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Faith Formation Guest Posts Loss Motherhood Respect Life Testimonials Vocations

The Miracle that is Mallory

By: Amy Fordham
In the grand scheme of life, sometimes, it goes fast, sometimes slow. When you lose a child, or a pregnancy, time sometimes stands still. I know. Almost five years ago, we found out there was a good chance our unborn child would not live. We were in for our 19 week ultrasound. After years of infertility, we were so excited, as was our 6 ½ year old Megan. She wanted a sister, and I have to be honest, I wanted another girl. Byron wanted a boy, of course, but all we really wanted was a healthy baby. God had another plan.
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We had one of the last appointments of the day. I was very well accquainted with the ultrasound room at my doctor’s office. Nothing romantic in the way we got pregnant! The ultrasound tech looked and look. Of course the usual “I think it is a girl (YAY!) but I am not 100% sure.” Then silence. More quiet. And more measuring. And quiet. Then, “I will go get the doctor. Be right back”. That is never good. The doctor came in. More quiet. Argh. I was so not feeling the way I was supposed to. I was supposed to be laughing and joking, and HAPPY it was a girl! I was nervous, scared and freaking out inside. My mom was there. It was Friday, September 7, 2007. I will never forget that day, and I loathe it.
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The doctor mentioned that the baby’s legs and arms were not quite up to the 19 week mark. About 1.5 weeks off. I did not think too much of it. Ultrasounds are not 100% right. She wanted me to see a perinatologist. She called the one in Topeka. He was booked for four weeks. I can wait, no big deal. She said “NO. You need to get in right away.” I freaked. This must be serious. She called KU Med. They could not fit me in for a week. She called St. Luke’s. They had an appointment Monday September 10. Right away. Byron got the day off from work. I had the day off. We headed for Kansas City. We saw Dr. Gibbs that day, and a wonderful genetic counselor named Susan. We heard the usual “termination is an option” – I think they almost have to tell everyone that. Being Catholic, there was no way that would ever be an option for us. I am grateful now that we ended up at the hospital we did. We knew from the start that we could never choose termination, and blessedly, they never mentioned it again. I have heard stories about doctors who ridicule women for NOT choosing abortions in cases like this. I cannot imagine being bullied by someone who is suposed to protect life to the best of their abilities.  We were blessed with caring and compassionate doctors and nurses. They were respectful and helpful. We will always remember and appreciate that. He looked and looked, too. She was measuring about two weeks behind in the arms and legs, and was having problems measuring right on in the head and the chest, too. Her head was measuring about two weeks ahead. He could not know what was wrong by the ultrasound alone, so he asked if we wanted an amnio. I was terrified. I had heard bad things about those, but I am Type A personality, and I could not take the unknowing, so we agreed.
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It was horribly painful, and not a good experience at all. I found out while he was doing it that I did not have enough amniotic fluid, and that is why it hurt so badly. He had to use a lot of force to get enough fluid out. I could not stop shaking, and that was bad too. It lasted about four minutes. By then end, even my macho husband was crying, and so was one of the nurses. I calmed down, and we went home. I had wonderful church friends who were praying and one made us dinner that night, even though I could not eat. We had to wait almost a month to get the results back (they were thinking Trisomy 13-18), because they had to “regrow” the cells a few times, due to the lack of extra fluid. We went back on October 15. We saw Dr. Gray this time. He was awesome, too. I could not be a doctor and have to talk to patients about things like this. He was caring, yet professional. It made it a little bit easier. Mallory Grace (the name we had picked out) was still fighting! She had not gotten any smaller or bigger, and he was optimistic that she had stayed the same. He thought that might be a good sign. We had gotten the anmio back, and it was inconclusive. It was not any Trisomy, and the types of dwarfism they test for all came back negative too. He was hoping it was a form of dwarfism that was not fatal. I could live with that. I would love any type of child. A disability meant nothing to us.
