound. He had an older machine, so I really couldn't see too clearly, but he saw what he wanted to see and he was happy. I went for my usual monthly appointment at 15 weeks and he did another ultrasound. This time he thought that he saw something on my daughter's head, but he could not be sure. He just kept asking me if there was any history of anything in my family or my husbands. I said no, but he persisted. I left there in tears and he told me that the heartbeat looked good (I saw it beating) and that my uterus was a good size, but he wanted me to go to a place where they could perform a better ultrasound. I also had to go get my AFP done the next day. By the time I got home I was very upset and called my insurance to change Doctor's. I should have done that a while ago, but I never got around to it. I thought that I would eventually connect with him. I ended up with an appointment with another Dr. for 10 days away.

I decided that I could not wait that long, so I explained my situation and got an appointment in 4 days. Due to the New Years weekend and the Dr. having to do surgeries, that was the quickest I could get in. The day of my appt. with my new Dr. I went to my old Dr.'s office and picked up my records. I also got a copy of the results of the AFP. Of course there showed that there was a higher then normal chance that my baby would have Down's Syndrome. I was very upset when I got to the DR's office. I was called in for my appointment and I told the Doc my story and showed him the AFP results. He told me that most of the time they were wrong, especially if the dates were a little off. Needless to say my dates were a little off because my previous Dr. had me a week ahead of what I actually was. I finally began to relax as he was jelling me up for the Ultrasound. I wanted him to look at my baby's head and tell me that it looked normal. I do not think we got that far. I remember that he kept going back and forth and so I asked questions like what did he see. He just told me that he wanted to be sure and to wait until he was sure. By this time I knew something was wrong. He left briefly and came back with his nurse. The put the Doppler on me to find the baby's heartbeat. All they heard was mine beating like 130 a minute. They thought it was the baby's. He then went back to the ultra-sound and very quietly showed me my baby. He told me to look where the heart was and that there was no movement. It took a minute to sink in. I finally said "You mean my baby is dead???" and he said that he was very sorry but it did look that way.

They wanted me to go downstairs to the Imaging Center where they had a better ultrasound and I did. I knew that they would see the same thing and they did. My baby had died sometime during that previous week. I do not know when. I never bled, cramped, or spotted. I was in a state of shock. These things did not happen! Babies do not just die in their 17th week for no reason without warning! I managed to get home hysterical the whole way. One of my neighbors (who is also pregnant) asked me if I had found out what I was having yet. I just shook my head and ran in the house. All I could think of was how was I going to tell Marty? When he got home from work that night he saw the look on my face so he knew the news was not good. He never expected me to tell him that our baby died either. We just cried and held each other. That was the hardest night of my life knowing that my baby was dead inside of me. The next day I had to go to the hospital to give birth to my baby. I had one natural birth with my first daughter and then 2 c-sections because I am little. Now I was going to have to have labor for my dead baby. When I got to the hospital I cried again. Just seeing the labor room brought back memories of when I had my living babies. I knew that I was there for a different reason this time and I couldn't stop crying. I got into bed and they did all of the usual hospital stuff...blood, IV's consent forms. Then they put in the Prostin suppository that would start my labor. They told me that my cervix was closed up tight and that it would probably be a while.

My mom and Dad were there as well as a friend of mine whom I have known since I was 5 years old. Ironically she was an OB Nurse and had also lost a daughter at 21 weeks 7 years earlier. She was such a help to me in understanding the process. I thank God that she was there for us. Like I was warned, the suppository made me throw up and have diarrhea, but I actually felt better after that. I had some mild cramping but that was about it, so after about 4 hours they put in another suppository. About an hour after that one I started having stronger cramps. They were not really more than bad menstrual cramps, but I asked for Demerol anyways because I did not want to feel my body letting go of my baby. After about a half an hour more I felt my water break. About 20 minutes later I felt my baby come out. I knew what it was I just told my mother to get the nurse. (Marty had left to go to the bathroom). They came in and sure enough I was right.

