Sisterhood of Angel Mama’s Magazine | Issue 03
Written and Photo by Christina Ernster
Last week I noticed some strange discharge that did not feel normal. I reached out to my doctor’s office and they assured me it was okay and to contact them if it changes to blood. Well, it changed to blood so I immediately went to urgent care. My doctor was not in yet so I saw someone else who listened to my baby’s heartbeat and sent me out the door and assured me everything was okay and very normal. I did not feel comfortable with that answer so I sent my doctor a few pictures of what it looked like when I wiped after going to the bathroom. She immediately called me and thought I may be going into pre-term labor and that I needed to get in for an ultrasound to check my cervix. This was Thursday of last week and once the ultrasound was done we found I was in pre-term labor and dilated to 3.5-4cm. We were told we needed to rush to a hospital almost 2 hours away to be seen by a group of specialized people in the NICU.
We got the dogs and put them into daycare and drove which felt like the speed of light to the hospital. Once we arrived I was hooked up to so many different things, I spoke to so many different doctors/nurses and put on bed rest. Between the steroid shots, Magnesium drip, blood draws and other things this was supposed to stop pre-term labor from happening. I found comfort in hearing my baby’s heartbeat on the monitor and every time she moved or kicked which was often. It made me feel like everything was okay.
The next day they found Whitley’s foot was stuck in my cervix along with the umbilical chord and she was breech. They tilted me backwards on the bed for 3 hours and put a catheter in hoping gravity would work to get the chord out of my cervix. After 3 very uncomfortable hours they found the chord moved but the foot was still in my cervix. They still felt this was okay because I was not having anymore contractions and if we could just keep her cooking a few weeks longer the outcome would be okay. 48 hours, I was hooked up to IVs and given 2 shots of steroids. By 8pm on Saturday they were done with those IVs and everyone had high hopes she was going to stay in place. I took a shower and noticed weird pain again in my abdomen and discharge. Back to the table to be checked.
What happened next was a whirl wind. After feeling like everything will be okay and my baby will be too and that I will just be on bedrest in the hospital for a few weeks until they deliver to now. I had dilated 5cm and I felt her foot, “we need to get you in for a C-Section now”, they said. My fiancé and I were so scared and I just remember feeling like I couldn’t breathe because I was crying so hard from fear for myself and our daughter.
Whitley was born at 9:40pm that Saturday night. The doctors and nurses worked on her for 25 minutes but ultimately decided her lungs were undeveloped and they could not get her heart rate up enough. She weighed 1.8 pounds and was 12 inches long. She was perfect in every way, shape and form. We heard her little cry when they pulled her from my stomach. I didn’t realize babies could cry at 24 weeks. We held our baby girl while she was taking her final breaths in the hours after she was born. It all happened so fast.
All of our hopes and dreams of our little family with this perfect little girl was gone. The hospital let us keep her for almost 48 hours before we sent her off with the funeral home that was close to our home. I don’t know what was harder, watching our baby girl take her last breathe or handing over our little angel to a complete stranger to start the process of sending her off. We got home 2 days ago and although she was never in our home it feels empty. We had already had put together a dresser and changing table for her. We bought her a crib and countless of other things. Today, we headed to the funeral home to pick out a plot of land for her and finalize everything for the funeral on Saturday. Everyone keeps telling me how strong I am, how strong my fiancé is but we have no choice. We did not chose to lose our sweet baby girl. I’m unsure how tomorrow or next week looks. I feel like I’m living day by day or maybe minute by minute. A parent should never have to bury their child.