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We left that day in a little better of a mood. I still was not feeling her move, but since she was on the smaller side, that was normal, the doctor said. We made an appointment for the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (November 27) and went on our way, planning for the holidays. I was hoping that all of our prayers were paying off. We enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving with my family, and I went shopping the day after as usual. We went in Tuesday. Megan and my sister came with us. I was trying to be positive for Megan. We went in. Megan and Emily stayed outside. He hooked everything up and started. He turned away. (Dr.Gray) Oh no. Not good. He turned around. He knew I wanted an honest answer. No sugarcoating. He had tears in his eyes. I started to freak out. Byron started crying. Dr. Gray said, “She is in congestive heart failure. There is water on her brain, and her kidneys are not working. It is only a matter of time now.” I only had the tiniest bit of fluid left. After pleading with him that he had made a mistake, I knew in my heart he was right. He hugged me for a while, and tried to comfort me. I composed myself, and asked what we would do next. He said we just had to wait it out, and to make an appointment for a heartbeat check in a week.
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That was the worst week of my life. I held my belly. I cried. I told her I loved her and I was sorry, even though it was all out of my control. I am so glad we chose life. I couldn’t imagine NOT having those precious months with her. It was some of the best times and the worst times and I would not trade it for anything. We went in to my OB on Wednesday December 5, 2007 for an ultrasound. She was gone. I was induced on December 6th, and at 7:54 PM, weighing 1 pound 12 ounces, Mallory Grace Santacroce Fordham was born into Heaven. (She shares a birthday with my nephew Jacob, who was born on the same day, and passed away shortly after birth.) I was blessed to have a wonderful “doula”(a friend who herself had suffered four losses) with me, my mom, Byron, and my brother. I relied on family so much in the coming years, as well as my faith in God.
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I think without my faith, I would not have made it through what we went through. I relied on all of that as well, when we became pregnant again months later. Our rainbow child. A scary experience, given what had happened before.  But all was well, as was God’s plan for us. Noelle Grace was born healthy, alive and kicking on November 28th, 2008. A blessing that we all needed, thank you Lord! This December will be the five year anniversary. I know now why it happened. I can think more clearly. I love God wholly again. I have met so many caring wonderful women who have walked my walk. They tell me their stories, and some had not told anyone before. They can let it out, and share with someone who truly understands. I am getting ready to apply to go to school to become a nurse (Labor and Delivery).   I am studying to become a doula. I am making it a mission in my life to help others who are navigating this scary road in life. Mallory made all that possible. A tiny soul we never knew is doing great things. I am more passionately pro life than I ever was, although I always was. I am so proud to be her mom.
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As we mark the 5th birthday of the child we only knew for a short time, I grieve for my loss, but rejoice in her peace, and the fact that she has brought me so many awesome friends and wonderful life experiences. I grieve for my other children who will never know Mallory, but I rejoice in the fact that her name can always be spoken in our home. She is part of us, and we won’t hide her. We will talk about her, and why we made the choices we made. Noelle saw her picture the other day, and knew it was her sister, and talked about her.
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My heart was full. 
Love you Mallory, always and forever. 
Our precious being of pure love.


