With this week being Pregnancy After Loss Awareness Week, I wanted to take the time to remember my sweet little angel, Amelia. Not a single day goes by that I don’t think about my precious little one. It still doesn’t feel real that my little one died, and often times during my pregnancy after loss journey, I still find myself so bitter and upset that I had to be one of the unlucky ones to go through the horrid pain of child loss. My daughter was supposed to be my rainbow after the storm, but my rainbow became an angel.
It’s been over a year now since Amelia passed away, but I still find myself overly emotional at times, (especially now with the added pregnancy hormones.) Just this past weekend, I found myself crying while driving past Crouse hospital in Syracuse, NY. That was the hospital my daughter was transferred to shortly after she was born, and that was the place where she took her last breath. To make the moment a little more emotional the song “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds played on the radio. As crazy as it sounds, a part of me feels like it was a way my daughter was reaching out to me to remind me that’s she’s always still there in spirit. However, another part of me is worried that maybe with the excitement of expecting again, I’m not thinking about her enough or doing enough to keep her name alive.
While I am so very excited and blessed to be pregnant again, often times I do have that worry that little by little I won’t think about my little Amelia anymore. It’s a ridiculous thought because how does someone forget about their child? It may be a silly fear, but I honestly never want to forget my daughter or the precious memories I had with her. She was the one who made me a mother. She taught me what it feels like to experience a different kind of joy and love in life while I had the privilege to be pregnant with her and to be by her side during her eight short days here on earth. While a rainbow baby is not a replacement baby, I still find myself at times worried that my memories of her will fade away.
With this week being Pregnancy After Loss Awareness Week, I wanted to take the time to share the story of my angel, Amelia. Not only in hopes to keep her name alive, but to also raise awareness about the silent killer that took her life, Vasa Previa. I never knew what Vasa Previa was and unfortunately mine went undiagnosed. Had it be detected, my daughter would’ve be here today, alive, and healthy.
How my daughter’s preventable loss occurred contributes to my everyday horrible anxiety and fears I am having during my pregnancy after loss journey. While I know the OB I am seeing is very cautious and ensuring that they do the proper checks to make sure that I do not have Vasa Previa again, I can’t help but to worry. Lightening can strike twice. I lost one rainbow baby shortly after she was born, and here I am only at the end of the first trimester now…
A big goal of mine since my daughter passed away was to ensure that no other mother and baby goes through this preventable loss. I’ve been doing this by raising awareness of Vasa Previa and sharing Amelia’s story. My hope is that it will prevent another family from losing their precious child.
For those who have never heard of Vasa Previa before, VP is reported in 1 in every 2,5000 pregnancies or 1 in every 500 IVF pregnancies. It is a rare condition in which fetal blood vessels from the placenta or umbilical cord cross the entrance to the birth canal, beneath the baby. There is NO known cause as to why Vasa Previa occurs, but it seems to be linked with pregnancy complications such as a low-lying placenta/placenta previa, a bilobed/succenuriate-lobed placenta, a velamentous insertion of the cord, in-vitro fertilization pregnancies, multiple pregnancies, a history of uritne surgery/D&C, or painless bleeding. The condition has a high mortality rate (95%) when undetected due to rapid blood loss resulting from the vessels tearing when the cervix dilates, membranes rupturing, or if the vessels become punched off as they are compressed between the baby and the walls of the birth canal.
Throughout my pregnancy, Amelia was growing healthy and strong however, due to complications from developing pre-eclampsia around 33 weeks, I was induced at 37 weeks on December 28, 2015. My daughter’s heart rate was beautiful and everything was going well. My husband and I had no worries and never expected something wrong could happen. We were just so excited to finally meet out little one and to finally be parents. It was a long night of painful back labor, but on Tuesday, December 29, 2015, my midwife broke my water and that’s when little Amelia’s journey began.
It wasn’t long after they discovered that something had went terribly wrong and within minutes I was rushed to the OR for an emergency C-section. At that point, they had to put me to sleep. My husband told me that during this time he saw them transporting Amelia down the hall to the NICU, and she was the color of ash. Our daughter had lost a tremendous amount of blood from the exposed blood vessels rupturing when my water broke.
In the course of 7 minutes following her birth, Amelia was resuscitated and immediately rushed to receive blood transfusions before being placed on a cooling blanket. They had her as stable as they could get her to transport to a level IV NICU. By this time, I was waking up and only discovered what had happened to my sweet little baby. I had no idea what was going on or how serious it was.
When Vasa Previa is detected early enough, the survival rate is about 95%. Even through throughout my pregnancy with Amelia I had many ultrasounds done, this specific condition never showed up. It went undetected and in these situations usually always ends up in a perfectly healthy baby being born still or passing away shortly after birth due to the trauma the baby endures.
My sweet little Amelia was such a fighter. In the eight days she was on this Earth, she taught me so much and just how precious life really can be. She was truly such a beautiful blessing. Words cannot describe how it felt to see her alive, getting a little stronger each day, and to feel her little hand squeeze my finger, but despite fighting, life had another plan for our little angel. (These memories I have of her, I cherish deeply, and I worry to every forget about these moments I shared with her. Nothing could every replace my little Amelia, but I still worry.)
Still to this day I find it so heartbreaking that this had to happen to someone so little and so perfect. From the moment my daughter was conceived, my husband and I celebrated every moment of her life and she will forever be loved now as our angel baby and will be remember by her little siblings. Each day that Amelia was alive was such a tremendous blessing, as much as I hate that I am one of the unlucky mothers who had to lose a child, I am thankful that I did have eight days with her.
As I said earlier, each day I try to keep my daughter’s name alive. One way I honor my angel is by sharing her story and raising awareness about Vasa Previa in hopes that another parent does not have to go through a preventable heartbreak of losing their child. Despite being rare, Vasa Previa CAN be detected but can ONLY be diagnosed through a transvaginal ultrasound using the color Doppler.
I’ll never understand why I had to lose my daughter or why other amazing moms out there had to go through this horrible, heartbreaking loss. While being pregnant again is such a wonderful blessing, this pregnancy after loss journey has been full of so many ups and downs, and I am only at week 12. I worry about losing this little rainbow like how I lost Amelia, I worry about forgetting Amelia, I feel silly but I worry about everything. A pregnancy after loss makes you more thankful for each little moment, but also so cautious. This time around though, I feel like my heart needs to be wrapped in caution tape to ensure that It doesn’t break again.
Amelia was such a special gift and seeing her take her last breath and having to bury her was the hardest thing I ever had to do in life. I’ll never understand why this had to happen but I hope and pray that the same fate doesn’t happen to Baby F. As long as I am alive, I always promise to my daughter that I will keep her name alive and that her little siblings will know all about her. I feel that it is my job to ensure that she is never forgotten and she never will be.