We lost our little baby angel Leah on July 25, 2019.
Our journey with Baby Leah started when we found out we were pregnant the morning of December 3, 2018. This was such a happy morning and it felt like the start of something so amazing. On January 3, 2019, we had our first OB appointment and that was the first time we heard Leah’s heartbeat, it was strong and full of life.
Unlike many pregnancies, I felt really good the first 3 months; no nausea, no sickness, no food craving …etc. Because I was over 35 years old, I had to perform few additional testing which I did and they all came back normal. Since all of my non-invasive testing came back with very good result, I opted out of any invasive testing (such as the amnio). My entire 9 months of pregnancy was healthy without a single red flag. My doctor said that since I was over 35, she was not going to let me go past my 40 weeks so if I do not go into labor prior to 40 weeks, I would be induced on Friday July 26; that would have been a day past my 39 weeks.
On Monday July 22nd, I called my doctor to ask few questions and one of them being decreased movement. I spoke to my doctor’s nurse, she asked me if the baby was moving at all and I said yes but I feel the movement less. She said because she has less space, the movement intensity is less, so as long as I still feel her kicks around the same time I always did, it was fine.
Tuesday evening, I felt her move but it was for a short period of time; I did not think much of it since I just had that conversation with my doctor’s nurse the day before. On Wednesday, I spent the day with my mom; we shopped, we ate lunch, we watched TV, I was feeling great. Wednesday evening, I laid down looking forward to feel those little kicks, I did not feel anything so I thought maybe she kicked during the day and I just did not notice. I told my husband I was going to call the doctor again first thing in the morning.
I woke up Thursday morning at 3am with contractions. We started timing the contractions and by 6am, they were 5 minutes apart so we headed to the hospital. We drove to the hospital, we checked in, and one of the nurses came and said, “Let me check your baby’s heartbeat”. She spent about 5 minutes trying and she could not find it. She said another nurse will come check and that sometimes the baby is turned in a way where the heartbeat can’t be heard. The second nurse came and also she could not find the heartbeat. They told me that they are calling a doctor to try to locate the heartbeat on the ultrasound. I started to really panic. The doctor came and she was rolling with her the ultrasound screen. While she is looking at the screen, she asked my husband to come sit close to me and my heart just started racing. She looked at the screen, then she looked at us and said, “There is no heartbeat, I am sorry for your loss”; those are the words that no parent ever wants to hear. I started crying but no tears were falling down. I told her she was mistaken, I asked her to look again and she will see that the heartbeat, I told her that just last week, my baby had a strong heartbeat and there is no way it just stopped, I asked for another doctor to come and check again. Another doctor came and confirmed our worst nightmare, our sweet baby Leah has passed.
They highly recommended regular delivery and I went with that; it was a hard decision because I was still thinking I need to get my baby out as soon as possible and maybe she will breath or cry or move, maybe a miracle could happen. They started inducing me around 10:00am then around 3:00pm, it was time to start pushing. At that moment, I felt I was about to be executed, I did not want to push but I knew I had to for my Leah. I started pushing and an hour and a half after, our baby Leah was born sleeping at 4:35pm, she weighed 5.10 lbs. and was 19 inches long, she was beautiful and perfect. The moment she was delivered, I was jumping out of the bed to get a glimpse at her, and I just could not wait. Holding her in my arms was by far the happiest and saddest moment of my live; the feeling is indescribable. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on. I spent few hours with her hoping she would cry, she just needed to cry but she never did. I hugged her, smelled her, kissed her, I could not get enough of her.
Upon delivery, no issues were noted, the umbilical cord had no knots, the placenta looked good and was intact, nothing that would have caused this was observed. We decided to perform an autopsy to understand what happened. We received the autopsy results after about a month and there it was. One of the arteries in the umbilical cord was 80% blocked and the other one was fully blocked. They said that this is usually observed with the presence of amniotic bands that could wrap around the umbilical cord and cause an injury but there was no evidence of amniotic bands upon delivery. They said it is highly likely that a kink or pressure caused an injury on the inside that led to the stenosis and that was determined to be the cause of death.
Before receiving the autopsy result, I was feeling such enormous guilt; what did I do? Did I eat something I shouldn’t have? Did I pick up something heavy? Did I lay down the wrong way? Leah was so healthy and strong for 9 months, how could it end like this? After receiving the autopsy results, I did get closure and feel less guilt but it did not go away completely, it’s always there. The guilt of my body failing her, the guilt of coming home and leaving her behind at the hospital, the guilt of sleeping in my bed while hers was just empty, the every day guilt that never goes away.
Our journey with baby Leah was so short and ended on July 25, 2019. We were so looking forward to staying up all night, every night to feed her, to hold her, to kiss her, to change her diapers; we would have enjoyed every bit of it. Leaving the hospital without our baby girl was so difficult and being home without her the past couple months feels so sad and empty, we miss her every minute of every day.