Mallory Grace: Born Sleeping on December 6, 2007

 

Categories
Ink Slingers Loss Marie Respect Life

A Wave of Light, A Wave of Love

Every year on October 15 the nation quietly pauses to remember lost babies. It’s a day that most people don’t even know about. You won’t find it marked on any calendar when you buy it in a store, or find cards for the occasion in even a tiny corner of Hallmark, but it’s an important day for those of us who have lost babies. The day has existed since President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation in 1988 and serves to, among other things, “inform and educate the public about pregnancy and infant loss.”

A tradition on this day is that at 7:00 pm in each time zone a Wave of Light will move across the country, and the world. All families who have lost a baby either by pregnancy or infant death should light a candle and leave it burning for at least one hour. The wave of light will serve as a reminder that there are those of us who still remember – and those who have not suffered a loss pause to surround us in love. I will be lighting seven candles.

One of my favorite parts of being Catholic is that I don’t have to justify to anyone that my babies existed. I’ve told my story of their losses so I won’t repeat that today, but none of my Catholic friends have ever questioned their existence. I have friends of other faiths who have said “but it’s not like you were really pregnant, right? I mean, is it really a baby when you didn’t know that they were there?” But as a Catholic who believes that life begins at the moment of conception I don’t have to wonder who’s right.

Today a friend of mine posted this beautiful quote from the late Elizabeth Edwards, which I think is really fitting for the day:

“If you know someone who has lost a child, and you’re afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died–you’re not reminding them. They didn’t forget they died. What you’re reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and…that is a great gift.” ~Elizabeth Edwards

Today I pause to remember my angels in heaven: Peter John, Annette Abigail, Matthew Luke, Elizabeth Teresa, Faith Marie, Patrick Alexander, and Charles James. Love never dies. Your Mom & Dad still love you and think of you often. Watch over us and hold us close.

If you are struggling today and missing an angel know that I am praying for you, know that you’re surrounded with love today.

Categories
Faith Formation Guest Posts Loss Motherhood Respect Life Testimonials Vocations

The Miracle that is Mallory

A tiny life that changed mine:

What is time?

In the grand scheme of life, sometimes, it goes fast, sometimes slow. When you lose a child, or a pregnancy, time sometimes stands still. I know. Almost 4 years ago, we found out there was a good chance our unborn child would not live. We were in for our 19 week ultrasound. After years of infertility, we were so excited, as was our 6 ½ year old Megan. She wanted a sister, and I have to be honest, I wanted another girl. Byron wanted a boy, of course, but all we really wanted was a healthy baby. God had another plan. We had one of the last appointments of the day. I was very well accquainted with the ultrasound room at my doctor’s office. Nothing romantic in the way we got pregnant! The ultrasound tech looked and look. Of course the usual ”I think it is a girl (YAY!) but I am not 100% sure.” Then silence. More quiet. And more measuring. And quiet. Then ”I will go get the doctor. Be right back”. That is never good. The doctor came in. More quiet. Argh. I was so not feeling the way I was supposed to. I was supposed to be laughing and joking, and HAPPY it was a girl! I was nervous, scared and freaking out inside. My mom was there. It was Friday, Sept.7, 2007. I will never forget that day, and I hate it now always. The doctor mentioned that the baby’s legs and arms were not quite up to the 19 week mark. About 1.5 weeks off. I did not think too much of it. Ultrasounds are not 100% right. She wanted me to see a perinatologist. She called the one in Topeka. He was booked for 4 weeks. I can wait, no big deal. She said “NO. You need to get in right away.” I freaked. This must be serious. She called KU Med. They could not fit me in for a week. She called St. Luke’s. They had an appointment Monday September 10. Right away. Byron got the day off from work. I had the day off. We headed for Kansas City. We saw Dr.Gibbs that day, and a wonderful genetic counselor named Susan. We heard the usual ”termination is an option”- I think they almost have to tell everyone that. Being Catholic, there was no way that would ever be an option for us. I am grateful now that we ended up at the hospital we did. We knew from the start that we could never choose termination, and blessedly, they never mentioned it again. I have heard stories about doctor’s who ridicule women for NOT choosing abortions in cases like this. I cannot imagine being bullied by someone who is suposed to protect life to the best of their abilities. 🙁  We were blessed with caring and compassionate doctor’s and nurses. They were respectful and helpful. We will always remember and appreciate that. He looked and looked too. She was measuring about 2 weeks behind in the arms and legs, and was having problems measuring right on in the head and the chest too. Her head was measuring about 2 weeks ahead. He could not know what was wrong by the ultrasound alone, so he asked if we wanted an amnio. I was terrified. I had heard bad things about those, but I am Type A personality, and I could not take the unknowing, so we agreed.

