Rachna’s Story


On March 1, 2020 I found out I was pregnant. My husband was out of town at the time, because his father was transitioning to hospice care. We were able to tell my father-in-law about the positive pregnancy test shortly before he passed away. 

The world shut down due to the pandemic that month. We were all in an odd reality where working from home was the norm, hours were spent on the couch and I had so much time to think about the little life growing inside me. I remember my mom telling me that my pregnancy news was getting my family through the terrifying new world of COVID. 

However, I am a worrier by nature. I am also a physician, so I am the worst type of worrier that exists. I kept waiting for something to happen with my pregnancy. Every day, I would read a story about a woman having a miscarriage or an Instagram page about stillbirth would pop up on my feed. 

Still, I had the picture-perfect pregnancy. It was a little strange that my husband couldn’t come with me to any of my OB visits due to the COVID restrictions. I eventually learned to call him on the phone while they listened to the baby’s heartbeat, so that he could hear it too. Our 12 week ultrasound showed a beautiful baby, and the ultrasound tech “was pretty certain” it was a boy. We immediately went home and bought him a Spiderman outfit. 

And–isn’t this how it always is–on June 21, 2020, we had a beautiful Father’s Day. I had just had my 19 week appointment and everything looked great. I remember we ordered takeout and excitedly talked about how next Father’s Day, we’d have a little baby to hold!

That night, I started to feel some mild cramping. Nothing to worry about, I told myself, I had been walking a lot that day, and just needed to take it easy. Then I noticed some discharge when I went to the bathroom. It seemed different–more wet and tinged with blood. That could be normal too, right?

Overnight, my physician brain was working overtime. Sure, plenty of pregnancy symptoms are normal, but they could also be a sign I was losing my baby. At 4 AM, I called the OB triage line and they told me to come in.

I cried the whole car ride to the hospital. I rubbed my belly gently and prayed that it was going to be okay. When we arrived, an OB resident immediately did a physical exam. She tried to make small talk, but after my exam was finished she quickly left the room, saying she would be right back. 

Another resident came in with her, and did an exam. She looked at me pale and wide-eyed. I remember she spoke in very short sentences. She told me it wasn’t my fault, and I did nothing to cause this, but my cervix was 5 cm dilated and the baby’s membranes were coming out. 

The next few hours were a blur. We met with an MFM specialist, who told me I had cervical insufficiency. A horrendous diagnosis that usually isn’t discovered until a woman has had at least one 2nd trimester loss or a pre-term birth. My cervix was weak and couldn’t hold my baby in. 

We met with the Pediatric NICU team, who basically told us our baby was not going to survive if he was born that day, week, or month. He had to be at least 24 weeks to be considered for resuscitation, and even then it would be a long hard battle in the NICU (and in life) due to the risk of infection, developmental disabilities, brain bleeds and a whole lot of other terrible things. 

To top it all off, I had my 20 week anatomy scan, which confirmed we were having a boy. He was perfect in every way, other than the fact that his feet were nearly coming out of my cervix. He was starting to move too, I could feel the little flutters in my belly as a constant reminder of how far along I was. I was halfway through my pregnancy, I kept telling myself. I made it halfway through.

There was one tiny sliver of hope–a cerclage, or cervical stitch, could be attempted to try to buy us some time. In this case, an emergency cerclage (placed when a woman’s cervix is already thinned and dilated) had about a 50/50 shot of getting me to a stage of pregnancy where it would be safe(r) for the baby. 

We knew we had to give this baby a chance. So a few hours later I was wheeled into an OR, had a spinal epidural placed and a thick band of surgical suture sewn into my cervix. 

The next few days were torture. I was on strict hospital bedrest, while they monitored me for signs of infection or pre-term labor. I was scared to cough or sneeze or move. Not only was I terrified to move, I had to be alone overnight because of COVID visitor restrictions. I left the TV on constantly to try to keep my mind on anything else. 

