This is Stella's story, written by her mother Krystal:
I was 37weeks 4 days pregnant with our 3rd, and what we were calling, our last addition to the family. Everything was in place, planned, prepped and ready for her arrival. I had been preparing for my first natural home birth for the last 9 months and was extremely excited for labor to begin. The entire pg was excellent, healthy and the most active baby I have ever carried. I thought for sure she was going to be a huge child and very active (that or there were 2 in there)
The day before I had my 37/38 week MW appmt. and everything looked great. Baby dropped and was engaged, she was ready to join us at anytime, any day. I prepped the birth pool and got all the HB stuff in one spot, ready to go. Baby wasn't moving as much as usual, but I figured she was just settling and getting ready to join us.
Thursday morning i woke up at about 4:30 am and couldn't fall back to sleep. At 5 am DH woke up and got ready for work. He left at 6am and I decided to get out of bed. I noticed baby hadn't moved since i woke so i started playing with my belly, still no movement. DS woke up and started playing with the baby too....still nothing. I made coffee in hopes to get her going....nothing. I did get a shift at 7:15 when I placed my warm cup on her back. At 9 I was beyond worried and called the MW, no answer. I called the clinic, they told me they'd have the nurse call me back. @ 9:30am I talked with the nurse and she insisted I come up to the hospital and have a NST. I went up immediately after dropping the kids off at my sisters. There I met up with a friend who was due just a few days before me. We chatted for 30 mins and I was called back. The nurse had me take a urine sample then hooked me up to a Doppler. Baby's HB sounded great at 141. I laid back and started reading a magazine when DH arrived. We sat for a min listening to the sweet sound of our child's heartbeat feeling relieved she was still kicking it in there. Suddenly her HB dropped, then picked back up. then dropped again. Suddenly the machine started alarming and DH went to find a nurse. She came in and was instantly concerned. She called in the Dr. They tried finding the HB again and couldn't. So we were sent to L&D. We walked over with the OB and she had me change into a gown, stared an IV, and hooked up the monitors again. The OB checked me and found my cervix was only 30% effaced, -3 station and 1cm dilated. Not favorable for induction. The baby's HB then again went from 140s down to 120s to 20s them 40s then gone. OB then had me sign a CS waiver. she sat with me for only a couple mins trying to find the HB, after a min. she stated that they had to do an emergency CS and I would have to be knocked out, they had no time for an epi. So off I went into surgery. This was at 11:15am I cried as they stripped my belly and gassed me. I prayed.
Then all went black.
I woke up as they were pulling me off the operating table and wheeling me to recovery, i couldn't open my eyes and was in excruciating pain. I remember seeing DH on his phone and the nurses who wouldn't even look at me. I knew something was not right and then managed to ask if the baby was ok. The nurse didn't even look at me and simply said the Dr. would be in to talk with me in a min. I closed my eyes knowing what was going to be told to me. The Dr came in, crying to tell me that my daughter didn't make it. That they tried everything in their power to start her heart when she was born to no avail. My pastor came in and said a prayer and blessed the baby. She was born still at 11:27am on Oct 28th 2010. She was 7lbs1oz and 19inches long.
All i could do was cry. I asked God to put me back to sleep. I slept for a little while then woke to DH sitting next to me crying. We sat and cried together.
It took me a long time to talk at all, even to DH. He shared with me the experience of our child's birth and how hard the Drs and nurses tried to revive our baby girl. how helpless he felt not being able to do a thing for our baby and how hard it was to see me laying on the table, unaware of what was occurring, cut open and asleep with tubes coming out of every part of my body.
After a couple of hours, when the drugs started waring off, I felt it, pain that wasn't just physically excruciating, but emotionally crushing. My child was no longer in me, happily kicking my ribs and poking my hips. She wasn't in my arms or suckling my breasts. She was cold and alone in a separate nursery than all the living babies. She was gone. And I was left in pain, cut open emptied and heart broken.
I told the nurses that I didn't want to see anyone, and to keep all visitors away. There was no one i wanted to see but DH. After a few hours of us just sitting and crying he mentioned bringing in the baby so we could see her, name her, hold her and say our goodbyes. It took me a long time to accept that it was something that needed to be done. He went and got her and brought her in.
We held her, cried over her and named her. Stella Grace~ My little star in heaven. She was just perfect, so beautiful, she looked just like her older sister. Brown curly hair with tints of red, thin red lips and chubby little cheeks. Long crooked toes and huge feet. Everything about her was just perfect. She looked like she was just peacefully sleeping and that at any moment she would wake up and cry to be held to my breast. She smelt sooooo good, like the sweetest little angel, a smell I will never forget.
DH held her, and wrapped her in a blanket, and talked to her, kissed her and told her how much we loved her and how absolutely perfect she was.
I couldn't understand how a child so perfect couldn't be living, breathing, crying, warm. I still dont get it. There was nothing wrong with her, the placenta or the cord. She just didn't make it and we will never know why.
Later that night we had my parents visit and our children. They went down to the nursery and held her. Our kids were strong and i am glad they had a chance to meet Stella, their little angel sister.
