This is the story of Moira Mae, born May 8, 2009 and left this Earth as a beautiful angel on May 11, 2009. Moira was a much longed for miracle baby that was loved before she was even conceived. In late March, early April of 2008 we started the appointments with the fertility doctor. It had been a long year of trying to conceive with month after month of negative home pregnancy tests. Now we had some hope on the horizon for starting our family that we had wanted for so long. Finally in June we started our first round of Clomid and IUI’s (Inter Uterine Insemination). By Labor Day weekend, after 3 rounds of back to back treatments, we found out we were expecting our miracle baby who would be due May 6, 2009! Finally after 15 months of trying to get pregnant, we were pregnant! From day one, Dave and I were so excited and started talking about names, what we wanted to do for the room, making plans. Every month we would think, next year we’ll have our baby and we can do this with them. Halloween, we’ll have our baby, Thanksgiving, we’ll have our baby, and on and on!
Early on I started showing signs of high blood pressure, it was borderline on the high side, so my doctor wanted to keep a closer eye on me. I started going every 3 weeks to my appointments with her instead of every 4 weeks. I had some blood tests, 24 hour urine tests, etc. to rule out pre-eclampsia, etc. I was just destined to have high blood pressure during the pregnancy. Everything else during the pregnancy was fine! Ultrasounds showed she was growing on track, etc. In December, right before Christmas vacation, Dave and I found out we were expecting a girl! Wow, a girl!! Dave had wanted a girl so badly, but either way he would have been OK with it, but he was so excited when the baby was a girl! I wanted a girl because he wanted a girl. So, now our dreams were coming true. So began the onslaught of pink and girly clothes, etc. Everyone, family, friends, work friends, etc. were so excited that we were having a girl.
As the months went on, so did my pregnancy. Everything was going wonderfully. I was so happy, I loved feeling Moira kick and move around in my belly. It was the best feeling in the world. I loved my ever growing belly. It was amazing to me that I was carrying this little miracle meant for Dave and I. My blood pressure was still back and forth and so still my doctor kept a close eye on me. As Spring approached, we were getting more and more anxious for our little girl to be here. Her bedroom was being worked on with lots of help from close friends and some family. I couldn’t do too much being as pregnant as I was, so we were blessed to have such good friends pitch in and help Dave get it together. We picked out the colors, had the bedding, the crib, the dresser, etc. all ready to go. We bought a rug and the clothes buying continued, both by me and by our friends. This girl was going to be the best dressed baby on the block!! After the room was put together, I spent so much time getting everything perfect, the crib made up, the books on the shelf, the clothes in the dresser and hanging in the closet, the cloth diapers I had so much fun buying put away, the stuffed animals in their place, and the walls decorated with loving care. Everything was perfect and organized, the cleanest and most organized room in our ever cluttered home!
As April vacation at school approached, I was so anxious. I would be done with work soon and then I could relax and rest and get ready for Moira to arrive. I was starting to swell and by then I was already seeing my doctor every week as well as having ultrasounds every week to check on Moira and make sure all was well with her because of my high blood pressure. I was also having a sciatica pain in my right hip which made getting around harder. I smiled through it and made it through my last week of work, but took one day off to rest my hip. The last few weeks of my pregnancy were spent going to the doctor or the nurse to check my blood pressure and ultrasounds, and also last minute preparations for Moira’s arrival.
In these last few weeks we were hemming and hawing over her middle name. We just couldn’t decide on one we both liked.
May came and I knew that no matter what, I was being induced on May 7th because my doctor didn’t want me going past my due date because of my blood pressure. I went into my last weekly appointment on May 6th for an ultrasound and check in with my OB. I was swollen, had been to labor and delivery twice already in the past weeks because of being swollen and because my blood pressure had crept up some more. I was so ready for Moira to be here. Everything looked good on the ultrasound and although my blood pressure was a little high again, I was sent home to get ready for the induction the next day. I went to Babies R Us and picked up some last minute things I needed and to spend a gift card we had just received from a family member. Dave had e-mailed me later and asked me what I thought of the middle name Mae. A woman at work suggested it and Dave really liked. I tossed it around in my head and I thought it was great. It just seemed to fit! When he got home later, we agreed her middle name would be Mae! Yes, finally the last thing in place. We spent our last night together just the two of us getting everything ready for the hospital, getting the house ready for my parents who were coming into town on Friday.
