Thursday, July 17, 2014

Guest Post: Lily's Story

My story begins on October 5th 2013. My boyfriend of 8 years and I had just moved in together 5 months prior and kids were definitely not something on either of our minds.  We had a comfortable lifestyle of being spontaneous and carefree.  All that changed when my stomach bug wouldn't go away.  After a day of rock climbing and feeling like I was going to throw up on a mountain, a friend of mine suggested I take a pregnancy test.  Although we laughed it off, deep down I somewhat knew that I could be pregnant.  The next day while my boyfriend was at work, I took a test. And another test...and another test. I prepared myself for the talk we would have to have when he got home.  Although I was 29, I was absolutely terrified to tell him and to actually take that step in our lives.  I have never been the maternal type and I always thought I could live a life without kids and marriage.

He was absolutely supportive in any decision I made.  I decided to go to the doctor and first confirm everything was true because you never know if the baby is even growing correctly, if there is a heartbeat or if it was a false positive.  We went to the doctor the following week and she confirmed that we were 7 weeks along.  Then she pointed out a little flicker of light and said, "That is the heart beat".  That was the moment that changed both of our lives. I am a strong believer in everything happening for a reason and this was the time in our lives that this was supposed to happen.  We realized if we were going to do this, we were going to do this 100%.  After a surprise Disneyland proposal a few weeks later we got married. Everything just felt so right in our little world.

At my 19 week appointment we were told that that little bean in my belly was a girl.  I was over the moon excited because I am a daddies girl and wanted my husband to understand that feeling that a father has for his little girl.  I let my husband name her and he decided Lily would be the perfect name.  We both came to the middle name "Jay", a nickname I call my husband Johnny. I also think of a happy little jaybird when I hear that name. Everyone in our lives were excited for us and little girl things were being bought left and right.  This was to be the first grand child for my family so you can only imagine the excitement when I broke them the news! Unfortunately, that ultrasound would be the final photo I have of my little girl as they never sought to do another ultrasound again because I was healthy and there was no need.

Around 6 months I started having issues possibly related to anemia.  I would randomly black out and was having horrible migraines.  I called the advice nurse and they would ask me questions about passing out but never once was I told to come in to be monitored.  I didn't question them because I assumed they knew best and if feeling her move was all that was important, so be it. I had an appointment scheduled a day after I had a black out episode.  I told the dr. I was concerned for the baby and they sent me in for blood work.  Again, they didn't monitor the baby or my fluids or do an ultrasound.  My blood work came back fine but I was anemic which was true before pregnancy too.  I basically put myself on bed rest, quit my job and focused on resting.

Going forward I never passed out again and was feeling pretty okay throughout the rest of my pregnancy.  My 40 week appointment came a day after my due date (June 5 2014).  I was SO bummed that she hadn't come yet.  I was told not to worry because the first baby is usually late.  I was told to schedule being induced on June 12th if she doesn't come beforehand. That day I felt like I should have pushed for an ultrasound or to be induced sooner but I kept being told "You're young and healthy, don't worry".

On Monday, June 9th I started to have contractions. I called the Dr. to see if I should go in and I was asked if I felt her kicking.  Come to think of it, I didn't feel her much that day but I ate something sweet and waited for the kicks.  Lily Jay was a kicker the whole 9 months and on June 9th, she stopped kicking.  I thought it was weird but I was told it was probably because she had no more room to kick.  Fair enough, that totally made sense.  They asked if I wanted to come in or wait for the contractions to get stronger.  I decided to go in and start this process to finally see my baby girl.

I checked into the hospital and when they went to check the heart beat, there was no sound.  I was thinking, maybe that's not the right machine and they were looking for something else.  Then the Dr came in with the ultrasound machine.  That was the moment our lives crumbled, there was no movement.

The Dr. calmly said, "I'm sorry, there's no heart beat".  I couldn't even cry because I was in such shock, I didn't understand how this can even happen. The dr. said, "It just does, it can just happen".  He then explained that I would have to deliver her naturally since a c-section was pointless at this point. I begged to just have the surgery done because I didn't think I could mentally handle all of this.  Unfortunately my crying and begging was denied and I prepared myself to deliver my precious Lily Jay. 

The next day on June 10th at 5:17pm, after 24 hours of labor my little angel was born. Weighing 5lbs 15oz and 21inches, happiest moment of my life was the saddest day of my life. The baby I loved and carried for 9 months was gone.  My body was empty, my arms were empty and now my heart was empty.  She was literally the most beautiful baby I have ever seen and Im not just saying that because I created her.  She looked JUST like my husband did as a baby and had his beautiful full hair. My husband and I spent time with her the next day and promised her that she would never be forgotten and she would always be our little girl.

Although I was offered to have an autopsy done to possibly determine a cause, I denied having that done.  I wanted my angel to rest peacefully untouched, unharmed and pure.  They sent in placenta for testing to see if that showed any cause. At my followup appointment I was told that my placenta was smaller than normal, which happens at around 42 weeks and can cause the baby to get less blood and oxygen.  I was dumbfounded, then why hadn't my baby been checked at 40 week if there was a possibility that this could happen? The answer I was given was that I never gave them reason for monitoring because I was healthy throughout my pregnancy. I hated hearing that because I knew in my heart I should have had better care, monitoring and ultrasounds done but trusted that the drs. knew best. I also kick myself for not demanding an ultrasound to see how big she was at 40 weeks. I know dwelling on these "what ifs" won't bring her back and will ultimately hold me back from moving forward, so I try my best to not do so.  Instead of dwelling, I want to be a voice so that more babies don't have to have their lives cut short. I filed a complaint with the hospital and demand that they start monitoring babies more, especially if the mom is having health issues.  Also, just because the parents are seemingly young, healthy and in physically "good shape", that doesn't mean that their concerns are less valid than parents who are sick, use drugs or are older. Nothing will bring my baby back but if my complaint can somehow fix the way the doctors are trained then maybe some babies will be saved so that another mom doesn't have to endure the pain that my family has gone through.

Again, I am a believer in everything happening for a reason and I like to see  Lily as only a positive in our lives.  Although the outcome was not ideal, she made me and Johnny way better people.  We got married, moved out of a less than ideal neighborhood, my husband went back to school at night and I left a stressful job. She made me realize how much I do need children to feel fulfilled and  she made us realize that things that seemed to matter and make us upset, don't really matter.  She made us appreciate life more, live life more and to not sweat the small stuff. We decided to have her cremated so that we can spread her ashes in places that make us happy.  We live in San Francisco and love to drive up and down the coast.  The weekend before she passed we took that long drive and talked about all the places we were going to take her. I will keep my promise and take her there, spread some of her ashes and just know that every time I see the ocean, she's there. Another way we want to honor her is to spread her ashes in the soil.
l and grow lilies. The most important thing to me is to not let her be forgotten and I will honor my little ones life the best I can. 

To all the mommies who are going through this, you're not alone. I feel alone a lot too but just know that at least in the U.S., that 1 in 160 babies are stillborn.  There are a lot of mommies out there who are feeling the way you do and if you can reach out to them, you should.  I have been using instagram as a way to connect with other moms in the same situation and it helps heal the hurt.

And to Lily Jay Lucatero, thank you. You have made both of your parents who they are today. Fly high my angel, mommy and daddy love you.

1 comment:

  1. My deepest condolences. Thank u for sharing Lily and your story. I hope you too never feel alone through your grief journey. It has been 2 years & 3 months for me and having a support network has been my savior as well. Will be thinking of you and your family.