Ten years ago today was a very emotional day for my sweet family. I was 24 weeks pregnant exactly with my second daughter. The pregnancy had already been wrought with complications and a roller coaster of emotions. The day after Christmas I had been admitted to the hospital due to blood pressures of 170/110 (nope, not a typo.) I also had elevated liver enzymes as my liver was beginning to shut down. I had severe preeclampsia. I had had preeclampsia with my first daughter a few years prior, but it was pretty mild and I had to deliver her three weeks early. So I was shocked to learn that I had developed it so early in the pregnancy and that our goal was to get to me to the 24 week mark of the pregnancy, still nearly 4 months before my baby girl’s due date of April 18th.
We had been diligently watching my baby with the ultrasound to see that the steroids for her lungs were working and were excited to see her “practice breathing” in the womb. Her movements had been active and she seemed to be doing well despite being very sick…. we both were. The various doctors had all come in and talked with me. I knew that she was sick. I knew the odds of a micro preemie surviving, and the odds of a sick one not.
That morning during the ultrasound my husband was with me. The tech, who was normally very excited about the baby’s movements and breathing was very quiet. As we went back to the room I told my husband that the ultrasound hadn’t gone well. He hadn’t been there for the others, so didn’t have anything to compare it to. When we returned to my room, the nurse quickly took away the food tray that had just been delivered. My doctor came in and told us that my sweet baby was in distress. Her organs were beginning to shut down in an effort to keep oxygen and blood flowing to the brain. We had to deliver… and NOW!
It was all surreal. I remember sitting on the table in the O.R. as they did a spinal anesthesia procedure. I was leaning against a nurse and just over her right shoulder was an isolette prepared for my sweet baby. It was then that I lost it. The sobs that washed over me as reality hit shook my entire frame. I couldn’t get the shaking under control. They layered blankets from the warmer, but still, the adrenaline coursing through my body fought against the efforts to remain calm. A sweet tender mercy of God happened at that time. My bishop had arrived and was given permission to enter the OR and together with my husband I was given a priesthood blessing. Immediately a calm and warmth washed over my body. The shaking and tears stopped. My bishop was rushed out of the OR and the surgery began.
The room was nearly silent. And then the silence was broken with what sounded like two little kitten yelps. The doctors were shocked and then excited and said, “Did you hear that? Did you hear her? That was your little girl.” But really, the words that struck me most were spoken by my husband at my right ear as he whispered, “She is so small.” And she was. My sweet baby weighed just 13 oz and was 8 1/2″ long. You can’t even imagine it. The only thing I was able to see of her before they whisked her away to the NICU was the smallest foot I have ever seen.
My sweet little girl was strong and fought hard. I asked her to wait for me, and she did. I was still very sick and was unable to see her for more than a day and a half….. half of her short life.
It is amazing to me that even after 10 years, I still remember so many of the little details. I remember meeting people who had also lost their babies. One had lost her baby 9 years prior. I couldn’t imagine 9 years. That was a lifetime away. And now it is 10 years.
Happy Birthday in Heaven Sweet Kelsi. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you, miss you and wish you were here. I will always wonder who you would be, what your interests would be, what our family would be like if you were here with us.