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- Adverse Prenatal Diagnosis (24)
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- Cystic Hygroma, Hydrops, Turner Syndrome (5)
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- Pregnancy & Unexpected Loss (5)
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- Stillbirth (3)
My husband and I found out that I was pregnant on August 8, 2008. We were excited, although a bit reserved since I had suffered an early miscarriage three months prior. My OB was wonderful and basically held my hand in terms of doing what it took to calm my nerves. We hit the 12-week mark and decided to tell friends and family that we were expecting, thinking that we were out of the woods for anything to go wrong. We found out that we were having a daughter and prepared for her arrival accordingly. We went to several Baby “101” courses at the hospital to better prepare us for parenthood. We also picked out a name, Addison Paige Clabaugh, which we were waiting to reveal to everyone after her arrival, a decision that I regret. I had a textbook pregnancy with no indication (that I was aware of) of any potential issues that could put my baby in danger. I was so excited for her arrival and looking very forward to the baby shower that my family was throwing for me. Little did I know that the day of that baby shower, March 7, 2009, would be the day that I would be going into the hospital to start the process of inducing labor and delivering my lifeless baby girl.
I remember waking up the morning of Friday, March 6, 2009, having not awoken that night by the usual punches and kicks of Addison. I really didn’t think much of it because she was extremely hyperactive the day before. I just chalked it up to her being tired, not knowing at the time that babies have a very scheduled sleep cycle in the womb. I also remember feeling different that morning in terms of how I was carrying her. My stomach was a bit harder than usual and had a heavy feeling …kind of a weighed down feeling. I brushed it off and went to work that morning in a chipper mood thinking that my birthday would be in three months and by then Addison would be here with us. I went to work and ate my breakfast thinking that would get her moving, but when that didn’t do the trick, I decided to call my OB even though I felt like a burden for doing so. Let me preface this by saying that I had been in to see my OB for a routine weekly OB visit that Monday and I was seen the day before because I was leaking fluid. They wanted to rule out amniotic fluid, so they worked me in. I didn’t see my regular OB that day and often wondered if things would have turned out differently had I gone to the satellite office to see her instead. I have since stopped playing the what-if game just because I knew that nothing good would come from it. The nurse said to head to L&D right away so they could do an NST to reassure me that everything was ok. I honestly had no idea that something was wrong. To make a long story short, I went to L&D only to find out that our daughter had returned to heaven. I was alone at the time (with the exception of the nurse) thinking that there was no need to call my husband as I would be in and out and there was no need to worry him (another decision that I regret). March 6, 2009, was the day that has forever changed my life, my way of thinking and who I am right down to the core of my soul.
Addison was born March 9, 2009. She was perfect and beautiful. She had died as a result of a nuchal cord accident. I had never heard of this happening and certainly was never made aware that it could happen to me, nor of the extreme importance of kick counts and/or any unusual behavior, such as hyperactivity or frequent hiccups, as being an indicator of a potential cord issue. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think of her and miss her. But, I know she is sitting in the lap of God surrounded by angels and Joy and that along with the fact that I will one day get to see her again brings me peace.
Addison’s little brother, Evan Bryce Clabaugh, was born into this world 14 months later. He was and is healthy, although a failed Bio Physical Profile bumped him up on schedule for a cesarean section that day. He was born with the cord around his neck and his leg, though not tightly I am told. Regardless, something was wrong to result in a failed BPP, and I believe it had everything to do with the cord. After Addison’s passing, I did a lot of research on stillbirth, including flying to see a stillborn research specialist, Dr. Jason Collins, when I was 28 weeks along in my pregnancy with Evan. I knew that I had to be Evan’s advocate and help ensure his well being (to the best of my ability). My wonderful OB (the same that delivered Addi), a perinate and Dr. Collins were all very much involved in monitoring Evan. Their help, along with the support of my family, my friends (the few that truly understood), other angel moms, my church and my faith are what got me through the very long nine months of extreme paranoia, fear and sleepless nights. I was a statistic and nothing that anybody said could have made me feel better.
Evan is the light of my life, and I can’t imagine life without him. I know now what a miracle it is for any baby to arrive into this world safe and sound. I thank God for Evan and believe that he is a gift and a blessing. Evan’s arrival, God’s grace, and time have helped heal my heart to the best of its ability. I have met several angel moms on my journey and we continue to share, vent and lean on one another for support and continue adapting to what we call our new reality. We are part of the dreaded club that nobody wants to be associated with, and we are desperate to help ourselves, our families, and others who have experienced and potentially could experience the loss of a baby. We want to be heard and understood. We want to make certain that our babies’ deaths were not in vain and carry out their legacy by sharing what we know and not holding it within like a dirty secret. In my opinion, sharing is a key component of the healing process. To anyone who has lost a baby, I give my deepest condolences. To anyone still struggling from this, please know that happiness does return to your life. I look back at what I call the darkest days of mine and recall how hopeless I felt and how grim I perceived the future to be. I never believed that I would have the strength and courage to get to where I am now in life. Stay strong by leaning on your faith, your family and your friends to help you through those dark days.
To commemorate my daughter and give purpose to her life, I initiated discussions with St. Joseph Hospital (since that is where both Addison and Evan were born) about starting an annual perinatal bereavement ceremony. I feel it is so important for moms to connect with other moms as a way of coping and healing and feel like this ceremony provides an opportunity to do that in addition to acknowledging our angel babies. With the help of other angel moms, we have created a Facebook page called The Angel Baby Project which is another great resource for moms, dads, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and anyone who has experienced infant loss. I am excited to announce that The Angel Baby Project of Greater KC along with St. Joseph and St. Mary’s Medical Centers will host the first annual Perinatal Bereavement Ceremony in April 2012 on the St. Joseph campus. Please follow The Angel Baby Project on Facebook to learn more about upcoming event details at: http://www.facebook.com/TheAngelBabiesProject