Our beautiful daughter, Savannah Hope Schumacher, was born an angel on October 9, 2015.
She spent over 33 weeks being nurtured and loved by Jill and was lost to a terrible umbilical cord accident. And while taking this opportunity to celebrate and remember our precious child, we also want to share our story in hopes of educating others.
On Thursday, October 8, 2015, Jill had a scheduled ultrasound to try to determine the cause of having excess amniotic fluid that was detected at the 32 week ultrasound. Along with non-stress tests, there was also concern as to why Savannah was not practicing her breathing, something most babies do at this gestational age. When we arrived for our appointment, at worst we thought Savannah may be delivered early, but never in our darkest dreams were we prepared for what would await us. Almost immediately, we knew something was wrong and our sweet baby no longer had a heartbeat.
As terrible as this nightmare was, it was only made worse by having to share the news with our two daughters Ella (age 7) and Kennedy (age 4). They were incredibly excited to become big sisters and had fallen in love with Savannah from the beginning. Each morning they would talk to baby Savannah and tell her how excited they were to meet her. They would tell her stories, sing songs to her, and feel her little kicks in Jill’s belly. They were helping me paint her room and counting down the days until they would get to meet her. Their sadness is only more complicated by their age which made the news that much more difficult to comprehend.
The following day, after grieving with the girls, we went to the hospital and Savannah was delivered by c-section at 11:30 in the morning. It had quickly become apparent that she had developed an umbilical cord that was wound so tightly, the life-giving oxygen and nutrients being provided by Jill could no longer be delivered.
She was beautiful and perfect. 4 pounds, 7 ounces, with a full head of dark brown hair. I was able to hold her for a few hours while Jill recovered, and later in the day she was baptized while we held her closely in our arms. On Saturday afternoon, Jill and I were able to spend time alone with her. Holding her, singing to her, and telling her how loved she was. The time had come and we had to say goodbye. It was a moment we never wanted to have happen, and one we will never forget.
The incredible outpouring of support from family and friends has helped us during this time, but the sadness and grief that we feel will be with us for the rest of our lives. And knowing we will not be able to watch Savannah grow, nor will we be able to hold her again, she will forever grow with our family and we will always hold her in our hearts. Our family has a guardian angel looking over them throughout our lives.
We will now dedicate our remaining days to finding the cause of the umbilical cord accident that impacted our family and took Savannah away from us and will work tirelessly to ensure the pain we are experiencing will never be felt again by another family.
The Star Legacy Foundation is an organization that was formed after Lindsay and Trent Wimmer lost their son Garrett, to a similar umbilical cord accident in 2004. Their mission is to raise funding and awareness so that better technology, education and research are available to families and healthcare providers. This has now become our mission.
Thank you so much for your hard work on getting the Savannah Hope Stillborn Tax Credit all the way to the floor. I am trying to get it to get reintroduced for families. https://www.change.org/Stillbirthtaxcredit
You did so much of the hard work for us.
Love to your family,
Jon Rodger’s Mommy