Thursday, January 26, 2012

Melissa's Story -- Baby Abigail, stillborn at 36 weeks

You may remember reading my friend's post about her children lost to miscarriage and stillbirth. A while ago Melissa asked if she could share more of  Abigail's story, her daughter who was stillborn at 36 weeks.

Her story is beautiful and heartbreaking. I hope you'll take a few moments to read.



Melissa's Story

Saying goodbye to Abigail, stillborn at 36 weeks.


I found out I was pregnant with Abby when I was 6-8 weeks along. I had my first ultrasound at 10.5 weeks. My pregnancy with Abby was a very different one. I had horrible morning sickness. I could only keep down mashed potatoes, pickles, and cheese for the first few months. Dale and I got the flu 3 times while I was pregnant. It was horrible.

Abby was not much of mover. I began to tell my OB about Abigail's lack of movements. She told me as long as Abby has a certain amount of movements during the day she would be fine.

I believe I was in my third trimester when I had to go get a detailed ultrasound done. My placenta was very low and the fluid was also very low. I was told scary news that day. 

I had to be seen again with another detailed ultrasound to check the fluids again. The second time the levels were much better. I was in the safe zone. So I had hope that everything would be fine. 

So, the rest of my pregnancy was normal with no major complications except for the day I will never forget.

On this particular day, I woke up with a major headache and hadn't been feeling Abby move. Since she wasn't much of a mover anyway, I laid down to rest to try and get rid of the major headache. Nothing was working, and Abby still wasn't moving, so I contacted a friend who was a R.N.

She told me to go get an non-stress test done right away. So I called Dale at work and the hospital, and we went in.

As we rushed to the clinic, I kept getting this pit in my stomach. I knew/felt something was seriously wrong. As I was called to go back into the room, I had to stop myself from crying. I walked into the room where I was hooked up to the Doppler. The nurse tried and tried and tried again to find Abby's heartbeat but nothing.

She asked me where they normally found it. I pointed to where they usually find Abby's heartbeat. Still, nothing. No heartbeat detected.

My normal OB was not there on Mondays so they asked the other OB to see me. She did an ultrasound. Again, no heartbeat, no movement. I asked if the doctor could capture her heart on the ultrasound. I wanted to see for myself. After hearing the horrible news,  I began to feel numb and shocked. Suddenly it all became a nightmare.

My first thought was ,"How could this be?" We left the hospital in shock.

Now, we had to tell all of our families. How were we suppose to explain this? We took awhile to bring ourselves to dial numbers. I don't even remember who we called first. The next day I had to go in to see my OB to set up the surgery. My OB was a Christian woman who was very sincere while I was in her care.
I remember preparing myself to see family who are all saddened and trying to support us.

I remember preparing to go into the hospital knowing I was about to deliver my daughter with no life. As I walked to the hallway leading into the prep room,  I broke down. I kept repeating, I can't do this. I want to go home. A nurse came beside me and said everything will be okay.

I honestly don't think she knew my daughter was not alive. I was so anxious waiting to go into the O.R. My heart and mind were racing. I didn't know what to expect. My poor Mom tried to go into the O.R. with me but she couldn't handle it(she was also dealing with bronchitis). This coming from a very strong woman. If she couldn't go with me, how the heck was I suppose to do this?! Dale (my husband) couldn't handle being in there either. So I was alone.

I remember getting the epidural done and the doctors cradled me. I laid back waiting for the moment of silence. The moment to see Abby, to hold her. After, Abby came out, I heard one of the doctors say, "Yep she's gone." I was completely silent. The nurse held Abby. Cleaning her, showing me her, trying to make it like any other live birth. She told me Abby had red in her. She told me Abby was beautiful and put her up to me. Again, I remained silent. I didn't know what to say. All I remember saying is, "Yes, she is beautiful." 

Abigail weighed 5 lbs. and was 18" long. She was a tiny little thing. After I got stitched up and wheeled into recovery, my OB began to cry. I asked Dale to give the Dr. a hug. I couldn't bear everyone being sad. I felt for everyone elses' pain and sorrow. She spoke with me for a little while. Then I went into my maternity ward room. 

