A Journey Through Loss

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   This is me with my two living children. I love this photo because you can see my girls hand prints on my arm and it makes me feel like all 4 of my children are present in this photo  

I would like to introduce you to Lori Ann and her family. Lori Ann has two living children and 2 angel babies. This is their story…

In 2017 I found out I was pregnant with our 3rd child. We were having another girl and we were over the moon excited. We named her Amara Rayne. The pregnancy went smoothly and due to previous cesareans we were scheduled for December 28, 2017 to deliver our Amara via repeat cesarean.

On December 19th due to my age, the doctors did an NST (Non stress test) and Amara’s heartbeat was a little hard to find but they did find it and said she was perfect. We went through an exciting Christmas day and I couldn’t remember with how busy the day was if I had felt her move during all the commotion or not. I had an appointment first thing on December 26th. This would be my last appointment before the cesarean a few days later.

The morning of the 26th we attended our appointment as scheduled. During the ultrasound they were unable to find her heartbeat, sadly that’s when we found out Amara was gone. We were informed that she he had a true knot and nuchal x2. We were shattered. Our older two children then 2yrs & 4yrs  were so broken hearted.

My husband had a vasectomy in October 2017 because we were going to stop having children after our third. However after losing Amara we decided we wanted to try again. We couldn’t let that be our ending. So my husband had his vasectomy reversed in April 2018.

Come May we were pregnant again with our Rainbow Baby! At ten weeks we found out she was a girl and chose the name Iris Rayne. Our older two children’s middle names are namesakes from family members so we thought Iris should carry on her big sister Amara’s middle name and continue that tradition.

At 5 weeks I started bleeding heavily. I was told I was having a threatened miscarriage. At 6 weeks I was still bleeding but they saw a heartbeat and Iris was still growing right on track. I was put on strict bed rest and progesterone. I was also referred to a perinatal doctor. When we saw her she told us to terminate our pregnancy due to a subchorionic hemorrhage that was 3 times the size of the sac. We were floored that the doctor would even suggest such a thing when our baby was holding strong and considering we just lost a full term baby two days before what should have been her birthday.

We demanded a second opinion. The new perinatologist thankfully was more positive. He said these things can go away and everything would be great. “You will get your baby!” We were told.

Starting from week 6 on we had ultrasounds every two weeks and we were told every time that everything was looking great. We were able to see our baby girl wiggling, and I remained on strict bed rest. We were told the hemorrhage was clotting and that was a good thing! We were told my placenta was over my cervix but we had time for it to move and that most do. I complained of bladder pain and oddness when I urinated but every time they just tested me for a UTI (urinaty tract infection),  when the results returned negative my concerns were ignored.

Fast forward to week 18, we go in as a family to our ultrasounds this pregnancy because I was alone when I found out Amara was gone. I had so much anxiety with this rainbow pregnancy. The tech starts the ultrasound and I instantly knew something was wrong. She tried and tried and took measurements and said “I’m so sorry but I can’t find the heartbeat”.

This is where it gets even more scary….

The perinatologist told us to go home. When we were ready we could go to the hospital to be induced, that Iris was small enough that I could deliver her vaginally without issues. (Even though I’ve had 3 prior cesareans. I still delivered Amara via cesarean). I was so confused. I went straight to the hospital and my husband brought the kids home and waited for a sitter to come so he could be with me. Something just did not feel right.

At the hospital they were getting ready to induce me and a tech asked me if I wanted a confirmation ultrasound. I said yes and that ultrasound LITERALLY saved my life. Little did we know that I was slowly dying the entire time! This is what they found when the performed the ultrasound….

My placenta had grown through my uterus and into my bladder in 3 spots, into my fallopian tubes, and attached itself to my abdominal wall. (Remember the bladder pain?) I was rushed to a bigger hospital where they had an “acreta team” of 8 surgeons ready to do a very major surgery. They did numerous scans to get a picture of what they were going into. I had placenta percreta. They told me I had a very high risk of dying on the table. I had to sign papers stating I understood this risk. I was told I had a 1% chance of surviving due to the severity. I told them “please get me home to my children, they need their mom”.

I remained and voiced that I was extremely adamant that I wanted to hold Iris, I wanted to meet her and have photos of my beautiful 18 week rainbow baby that fought so hard against all odds. They said the surgery would be 5 hours roughly. The surgery lasted 11.5 hours! I had to be cut from sternum to groin. My placenta was massive and the most vascular they had ever come across. I had to have a radical hysterectomy performed. I was wheeled into surgery September 27, 2018 at 6:34 am and I woke up on life support September 28, 2018 and shocked everyone. I was on a cell saver to pretty much recycle my blood as I lost it and still had 6 units transfused in addition to that. I had lines in all major arteries, a breathing tube, drains from my incisions, you name it…

They did preserve Iris inside my uterus for me. They had placed her in a bucket for when I woke up. I held her, her dad held her, my sister flew in and held her. Everyone was told I most likely wouldn’t survive. The surgeons told me that Iris died to SAVE my life. I call her my “Eternal Rainbow” and my hero.

Iris was beautiful and perfect and wronged by the medical doctors who vowed to keep her safe. My doctor never saw me again, other doctors refused to see me because of the severity of the surgery. People I don’t even know here know who I am because no one could believe I survived. No one had ever seen a case so severe and I was deemed the worst case the accreta team had ever had.

My biggest fear is my girls will be forgotten. That Iris will be forgotten in the shadow of Amara’s memory. I’ve been told that Amara’s loss was a “bigger loss” because she was full term. That is not true. I lost two daughters, half my children run and half fly. With Iris I lost a daughter, hope, a chance at a rainbow, and any chance of ever carrying another child again. I gained PTSD, fear of medical doctors, and a scar down my midsection as a reminder…

I’ve talked a lot about having a breast milk piece but our finances have been really bad. After losing our girls we went into bankruptcy which I hate admitting. Iris’s surgery was half a million dollars. Insurance helped but we took a big hit. I was told to contact you and honestly I don’t know if I’ve said too much, what to expect from this message, or anything really. But I’m sitting here in tears because I miss my girls so much, Iris’s one year mark is coming up September 27th and I can feel the crushing pain of her loss on my chest all over again. She was real, she was beautiful. And even at 18 weeks I still wound up engorged with milk after her delivery. Being a mother has been the only thing I ever wanted to be, it’s my best accomplishment in my opinion, and now I’m learning the balance of mothering children both on earth and in heaven.

Rest in peace Amara and Iris.

Your family loves you and misses you every hour of every day.