It was horribly painful, and not a good experience at all. I found out while he was doing it that I did not have enough amniotic fluid, and that is why it hurt so badly. He had to use a lot of force to get enough fluid out. I could not stop shaking, and that was bad to. It lasted about 4 minutes. By then end, even my macho husband was crying, and so was one of the nurses. I calmed down, and we went home. I had wonderful church friends who were praying and one made us dinner that night, even though I could not eat. We had to wait almost a month to get the results back (they were thinking Trisomy 13-18), because they had to ”regrow” the cells a few times, due to the lack of extra fluid. We went back on October 15. We saw Dr Gray this time. He was awesome to. I could not be a doctor, and have to talk to patients about things like this. He was caring yet professional. It made it a little bit easier. Mallory Grace (the name we had picked out) was still fighting! She had not gotten any smaller or bigger, and he was optimistic that she had stayed the same. He thought that might be a good sign. We had gotten the anmio back, and it was inconclusive. It was not any Trisomy, and the types of dwarfism they test for all came back negative too. He was hoping it was a form of dwarfism that was not fatal. I could live with that. I would love any type of child. A disability meant nothing to us. We left that day in a little better of a mood. I still was not feeling her move, but since she was on the smaller side, that was normal, the doctor said. We made an appointment for the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (November 27) and went on our way, planning for the holidays. I was hoping that all of our prayers were paying off. We enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving with my family, and I went shopping the day after as usual. We went in Tuesday. Megan and my sister came with us. I was trying to be positive for Megan. We went in. Megan and Emily stayed outside. He hooked everything up and started. He turned away. (Dr.Gray) Oh no. Not good. He turned around. He knew I wanted an honest answer. No sugarcoating. He had tears in his eyes. I started to freak out. Byron started crying. Dr. Gray said, ”She is in congestive heart failure. There is water on her brain, and her kidneys are not working. It is only a matter of time now.” I only had the tiniest bit of fluid left. After pleading with him that he had made a mistake, I knew in my heart he was right. He hugged me for a while, and tried to comfort me. I composed myself, and asked what we would do next. He said we just had to wait it out.

Great. We were on “deathwatch “ now.

I would go to my OB’s office for “heartbeat checks”. I went in Wednesday the 28th. All good. I set up an appointment for the next Wednesday, December 5th, 2007. We got there. We talked to her for a bit. She got the dopplar out, and could not find the heartbeat. We had an ultrasound, and she was gone. I knew it in my heart before we even went there. I knew in my heart she passed on Monday, but could not have admitted it before now. Call it mother’s intuition or whatever. I had been helping at Megan’s school Monday at lunchtime. I was talking to Byron on the phone at about 12:15 PM. I felt sick, and had to go outside. I almost threw up, and then got really cold, and I started shaking.

I know that is when she passed. I felt worse the next day. I went in to the hospital on Thursday, December 6, 2007 at 8 in the morning. I had never had a chance to meet the nurses for the meeting about our condition. We were supposed to meet them after my OB’s appointment on Wednesday. Not to be. I was lucky. They had just finished a new wing in the hospital. I was the only one on the wing. I did not have to hear or see happy people with their newborns. I was quietly glad for that. I was blessed to have with me a dear friend who had lost 3 babies before me. She was with me the whole time. It helped so much for me to have someone there who knew what I was going through. My mom and Byron were also there.

