Lillian Grace

by Mandy

In January of 2009 we were happy to find out that we were expecting our 3rd child. As in normal routine we visited my OB/GYN sometime near the 8th week of pregnancy. At that time an ultrasound was done and things seemed to be normal except for a minor calculation in dates. My doctor scheduled me for another ultrasound a month later to check to see how far along I actually was. Things were normal up to this point. I was sicker than a dog, which is completely normal for my pregnancies, and I felt good.

The 12 week ultrasound seemed to go as planned. We saw a little heartbeat and the start of a little baby. After the ultrasound, my doctor came into the room, computer in tow and dimmed the lights. At this point I felt my breathing change and the world start to spin. She had never done anything like this before, so I knew something was not right. She pulled up the pictures of my little baby on her screen and began talking about a fluid mass by the baby's neck.. cystic hygroma. I had her write it down because I knew I would never remember much of what was said in that room. She did tell us that it could and a lot of times did resolve itself, creating a normal pregnancy and healthy child. She scheduled us for an amnio @ 16 weeks to check for any chromosonal problems which generally appear with hygromas.

At the amnio, I watched my little baby move, suck it's thumb, kick and punch - I saw 4 chambers developing in the heart and I saw more fluid, this time in it's chest. The next 2 weeks were the longest 2 weeks of my life - waiting for the results, hoping and praying that everything would be normal. When we got the call, I made my husband take it, I couldn't stand the idea of what was to come. He hung up the phone, smiled and said "There is nothing wrong with our little girl". I started crying immediatley. I just couldn't believe that I was actually getting what I considered to be good news. Then it hit me - GIRL, HE SAID GIRL!!! We have 2 boys, who I love dearly but I had waited so long for a girl!

Our next step was to see a specialist (perionatogist) and see what he had to say that appointment was April 7, 2009. I was still floating on cloud 9 from the amnio results. When we walked into his office, his nurse did another ultrasound that was 3D and gave a better picture of my little girl. Once again she was kicking and punching. Thats when I realized that although I had seen (and by this time, felt) her movements - I had never seen her move more than her arms and legs, she wasn't doing flips and tumbling acts like my boys did inutero. I kept it to myself but with that realization, I knew it was worse than I had ever allowed myself to think.

My fears were quickly confirmed when the first words out of the doctors mouth were "I'm sorry, there is nothing that can be done". Honestly, I don't remember much of the rest of the conversation - I mentally checked out and went into full blown panic mode. I knew now, that my daughter, my precious baby girl, was going to die. At some point in that conversation he gave me my options: 1. Wait until her heart stopped and deliver a stillborn or 2. terminate the pregnancy. I immediately opted for option 2, thinking to myself that I had 2 boys who needed their mom, knowing that I would be a mess wondering when her heart would stop on it's own or if it already had.

The next thing I knew I was being checked into the hospital, that was April 8th- still crying hysterically, unable to believe that any of this was real. I had carried my daughter almost 21 weeks and soon she would be gone. My husband was there with me, but just like me, was mentally numb and in disbelief. My doctor explained things to me, that it could take days for the drugs to work, that my daughters heart would most likely stop before birth due to enormous amount of pressure the fluid was creating and that I would be delivering her normally. This completely freaked me out. My boys were both C-sections. I did not want to experience a normal birth under this circumstance, but I didn't have an option. We told the doctor that we didn't want to see her after birth. I had seen the ultrasound images, I knew the fluid that filled her body also disfigured it and I didn't want that image to be the last image I had of my little girl. For some reason, we had decided that the hospital would be in charge of her remains.

The morning of April 9th my doctor came in, broke my water and told me I still had quite a ways to go before it was over. After the doctor left the room, I suggested to my husband that he go get some coffee and something to eat. He had sat next to me all night long, holding my hand through every contraction and trying to distract me from what was happening. I was a wreck, all night long, I had listened to the sounds of newborn babies crying and excited parents in the halls. I knew I had none of this to look forward to.

About 10 minutes after my husband left the room in search of coffee, the nurse came in to give me another dose of the drugs that induced my labor, as she went to administer it, she said, "your baby's head is right here, it's time". I didn't think I could possibly panic anymore than I already had, until that point. My husband was somewhere finding coffee and I was there with some woman I hardly knew telling me I was having my daughter. It went quickly, I think I pushed twice and she was born. I laid there in shock as the nurses wrapped her in a blanket and took her out of the room. I laid there alone, trying to find air to breath through my sobs, wishing that I could just stop breathing too. Seconds after the nurse took her out, she appeared in my room again holding a blanket. All I remember her saying was "she's still breathing".

At that exact moment nothing else mattered. It didn't matter that I knew she would never make it, or that I had said that I didn't want to see her... I just grabbed her and held her. Soon after, my husband walked in the room with his coffee. The nurse had told him before he entered the room that our baby had been born, but not that she was in my arms. He rushed to my side and held me while I told my daughter hello and goodbye. At some point I opened the blanket to look at her, and despite my fears, she was beautiful. Her tummy was larger than it should have been, but it didn't matter to me. The nurse came in after what seemed like seconds but was actually about 15 minutes. She listened for a heartbeat and pronounced my daughter dead roughly 23 minutes after she was born. Lillian Grace was born and became an angel on April 9, 2009.

I am still grieving, some days are worse than others. I never imagined that I would lose a child, but I did and now somehow I must go on. Because Lily was alive at birth we had to handle all of the "arrangements". On April 11, 2009 my daughter was laid to rest, it was a private service, with only close family attending. It killed me that day to see the little casket buried beneath the flowers, knowing that little girl was laying in there wrapped all in pink. I never knew I could love someone so much, so quickly until the moment that I had to say goodbye. I am so grateful that things happened how they did, that she was alive at birth, that I was able to hold her, kiss her and tell her how much I love her. I talk to her every day, her oldest brother (who is 11) knows he has a sister in heaven, and her youngest brother (who is 1) will know her story when he is old enough to understand. When asked how many kids I have I bravely answer " I have 3.. 2 boys who run and play, and 1 little precious girl, who flies over all of us."

Comments for Lillian Grace

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Feb 04, 2010
Much Love
by: Lisa

Mandy, I am sobbing after reading the story of Lillian Grace. I am deeply sorry for your loss.

I had my 12-week ultrasound last week. The fetus was clearly visible. No movement. No heartbeat. 2 days later, I had a D&C. I'm devastated. Still bleeding and cramping. I thought my situation was traumatic, but after reading your story, I'm counting my blessings. I'm so, SO sorry, Mandy. My heart is with you. You're in my prayers.

Please imagine me hugging you. I am grieving with you. Thank you for sharing your story. You have helped another person see outside their grief and give thanks for what they have. Thank you so much.


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