Maggie Anela

In October 2005, I found out I was pregnant with my 4th child. I was slightly nervous but quickly became excited at the thought of being a mother of four. I had an ultrasound at 9 weeks to determine my dates, another at 13 weeks to screen for Down Syndrome and yet another at 18 weeks when I learned I was having a 4th girl!!! All of the ultrasounds were completely normal…no cause for alarm! I had a routine doctor visit at 21 weeks and yet again we heard a strong heartbeat. My 22nd/ 23rd week was extremely hectic…with work, my 3 other children and a friend having a mastectomy. Towards the end of the week, I started to get concerned that I hadn’t felt her move recently. I went to work on the Friday and on the way bought a large Dunkin Donut’s coffee…still nothing. I ate a bag of Sweet-tart hearts and still nothing. That night after putting my other kids to bed, I thought I should really concentrate on trying to feel her move. I laid down, jiggled my belly, etc and still nothing. Part of me knew something was terribly wrong, while the other part kept saying she’s just being stubborn and sleeping… ‘I’ve been so busy!’

The next day I woke up, showered, and left 2 of my 3 children (with the stomach flu) with my husband. I drove to the hospital by myself, again part of me thinking and hoping ‘I’d be home in an hour’; while the other part kept thinking ‘I’m not going home’. One image I will never get out of my mind is watching the doctor as he searched for the heartbeat, then turned off the machine and said “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat.”

After my husband joined me I had several tests which revealed several complications preventing me from delivering vaginally. I was later transferred to a Boston hospital where it was later determined that I could proceed with a vaginal delivery. I am so glad I was able to do this. On February 5, 2007, after 10 hours of labor, I delivered my daughter, Maggie Anela. ‘Anela’ is Hawaiian for ‘Angel.’ She was 12 in and 15 oz.

My husband and I spent time holding and loving Maggie and have beautiful pictures, footprints, hand prints, blankets and her hat in a memory box. We were suddenly faced with a number of decisions, autopsy, cremation, funeral, etc.

We decided against an invasive autopsy. We had Maggie cremated and returned to us in a small silver box with her name and date of birth engraved on the top. Around the side we had engraved “Some people only dream of angels…we held one in our arms.” I wear a small white gold band around my pinky, the one she ‘held’…so that she will be with me always.

Upon delivery, the doctor noted that 2 of Maggie’s fingers were webbed and her hand needed to be cut off of the umbilical cord. When I got home, I searched on-line for information about webbed fingers and umbilical cords. I found lots of information on Amniotic Band Syndrome. When I went into my 2-week follow-up I brought lots of information with me. Sure enough, my doctor had the final pathologist report, which diagnosed Amniotic Band Syndrome. In addition to the above findings, Maggie had also been missing the end of her pinky finger. The fingers had attached to the umbilical cord and cut off blood supply.

There is some peace in knowing this, yet it does not lessen the pain and hurt of losing a child. The emotions are so intense at times. My friends and family have been a wonderful support. I have found comfort in reading the stories of others and talking with others who have experienced a loss as well. Our angels are in heaven looking down on us.