After a few days, they let us go home, but I was told to continue the strict bedrest. My husband even got me a wheelchair so I would never have to be on my feet. It didn’t matter. Less than 8 hours later, I was back, this time with bloody red discharge and more cramping. 

I lasted one more day in the hospital before my water broke. Fluid gushed down my legs as my uterus began to contract. I called my mom in an automated sort of voice and told her they had to remove the cerclage. I was in labor because I probably had an infection, and baby needed to come out. 

They wheeled me into labor and delivery–to the room at the end of the hall, so I wouldn’t have to hear the women in labor with their babies who would actually make it. The hallway seemed long, but a second later I was in the room.

I remember pushing a small body, feet first, out of me. I remember my husband, half crying, kissing me on the forehead while I pushed. I remember holding our perfect son in my arms. He didn’t even weigh a pound, but his heart was beating when he arrived. I remember my husband cutting his umbilical cord and holding him while he passed. I remember praying that it would happen quickly, because I didn’t want him to be in pain, even if it meant an extra moment with him.

Afterward, we slept. Our small family of three. The little baby, who we named Rohan (Sanskrit for “ascending”) wrapped in a blanket. 

If there are angels on earth, my labor and delivery nurse was one of them. Not only did she take photographs of Rohan, make tiny imprints of his feet, and help us to bathe him, she made me sandwiches, helped to stop my bleeding and hugged us both. 

We were able to spend the next several hours with him. We would take turns holding him, crying over him, kissing and snuggling him. Mourning the life he would never get to have and the love we wanted so badly to show him. When it was finally time to say goodbye, I felt like I was leaving a piece of my soul with him. 

I’m not even sure what to say about the aftermath except that it was worse. We did everything people usually recommend. I took time off work, I saw a therapist, I even started bullet journaling. None of those things made a huge difference. I considered a day a success if I got out of bed and put on something other than pajamas.

No one really knew what to do for us. My family wanted to visit, but because of COVID they couldn’t. Our friends and colleagues sent us food and flowers, but I didn’t want to endanger anyone by seeing them in person. 

I also had an immediate knee-jerk reaction that I wanted to have another baby. Immediately. I was trying to grieve for one baby and plan for another. My body needed to heal, but my heart had so much love stored up for this baby that I didn’t get to hold for more than a few hours. 

Eventually I went back to work, which was another hurdle. Two of my colleagues were pregnant.  I spent most of my time dodging them so I wouldn’t have to see their bellies. I told them flat out I wouldn’t be going to their baby showers. I muted Zoom meetings if I heard a baby cry. If I saw a pregnant patient or someone who recently gave birth, I immediately locked myself into a bathroom stall and sobbed until I felt better. 

It seems obvious, but I learned that everyone grieves differently. My husband was more introspective with his grief. I had to let it out. I talked to anyone I knew that had lost a baby. I craved story after story of something similar happening to someone else, because it just made me feel less alone. I read and listened to so many stories of miscarriage and loss. Their words echoed what I desperately wanted to feel. They seemed to say: I will never get over this, but I did get through it. I survived, and so will you. 

The question everyone asks after something like this happens is, why? Why did this have to happen? That question got me nowhere, so I started to ask what? What can I do about this? What is Rohan trying to teach me?

He taught me this:

-I definitely married the right guy

-My family may not ever understand exactly what I went through, but they will do everything in their power to help me find happiness

-You can still be a mom to a baby who isn’t Earthside

-Time and distance don’t erase the pain, but they do ease it

-You have every right to protect your heart. You do not have to congratulate someone on their baby news, you do not have to go to anyone’s baby shower, and you can cry in the baby clothes aisle at Target if you want. 

-You can (and will) feel intense fear and intense joy at the same time

-You can (and will) go through pregnancy again

-Wearing your pain like a badge of courage, sharing your story with others is how you make meaning out of the senseless things that happen in life

I have a little 4 month old now. His name is Sam. He has my chubby cheeks, and he’s my husband’s best friend. He’s the best thing to ever happen to me, the best thing I’ve ever done. And it’s because of Rohan that he’s here. 