Moira’s Life Story
On Thursday May 7th I woke up with some cramping and feeling like I had a lot of gas. We got up, showered, and started getting ready to leave for the hospital. I realized as we were driving to go to breakfast, that I was having contractions. They were fairly regular, but not too close together, so we went on to breakfast. Yum!! I ate like I was never going to get the chance to eat again. From there we checked into the hospital and saw my doctor. Since I was already laboring on my own, she said she wanted to let me labor on my own for a little while and see what happened. By later that afternoon, I wasn’t progressing too much, so she started the pitocin. By this time our doula Jessica was with us and helping out Dave and helping us through the contractions. They weren’t too bad, so I was watching a movie on our laptop to pass the time. As the day went on, I was laboring and doing pretty well. Sometime in the middle of the night as the contractions were getting worse, I had asked for nubaine. I made it to 5 cm on my own before wanting any medications!! Yay for me! Then the contractions starting getting worse as they upped the pitocin and as much as I was trying, it was killing me. I was out of my skin! I begged for the epidural. I was mad at myself for wanting it, but I just couldn’t handle it anymore. The contractions were coming so close together, I couldn’t tell where one started and where one ended. Sigh….so I got the epi. Finally some relief and I could finally lay down for a little while. I was going on no sleep!! All I could do before then, was sit on my birth ball. Nothing else was comfortable and my legs felt like jell-o and all I wanted to do was lay down for a little while. Every time I tried to lay down, the pain was worse!
After getting some relief from the epi and I was able to lay down, I sort of drifted in and out of sleep. Soon after I was still getting some pain in my right side and it was getting worse with contractions. I couldn’t find relief. They adjusted the epidural medicine, but that didn’t help. UGH! Somewhere in the early morning hours of May 8th, Moira’s heart rate had been decreasing on and off. They had hooked me up to the internal monitor so they could monitor her heart rate easier, but it was still decreasing on and off with contractions. I was so close to 10 cm at this point, there was just a little lip left. Around 6:30am on Friday I remember calling my parents because I knew they hadn’t left yet to come out to us. I told them that I would be pushing soon and that hopefully Moira would be here in a few hours! I was so excited, even though I was still hurting and so tired because I really had no sleep. My OB came in, we pushed some, she changed, we pushed some more and realized Moira’s heart rate was decreasing with the pushes and contractions. Let me stop here and say that when my water was broken by the doctor, there had been me conium in my water and the NICU had already been called and were on call for our delivery. I had also had an amnioinfusion at some point to put liquid back into me for Moira to move around, etc.
After a few pushes, my doctor looked at me and told me she didn’t like what was happening with Moira and gave me some options of what we would do, one of them being a c-section. We pushed a few more times and then my doctor looked at me and said she didn’t like what was happening, we were going in for a c-section. At that point everything happened so fast. People were running in, getting me ready to go, taking me out of the room, shooting meds into me, giving Dave something to wear. I remember being wheeled down the hall, looking at my doctor, looking for Dave. He wasn’t following me. I kept saying “Where is Dave, where is Dave?” They told me he was coming, he would be right behind us. I was freaking out, crying, wondering what was happening. They got me into the OR, on the table, meds in me, getting ready to open me up. Still no Dave. Finally I saw him and he was sitting with me. I kept feeling tugging and pulling and I was shouting out because it was so strange and so weird. I knew they were pulling on me and then the baby. Then she was born and I remember saying “Is she still a girl?” Dave watched her being born, he saw me all opened up. I was shocked!! Then they whisked her away. I kept telling Dave to find out what was going on, find out where she is, follow her, where did she go. On and on and he couldn’t go anywhere because he didn’t know where she was taken to. It was so scary and I was so worried. It was a good 15 minutes before someone came in to talk to us. It was the NICU doctor telling us that he had bad news, that Moira wasn’t breathing, that it took them 10 minutes to get her breathing, that she suffered brain damage, that we needed to talk more when I was done. Those were not the words we needed to hear right then and there. We had no idea what was happening. I was so drugged and could barely keep my eyes open, but I do remember saying I wanted to see her and they said they would bring her in. They brought her in a bed and I was still laying down and couldn’t even see her. All I saw was them trying to keep her breathing because she hadn’t been hooked up to any machines yet.
