Mara Louise’s Story
Mara’s story begins with joy and delight. After just over a year of marriage we decided it was time to begin a family. We were overjoyed and surprised when we conceived quickly. I was a little late and it was the day before the fourth of July, we had a lot of plans coming up in the weeks ahead including the annual Monteith 4th of July party, a 30th birthday party for John’s best friend and a week get away with the extended Monteith family at Long Lake. I decided to take a pregnancy test just to be safe and to my surprise it was positive. John was out golfing and I called him to make sure he was going to be coming straight home afterwards. Once he was home I greeted him with what must have been a massive smile and told him quietly that I was pregnant. When I think about it even now I can’t help but smile with the pure happiness that existed in that moment.
We told our families the next week with cautious optimism, we had friends that suffered early miscarriages and didn’t want to get overly excited. The next weeks passed and we were just overjoyed that we would become parents. Our families were also very happy and excited, as our baby was to be the first Grandchild on both sides. We went back and forth on whether we would find out the sex of our baby but ultimately decided we wanted to have the surprise, I remember thinking that it would be the ultimate surprise of a lifetime and I didn’t want to deny ourselves the experience, although I was pretty convinced that we would be having a little boy.
We were doing everything planning, hoping, dreaming, talking, laughing, and loving as we prepared to for the arrival of our bundle of joy. The pregnancy went by without a hitch. We never had an abnormal test, appointment, ultrasound or otherwise.
My 37-week appointment was scheduled for Friday Feb. 13th, however I noticed on the Thursday before that the baby was not moving as much as normal. To be safe I changed my appointment to that day. I left work early and headed to the doctors. I was relieved to hear a strong 140 heartbeat and the doctor was very reassuring, saying that decreased movement is normal toward the end of a pregnancy and that I should not worry one bit, but for my own piece of mind I should go in the next morning to have an additional test done. She said “If I really thought something was wrong I would send you to the hospital right now”. How those words and that day haunt me now. I was again relieved and went home, I took a nap and had dinner.
The next morning I woke up, had breakfast and chatted with my Mother in Law who had stayed the night to finish tiling the backsplash in our kitchen (which we were racing to remodel before the baby came). My husband and I decided that he would go to work instead of coming with me because he wanted to save his time off for when the baby came, and after all this was no big deal. I arrived at the hospital at 9AM, a woman in the elevator remarked how pregnant I looked and asked me if I was there to have my baby, I said “Not yet, but soon”. She said “Good Luck”. I remember thinking what a strange thing to say, I don’t need luck…
The NST room was full so they took me in Triage. The nurse who was working to get me hooked up on the monitors was the same one who had given us a tour of the Labor and Delivery floors the week before. She said she was having some trouble getting a signal from the baby and she was going to get the ultrasound machine, I said to her “Oh…my husband is going to be jealous” with a big grin on my face, we loved to see the baby in ultrasound. While she went away to get the machine I calmly pulled out a book and began to read.
She came back with a couple other people and they all took a look at the ultrasound. At this point I began to wonder what was going on. Then the resident said to me “Is anyone with you?” I said “no” He said, “I’m very sorry to tell you this but there is no heartbeat, your baby is dead”. I remember saying to him “your joking,” he said I would not joke about this” I looked around and saw all the faces staring at me with compassion. I grabbed the arm of the nurse standing next to me and said “am I dreaming?” She said, “No, I wish that you were. ” I started to yell and they quickly put me into a wheel chair and moved me into a Delivery Room, I held my head in my hands as the wheeled me, praying out loud to God “Please let this baby be ok let this baby be ok.” A part of me felt that there was still a chance to save her, but once I was left in the room with the nurse I knew that nothing would be done. In the next moments I called my husband screaming “The baby is dead”, he made his way to the hospital. I called my dad and he let the rest of the family know.
I learned that we would go through labor and delivery to meet our baby. I was started on medication to induce labor. After twenty hours of labor she was born. She…a little girl. Born on Valentines Day at 4:43 AM. We named her Mara Louise. She was the most beautiful baby in the world, a sweet little button nose, beautiful long blonde eyelashes, rosebud mouth, chubby cheeks, long fingers and toes, and strawberry blonde hair. She was perfect only she was dead. We spent the next 12 hours holding her, looking at her, crying over her, Family visited, and she was baptized. As hard as all of this was it did not even begin to compare to the raw grief and longing that we faced so acutely when we were forced to go on living without her, and now living in a world where bad things not only happen they happened to us.
We still do not know for sure what caused her death. She had a true knot in her cord right at her tummy and it was around her neck, but the doctors are not convinced that could of done it but it was a possibility. They also found that her blood count in me was very high, but again they do not know how that could of happened.
Almost two years later and I am still struck with grief so strongly that it will bring me to my knees; I think about and miss her everyday. I kiss the air when I think of her and even sometimes smile. Two years and we have been blessed with a living son, born healthy and screaming 20 months after we had to say goodbye to our daughter. He has brought immeasurable joy into our lives.
Mara will always be our first. She is always in our hearts and the fact that she isn’t with us will always break our hearts. But because she was with us we love deeper and we understand how precious life is.
I am blessed with the mothers I have met who have had to endure this same heartache. They are now like my sisters. I am blessed to be a part of Angel Kisses family that I joined in time to participate in the 2nd Annual event.
If you have questions or comments, you can contact Leah at firstname.lastname@example.org.