Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Anna Marie

This is a little past due but if you are expecting a coherent update you will be very disappointment. This is going to be a jumbled mess of a post.

On 11/11/13 I went to work. I prayed on my drive there like I have done for the last 2 months. I prayed that I would feel her move and that it would be a sign, a sort of reassurance that she was ok. That's how I felt about every movement. I called for the intercession of the Saints and spoke most directly to the most perfect Mother. I just thought she would understand how I was feeling.

I didn't feel her for most of the morning, but I often don't pay much attention when I'm that busy at work. Then, I felt it. that fluttering. It was the most undeniably movement I had felt thus far, it was strong. And I prayed a silent "thank you" to God for that sign. I could now relax, and breathe and feel good about my OB appointment that afternoon. I was actually anticipating it. Every appointment felt like a milestone to me.

I was going to go by myself but Patrick realized he was going to be off work in time for my 4:15 appointment. It's nice when he can make it. Driving to the doctor I realized that in the business of my day I had not felt her move anymore. Not since I felt that very obvious fluttering earlier in the day. Moments later I felt a pain. It was really more like a cramp but it was sharp. It lasted a few seconds and then nothing. I brushed it off. It was easy to convince myself that everything was going to be fine... "I felt her move today."

Every time I go to the Dr, no matter how early or late I am, I end up waiting a good 30 minutes. No one seems to be in a hurry in that office. But I always am. We are a very special kind of nervous first time parents.

The Dr finally came in and asked how we were doing with everything, and if I had been feeling a lot of movement which I proudly said I had. She asked if we had talked about names, and we told her we had. We were going to name her Anna Marie. She asked when my next Perinatal appointment was and if they had talked about Genetic Counseling for us given the diagnosis of Turner Syndrome. It was a nice talk, really, and probably the most positive feeling one we had had in a while. I think Patrick and I were just finally feeling confident about everything. And I felt like a proud mother... we were beating the odds!

She got the doppler out and we listened closely.


After several minutes of nervous searching she looked at me and said, "I'm sorry. I'm not finding a heartbeat." She left the room to grab the portable ultrasound and I didn't shed a tear. "This isn't happening. This can't happen," I said to myself. And I told Patrick that I didn't think she was very good at finding the heartbeat anyways... which was a lie. Plus I had felt her move THAT MORNING. I was trying to stay positive. But we both knew. And she confirmed it with the ultrasound. Anna was very still and there was no movement anymore, not even in the place where I could always see her little heart pumping.

In that very moment my heart broke. There are not words to describe the feeling. The pain. The utter sadness that I felt. I tried to be strong in front of the doctor but eventually I couldn't do it anymore. She left the room to give us a few minutes alone. Patrick and I held on to each other for a long time and cried. I don't even know what was said between us. It was a long time but somehow it just feels like a blur.

On 11/12/13, my mom flew in to Wichita. Thank God for that. I knew I needed her I just didn't know how much.

On 11/13/13 at 5 AM I was admitted to the hospital to deliver our baby girl. I was going to be strong. I was going to be induced and I was going to hold it together and I would have this baby in probably the next 10-12 hrs. I thought...

I didn't feel my first contraction until about noon. It was not painful, just a little uncomfortable. by 2 PM I was exhausted and just ready for it to be over. By 5 PM, 12 hours after admission.... still no baby and honestly not much pain.

Labor happened just like it always does so I won't give you a play by play. But I will tell you, it was hard and I did feel pain. And at one point I thought, "If I was having a live baby this might be worth it." But then I pushed that thought aside. She was worth it.

On 11/14/13, with no doctor in the room and no nurse at my side, I had Anna Marie at 0621 AM. It happened really fast (when sounds funny since it took over 24 hrs for her to arrive) so my mom didn't get to leave the room like we originally planned. My mom and Patrick were on either side of me holding my hands through the hardest part and I thank God they were there.

My mom left the room and Patrick and I held our little girl. We cried and hugged and kissed and stared at her beautiful face. She had Patrick's nose and my eyes. Even though her poor little body wasn't "perfect" because of her condition, she was so perfect to me. She was so sweet. I could have stared at her all day. And if she had been alive I could have stared at her all day every day. I wish that had been the case....

