I was eight months into my beautiful pregnancy expecting a sweet little baby girl. We chose the name Alison Cassandra for our first daughter. I woke up on this day five years ago wondering why my baby wasn't moving around like she usually did. I had a routine Doctor appt. at 9AM. I dropped my son off at kindergarten and went on to my appointment. I expressed my concern to my Dr.that my unborn baby had not been moving. My Doctor listened to my baby's heat beat and said her heart rate was 135 beats per minute. I didn't feel better as she was still not moving. My Doctor reassured me everything was okay and to go home and lay down on my side to wait for movement. I left my Doctor's and went home and napped. After my son was home from school and my husband came home from work... I started thinking I should go to the hospital to get checked a little more thoroughly. We had a friend come over and stay with Drew while Phil and I went up to the hospital.
Once at the hospital the nurse could not find my baby's heart rate with the doppler. I knew the news could not be good at this point. She tried reassuring me that sometimes it is hard to get the heart rate via doppler. They wheeled in an ultrasound machine and a Doctor came in and sat down. We saw our baby's body inside my body. She was so pretty and perfectly formed. I remember The Doctor looking up at us with sorrow in his eyes. See your baby's body here is her heart that is not beating. I'm so sorry. Those words "I'm so sorry" would echo in my mind for months and months.
After this the Doctor urged us to go home for the rest of the night and prepare to come back tomorrow to be induced. We made arrangements for our son to get to school and for my parents to come and babysit Drew while I was at the hospital with Phil.
The next day March 22, 2006 I was induced with medicine to ripen my cervix. It took most of the afternoon but by late evening I was having contractions and progressing. Right before midnight Alison Cassandra was still born. The staff at the hospital was very kind. They cleaned Ali up and brought her back into the room. It was very hard for me to spend a lot of time with her. I knew I would not be taking her home with me. It was so raw and unfair. I felt so sad for my husband. Seeing him in pain and crying for his little dead daughter was almost to much for me to watch. I was wishing for my baby girl to open her eyes and show some sign of life. But that didn't happen. We had to move forward as life does. We had to learn about the stages of grief, the process of a death certificate, cremation, planning a funeral service, and explaining to our five year old son why his little sister would not be coming home.
After giving birth to Alison we learned she had died from a true knot in her umbilical cord. When she was very tiny her umbilical cord slipped into a knot as she grew the knot became cinched tighter until it finally cut off everything. What an awful thing to have happen. It sure made me beyond paranoid for another pregnancy. However, we knew right away we still wanted to try again.
the next year was very hard. Getting through all the firsts that alison wasn't here for. Her due date, Mother's day, Summer, fall, winter, and then the anniversary of what would have been her birthday. Around this one year mark I found myself to be pregnant. I felt optimistic but scared. I had also found myself pregnant four months after having alison but that pregnancy ended in miscarriage. I hoped and prayed and rarely moved while gestating this new little growing life. At the 20 week ultrasound I cried when the tech told me this baby was a little girl. My husband was out at sea with the Coast Guard during this appointment. I was able to email him this wonderful news. He was equally happy. Addison Quinn arrived later that year on November 20, 2007. Addison had a hand in healing my heart. The grief came on strong some days when I realized all that I missed out on with Alison.
The pain of losing a child stays with one forever. I love you, Alison Cassandra. I will never forget your sweet face. I hope to meet you again one day.
edited to add my daughter's lovely name written in the sand of a beautiful beach in Austraila. This couple has an amazing project.