Autumn’s Story

Bastion “Bash”

2020 was the year the entire world grieved. And oh boy, grieving is what my family did…

With the pandemic approaching and my 2nd pregnancy ending, I thought my newborn would bring me comfort during hard times. Now, I’m triggered by others mentioning their “covid baby”. Because theirs got to stay. 

Bastion Porter Cohen was stillborn March 25, 2020. His big sister was 2 years old at the time. I had just had a healthy 37 week check-up. Everything was fine, until it wasn’t. He died a few days later with no real known cause, except speculations that his cord was wrapped twice too tightly around his neck. 

With the loss of our son, was the birth of our nonprofit. Still Loved was created to continue Bash’s legacy. It is a foundation that sends bereaved parents cards in the mail dedicated to their sweet angel babies. I have personally sent cards all over the world. We remember your baby on their birthday or angelversary, when others tend to forget this important day. I want parents like me to know their babies aren’t forgotten. They are, in fact, celebrated.

Autumn Cohen

I have also written a resource for parents like me. In Memory Of You is a baby memorial book for bereaved parents. It is designed like a traditional baby book, but with added journaling prompts to grieve & help parents find their new “normal”. Unlike a traditional baby memory book, this one respectfully omits pages like crawling, walking, and “firsts”. Instead, I focus on last moments together, missed milestones like holidays and birthdays, and ways to cherish your baby. Remember details of your sweet little one through precious illustrations, scrapbook-style photo pages and writing spaces. This is your all-in-one spotlight for your beautiful baby gone-too-soon. Keep their memory alive and know they are always with you.

Autumn Cohen


Rebecca’s Story


I found out I was pregnant for the first time right before Thanksgiving 2019. It was a smooth pregnancy to start – monthly visits with my OBGYN and everything was normal.

In early March around the 20 week mark, I was scheduled to have our anatomy scan and a gender reveal party that weekend! Unfortunately, that never happened. We lost our baby girl at 19 weeks, 5 days on March 9, 2020.

I started feeling pressure on my right side the night before, but I didn’t think anything of it. I just thought it was a normal part of pregnancy. Well, thankfully I had a scheduled doctor visit that morning and I just felt that something was not right since the pressure hadn’t gone away. Come to find out, I was in painless labor and my cervix was already dilated. 

The next thing I know, I’m being wheeled to labor & delivery and I was going to delivery my baby. All I kept thinking was “this isn’t right, this isn’t how it’s supposed to be. My baby won’t be able to survive this.” This was my first pregnancy, and I was in complete shock. The nurses were amazing and were very sensitive and compassionate about the situation.

Zoey Ann was delivered at noon, and she was perfect in every way. She was 9 inches long and weighed just under a pound. She was alive for 18 minutes. All I knew at that time was grief, sadness, and pain. I was still in stock that this happened. How could it? Nothing else was wrong. Why did this have to happen, why to my baby? I was diagnosed with an incompetent cervix. I’ve never heard of it before, but it affects 1 out of 100 pregnancies. In most cases, you don’t hear about it until you already experience symptoms and deliver way too early. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. 

Now, 2 1/2 years later, we have a beautiful rainbow baby named Chloe! She is 18 months old now and she is amazing. I love being her mom, but I wanted to share Zoey’s story because it’s important to talk about loss. I also want to let other moms know that they are not alone.


Megan’s Story


My partner and I were so excited and surprised to find out we were expecting our first child in September 2021. We had a relatively smooth first trimester, and elected to do NIPT testing which revealed we were having a girl and our daughter had a 50/50 chance of having Turner Syndrome (monosomy x). From that moment, we were determined to learn all that we could about Turner Syndrome and prepare for our child. We were told that she probably didn’t have it because up to that point her ultrasounds had been good. We decided to move forward with an amniocentesis, and were seen at 16 weeks. It was at this ultrasound we first learned our sweet Gwendolyn had a large cystic hygroma, hydrops, and all of her long bones were measuring short. These are all symptoms of Turner Syndrome. We chose not to move forward with the amnio because we didn’t want to increase risk of harm to Gwen, and we were determined to make it to have a living baby. 

