My husband Mike and I went in for my normal 32-week check-up. We had recently moved, and Mike wanted to meet the new doctor. We went in for the normal listening of the heartbeat and belly measurement. The nurse couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat. I just looked at Mike and told him, “This isn’t normal.” They asked us to come in for an ultrasound so that the doctor could “wake up this sleepy baby.”
I have never been so scared. The doctor only needed a few seconds. He turned the monitor away and said, “I’m sorry.” What? What does that mean? How did this happen? Tears. Blurriness. Confusion. Looking at Mike for an answer. Looking at the doctor for some miracle.
Our doctor became very serious and said that they had to worry about my safety now. That the baby had to be delivered. I needed to get to the hospital. What? We haven’t packed our bags yet. Our dog is at home. This is not supposed to be happening. I don’t understand.
The hospital admitted me and started to induce me. There is a special wing of a floor in the hospital for parents like us. Parents that would not be bringing a baby home. How is it possible there is a wing just for those purposes? After almost 24 hours of being induced, our baby girl Sophie was born. She was 3lbs. 3oz and 16 inches long. She was beautiful. She looked just like her daddy.
But her umbilical cord was hypercoiled and didn’t allow the necessary nutrients to get to her. No one understands why this happens. It happens one in a million times. It happened to us. She looked perfect. But she wasn’t breathing, and her little heart wasn’t beating. How did we get here?
They asked us if we wanted pictures of her. It seemed so weird to have a photography session at that moment, but we thought, we can never look at the pictures if we don’t want to, but we can’t go back and have them taken if we change our minds. How do you take a picture with your baby who is gone? Am I supposed to smile? The photographer told me to just be. The pictures, some hospital blankets, our memories, are all we have left of her. They are the greatest gift anyone in this world could ever give me. The pictures helped us heal, they help us remember, they help us tell her story.
NILMDTS did that for us. They continue to do that for us through the walk. By chairing the Ohio walk, we dedicate time to our daughter Sophie. We plan an event that, for us, is a celebration of her. Our family comes from across the country to walk and remember her. We honor her in a way we wouldn’t otherwise know how to. We are eternally grateful for the pictures NILMDTS gave us and the continuous opportunity to honor, remember, and celebrate our Sophie.
~ Stephanie, Mother to Sophie and NILMDTS Remembrance Walk Coordinator for Ohio
Join Stephanie’s family and others like her to honor your precious baby at the Ohio Remembrance Walk on June 22nd. Can’t make it to Ohio? Be sure to click here for a full list of Remembrance Walk locations for 2019.