Marty came back just as they were leaving with our baby. He immediately went hysterical sobbing and all I could do was just lay on the bed---numb. The placenta came out in about 15 more minutes and I guess it was over. I couldn't cry. I just sat there staring. The nurse came in and asked us if we wanted to see our daughter. I didn't want to, but I knew that if I didn't that I would regret that decision forever. The nurse brought her to us in a little container. Marty took her and just started crying again. I forced myself to look at her. She was not at all what I expected. She was so red and soft looking. She had Marty's family nose. She did have all of her arms, legs, fingers, and toes. There did not appear to be anything outwardly wrong with her. She just looked like a baby that was not ready to be born yet. She had one eye open. The nurse said that it was probably the force of delivery that opened it. I just knew that babies eyes are supposed to stay closed until the 7th month of pregnancy. She never made it that far. The nurse asked if we wanted our baby to be baptized so we said yes. We gave her the name that we had picked out for a girl. Angelica Elizabeth. She was baptized and we had her for a few minutes more. Marty wrote her a beautiful letter telling her how much we loved her and what we had planned for her life. He told her of her brother and sisters and that we would miss her until we saw her again in Heaven. Then I had them take her away because her skin was starting to dry out and I couldn't bear to look at that happening.

I somehow made it through the night at the hospital. People came and went, the staff was wonderful. I was released the next morning and when I got home is when reality hit me hard. I just kept crying and holding and rubbing my empty stomach. It felt so empty. I could not get over the fact that I was no longer pregnant. My baby should still be in there safe and alive! I have an ultrasound picture that I was given by the tech that verified my Dr.'s finding. It is the only ultrasound that I have of Angelica. I look at it everyday and I cry hysterically. I know the hospital took pictures of her. I think they told me that they are kept in a file and that I could get them when I wanted them. I am not ready for that yet. It has been only 11 days since I have had her in my body. I never thought that a person could feel so much pain. It's amazing how quickly your whole life can change in one instant.

All I have been doing since I came home from the hospital is searching the Internet to find an answer. I have read hundreds of stories of loss and I could not believe that this was such a common occurrence. I was so very naive. I will never again be the same person that I was. A large part of me died the day I found out that my daughter had died. I am going through all of the usual rituals of death. I think I am on the guilt part because I feel that there were lots of things that might have contributed to her death. I wonder if the baths that I used to take were too hot. Did I catch toxoplasmosis from my 4 cats? Did my sinus infection kill her? Did the antibiotics that I took for 4 days kill her? That was the week she died. Did I not eat good enough? The list goes on and on. Thinking back, there were a few things that were different about this pregnancy. I do remember that I would have to eat every hour to hour and a half because my stomach would act as if I had not eaten in a week. My meals were normal meals so now I am wondering why that happened. My uterus would get hard from time to time but it never really bothered me, or was that frequent. Now I wonder. There are a million questions and no answers so that is why I keep searching and reading hoping to find something. The Doc said that they do not know why this happened. The pathologist did a cursory look over for my doc and told him that. She was too little to do an autopsy-I was told that they do them at 24 weeks. If I wanted it done they would do it but they probably would not find anything and it would cost us $700.00 that we do not have.

So now here I am no answers and scared to death that this could happen again. Right now it is a day to day thing to just do ANYTHING. All I know is that our lives were changed forever on that day we found out that she left us. We do have strong faith and believe in Jesus and we know that our daughter is in Heaven. It is just too hard to take comfort in that now. Thanks for listening. There is probably more to this story, and I would like to hear stories from those of you who have had subsequent successful pregnancies. My husband deserves to be a daddy. I hope and pray that one day God will make that possible. Thanks for listening.