Abby was already there. I held her. It was all such a blur. I wasn't sure if I could hold her. Honestly, I was scared to. I didn't want to "break" her. She was so fragile. Our extended family members came into to see Abby. To spend a few moments with her. I couldn't bring myself to let Hannah (my eldest daughter) hold her. At the time Hannah was only three years old. I wasn't sure if it was the right thing to let her hold Abby. This is something I will forever regret.

My nurses were trying to get the photographer to come in, who was running very late. When he came he was sad too. My nurse was crying and hugging my family members. My mother-in-law and Mom were bathing Abby and getting her dressed. It saddened me that I could not get up and dress Abigail myself but I am glad my Mom/s got to do it.

It was all very dramatic. Almost like a drama on TV. I just didn't think it was real.

After the photographer was done, it was time to take Abby away. The nurse wrapped her tiny body up and took her off to the coroner. I wanted to scream at the nurse to say, Why are you taking her away? She is alive. She is mine! I couldn't grasp the thought that I would never get to hold her again. She was gone.

While in the hospital,  I kept trying everything to get out of there. I just wanted to go home and be away from everyone. My heart was so broken. I had to make decisions about her funeral. What headstone, what kind of casket, what music to play, this, that, and the other. Thankfully, my church at the time covered the costs of incidents such as mine. And the burial site was free of cost for babies.

When we got home, we all just wanted to rest. I had a pinched nerve in my neck which was more painful then the c-section wound. I could barely turn my neck.

The day after I got home, my milk came in. Which in all honesty sucks. My heart ached for Abigail even more. That Friday was Abby's funeral. We drove there I was quiet. I couldn't think straight. When we began to walk towards the door. My knees became weak and I was breaking down. We all got to see Abby before the service started.
My husband held her for the first and last time. He was so very heartbroken. After the funeral we went home. People tried to make light of things and have normal conversations but  I couldn't stand it. There was someone missing from our life now. She was in a casket.

I honestly couldn't wait for people to leave. I needed some time to think, to grieve, to adjust to this new situation.

We had an autopsy done. She had a blood clot in the umbilical cord. That is what ultimately killed her. She had other complications too including the placenta was not growing with her.

After some time passed, people weren't really talking about Abby anymore. They weren't asking how we were doing. It was like it never happened. Life moved on for everyone else. But, not for us. Life was different. Life was hard. People let go of her. As though she never existed.

I had continual nightmares. I would drift off to sleep and all of sudden hear Abigail's heartbeat or hear a baby crying. For a while I thought I was going insane. I told no one I was experiencing this because again, I thought I was losing my mind. In some ways I think I was because my heart was broken and I couldn't comprehend the fact that I would eventually have to pack all of Abby's belongings.

After all these years. Her memory remains within me. My heart has a missing piece.

I have five children. Three with my husband and me, here on earth. Two of which are under God's watch.

Emily and Malakai;
Emily was born 1/14/2008. Now 4 years old
Malakai was born 4/7/2010. Now 2 1/2 years old.
My cupcake and monkey.

They are doing very well and thriving in life abundantly. They are such joys and blessings.

On Abigail's angelversary each year I will release balloons, light candles, or do something in her honor. Abigail will never, ever be forgotten. And, I will never let me certain people tell me I should let her go.



  1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of your beautiful girl. I have a brother who was stillborn when I was in grade school and although I didn't get to see him he will never be forgotten. My husband and I also had a miscarriage this past year and our baby Emery will always be our third child with a place in our family not just our hearts.

  2. Thank you for sharing about Abigail. I am 64 1/2 years old and my husband and I had a stillborn daughter at 38 weeks. She was Amy Lynn and she was delivered on my fathers birthday. I did not get to hold or see her as I was bleeding too much. I am a nurse and was told by a co worker that she was very small, only 2 lbs, and was perfectly formed. We had a graveside service for her and to this day I miss her. God did bless us with an older sister who was 3 when Amy left, later we had Russell. I learned much later that the placenta was not functioning properly. Knowing that, even as a nurse does not take away the pain of the loss. I will never forget her and only know that she is with Abigail and the Lord. I pray that someday I will see her and let her know how very special she was to us.

  3. Thank you ladies for your kind words.

    I am so sorry for your losses.


  4. So heartbreaking. I can't even begin to imagine the pain of a stillbirth. I am so very sorry that you have had to go through this. Thank you for sharing Abigail's story with us.