Hopeful Readers…Holly is an incredible woman. The night after I learned of Jake’s passing, she reached out to me to share her story and provide me the support I needed. Complete strangers, forever bonded. Whenever I see Holly, I feel like I have known her my whole life. I imagine our babies together.
First of all, I would like to thank Lisa for allowing me to share Riley’s story. Lisa has been such an amazing support for me through this whole journey.
My husband wanted children, but I had always said that I didn’t. I loved my nieces and nephews, but wanted to do what I wanted, when I wanted it. After our youngest nieces and nephews were born, I changed my mind. My maternal instinct started kicking in. We decided to start trying after my 31st birthday. I was surprised in February 2012, when I took a test and found out I was pregnant! We didn’t know how far along I was, so we had an ultrasound and found out it was twins. Four weeks later, we found out we had lost one, but we were still so excited because Riley was growing perfectly. About halfway through the pregnancy, the doctor diagnosed me with placenta previa. They believed that the placenta had attached in a thin part of the uterus, which was slowing her growth. I received steroid injections in the event that she was delivered early. I was placed on bed rest, and at my 33 week checkup, they gave us the thumbs up that she had reached the 17th percentile and we were clear to proceed normally for the rest of the pregnancy. Three days later, we had dinner with friends. She was kicking so hard before we left the house. After we returned, I was exhausted. I didn’t notice her kicking at dinner and didn’t think anything of it since I ignorantly assumed as babies grow, they run out of room. The next day I left for work and still didn’t feel any movement. I drank juice, ice water, and chocolate, anything that really made her move. Still nothing, so I called the NST lab and asked to be brought in. As soon as they placed the probe on my belly, I could see that there was no flicker in her chest. They said she had passed recently and that they were so sorry. I couldn’t breathe or talk. I hyperventilated and they called my husband to come immediately, explaining to him what happened. I was induced that night. She was born on Wednesday, September 26, 2012, at 8:30 a.m. at 4 lbs. 5 oz, perfect. I am not sure how many Wednesdays passed that I would simply stare at the clock and pray for it to be 8:31, counting each week until at least 17 Wednesdays had passed.
We spent ten hours with her. I remember how soft she was, how long her fingers were, how big her feet were, and how red her lips were. I remember her head full of dark hair and how much she looks like her daddy.
Most of that time is a painful blur since I was so heavily medicated. We decided to have her cremated and ashes spread at Norfolk General’s Circle of Love. I wish now that I had brought her home. I wish I had more pictures, or a lock of hair. Anything.
For us, those 10 hours we spent with her after she was delivered, were the most precious moments of our lives. Even with the birth of her sister and the upcoming arrival of her brother, I would not say that we have overcome our loss, nor have we even come close. These children will never take her place, and we will always feel like something is missing. It has been three years. We still have good days and bad days, but now more good than bad. Riley’s death strengthened our love for God and our love for each other. By placing our faith in God, we have come a long way in a short time. There is no way that we would have made it through this without His love. With this faith in God, we are better people. We call Riley our angel baby. She will live in our hearts forever, until we see her again.