After a long and intensive search, we had finally found a Midwife that we were comfortable with to help us welcome our daughter Deena Penelope. We were going to give our daughter the best chance of being born naturally and we were going to have the chance to deliver her just like we planned. The midwife understood our birth plan and we were ready for Deena Penelope to arrive on 8/14/2012.
Laura had a healthy pregnancy. We did everything that could be done to be ready for our baby. We had some challenges including the possibility of Laura having gestational diabetes, but she watched everything she ate and kept it under control.
On Tuesday 8/14/12, Laura went to the beach near our house to relax and wait for our precious little bundle of joy to arrive. At the end of the day she became worried because she couldn’t remember any movements. She drank and ate, laid on her side and nothing. We started to panic but didn’t want to have any negative thoughts so we went to bed praying that the baby was just relaxed, like she was at the beach, and that she will be ready to kick later. Just in case, she went to see the midwife to confirm Deena was ok. Laura went to the midwife with her sister, while Chad was at work. The midwife was not there but the back-up Doctor was. At 9:30am our world came crashing down when the Doctor could not find Deena’s heartbeat.
Laura didn’t want to believe it and asked him to check again and again and again….but our baby had slipped away. Laura was sent to the hospital right away with her sister, and was later joined there by Chad. The situation was very surreal. It all just felt like a horrible nightmare but at the same time we just kept thinking that at the hospital they’d be able to find the heartbeat. The ultrasound confirmed that our baby had no heartbeat, her little lifeless body was still inside the womb, and there was nothing that could have been done to save her. Nobody could do anything to bring her back to life. All that was left was to deliver her… all that was left was to say hello and goodbye all at the same time. The nurses were very kind to us, but decisions had to be made and it was overwhelming. Did we want an amnio that would perhaps tell us the cause of death? Did we want an autopsy that would perhaps tell us the cause of death? Did we want a burial, cremation, a service? You see, the horrible thing about stillbirth is that you might never know why it happened. All we wanted was our daughter to be alive.
Cytotec was used to induce labor. Laura didn’t feel any labor pain, perhaps because she felt her soul was somehow gone with her daughter’s and she couldn’t feel anything but sadness. On Thursday around 9:30am, Laura’s water was broken to speed up the birth process, and that’s when the physical pain started. Contractions were not rhythmic and the pain was strong and constant, no breaks. They still needed to monitor Laura to check that the contractions were not too strong for her body. With our daughter not being alive anymore, we decided that labor pain was not worth it and Laura got an epidural around 11:30am. At around 2:00pm Laura felt physical pain again. Laura felt Deena’s head really low and a strong desire to push. They checked Laura to see if they should call the anesthesiologist but Deena was already coming out. The epidural did its job until stage 2 kicked in. She started pushing with each contraction and Chad was right there with her. After a few more pushes Deena came out silently. That must have been the most deafening silence anyone could ever hear. All we could think was that a miracle was going to happen any minute, any second and that Deena was going to start crying, breathing, living. Even when the midwife put her on Laura’s chest, we still had hopes that someone made a mistake and that she was going to start breathing any second.
We cried and cried and cried while holding her on Laura’s chest. Chad cut the cord which had no knots, no signs of any problems, no cord accident, nothing. Our Deena was just perfect at 7lbs and 21 inches. She looked just like Chad when he was a baby. We never loved anyone more than we love our little Deena. We dressed her with the clothes she was supposed to come home wearing, we hugged her, kissed her little nose, cheeks, feet, hands, kissed her and kissed her. We took some pictures and told her how much mommy and daddy love her.
We held a service in her honor on Saturday Aug.18 where we said “See you later”, in our minds we just put her to bed for a long nap. She is in heaven and her memories will always hold a special place in our hearts. We chose to have her little body cremated, and have her ashes in a very special keepsake urn that will stay with us always. We know that someday we will be together again. Her little urn has an engraved plate that says “We held you in our arms for a little while, we will hold you in our hearts forever”.
Every year, along with family and friends, our team, “Deena’s Dirt Dashers”, participate in a mud run, raising money to help organizations such as the Star Legacy Foundation. We donate proceeds from ticket and team t-shirt sales to organizations that help to increase awareness and support research of stillbirth and pregnancy loss, in the hopes that no other parents will have to go through this tragedy that is unfortunately more common that most people realize.