I lay there devastated, not knowing what was happening to our little girl. Dave was in shock, trying to hold me and keep me safe. It took FOREVER for them to sew me up and I was drifting in and out of sleep. We finally got taken back to the recovery room in which the NICU doctor came in again to tell us what was happening. Moira had suffered from neonatal encephalopathy, infant brain damage. It was possible that this happened while I was still pregnant with her and there was no way of knowing. He said my placenta looked old and that the umbilical cord was flat in a spot, so she wasn’t getting very much oxygen. Let me stop here and say that I am trying to recount this as best as I can, I was so tired, so drugged, etc. that the memories just sort of run together and timing of everything could be totally off. I am doing my best to remember it as best as I can. Anyway, the doctor told us of a new cooling therapy, which he had mentioned while I was still in the OR and we had said was OK then. We would do anything to help our baby. We had no idea then, how bad it was going to be. The cooling therapy would take place for 72 hours and would keep her body temperature at 92 degrees and would help to prevent any further brain damage. Again, we agreed to it. He told us at that point that we would have to start it soon, as they have to do it within hours after birth to make sure it would work. The NICU doctor said that Dave could come up, see Moira, and hold her. I was floored, wait a minute. I wanted to hold her, see her, and be with her. Why couldn’t I do that too!!?? The nurse was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to stand up because my legs were probably still numb. I started moving my legs, “Look, I can move them!” The nurse still wasn’t sure. I really should have a couple of hours of laying in bed before I could get up. A couple of hours!!! In a couple of hours my baby will be on the therapy and I wouldn’t be able to hold her for 72 hours!! I haven’t even seen my baby at this point. I had no idea what her face looked like, what color her hair was, nothing! At that point my doctor walked in and I said I wanted to go see Moira. She asked me if I could move my legs and I showed her. She saw the look in my face and the fact that I was trying to move my legs and she said yes, that I could go see Moira. They got me a wheelchair, and even though it hurt like hell and I felt so sick to my stomach, I got wheeled up to see my baby, my first born, miracle baby girl!
We were brought into the NICU for the first time and I saw all of the tubes, the machines, everything hooked up to my baby. They had a hat on her and booties and a diaper. Not my cloth diapers that I was so excited about using on her. We finally got to look at her, see her face, and hold her. I held my baby for the first time with tubes and wires, and everything else. Not what I expected in a million years. I cried, I looked at her hair and her face and just took her all in. Her hair was still dirty from the delivery and I asked if they could clean her up. I wanted her clean and looking nice. If I couldn’t do it, they could at least do that for me! They said they would as soon as they could. Dave held his daughter, such a proud papa, but also so sad.
After holding her we went down to our room to start calling family and friends to let them know what happened. I called my parents and they were still on the road driving here. We decided then that they would come right to the hospital and that they could stay in a hotel if they wanted to. At this point we hadn’t heard the worst news of all. I called my friend Karen, who I used to nanny for and she came to the hospital right away and stayed with us until my parents got there that night. Soon after we went up to see her again and Karen came with us. We found out then that an EEG had been done on Moira and her brain damage was worse than they thought and that the cooling therapy probably wouldn’t do much to help her. She had no brain activity. We talked to the doctor and asked if she was going to make it so that we could have family come and visit her. He wasn’t sure and couldn’t give us any guarantees, but we left her on the cooling therapy and the ventilator so that we could have our family and friends out to meet her and see her. The next few days were a whirlwind of visitors, tears, and decisions to make. We had decided that we would take her off of the ventilator on Monday May 11th. We didn’t want to take her off of it on Mother’s Day. So, on Monday after having two days of visitors, we had Moira all to ourselves and no visitors. Just the three of us, what we had been wanting for so long, but we never thought it would be like this. We decided early on in the day with the doctor that we would stop the cooling therapy early because it would take 6 hours to get her back up to body temperature and we didn’t want to be holding her and spending time with her so late at night when we would be exhausted. So, the decision was made, we would start warming her up and she would be done about 5:30 and we could hold her soon after that. We ate