My husband and I met in March 2016. He had just turned 25 and I was about to. We got engaged in October of 2017 and married a year later. My mom had some troubles conceiving, so we agreed to try shortly after getting married. We got pregnant on our second cycle. I had a pretty textbook pregnancy until around 36 weeks when my blood pressure seemed to be increasing at every appointment. Finally at 39 weeks, my doctor told me I had to be induced due to severe pre-eclampsia. I was terrified, but also excited to meet my sweet baby girl. She arrived a few days later, healthy as can be, but I faced a 6 day hospital stay trying to get my blood pressure to be consistent.
Fast forward 17 months and we made the decision to try for another baby. We both come from large families and wanted the same for ourselves. Much to my surprise I got a positive after the first cycle. We were elated. Everything was great. We found out at our anatomy scan that we would be having another baby girl. I could just picture my girls dressing the same, playing with dolls together, and ultimately growing up together. I was so excited. Everything was great. I had a check up at 30 weeks and had my cervix checked because my grandpa had just passed and we were going to his funeral in a different state. My doctor said there was no chance of labor. Three weeks later, at 33 weeks I had a check up. Everything was once again great. I was planning on a repeat C-Section, so I was excited to be meeting my daughter in 6 weeks. That night everything changed.
I started feeling bad. I had the chills. I told my husband that I thought I was getting sick. I’m an elementary teacher, so I just figured I had picked up something at school even though I was the only one at my school still wearing a mask to protect myself against COVID. The next day, I woke up still not feeling good, called into work and drove to school to make sub plans. That whole day I slept. I did not pay attention to my baby’s movements. I did not drink a lot of water. When my husband got home from work, I thought I was in labor. We both kind of just brushed it off as like no that can’t be. Well at roughly midnight I started to bleed. I am not sure how I remained as calm as I was, but somehow I did. I called Labor and Delivery and told them that I was bleeding and I was on my way. My doctor is 45 minutes away. By the time I got there I was in so much pain. Contractions were right on top of each other. It was agonizing. I had trouble sitting still so they could find my baby’s heartbeat. They found one, but think it was mine. It was in the 180’s. By this time, I was terrified. I thought I was going to die. I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom. I stood up and my water broke, but it was all blood. I really thought that I wasn’t going to make it out of this alive.
After that happened, I felt the need to push. The doctor hadn’t arrived yet, so the nurses told me not to, but my body took over and did it all for me.
Finally, my doctor arrived, I pushed roughly three times, and my baby was born. She didn’t cry. She didn’t open her eyes. There was nothing, but silence. He gave her to the nurses and they did CPR for 27 minutes. They tried epinephrine to start her heart and nothing. I remember the pediatrician telling me they tried everything and I just shook my head. I was in absolute shock. They came to the conclusion that I had an infection that caused a placenta abruption causing my daughter to be stillborn.
I am a research fanatic, so I did some research and found Dr. Kliman. I had my placenta sent to him. I found out that I had a huge placenta and that something was cutting off the placenta to my baby. I found out that she ultimately died from a blood vessel rupturing in her cord. I did have acute chorioamnionitis and was very sick.
I asked to see a maternal fetal medicine doctor and took Dr. Kliman’s findings with me. She told me that it would be unlikely to happen again. She said I basically had the perfect storm and that we could start trying again at 6 months postpartum. We decided that was okay with us, but life has a funny way of making some of the things you want the most just out of reach. Due to stress, catching COVID, having influenza, getting pregnant post loss turned out to be complicated. I was finally able to get pregnant in December. I actually took a pregnancy test Christmas morning that came back negative, but I continued to feel off. I ended up taking another test three days later and there the positive was.
I’m currently expecting our third baby girl. I am so ready to have her here with us.
Photos taken by Renee Schaffer Photography.
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