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Ashley's Story

Every story is unique and different and every story could help reach someone else, making them not feel so alone in their journey. We are honored to be able to share the stories of those that have written in to share the most vulnerable, painful time of their lives.

Ashley is our first guest post and the first person to share their story with us in detail. Ashley, thank you for your vulnerability and honesty in sharing the story of your sweet girl. She has asked we only use her first name, so if you know her personally, please refrain from sharing any personal details in the comments. Thank you!

And as always, please share your story with us!

Ashley's Story:

My fiance and I have known each other for 12+ years and had finally been together after years of ignoring the fact that we loved each other. I have 3 children of my own and he at the time had none (now he is an angel dad) We started trying to convince about 8 months into our relationship and had nothing but heart break (2 very early miscarriages, 1 pregnancy where the baby stopped growing at 6 weeks, and then a termination due to fatal deformities at 10 weeks) after what felt like forever (about 2ish years) of trying we stopped. We just decided to let it happen naturally and finally it did. Now here we are at the start to Penelope's journey. So as I said FINALLY we found out we were pregnant on February 15 ,2019. We were very excited to see those 2 pink lines though one was VERY faint so we were worried it would just end in an early miscarriage again. Each week I got stronger lines and each week I got more of those beautiful pregnancy symptoms. Each appointment went beautifully baby looked great I looked great everything was perfect. My best friend and I went to every appointment together as she was also pregnant and only a week ahead of me. At7 weeks we decided to do the sneak peak gender test as we were to excited to wait any longer so we ordered the kits and at 9 weeks we did the test. Waiting for those results were so hard we wanted a girl so bad so it would even out the gender battle at home and finally on March 29th I got the email and it was a GIRL. We had already decided if it was a girl her name would be Penelope Quinn so we had our penny. Things continued to look beautiful but due to having an incompetent cervix I was sent to Maternal Fetal Medicine to keep an eye on it. My first appointment with them went beautifully everything looked good even my cervix. We were so thrilled as 12 weeks came and went and we thought we were in the clear. Sure we had to go every 2 weeks to MFM to keep an eye on my cervix but our little girl was healthy and growing. Everything was perfect. I started to feel her move around 13 weeks and was so excited and we started planning for her arrival not knowing in 1 week our world would start to be flipped. On April 30,2019 just 14 weeks 2 days into our baby girl's journey we went in for our normal MFM ultrasound and that's when we got told that I had a small uterine dehiscence where my csection scar from my prior pregnancies was. We got told it could lead to a rupture but that that was a very small chance as it wasnt large at all and they said we could terminate or continue the pregnancy it was up to us. Naturally we chose to keep going as I explained to the nurse while in tears that Penelope was our rainbow baby and she was extremely wanted by everyone. So we got sent home not knowing much about what was happening as it was rare and even more rare to happen so early on in the pregnancy. I cried that night terrified I was going to die or that my baby wasnt going to make it. The next day my normal obgyn reassured me that we would both be fine he would just need to take her out at 37 weeks so I calmed down and they said I was still allowed to work. 2 weeks passes and it's time to go back to MFM May 14,2019 we sit down and wait anxiously for our ultrasound my fiance and I both worried that we would get bad news. They call us back and we get to see our tiny wiggle worm which makes us both very happy but the ultrasound tech seems off in some way. She tells me she will go talk to the doctor and the doctor will come in to talk to us. The doctor comes in and tells us the dehiscence had doubled in size over the 2 weeks she had last seen me and that it was starting to seriously worry her as I was only 16 weeks and had a 3.3 cm wide dehiscence and that wasnt good but I fought with her and told her I still wanted to continue to try for our daughter. She said it wasnt bulging and so she would let me go home continue working and I would have to return the following week to see if the dehiscence would stabilize. We were very scared at this point and I did nothing but cry because I knew if it got any bigger I would have to say goodbye to our beloved Penelope and I felt like it was my fault because it was my body failing. I still feel that way. That whole week and 3 days sucked for us our obgyn after telling me that the placenta was at the edge of the "window" of the dehiscence and at risk of being impacted by it even advised us to terminate the pregnancy as my uterus didnt look good at all and I was risking my life (had i not had 3 children already risking my life wouldnt have mattered to me) he said they may be able to fix my uterus so I could try again later in life then that is when he told me no more working and put me on leave. Well what would turn out to be my final appointment with MFM came on May 24,2019 we went in holding onto what little hope we had left maybe something would have changed for the good after all the last week I worked one of the days one of my coworkers who was a minister prayed over me so we held on to every little speckle of hope we could. Seeing her on the ultrasound was bittersweet because we didnt know what our fate would be and we had spent the last few weeks talking about what to do and had both agreed I couldn't continue if it got any worst because I had my other