Friday was a hard day, to wake up knowing God never let me go back, as much as i prayed to go back and do it differently, to wake up with Stella still in my womb. It wasn't fair, what did i do to deserve this pain, this anguish, why didn't God have mercy on me? My child? My husband and children? I was angry all day, and sad, and cried. My sisters visited me on Friday as well. I am glad i could see them, for they've been a huge part in helping me heal. So supportive and helpful. They brought me coffee, subway, went and cleaned my house and stocked my fridge, took my children to play with their cousins and were just there to cry with me. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for all they do.
By Saturday I had to get strong, we were going home and had to plan a funeral for our little girl. We had a photographer come and take professional pics of Stella, i am hoping i can get those today. The nurses made a box of keepsakes and took pictures of Stella as well. They brought that in for me to look at. She is just so beautiful. I was wheeled out with no child, just a box of memories of a child I once carried in my womb, held once in my arms and now only get to hold in my heart. Life is not fair.
I had contacted my MW asking for our money back that we paid her for the home birth the day before as well as letting her know about Stella's service. She had not tried contacting me or tried visiting us at all Since the day i called he in distress. She ended up sending the check back wrapped in scrap paper tore from a notebook with not even a note written on it. She never sent a card of condolence or attend my daughters service. After 5 1/2 months she not once tried contacting me or try sending any kind of bereavement information. She bailed 100% and acted like me had never existed.
I contacted her through email with this note:
I wanted to write you and get a few things off of my chest. I have been having a really hard time coping with this loss and i feel the way you handled our situation was completely unacceptable and unprofessional. I had so much trust in you and felt very close friendship with you as well. I had always dreamed of having a home birth and a close friend like relationship with the care provider that would accompany us at our home durring the birth of our child. I felt i had found that in you durring my entire pregnancy & I expected if things were to go awry, that you would be there for me. You told my husband and I, that in care of transfer or emergency, that you would be there for us by our sides in the hospital. You were not. I also expected, with you being a mother of 9 children yourself, that you would have the compassion to send at least a note of sympathy or card of condolence. When i received the check back just wrapped in a piece of paper tore from a notebook with not even a single word written on it, my heart, or what was left of it at the time, shattered along with all of my dreams and expectations of this entire experience. I begged and pleaded with Matt to have this home birthing experience, and the turn out was even WORSE that i could have EVER IMAGINED and how you "handled" the situation, made it all that much harder on us both. I would expect a professional midwife to take the initiative to be there for her patients in the good times and the bad. You could have also joined us for the service or sent a card of sympathy. When you didn't do a single thing i felt that you had lied to me the entire time i was entrusting you with our family. Like we didn't matter at all. I felt completely abandoned and still do. You could have also sent some bereavement information to let us know you care, and what we could expect from this disaster that has become our life.
I suggest and personally ask that as you carry on as a professional certified nurse midwife, that God forbid in the event that another family has to endure the tragedy of stillbirth, you would show more compassion and care in you dealings with them. I am not sure if i was the first experience of stillbirth you have encountered in your career, but i know i will surely NOT be the last with the rates of this occurring. You should really think about how to handle situations like this in a more professional and compassionate manner. Such as sending out information on bereavement, attending the service and helping them through the grief. I am also hoping this letter may have opened your eyes to this tragedy and how it truely effected me and my family, and that you learn to deal with this kind of situation in a more professional manner. I would also like to know why you decided to act in the manner that you did? Why did you just seem to dissappear and leave us alone in this grief? Maybe in knowing this and expressing my feelings to you i will be able to move on in my grief.
Was this too much to expect from a midwife i trusted and felt was also a friend.
She wrote me back a few days later with nothing but a ton of lame excuses and not even once on that letter did she extend any kind of condolence to the fact that my daughter DIED. The experience i wished and hoped for turned out to be the biggest disaster that engulfed my life. Had i made a better decision and stick it out with a professional my entire pregnancy, there may be a chance my daughter would still be here. The choice of wanting a home birth was selfish of me and it cost my daughters life and my MW could care less. I just pray that this doesnt happen to any other family with her practicing with such unprofessionalism. There were so many warning signs i now see she totally looked over though out my pregnancy with Stella. The day before i mentioned to her that Stella was not moving like she normally does and she brushed it off like she had dropped and was ready to join us. She had her midwife in training do the entire appointment that day when she should have been looking into Stella's condition herself. The next day, not even 24 hours later my daughter was dead. If only she wouldve used the protocols for non moving babies and listened to Stella's HB for 15 mins even, i bet she wouldve found concern and sent me in for a NST, and my daughter could be here and alive and almost 6 months old. But no. That is not how it works when MWs think everything is always OK. Stillbirth and complications are FAR TOO common and should never be brushed off. Women and families need to know the facts and stop thinking everything will always be OK, because its not, more than 1 in 115 births end in stillbirth, that is about 70 families a day...now add in the statistics of complications and it is staggering. I wouldn't put my child into a car with out a belt or car seat because just maybe we will have an accident, so why did i feel it was OK to birth at home and let an "inexperienced" MW (she claimed to be a CNW with loads of experience but showed her true colors after the fact) deal with my pregnancy and delivery? It was like riding with no seat belt and we were the ones who got into the crash.
Krystal blogs at My Star In Heaven. Please go over and show her some love and support!!