Fast forward to 21 weeks, and we had Gwen’s anatomy scan and fetal echocardiogram, and we were told this would be a two hour appointment. Pretty quickly into the ultrasound, it was determined that Gwen’s condition had worsened significantly. Gwen’s cystic hygroma had grown to include her head, neck, back, and arms. Gwen’s hydrops around her heart and abdomen had increased in size and due to her positioning, the tech couldn’t complete the scan in its entirety. About 15 minutes into this, the tech stopped the scan and said she was going to get the doctor. I will never forget this horrendous interaction with this doctor. They came into our room and said due to low fluid around Gwen (she was absorbing all of the amniotic fluid) and her large cystic hygroma, they did not think additional time would benefit the scan, and so it was ended. Essentially, the doctor proceeded to tell us everything we’d heard before and could tell us nothing hopeful about our beloved daughter. 

The next week we had our first appointment with our MFM specialist. During that appointment we were asked if we were hoping Gwen would pass on her own, and I instantly said yes. It was evident after our last scan we would not be bringing Gwen home. We had been so determined not to terminate! We wanted our daughter. During this appointment, after exploring the risks, we decided the best thing we could do for our baby was TFMR. This gut-wrenching decision was made with nothing but love and a desire to prevent our daughter from suffering. 

On 2/7/2022, we arrived at the hospital for the procedure knowing we would be admitted after to start induction. On 2/8/2022 Gwendolyn Faith was born.

We were able to spend about 12 hours with Gwen. Leaving the hospital without her almost killed me. Thankfully, the funeral home we used quickly had her ashes to us days later. 

Unlike a lot of people I’ve met on this journey, we opted out of additional genetic testing and an autopsy—to us we already knew what was happening with Gwen. We felt no reason to continue testing when the outcome wouldn’t change. 

In the time since losing Gwen, life has honestly been difficult. My milk came in, and that was another hurdle to overcome. It dried up in about a week, but ultimately was a reminder she wasn’t home. All of the clothes and baby items we purchased sit untouched. We found a support group locally, and I’ve attended several group sessions online. I also go to individual therapy. 

My goal in writing this, is that those going through this don’t feel alone. I felt so isolated because I don’t know anyone else who’s been through this process. Making the “choice” for termination never felt like a choice. We simply wanted to promise our daughter she would never know suffering. We will forever be grateful for the time we had with our beautiful, perfect child. 


Chelsea’s Story


A letter to our son. Forever our best Christmas gift. 

It took us 4 years & 8 months to be exact to get pregnant with you. But before you, I got pregnant naturally with your sister in January of 2020. She didn’t survive very long in my belly and we lost her on March 10th, 2020, we were so heartbroken. One year later your daddy & I did a treatment called In vitro fertilization to help us grow a family. So that’s how I got pregnant with you in April 2021. You were what people call a rainbow baby and we were so beyond excited but still had a bit of fear within us. We wanted you to be as safe as possible. 

At 16 weeks, I had a subchorionic hemorrhage which was significantly large. We were told that things could go either really good or really bad. Thankfully you were growing like a little weed and there was no more complications and the hemorrhage went away around 27 weeks. I was being closely monitored and I got to see you on the ultrasound every 2-3 weeks and then once a week towards the end. 

Chelsea Sowa

On December 15th 2021 at my 38 week scan, you had a perfect heart rate as per usual. Other than a little bit of extra amniotic fluid there was no sign of any threatening issues. You were a pretty big boy already so I was scheduled to be induced on December 22nd. We were so excited we were going to be able to show you off at Christmas. 

Little did we know our world was about to be turned upside down.  