children to also think of. The ultrasound tech went to get the doctor and we knew something wasnt good as she didnt look pleased. The doctor came in and told us that the dehiscence had become 7cm in length and we knew what that ment. So we told the doctor we would terminate as we knew it was only going to get worst and I was already on the verge of a rupture. She set up our appointment with the doctor who specializes in terminating these types of pregnancies for that following Wednesday and asked us if we wanted to still have kids to which we said yes and she said that we might be able to get the dehiscence repaired to be able to try again after they cleared me so we held onto that comfort. We were told originally it would be a dilation and evacuation 2 day procedure and that crushed us both as we wanted to be able to say our goodbyes to our little penny pie. I called the funeral home to set up her cremation and called my family and friends to tell them what was happening. I savored the last few days I got to spend growing her and feeling her kick and wiggle around and I cried and mourned and even painted pictures in honor of her before it all happened. The day came May 29,2019 we went in to meet with the doctor thinking it was going to be the dilatation part of the 2 days but when she came in she sat down and immediately told us she had gone over our case and didnt feel comfortable with a d&e as my dehiscence was right at the front of my uterus and she didnt want to accidentally rupture me and said she would rather have my high risk ob from MFM do a "csection" ( a hysterotomy) to which we happily accepted because it ment that we would be able to meet our daughter and say our goodbyes. My MFM doctor came in and talked to us and told us she couldn't give us the 100%guarantee that she could repair the dehiscence so we told her to just take my tubes because if it wasnt going to be 100% we'd be able to carry safely and without heartbreak we would rather do the safest thing and she agreed and told us that she wanted to do it that day but there wasnt an open OR spot and that it could either be Wednesday or friday that it would take place so to hold tight and stay in the room we were in so she could get her ducks in a row. Well after what seemed like an eternity she came back and said that if we wanted we could go in to surgery in 1 hour so we accepted that offer as we were scared any longer wait may cause the dehiscence to rupture and told them we just needed to run out to my soon to be father in law and my son to have him brought to his biological dad and get the rest of our plans lined up. She told us to go get that done as quickly as possible and the go check in upstairs in the surgical area. So we went to the car kissed my boy and made phone calls while my soon to be father in law got his GPS to bring my son to his dad my mom took my other kids and my fiance called work to let them know. We said our goodbyes to everyone and told them we would send pictures and keep them posted. We walked upstairs and started to check in but were almost immediately stopped and pulled back to the OR prep area where they got me ready for the procedure. My fiance sat with me while they prepped me and we said our goodbyes ad they wheeled me off to the OR ( I got put to sleep and was okay with it because I didnt want to be awake knowing I'd be losing her but I regret not asking to stay awake) they put me under and the next thing I remember is waking up in extremely bad pain thrashing and screaming while I vomited and begged for the catheter to be removed. They gave me so many pain meds and finally I was just a zombie groaning in discomfort but the pain had stopped. They asked me if I wanted to hold her yet (I didnt even know she was with me in the recovery room) but my fiance wasnt there yet and I was in and out still so I said not yet ( another regret). Finally my fiance came in as they were about to move me and Penelope to our personal room and that's when I learnt that I was in the OR for a bit over 4 hours as it was worst than they thought and couldn't repair my uterus and they did take my tubes so it hurt to know I'd never be able to carry a child again. As they wheeled me out of the recovery room I saw the baby hospital bed was being pushed along with me and was heartbroken knowing my daughter wasnt alive. There would be no new baby stuff to enjoy like crying or diapers or seeing her eyes open to look at the world around her but there was comfort knowing I could see her and hold her. We got to the room and they let me get comfortable and then asked if I'd like to hold her now and I asked my fiance to show me a picture first cause I was scared so he did and then I asked for her and got to hold her for the first time. We spent so much time taking pictures and talking about how beautiful she was and all the nurses and doctors said she was very well developed and beautiful for her gestational age. We got brought the cuddle cot on our 2nd day there as the first night it wasnt working properly and we had expected to keep her with us till we left on Friday but if we did her body would have had to sit in the morgue till Monday and we couldn't live with that so we sacrificed the last of our time with our beautiful little girl so we could get her home faster. We spent Thursday loving her and holding her and kissing her and we never wanted to stop. We used the cuddle cot to keep her cool in between us holding her as her nose had started to dimple and we were heartbroken to see that but we are so grateful for the time we did get with her and we have so many pictures of her. I just wish we never had to say goodbye. We said our goodbyes to her around 5ish Thursday night after I had sang to her and we each kissed her and hugged her one last time. We got her bear with her ashes in it on June 4,2019 and now we live everyday in a lost state missing her loving her and doing things to keep her memories alive. We love you Penelope.

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