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I Miss My Baby Shannon

by Shannon's Mom, Stacy

28 Jun 1998

I remember finding out I was pregnant. My husband and I were shocked and excited. It had been ten years since our last child. The pregnancy was textbook. Nothing too out of the ordinary. I had a bit of pre-term labor due to irritable uterus. But nothing that the doctors sounded too excited about. Everyone at work kept telling me how huge I was. I had only gained 24 pounds, but it was all straight out front. I'm only 5 feet tall, so I was sure that was the reason I looked so big. Just to make sure, when I went to my OB for my 35 week check up, I asked him to measure the baby again, and to see if he still thought I was due July 3rd. After measuring me, he said he wanted me to have a ultrasound right away. The ultrasound nurse kept saying, "my gosh, there's soooo much water!" But as I kept watching the screen, I noticed how much time she was spending on the heart. I asked her if everything was okay. She said, "There is a lot of water, I need to get Dr. McDavid." When the doctor came in, he took one look at that screen and sent us to Shands Children's Hospital. We went to Shands a week later under the guise of Polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid). I knew there had to be something else, but I prayed for the best. A perineonatalogist did my ultrasound. It wasn't the Polyhydramnios that seemed to concern him. He spent most of his time (about 35 min.) on the heart!!!! I was dying inside. They took my husband and I into a little conference room. All of the sudden, we were surrounded by specialists trying to be as nice and sympathetic as possible. They told us our daughter had a severe congenital heart defect. We were in shock! As we both sat there sobbing, they told us she would need valve replacements at the minimum, but possibly a heart transplant. When I asked if she might die, the doctor said, "this is very serious." Out of courtesy, they left us alone in our misery. They said she was also a big baby (efw at 35 wks was 7lbs 11oz).

I delivered her c-section on June 18th (she weighed 8lbs 13oz). The doctor held her up for me to see, the nurse snapped a quick picture, then they whisked her off for tests. She was worse than they had expected. She was going to have to go in for open heart surgery NOW or she was not going to make it through the day! We quickly met with the pediatric cardiothorasic surgeon who told us she had about a 10% chance of making it out of surgery. We chose to do the surgery. A few hours later, they came in and told us that she had made through surgery!!!! Yeah - our little fighter was going to do it! We went to see her at 8:30pm. I didn't think they could hook a baby to so many wires and tubes. It was so sad. We cried just to look at her. I just couldn't understand how this beautiful, big baby could be just clinging to life. She was the biggest baby by far in the NICU. She just looked so...... healthy! Minus all of the tubes. Then we went to see her again at 10:30pm. The cardiac nurse said she had opened her eyes from the anesthesia. He said we would have to make it brief, though. I thought, thank you God, she's going to make it. Then at 11:30, the cardiothorasic surgeon came in and said, "I'm sorry, she didn't make it." I felt like I died right along with her. I waited so long for her, and now, 12 hours later, she's gone. Now, for the first time, I got to hold her. The only problem is she's dead! She looked so peaceful, almost like she was sleeping. No more surgeries for her. No more pain. No more baby. We just sat there crying and holding our beautiful baby. We got to hold her again the next day, along with other family members, and said our good-byes. The memorial service and funeral followed.

I'm not ready to say goodbye! I miss her so much. Everything reminds me of her because I planned my world around her. Now I feel there is nothing. Nothing can replace her. I'm already planning the next baby - but NOTHING can replace her! I feel as though she was snatched from me. I WANT MY BABY BACK!!!!!!! It's not fair!! I did everything right and now she's gone. I WANT HER BACK!! I've never hurt so bad in all my life. I have never truly yearned for someone or something like I am now. Now I know what it means to have a heartache!

~SHANNON'S MOM, Stacy~

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