some lunch and I took a nap because I was still so tired. Then we went back up and spent more time with her. I got to change her diaper and while I was, she peed!! We sat with her, helped the nurses clean her up, we put lotion on her hands because they had been so dry. We talked to her, the nurses, etc. We decided that at 4pm, we would go and order dinner so that we could be ready for 5:30 when her ventilator would come out. We ate, I snoozed, and we talked with family etc. on the phone. Our dinner came, we ate, cleaned up some, and then headed back upstairs to see our daughter and get ready to hold her in our arms without all of the tubes and wires! We were there when the ventilator was taken out. We helped to get her cleaned up and ready to go. All she had some oxygen and an IV still so they could give her morphine when needed. We had a DNR with her because we knew she was in pain and we didn’t want to continue her pain. We wanted to let nature take it’s course. They prepared us for in the event that she kept breathing on her own, what would happen and what we would do. She had been breathing above the ventilator, with little help from it. She was a fighter from the beginning! Once she was cleaned up, I got to hold my baby. They had some comfy reclining chairs for us to sit in and relax with her. She was fighting so hard to keep breathing. I held her for awhile, crying, hugging her, smelling her, looking at her, just taking her all in. I loved the feeling of her on my stomach. I fell asleep with her on me for a little while and just enjoyed her. All the while we have been taking pictures of our days with her. I am so glad now that we have all of those pictures!!
We continued taking turns holding her and being with her. It was so wonderful and I am glad we had the time. I realized that I had to use the bathroom, but I was so afraid to leave her, I wanted to be with her the whole time. Luckily we had a room down the hall that was available to us if we needed it for sleeping, resting, bathroom, showering, whatever. So, I didn’t have far to go to use the bathroom. Dave went to get a few things from our room and we were trying to decide if we had time for me to take a shower. I hadn’t showered since the night before and really wanted to clean up a little. We came back, and Dave had brought me my pajamas and Moira’s matching jammies that I got for us. I wanted to put her in them and take a few pictures. So, Dave changed her diaper and cleaned her up a little. Then we got her dressed in her jammies and I was dressed in mine. We took a few pictures and then I realized her breathing was not as loud and she was starting to turn purple. Her time with us was ending and oddly enough I was OK, it was peaceful, she looked peaceful, and I knew she wasn’t in too much pain. I held her for awhile as her heart rate was decreasing and her breathing was becoming less and less. She was starting to get heavy and I was so tired. The nurse stayed with us for awhile and kept checking her. Moira was really hanging on, she was a fighter. I think she wanted to be with her daddy one last time, so I passed her on to Dave and he held her because I was becoming so tired. Dave held her for a little while and then the doctor came in to check her and 11pm on Monday May 11th, our Moira Mae was pronounced dead. She had passed away peacefully in our arms, leaving slowly in my arms, and wanting one last time in daddy’s arms. Dave sat with her for a little while after they took out the oxygen tube and her IV and then I sat with her, hugging her as tightly as I could not wanting to let her go. She was getting cold and heavy and I was so sad. Dave said to me quietly that it was time to go. We cried, we hugged and we let our little girl go. We went down to our room and each of us took a sleeping pill along with the meds that I needed at that time. We had called our families and a couple of friends to let them know that Moira had passed away. Everything was so surreal and I thought that when I woke up I will have seen that the whole thing was a nightmare and our little girl would be laying in a cradle with us in our room. It wasn’t true! The next day was filled with paper work, packing up, showering, Dave helped me shower and was so tender and loving as we got ready to leave the hospital without our daughter. The nurse came, the social worker came, the on call doctor came, my doctor came, and finally we were aloud to leave. We had packed up all of our stuff and got it in the car and left. As soon as we got on the highway, I started crying, this was it. I was on the way home from the hospital without Moira. We wouldn’t be able to take her home to her beautiful nursery waiting for her!
Now begins our healing process and hopefully the process to try again for the family that we deserve. We will never forget Moira and she will always be with us, an angel watching over us. We are hoping that we will be able to add to our family with a baby to keep with us here on Earth.
Moira Mae 8lbs 3oz, 21 ½ inches long, May 8 to May 11, 2009
Our last picture together, just the 2 of us, 40 weeks 1 day.