Update: Wed, 3 Jan 2001

Well in March of 99 I found myself once again pregnant. Found this out the same time I found out that I had kidney stones too large to pass. They decided to put a stent in--very painful! Until they could remove them. The only thing wrong with that idea was that they needed to insert it surgically...and with that came big time meds and an x-ray right by the 6 week developing fetus. Not a good Idea and I told them so...They just told me it won't hurt anything. OK, so now they have to put me on antibiotics the whole time the stent is in. Macrobid...big time antibiotic. They said no problem with the pregnancy. Somehow I didn't believe them but I had no choice, either bad infection or the meds. Some choice, huh? About in my 15th week, I am at the doc and he is doing a sonogram and I get that "look" again..... It seems that my baby had an extended bladder. So, here I go again to the perinatologist, who, once again, confirms that I am not going to have this baby either. It seems that he has a total blockage of his urethra and cannot urinate or make amniotic fluid, so no life is possible. I had a choice of terminating , but there was no way that I could have my still living child ripped out of my body in pieces. So I elected to wait...until he died inside of me. That was the hardest thing that I have ever had to do in my entire life. I think that only by the grace of God did I not go insane. It took him just over 2 weeks to die. The sad part was that instead of getting bigger, I was getting smaller. I felt only one kick from him and I really believe that it was him saying goodbye to me because the next day he was gone.

 To make matters worse, my doc was on vacation and I got a very cold doctor. He told me that I would have to keep my dead baby inside of me until he could fit me into his schedule because "He had a life". Can you believe that? 3 days later I was back at that same hospital again, giving birth/death to another dead baby within only 6 months of losing Angelica. I really could not believe that I was actually going through that again, it was unreal. When they brought him to us, I was afraid to see him because I didn't want to see anything that would make me think that he suffered any. They had him covered and all I could think was that he looked exactly like my husband. I wanted to die right there when he looked down at him with tears and said "that was my son" I had not cried at all until that moment ( I was too numb to cry) and then I totally lost it. I left the hospital that night, without a baby...AGAIN. From that point on I decided that I could never go through that again. I was very angry for a long time, everybody said it couldn't happen again, not lose 2 in a did, and it happened to me. The pain was unbearable.

 We named him Austin Willem, and that was that. After that last loss, we really turned to the Lord. He was our only hope of surviving that. I was determined to never get pregnant again for fear of losing another one but The Lord had other plans for us. He started sending subtle messages to me in December of 1999. I got a letter in the mail from my insurance company approving my doc visit ( I never asked for one, this was from the 1st pregnancy) I dismissed that as a coincidence until another one came a week or so later, Then I told the Lord that I did not want to get pregnant again in 1999. If I never saw that year again it would be too soon. When I ovulated on January 1st, I just knew. A few weeks go by and I start wondering if I am pregnant again. One Sunday we are in Church and there on the church bulletin is a picture of a newborn baby with the title "God's most precious gift." I knew that was a message. I had been afraid to take a test in fear that it was positive... I finally broke down and took one at 9 weeks. I already knew by then, I have never missed a period unless I am pregnant. I remember going over my friends house, throwing the stick on her counter and asking "Now what?" and then crying hysterically. There I was again, pregnant and setting myself up for another heartbreak. This time was a little different though. This time we had the Lord (Really) in our lives. We prayed, laid hands on me, a woman from my Bible study even had a vision from the Lord showing his hands in my womb holding my baby. I am not going to say it was easy. I just about refused all tests because I didn't want to know anything. I had a sonogram every single doc visit. He even sent me to a level 2 sonogram where they look at EVERYTHING on the baby. It was there that I found out that the Lord had blessed us with a perfectly healthy son. I was so happy I cried and cried. Well, I am happy to report that in September of 2000 Marty and I were blessed with a beautiful, healthy, perfect in every way..son.

 We named him Joshua Martin. Joshua means "The lord is salvation" All I can say is AMEN to that! I thank God every day for that precious gift that he blessed us with. I will never take for granted the miracle of birth ever again. I had my tubes tied so I am pretty sure that he is the last one. The good thing that came out of all of our suffering is that we have become "Real" Christians, in deed, not just in word. God is so good and we continue to draw closer to him every day. We will be raising our son to love and serve the Lord also. Our lives are so much better now that The Lord is in it. I just want you all to know that God is TRULY the answer, and if you seek him with all your heart, and obey his word, he WILL grant you the desires of your heart.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not unto thine own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

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