Photo Credit: Nicola Dolden
Our daughter Rudy's heart suddenly stopped beating at 18 weeks.
She was born silently into the world on January 6, 2020.
We lost another baby at 10 weeks on June 17, 2020.
So when we managed to make it to 12 weeks in our next pregnancy—and our dating scan came through on Rudy's first birthday—we thought that it was fate and everything would be okay.
However, we found out that day that our baby had a large cystic hygroma. We were referred to the fetal medicine unit. We had a CVS and were told if these results were negative then the baby would likely have a heart condition and the prognosis would be better.
The results came back a few days later. Our baby did not have any chromosome disorders and we learned we were having a little girl. We were instantly hopeful that our baby would be okay.
Sadly, at 16.5 weeks, we were given the devastating news that she was incompatible with life. We were told she had a diaphragmatic hernia, facial and hand deformities, kidney problems, and that the cystic hygroma was considerably worse.
We were advised that she wouldn't make it to full term and a termination was recommended. We decided to let her go in her own time and continue with the pregnancy until she was ready to pass.
We had bi-weekly ultrasounds and each time her condition was worse.
Her bowels were severely blocked and her lungs had stopped forming due to the contents of her lower torso being in her chest. We had a palliative care plan in place and that is when I shared hers and Rudy's story with Still Loved, when I was still pregnant.
We decided to call our little girl Aurora, after Sleeping Beauty. Aurora never stopped moving after 24 weeks. All day and all night she would violently move and buck. I never slept, but I didn't mind because it was time we spent together.
Sadly, at 27 weeks she had gained too much fluid in her belly and it was becoming dangerous for me to deliver her naturally. This wasn't enough for me to agree to any type of procedure. But the realization that maybe she never stopped moving because she was in pain was enough for us to finally make the decision to help her along.
The morning of the TFMR, she wasn't moving on the way to the hospital. And I prayed and prayed that she had passed away on her own. I was so sure that she had.
But there she was on the screen, her heart beating away. I didn't want to do it. It just felt so unnatural to agree to something so barbaric to a much loved and wanted little girl. The second the needle went into her heart, she passed within seconds. It was instant, and I hoped that was her way of telling me she was ready.
Princess Aurora was born on April 12, 2021, weighing 3 pounds, 7 ounces. She was absolutely beautiful and I fell so madly in love with her. I will always, always love my beautiful girls and I miss them more than anyone could ever imagine.
We recently found out, almost 10 months after Aurora's birth, that there was no genetic reason for her condition, which means that we likely lost two beautiful girls for two different, unrelated reasons.
Thank you Nicola Dolden for sharing your story. Shared with permission.
Pregnancy and infant loss can leave grieving parents feeling isolated and unsure how to navigate the heartbreaking circumstance of living without their precious baby. Unexpecting delicately helps grieving parents navigate the complexities and heartache of life after loss.
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