Always in My Thoughts, Forever in My Heart

by Melissa Gutierrez

On September 18 I gave birth to my first daughter. For 9 days she graced us with her presence. This is our story...

My pregnancy had been normal. No call for alarm. I was a healthy 25 year-old. Our ultrasound was wonderful! Our sweet little bean was active and healthy and everything else was in its rightful place. I had an appointment on the 17th. Heart rate was normal and movements were fine.

The following morning, I woke up and went about my day. I took my glucose test and during that time I started feeling horribly nauseous. I chalked it up to that horrid orange soda. When I got back to work, I was still feeling kind of weird. My stomach was rock hard, but there was no pain. I went to the restroom and noticed that part of my plug had passed. I was just a few days past 26 weeks, so this was not a good sign. It was time to go to the hospital.

I called my husband and he met me there. The nurse-on-call checked the baby's heart rate and said everything was fine. She was just about to send me home when the doctor ordered a non-stress test. They had me hooked to the monitors for about 6 minutes. Just long enough to see that my contractions were 2 minutes apart. The only way I could notice them was when my stomach tightened. There was no pain.

I was wheeled to labor and delivery where they checked and found that I was 5 cm dilated. They did everything they could to stop labor, but it only stalled for a couple of hours. They gave the steroid shots for lung development, and at 9:18 p.m., after 7 long hours of "non-labor", our little girl was born.

She let out one heart-wrenching cry and was immediately hooked to every machine the hospital had! She was wheeled directly to the NICU. We spent all of our time in the room with her and tried our hardest to stay optimistic.

Initially the outlook was great -- minimal brain bleeding. She was doing good breathing with the machine. Things started to slowly go downhill. First they found more bleeding, and then she had to have a chest tube, then another tube, and then blood transfusions, and finally an aspirin to get the PDA valve to close in her little heart. The aspirin caused her intestines to rupture, and it was the straw that broke our backs.

What kind of life would she have? The brain damage from the bleeding would make her a breathing vegetable. The rupture required surgery. Her eyes were still fused shut. After some serious soul searching and millions of tears, my husband and I decided that the best option would be to allow her to pass peacefully and not have to endure any more of the pain that we were putting her through trying to save the little bit of a life that she would have.

So on September 27 we said good-bye to our little girl. She lived for 3 hours off of the life support and died in our arms. It was the first and last time I got to hold her in my arms.

The weeks that followed were more than difficult. I can not put into words the loss that we felt. Her name became taboo. We did everything we could to put her into our memories alone.

It has now been years since she came into our lives. We note her special days with tears and hugs. It hasn't gotten any easier, and I suppose that it never will. Nothing ever could take the place of that wonderful little being, and though she may not have stayed in our lives long, she touched us in ways that no one else ever could have.

Always in my thoughts, forever in my heart.
Rayvn Nicole
Our Early Bird

Copyright © Melissa Gutierrez. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.