In the late hours of December 16th I didn’t feel you kicking me, so I grabbed my doppler to see if you were okay. I instantly felt nauseous, the only heartbeat I was hearing was my own. Early in the morning on December 17th, your dad & I started our 2 hour drive to the nearest hospital. It was freezing cold but the sun was shining. We sat almost the whole time in silence. When we were 30 mins away from the city, your dad pointed out a tiny rainbow in the sky. When we finally arrived at the hospital, we went up to the maternal care unit and they took us in right away. The nurse put the monitor on me and searched for your heartbeat but couldn’t find it. The doctor came in and started the bed side ultrasound. We were all looking at the screen, sitting in silence. I couldn’t see a flicker of your heart on the screen but I still had an inch of hope that you were okay. Finally the doctor pointed to the screen, she spoke in the softest tone “so…..this is where the heart is, ”she paused and then continued with the traumatizing words “there’s no heartbeat.” 

Your dad & I broke down in disbelief. I looked at the doctor and through my tears I said “how?” At the time all she could say was “I’m so sorry, Chelsea”.

In the blink of an eye, the future with you was erased. 

They gave us some time and we gathered our thoughts as much as we could and broke the news to your grandparents & aunts. 

That evening I was induced and all we did was sit in the hospital room trying to grasp what happened. In some ways, I felt like we were there to bring you into the world and then I would realize we weren’t going to be able to bring you home.

On December 18th,  your grandparents & aunts came to visit most of the day. I wasn’t feeling much progress but once it was 24 hours they started doing a little more for me and then finally I could feel more stuff happening. It was nothing major so we were able to rest that night as much as we could. 

On December 19th at 6am, the doctor came in to break my water and by 8am my contractions were getting a lot stronger and then by 10am they were full force and I had to have a top up of medication. 

Just before 12pm I knew I was getting close to having to push. I was at 9cm, the Doctors and nurses started to get ready. At 12:02pm I started to push and at 12:27pm you were born. 7 pounds 14.6 oz,  21 inches of pure perfection. 

When I held you, I looked at you and waited for you to cry, but you didn’t. All I could think of was “how can my baby be this perfect and not have a chance at life?” 

We spent only 26 hours of being the family we waited 5 & a half years to be but it was the best 26 hours of our lives. We took that time to enjoy as much as we could because I knew going home was going to be the hardest. 

It’s been almost 3 months and we still have no answers as to why this happened. So I guess you really were just too beautiful for earth. Even though our Christmas wasn’t what we expected it to be, you made us feel a love we’ve never felt before. Your name means gift and even though you’re not physically with us, you were our little miracle & you will forever be our best Christmas gift. We love you so much Theodore Joseph.

Chelsea Sowa

Blaire’s Story


Our first daughter was born in October of 2016. I naively thought that it took “forever” to get pregnant with her, it took 3 months (insert eye roll here). It was a very uneventful pregnancy that ended with a somewhat eventful delivery. My water broke at 36 weeks and 6 days and our beautiful daughter made her Halloween debut. Fast forward through postpartum depression, moving 12 hours away from our support system, the death of close family members, and 2 years later, we decide we are ready to try for a second child. This is where our long journey to Nora begins.

In early 2019, I got pregnant and then went through a missed miscarriage. I got positive tests, faint ones, but still positive. My period was over a week late so I made an appointment with my doctor for the first ultrasound. About a week or so after that I started having bad back cramps that my doctors office dismissed as just normal pregnancy pains. The next day, I started bleeding heavily and ended up in the emergency room where I was told my HCG levels were very low and they could not find anything on the ultrasound. This was my first experience with the world of miscarriages and it was devastating. To make matters worse, when I followed up with the OB/GYN I was seeing at the time, she told me that no one really looks into the cause of miscarriages until you have had three. 

In 2020, I had my second and third miscarriages – these were also early. I made an appointment with my OB/GYN to discuss the fact that it had taken quite a while to get pregnant again and I had just had 2 more miscarriages. I was 33 at that point and worried that my age may be playing a part in everything. At that appointment, I expressed my concerns and was thankfully taken seriously by my doctor. She ran as many tests as she was able to and then referred me to a fertility specialist when all of her tests came back with no answers.

