My name is Courtney, and my beautiful daughter was stillborn.
Our story isn’t typical.
On Tuesday, August 18th at 8:11pm, our sweet little angel, Adley Rose was delivered into this world. Even though she met God before we were able to see, hold, and kiss her…I’m still very blessed that we were given those chances. After an incredibly long and draining journey, I was finally able to see her in person and not through a weekly ultrasound. I had NO idea what Cystic Hygroma, Turners Syndrome, or congestive heart failure really was, until our daughter had to face all of those obstacles…which ultimately caused her passing.
It all started around 10 weeks. I had my first ultrasound in my pregnancy to determine exactly how far along I was. We had found out the baby’s heart rate was 174 (which they said was good), and that the baby was very active! However, they discovered a fluid filled sac attached on the baby’s back, and diagnosed it as Cystic Hygroma. They then told me that I would have to go back for another ultrasound in 2 weeks, in hopes that the sac dissolved, and if it didn’t, there were many complications in which we would be faced with. We had around a 50/50 chance in everything going in our daughter’s favor. A flip of the coin. This scared me to death.
Those 2 weeks in between appointments were a bit of a blur, but our next ultrasound finally arrived. We showed up so very hopeful, and they had a lady who specialized in genetics ask if she could speak to us in a separate room before our ultrasound. She went over all different types of outcomes…primarily ones that really scared my husband and I. Everything from all the different types of chromosomal disorders, Down syndrome, Turner ’s syndrome, miscarriage, and stillbirth mostly. I didn’t understand why she spoke with us before our ultrasound, but ultimately found out why after. They said because if things were worse, it’s better to talk beforehand that way our minds could still focus, and comprehend everything. As soon as we went in to see our beautiful baby, that exact second that the ultrasound had started, we saw it. The Cystic Hygroma nearly tripled in size. I instantly broke out in tears and my husband threw his arms in the air. I’m not sure of the exact measurements, but they said it has drastically grown. What I found so hard to believe, is that the baby was measuring exactly where she was supposed to, and with a strong heartbeat. The technician came in with the doctor after we were done and told us exactly what we didn’t want to hear. They said based on the ultrasound, and the growth of the Cystic Hygroma…that they were leaning towards Tuner’s Syndrome. I had blood work done as well, to see if it was the case. They also said, that we had only around a 5% chance of having our baby. Mostly leaning towards miscarriage or stillbirth. My husband and I were both in shock.
Once again, they scheduled us for another ultrasound to track the growth of our baby and Hygroma. In between appointments we received our phone call from genetics, a phone call I’ll never forget. This is when we were told we were having a girl, a princess, and how they could identify that was because she tested positive for Turner’s Syndrome. Not exactly the way I expected to find out the sex of our baby, but this entire pregnancy had not gone as we had imagined. At our next ultrasound, we had found out that our daughter was in heart failure, and that the Cystic Hygroma drastically grew. It went from 10mm to 25mm in the matter of weeks. She also had fluid in her brain, lungs, and surrounding her heart. They gave us the options of either carrying until she passes, and delivering a stillborn OR choosing to induce and end the pregnancy. This wasn’t an option. 5 % is STILL a chance. A chance we were going to hold on to. My husband said the most moving thing to me after that appointment. That if our baby was going to pass, what sweeter way than to pass with the comfort of her mother’s body surrounding her. The only place that she had ever known and had felt comfort, peace, and love in. And I was right on board.
They told us that it would be a matter of days, or weeks before she would pass, and they expected it to happen before our next ultrasound. At our following appointment just a couple weeks later, we found out that the fluid expanded and pretty much consumed her. They told us that they were 100% sure that she would be passing in the next 1 to 3 weeks. The following day we went to the ER, because I had been feeling very off, and this time we chose a different hospital for a second opinion. I was told the day prior that I was fine to keep riding this out, and to just watch for any abnormal changes. I had a fever as well, but they just wrote it off. Once I was examined at the new hospital, they told me that it would be best to induce, and that they’d schedule it later in the week (which we begged for because they wanted that day)…but that wasn’t our plan. I may have been having complications, but she STILL had a heartbeat. My induction was scheduled for that Tuesday. My husband and I were sick. We went to the hospital on that Tuesday, and went into labor and delivery. They had me change into a gown to check the baby’s heartbeat. But this time, for the first time in almost 6 months, it wasn’t there. They said it was probably the device, so they then came in with the ultrasound machine. They searched and searched, but she was gone. She was just there a few days prior.
Even though she was able to pass inside of me, all she’s ever known, and what we had planned…it did not make anything easier. Stillbirth, a word I never in a million years thought would somehow relate back to us, now does. I really did think that things would never get any better, or become any easier. It was not only the fact that we didn’t get to bring our sweet girl home where she should be… it’s also missing those milestones. We’re missing that 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 10th birthday. Kissing her boo boos when she falls off her bike. THAT’S hard. But now, I can say at least I had the chance to hold her, and give her kisses. Tell her I LOVE her. Got to know her. An opportunity some don’t have…especially in stillbirth. We basically spent our pregnancy waiting for our daughter to pass. I will never forget our sweet Adley Rose and I will always wish that it could have been a different outcome, and that she would have come home with me. Ultimately, time does help heal. Ever so gently. There will be hard days. INCREDIBLY hard. That hole will never be replaced. But you will have good days. You will never forget them, but you can now talk about them. Share their story and hope that one day, their story can help someone else. ♥ You’ll be okay with their memory.