This is the story of my daughter Zoey who was born stillborn from ABS. I am type 1 diabetic, have been for many years. I was diagnosed as being so at 7 years old. I was told at 13 years old that I would never be able to have children; supposedly my uterus was not strong enough. So when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter Makayla I was excited and surprised. I was 3 months pregnant when I found out so I had to make a major life style adjustment. I knew it was a great thing and that if I had carried that long she had a super chance of surviving. It was an uncomfortable pregnancy, and I was quite ill, but to have that baby I always dreamt about would be heaven. She was born 5 weeks early, with no complications, at 8lbs 10oz
My second pregnancy was much a surprise as the first. My husband and I were planning a marriage and a life long commitment when we got the news. Pregnant again. WOW! It was the most exciting news for two people who never expected any other chances.
As the pregnancy continued I was feeling reasonable well. At 4 months of my pregnancy I felt horrible pains that I could not explain. They were only there for about 10 minutes, and when I explained this to my doctor she said that a few pains here and there where normal. So I went on thinking everything was normal. At 24 weeks of pregnancy I was sent to the Woman’s Hospital in Vancouver for a fetal echo on the baby’s heart (normal procedure for diabetics who are pregnant). When they did the ultrasound they told us that the baby’s heart was in perfect condition. We were very happy. They said that we should hold tight, that they where going to get a pediatric doctor to come in as well to look at the ultrasound. We were told that facial clefts were normal for babies of diabetic mothers, and that they were worried that this baby might have one. The doctor looked at it from every angle and determined that it was not a typical cleft. Usually they would be from nose to mouth, but not this one. It had actually extended the corners of her mouth, almost to her cheek bones. We then needed to know the sex of the baby; for fear that facial deformities are not looked upon well in girls, in this society. To our dismay it was indeed a girl. We then got back in the car for a long ride home and I cried. Maybe I had did something wrong. Maybe I never took the best care of myself, and so on. My husband then assured me that I was a great mother, and we would do everything we could to help her in her journey as a child, and as a woman. I felt a bit better and got on with life, and tried to only think of the best. She would be beautiful to me no matter what.
It was a normal morning. I got my daughter, Makayla, ready for the day. We were going to go to the park, I was now on a medical release from work and could spend more time with Makayla. That morning as I put Makayla down for a nap I began to feel uneasy. I had a heavy sinking feeling and knew something was wrong. I then told my husband that I hadn’t felt the baby kick for hours and I thought that there was something wrong. He tried to reassure me that everything was fine and suggested that I should call the doctors office if I was worried. I called and they told me to come into the office ASAP, that it wasn’t normal for me to not feel the baby moving for that amount of time. I went to the clinic only to have the doctor listen for the baby’s heart beat. She found no heart beat. We were then told to go see my neonatologist at the hospital for further tests. As soon as I got in the car I started balling. I know there is something wrong I told my husband repeatedly. He told me to stop worrying that we wouldn’t know anything until we got to the hospital, maybe everything would be fine, and I might be worrying about nothing. I felt alone.
When we got to the hospital I was quickly taken in, only to pass all of these happy pregnant women, waiting patiently for there ultrasound. Some of the women with ultrasound pictures already in their hands. When the doctor did the ultrasound he said that he could not find a heart beat. I screamed no… it seemed like for hours. The nurse tried to comfort me while she was also crying, along with the doctor. My husband just stood there, helpless……
We opted to come back the next day to deliver the baby. I needed time to think, and so did my husband. I cried all day, and all night. My husband’s mother was there and she listened while he rambled on about everything and anything that went wrong in his life. I listened too and just cried, trying to feel his pain as well. I was trying to put myself in his shoes. He eventually passed out, and I cried so much that I fell asleep beside him.
I endured 73 hours of labor when I finally delivered Zoey. She was so beautiful. She looked identical to her sister Makayla. She weighed in at 3lbs 1oz. The doctors asked me if I wanted to hold her and I said no. I asked if everyone else could hold her and say good bye first. I was drugged way too much and wanted a clearer head. My dad, my aunty, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and husband all held her and said good bye to her. I then had my turn. She was so beautiful. She had a full head of hair. Eye lashes, eye brows, finger nails. Everything was there, yes she did have a facial cleft, and a bit of her hair was missing but she was prefect in every way. I didn’t know how to say good-bye. So held her tight and just kissed and hugged her. I knew her for so long but when hello means good-bye it feels like your whole world is about to crumble.
It was shortly after that I was told she had passed away from amniotic band syndrome. I had never heard of it before. The Dr. explained that the amniotic band had wrapped itself around the umbilical cord 3 times. He said it was tough like guitar string, sticky like glue and transparent and that’s why it could not be seen on an ultrasound. I had a hard time digesting what he had said, so I got dressed and went home. I still needed time.
Two days later I had thought a lot about what had happened. I wrote her a letter, and bought her an outfit. I came back to the hospital to say my last good-bye. One that I could remember. The nurse handed me my baby again and I started to weep, and I asked if I could be alone with her. I kissed her cold little body and read her my letter. I want you to take this with you where-ever you go so you know that you we always be loved by your family. The outfit I told her was to keep her warm, like she had kept me warm for 7 months.
We then had her cremated 1 week later and gave her back to the earth, and to God. It was a day trip. We had our little yearn, with some of her belongings. While the rest of the remains were placed in a little brown box. I held on to that little brown box for the whole 2 hour drive. The entire trip was miserable. It rained the whole way. If felt like as soon as we turned off the car the rain had stopped and the heavens had opened up. We found the perfect spot in our eyes, to lay her to rest. It was at the bottom of a water fall. We figured that her spirit could travel for a bit before going on to that place that we will all go to one day.
Then the thoughts of her being in pain, and if I did something wrong, came back. We seen grief counselors and it turns out that sometimes you have to do things on your own. It took me a long time to accept that god had mercy on her, and it did something to our lives that was both great and tragic. She will always be my blessing from god. And nothing will replace her.
I felt I had to tell my story as I have had another beautiful child Jayden, who is three, and I will be having one more boy in late July. My children are very important to me and they have changed me in many ways. I sat here this Mother’s Day (2003) and was happy that my children touched me in so many ways.
I sure do miss you Zoey, and I love you dearly. Love your Mommy forever and always.