Our parents came in and joined us and they took turns holding her but I held her the most. I knew our time with her was limited. The funeral home would be coming to pick her up. I knew logically we could not take her home but I wanted to. I knew logically we could not stay at the hospital with her but I wanted to. I knew she wasn't alive but holding her felt so good and so right and I didn't want it to end.

After about 6 hrs, the funeral home came to pick her up. They came and got her from our hospital room. I refused to let them take her to Pathology to lay on a cold table by herself. I didn't care if she wasn't alive. I didn't want her to be by herself. And I didn't care how irrational I sounded saying that either... so they made an exception.

Handing her to the gentleman from the funeral home broke my heart all over again. That was the last moment I would ever look at my first little baby girl, my sweet little Anna. That was it. It was very anticlimactic. Very final. And it hurt my heart. I have never felt sadness like that.

The funeral was two days later. It was a small gravesite service attending only by my mom, sister, in-laws, our two best friends, Patrick and me. It went too fast. And when it ended I felt that same feeling of finality. And my heart hurt again.

It has been three weeks now. I have been back to work for a while now. Everyone asks how I'm doing and I just say, "I'm ok." I don't really know how to answer that. It never seemed like such a complex question before. The thing is, I'd be lying if I said I'm great but really.... I'm not falling apart. I'm ok.

The reason I'm not wallowing in sadness (which I think would be perfectly acceptable for anyone who has lost a child by the way) is because I'm not afraid. I was afraid that Anna's life would mean nothing because she didn't really get to live. I was worried she would suffer and feel pain. I was never worried about me. I was always afraid for her and how her condition would affect her life. But the thing is, her life meant the world. She WAS important and she WAS a part of the Big Plan. People believed and prayed and showed love because of Anna. Anna made me talk to God in a way that I didn't know I could. She made me love her and Patrick in ways I never knew I could. She was everything to me and because of her I will never be the same.

Let me be clear... I cry all the time. I cried typing this because it felt like I was reliving it. I'm sad, really I am. I miss her. I miss carrying her around with me and feeling her move inside me. I wish she was still here. But I have no regrets about any of it. I would not do anything differently. I wouldn't trade those 6 hours of holding her for anything in the world. I will never forget it. Those were precious moments and I will always look back on this as a special memory... a very happy and very sad memory. And I will always love my little girl.

Thank you for your prayers. We all have another angel to watch over us now.


  1. Such a beautiful name, Hilary. What a special and sweet angel you have...continued prayers for you and Patrick.

  2. So glad you held your baby for as long as you could. God bless you and Mary comfort you in your sorrow. I understand what you mean about missing your baby girl...

    Cry whenever you need to cry and don't apologize for it. That's one thing I am glad I never apologize for...I cry when I need to cry...sure, now it's less often than it was before...but it just helps sometimes to feel everything.

    Many prayers for you. Praying and asking sweet Anna Marie's intercession for your comfort and peace.

  3. Beautiful...just beautiful. I'm so proud of you Hilary. My heart is full of sorrow and joy as I read the thoughts of my baby girl as she reflects on the loss of her baby girl. You are an amazing young woman with incredible strength. Our sweet Anna Marie will never be forgotten. She has touched the lives of many including 250 teens in Texas who learned what "life" and "faith" really mean. Anna was a witness to and changed the lives of many without ever taking her first breath. Your daughter is a saint and heaven is rejoicing with her. I love you and grieve with you.

  4. Hilary, I am so sorry for your loss. You and Patrick are in my prayers.

    Loving God, ever caring and gentle, we commend to Your care Anna Marie.
    With us for so short a time, enfold her in eternal life.
    We pray for Hilary and Patrick who are saddened by the loss of their child.
    Give them strength and consolation in their suffering.
    May they all meet one day in the joy and peace of Your kingdom.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.

  5. Just surfed over from Katie's blog. I'm sorry to hear about all of this and I'm glad you did get some time with her after birth.