Through fertility testing, we were diagnosed with secondary infertility. What a frustrating world to be in. You’re told that you should feel lucky that you have one child at least, and everything happens for a reason. I hate that phrase. Yes, I am so lucky to have my daughter, but I also feel like my family isn’t complete yet, and would love to give her a sibling

Our fertility doctor suggested we try IUI and was pretty confident that we would get pregnant that way. We did three medicated rounds and finally got pregnant. I went in and got it confirmed via a blood test on a Thursday and was told to come back Monday to make sure my HCG levels were rising. By Saturday, I was not getting positive digital tests (yes, I continued testing at home, because I was paranoid it wasn’t going to stick) and by Sunday, I was bleeding. Monday’s blood test confirmed my fourth miscarriage. It had been 2-2 ½ years of trying and the miscarriages were just taking a toll on me mentally. I told my husband that if our next round did not work, I didn’t know if I could keep going. 

Round 4 of IUI was next and what do you know, it worked. I got a positive test about 4 days early and the lines just kept getting darker, I couldn’t believe it. We went in at 6 weeks to get our first ultrasound and saw baby’s heartbeat. I still couldn’t believe it. We also found out I had a small hematoma and I was put on pelvic rest until the next week when they would scan again. At week 7 the hematoma was gone and you could see the little heartbeat fluttering strong. I was released to my regular OB/GYN and scheduled my first appointment with them. We were so excited and started telling our family and close friends when we were about 8 or 9 weeks along. 

Blaire Graniero

I cautiously started to plan for baby’s arrival, we had a due date of February 11th 2022. I still couldn’t believe I was pregnant! I wouldn’t let myself get too excited though, because I was scared it was all going to end. We found out baby was a little girl and started thinking of names. My husband and daughter were so very excited. Then, I started spotting around 11 or 12 weeks. I thought for sure it was the end. I went into the office for another scan to see what was going on. Come to find out, I had another hematoma and was put on pelvic rest again. When I went back for a follow up ultrasound at 15 weeks, we were told it was gone. I was relieved and let myself finally get excited about baby girl. We started getting out all of our baby stuff and set up the room for her, I got the registry going, and we started narrowing down names and finally landed on Nora Blake. Everything felt right.

Blaire Graniero

My next appointment was for our anatomy scan at 19.5 weeks. Covid was ramping up again and my doctors office changed their policy about who was able to come into the office. Children were no longer allowed, and on that particular day we unfortunately didn’t have anyone to watch our daughter, so my husband wasn’t able to go. I was nervous for some reason, but everyone assured me that everything was fine and it was just my anxiety. But deep down I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. 

During my scan I noticed that Nora wasn’t moving around all that much, but she had a strong heartbeat so all was fine. I told myself there was no reason to be anxious. Then the ultrasound tech started scanning her heart and kept scanning her heart. I tried to not pay attention to it too much and asked her if I had an anterior placenta because I wasn’t able to feel her move much. She responded that she would answer that in just a minute because she needed to keep checking for something really quick. She then told me that there didn’t seem to be a lot of amniotic fluid and she was having trouble taking some measurements, she needed to go get the doctor to double check.

Cue instant fear and tears. I was so scared in that moment, and alone. The few minutes that she was gone felt so long. Finally, my nurse practitioner came in and looked at everything. When we went back to the room I called my husband in tears and told him that something was wrong, I didn’t know what yet, but something. When she came back in the room she explained to us that there was not much amniotic fluid, there may be a hole in her heart, they can’t find her bladder and she’s also measuring two weeks behind. She was going to refer us to the high risk OB group and her nurse would try to get us in as soon as possible.

We were able to get in two days later and were met with the absolute worst news. Anatomically, Nora appeared to be fine, but there was no measurable amniotic fluid and she was incredibly small. We were told that she most likely would not survive because at that point I was only 19 weeks and a few days. We could terminate the pregnancy or continue to be monitored weekly to see if there was any improvement. We chose the latter. At that point our doctor’s best guess was placental insufficiency, she just wasn’t getting what she needed to grow, and unfortunately, there was nothing anyone could do.

