Baby Ariel

Diagnosis: Trisomy 18

By Ariel's Mom

Words cannot describe how a mother feels losing her baby girl. I will never forget this experience or my daughter.

My boyfriend and I decided it was time to start trying for a baby. We succeeded in less than a month! Looking at the test, tears came to my eyes. I was overjoyed. We were excited, but still nervous about how life would change with a new baby. The pregnancy was as expected. Crazy morning sickness for a few weeks, but then I started feeling better. I was so excited to have my baby with me and to start getting my baby bump.

I remember going to the doctor and laying down so we could hear her heartbeat. I can distinctly remember feeling afraid, though. The doctor could not find her heartbeat for a few minutes, but then the sound came along loud and clear. It was beating so fast! I couldn't believe I was going to be a mother. It all became so real. I fell so deeply in love with my baby that very moment, nothing could bring me down from cloud nine that day. I felt such a strong connection with my baby. I felt like we were best friends, partners in crime and like nothing could ever separate us from now on!

I wanted to live a better life and to work hard and be an amazing mom for my baby. I never wanted to leave her side or miss a minute in her life. I would imagine myself holding her and rocking her to sleep. Holding her when she cried. What she would sound like and her first words. The first time she would grab my finger or kissing her forehead when she was sleeping. Teaching her to play the piano and to sing with her. I thought about what she would be when she got older. I actually looked forward to her moody teenage years, I wanted to share my experiences with her and show her that I would love her no matter what and that I would always be there for her. I was ecstatic to become a mom!

For a little while I was concerned because I was not feeling her and I was not developing as fast as other women. But I was still slowly growing and showing off my little bump to my boyfriend. I chalked it up to everyone being different – maybe I would be lucky and have a little baby and labor would be that much easier! I remember feeling butterflies and little bubbles where my baby was and I knew it was her making her first moves. Excitement and goosebumps shot through my body as I felt my little one announce her presence. I could not wait to start sharing these moments with my boyfriend!

Those feelings never grew any stronger than those first few tinglings, though. Still, we never got a call from our doctor saying anything was out of the ordinary. Once again, I chalked it up to maybe she was a quiet and calm baby who would let me sleep at night and not do a whole lot of fussing. Nevertheless, I would ask my doctor about her development – but hey, we were past the half way mark and no call from the doctor... we were in the clear.

We went to doctor appointments and went through screening as normal. Going in for our five month check up, the doctor seemed a little more professional than the last couple times; she seemed almost uneasy. We went into the room with her and we all sat down. She said there was something wrong with one of the tests I had done. She said there was a possibility that my baby had Trisomy 18. I had read about it in a baby book, but skimmed over it because I thought 'nothing like that would never happen to my baby.' I was looking after myself, taking my vitamins and taking it easy so I wouldn't do anything to hurt or stress the pregnancy, and I was too tired to do my regular activities!

The news made my world stop. My baby had 1 in 6 odds of having this horrible syndrome. We got the news on Thursday, so we had to wait the weekend to see a genetic counselor. I read everything and anything I could find about Edward's Syndrome. Everything was the same – If my baby had this, she would not make it, and if by some miracle she did, her life would be full of suffering and operations and tubes – not the life I wanted for my precious little one. But I kept praying and begging that my baby would be healthy and she would be the 5 in 6 that did not have this.

Tuesday was the amnio. I asked the technician if he could see if my baby was a boy or girl. He said she was a girl! I was so happy and so in love! Bliss did not last forever and did not come without fear and doubt about the life-threatening results. The results came the next day. My baby girl was diagnosed with Trisomy 18. I could not believe it. I was laying in bed with my boyfriend when we got the call Wednesday. He was sick after hearing the news; I was stunned. I turned into my boyfriend's chest and sobbed. Our baby was dying. I felt like I was dying...like someone was slowly taking away my life and ripping my world apart. I wished so badly that it was all a dream or that someone was playing a really mean joke on me. I still feel like time is stuck on that day.

Being 20 weeks and just getting this news, we had to make a decision for our baby girl, and quickly. We chose to terminate. I cherished the last days I had with her. I held on to my tummy where I felt she was the last few nights we had, whispering that I loved her and I wished it was different. Going to the hospital, one week after receiving the news, the day of the surgery, I wished the drive would last forever. I wished that I could turn back time and go through the entire pregnancy again, just to have more time with her. I felt like jumping out of the car and running away where no one could hurt us. Where we could live happy and together. I was so mad. Why was this happening to us? Why do people who abuse their children, hurt them or neglect and abandon them have their babies? Why our baby? I had no one to be mad at, though.

When Ariel was exactly 21 weeks, we terminated the pregnancy. June 27, 2012. Laying on the bed waiting to be brought into the room where she would be taken away from me, I held my tummy, caressed Ariel's little bump. I prayed she would be okay and she wouldn't hurt during this, that if I didn't wake up from this, it wouldn't be the worst...I so badly did not want to be separated from Ariel. I told her I hated that this was happening. I told her I wished I could take it away and make her better. I told her I loved her more than anything, that I was sorry and that I would miss her. I told her she wouldn't hurt anymore and that she would be okay now. I told her she would have family waiting for her and that I would see her one day. I told her I would make her proud. The nurse came and rolled me in. I shuffled over to the operating bed and they started to put us to sleep. I held my tummy one last time and told Ariel goodbye.

When I woke up, she was gone. I did everything I could not to think about what just happened. Slowly I started to realize I could not hide from reality anymore. My baby girl was now an angel. I had never felt so empty. I had planned everything in my future to better Ariel's life and to maximize the time I would spend with her. Now I had nothing. No matter what anyone said, no one can bring her back, no one can make her or anything better. The doctor gave me a beautiful card with her little footprints on it. I look at it everyday and keep it with me at all times. It is the most precious thing I have ever seen and will ever cherish. The first night without Ariel was the hardest night of my life. I had never missed anyone so much in my life, I have never hurt so bad. I now realized that, sadly, life would still go on. It did not stop for anything or anyone. Everyone went on with their daily activities and weekend planning.

Everyone around me is laughing and living life. I'm stuck in this heart-wrenching state. I miss my daughter more than anything...every minute of every day. It takes all my strength and all the positive thinking I have in me to get through a day without Ariel. She was my everything for 5 months. She was with me through everything and gave me a reason to get up and out of bed everyday. Every decision I made and every sacrifice I made was for Ariel. She was my life – and she didn't even get to know it - I never got to show her. I know it will get better, but it's hard to move on without Ariel here.

I just hope that she knows I love her and that I miss her more than words will ever be able to describe. I hope she knows how much she means to me and how badly I wish things were different. I hope to make her proud one day. I hope she isn't hurting and I hope she's my angel. Nothing can describe a mother-to-be's feelings of losing her baby to a random situation. Nothing can bring her back or make her better. Nothing will replace her.

I love you forever and always, with all my heart, Ariel.

~ Mommy


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