Hannah was our long-awaited first baby. It took us several years to conceive, so when we finally learned that we were pregnant, we were beyond excited.

In the back of our minds, we knew that having a family could prove to be difficult. Not too long after we married, we learned that there was a possibility of having a child that wouldn't live past birth due to a rare chromosome abnormality that runs on one side of our family.

I was around 20 weeks pregnant when minor abnormalities began popping up on Hannah's ultrasounds. Initially, we weren't too concerned, but after going to a perinatal specialist for a Level Two ultrasound, it seemed Hannah's abnormalities were more serious than we anticipated. During our appointment, we were getting pressure to have an amniocentesis, which would provide doctors with a more specific diagnosis. I knew right away that that wasn't what I wanted, so ultimately we decided to switch to another perinatal specialist who understood our needs a little better.

Our new doctor was encouraged by some of the improvements he was seeing. Hannah was growing quickly and moving around all the time! We knew he was still seeing a few abnormalities and there was no way to be completely certain of her condition without an amniocentesis. We hoped and prayed that even if she had some issues she would survive. We had waited so long to get pregnant; that in some ways, we needed to believe she would be okay.

My water broke at 34 weeks. Pre-term labor is very common on my side of the family, so I wasn't as alarmed as I should have been. Could it be that our little Hannah was just an overachiever? It was 'mind over matter' that got me through my labor. Eleven hours later, Hannah was born.

Immediately, we knew something was wrong. Although she stayed strong through my labor, she started going downhill very quickly as soon as she was born. The doctors got to work on her right away, but there was nothing more they could do. Between her respiratory issues and heart abnormalities, she wasn't going to make it.

We spent about 24 hours with her at the hospital after she died. It may sound strange, but even though we were grieving, we were still able to enjoy our time with her. Family members came and held her and we even had a few laughs as we discovered our sweet girl inherited daddy's toes and momma's ears!

The days and weeks following Hannah's death were very, very hard. There is no way to sugar coat that. But, we still felt a sense of relief that we didn't find out too much ahead of time. We were able to enjoy my pregnancy and stay positive. After her death, we were at peace knowing that our baby girl was given every opportunity at life. Hannah did the best she could with what she was given and we are thankful for that.

 

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-The support, information and encouragement provided by the PPFL parents is not meant to take the place of medical advice by a medical professional. Any specific questions about care should be directed to a health care professional familiar with the situation.