Every week, we made the 45 minute drive to see our doctor and get another set of scans. Every week Nora was alive, but with little to no improvement. Every week we didn’t know if we should be hopeful or not. Every week we left our appointment with so many more questions. But every week was one more week with her, so we tried to enjoy it as much as we could. 

At one point, around 22ish weeks, we started talking about the possibility of her maybe being able to survive and receive medical intervention if I went into labor, but only if she had finally grown. Unfortunately, the scans showed that wasn’t the case. And then doppler scans of her umbilical cord and liver started showing signs of reversal. We were told we probably had a couple of days left. Nora had other plans though because she held on another week.

At 23 weeks we went in and were surprised to see her still alive. That probably sounds awful to say, but we were truly shocked when we would go in each week and she would have a heartbeat. At that appointment, her dopplers showed a complete reversal of blood flow. She was not getting anything at that point and her heartbeat was starting to slow. We made an appointment to come in the next Monday rather than Wednesday to check and see what was going on. Our daughter’s fifth birthday was quickly approaching, so we wanted to know what was going on before that.

On Monday, we went to our appointment and during my triage with the nurse, we discovered my blood pressure was high. I thought it was probably because we were anticipating Nora not having a heartbeat and all the stress of the last few weeks catching up to me. She had me sit for a few minutes and checked again; it still had not gone down. Our doctor was worried that I may be starting to have preeclampsia and told us that it was time to be induced. I was 24 weeks now. We checked into the hospital at 10:00 that night and I was started on Cytotec around midnight.

At 9:52 am on October 26th, Nora was born. She unfortunately did not survive labor though. She was so small, but she was a little person. She had a head full of hair already and looked just like her older sister. Immediately after delivery, I was started on medication for preeclampsia. Then we got to hold Nora for as long as we wanted. The hospital staff were so kind. They brought us a memory box that had a small blanket, some hats, an angel gown, a tiny cloth diaper and a few other things. They also took pictures of her, got her handprints and footprints, and allowed us as much time with her as we needed. 

On the 27th, I was discharged. I thought everything up until that point was difficult, but boy was I wrong. I had to finally face the reality that I was leaving the hospital without my daughter. I had to be wheeled past all of the postpartum rooms, and then on the way out of the hospital going to the parking deck I passed a new mom and dad getting a picture taken with the newborn. It was a punch to the gut. I had a 45 minute drive to get it all out of my system and pull myself together enough to go home and then tell my almost 5 year old that her baby sister was no longer alive. 

The next few weeks were incredibly difficult as I navigated still being a mom to a living child, having preeclampsia and constantly monitoring my blood pressure, and dealing with typical postpartum issues. We still had no answers after those first few weeks. The physical exam of the placenta only revealed that it was small and it showed some calcification, but nothing major, and Nora’s autopsy revealed that while she was very small, she was perfect in every other way. I started going back to see a therapist and trying to work through the fact that I may not have an answer to why everything happened and how to move forward. 

A few days before Christmas, we finally got an answer. The pathology report on my placenta finally came back and it revealed that I have something called Massive Perivillous Fibrin Deposition. The very basic explanation is that there was a bunch of “gunk” around the villi on my placenta and it prevents blood flow. It is an extremely rare condition and there is very little known about it. It appears that it may have a pretty high recurrence rate and there is no known cure to prevent it from happening. I am glad to have an answer, and to know that I truly did nothing to cause this. It is a scary answer though, and we do not know what things will look like moving forward, but for now it can help us get a little bit of closure. What I do know right now is that we are a family of four, and even though Nora is not physically with us, she will always be known and have a presence in our lives. We hope to be able to share her story with other families so they know they aren’t alone, because a journey like this definitely feels isolating and lonely. 

Professional photos courtesy of 84W Photography.