I was induced at about 10. I had been induced with Megan, so I was not anticipating any issues with that. I went from feeling so sad, to laughing to being mad. I guess that is normal. The nurses were awesome. They understood me, and let me yell, and be mad and laugh if I needed to. I could tell something was happening about 7. They got Byron. I could not take it anymore. The mental pain was SO much worse than the physical. I don’t have epidurals due to a huge fear of LONG needles (silly, I know) so I was on a morphine drip, but I think my adrenaline was overpowering it, because I felt EVERY pain. She was tiny. They had measured her (I was 32 weeks gestation, and she was measuring about 22.5). I had to get up, even though it was almost time. I was almost out of my body, looking down. I cannot explain it, but it is a feeling I never want to feel again. I ended up in the bathroom. She was born after about a few good pushes. The nurse caught her. I fell down, almost in shock. She was oddly beautiful. She had a very large head, due to the water on the brain. She was born at 7:54 PM on Thursday December 6, 2007. She was 3 ¾ inches long and weighed 1 pound 13 ounces. Her head measured 12 inches. She was perfect to me. We held her for a long time. My brother was there and could not hold her. He was crying, too. This perfect angel touched so many. I slept for a while. The next day, Now I Lay Me Down to sleep took pictures of our family of four. I left the hospital later that day. We held a graveside service a week later. I almost had a nervous breakdown.

No parent should have to bury their child. It is not natural.

We had to. It was a beautiful service. All of my family, and Byron’s mom and dad, and my church friends were there. It was very cold but sunny. There was snow on the ground. My step dad made a white coffin. It was so tiny. We said goodbye that day, but she lives in my mind and heart every day. I will never forget her. We never did find out what she had. I guess I was the one person in a million that this happens to. We went on the have a healthy baby girl November 28, 2008 named Noelle Grace Robyn. She was perfect too. I still, 2 years later, have angry outbursts at God. I need to remember that He also suffered the loss of a child. He knows how I am feeling, and I think He would be okay with my periodic angry tantrums. I know she is an angel for Him in heaven, and in my heart, I personally think that she ended up being Noelle’s guardian angel. She is always around me, and I will love her forever. I like to think her life made me a better person, able to help those I know who might have to go through this. It will soon be four years, and it is still fresh in my mind. I know with God, I will be fine.

Mallory, may God keep you until we meet again, because I know we will. We all love you , angel in Heaven,and miss you always.

Although I miss her more and more every day, I am glad that I chose the path I did. I am glad I had the courage to do it. I am glad I had a support system who shared my belief and did not pressure me to doanything different than I did. This is my story, in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, and to show respect for life.

Mallory Grace: Born Sleeping on December 6, 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**written by Amy F.**

 

Categories
Ink Slingers Loss Marie Respect Life

A Wave of Light, A Wave of Love

Every year on October 15 the nation quietly pauses to remember lost babies. It’s a day that most people don’t even know about. You won’t find it marked on any calendar when you buy it in a store, or find cards for the occasion in even a tiny corner of Hallmark, but it’s an important day for those of us who have lost babies. The day has existed since President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation in 1988 and serves to, among other things, “inform and educate the public about pregnancy and infant loss.”

A tradition on this day is that at 7:00 pm in each time zone a Wave of Light will move across the country, and the world. All families who have lost a baby either by pregnancy or infant death should light a candle and leave it burning for at least one hour. The wave of light will serve as a reminder that there are those of us who still remember – and those who have not suffered a loss pause to surround us in love. I will be lighting seven candles.

One of my favorite parts of being Catholic is that I don’t have to justify to anyone that my babies existed. I’ve told my story of their losses so I won’t repeat that today, but none of my Catholic friends have ever questioned their existence. I have friends of other faiths who have said “but it’s not like you were really pregnant, right? I mean, is it really a baby when you didn’t know that they were there?” But as a Catholic who believes that life begins at the moment of conception I don’t have to wonder who’s right.

Today a friend of mine posted this beautiful quote from the late Elizabeth Edwards, which I think is really fitting for the day:

“If you know someone who has lost a child, and you’re afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died–you’re not reminding them. They didn’t forget they died. What you’re reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and…that is a great gift.” ~Elizabeth Edwards

Today I pause to remember my angels in heaven: Peter John, Annette Abigail, Matthew Luke, Elizabeth Teresa, Faith Marie, Patrick Alexander, and Charles James. Love never dies. Your Mom & Dad still love you and think of you often. Watch over us and hold us close.

If you are struggling today and missing an angel know that I am praying for you, know that you’re surrounded with love today.