Henleigh Marie Lofland
30 November 2016
My husband and I had decided to try again for our fourth child. We had three boys and it had been about 8 years since our last son had been born.
At this stage in our life I was able to stay home and we were financially stable so we thought this would be a good time to have our last baby. I got pregnant almost immediately and we were all very excited. I had really bad morning sickness but that wasn’t unusual for me.
Our doctor was also a family member and we were able to see our baby almost every week on ultrasound. Everything was going great, baby looked and was measuring perfect. I had a 4D ultrasound done at 14 weeks and we were told we were having a girl. We were over the moon with excitement, after 3 boys we were excited to have a little girl. I was still not convinced so we had another 4D done at 15 weeks and was told the same thing. I will say looking back I think a mother senses things and for some reason I was always worried something was off. We went in at 16 weeks and our doctor thought my amniotic sac looked abnormal but he didn’t know what would be wrong, he made us an appointment for a specialist just to be cautious and because of my age. I was very apprehensive for this appointment and I really didn’t know why. I knew something wasn’t right but after talking to the specialist before the ultrasound I felt better and was ready to see her. We went in and the ultrasound tech started the ultrasound. She then said, “oh, there it is.” I thought she meant that I was having a boy instead of a girl. She looked at me and said she had know idea of this baby was a boy or girl because the baby was so full of fluid. She went on to say our baby only had half her heart working and she had so much fluid it was measuring a finger width out from her head. I went into shock and started sobbing. She then said she was measuring two weeks behind on her legs and arms. I asked if I had done something to cause this? She and the specialist said no, he thought it was a chromosome issue. The doctor brought us to his office and said our baby was currently in heart failure and at the most only had a few weeks to live. He said at any time her heart will just give out and she will pass away from hypertension. He said to just go home and wait until she passed there was nothing he or anyone could do to save her. We were devastated. So for three weeks she fought and everyday, every minute, every second, we had to wait. It was excruciating. Every morning I wondered if this was going to be the worst day of my life. I knew it was near but never for sure when it would happen. As a mother I knew time was getting closer as she started moving less and less.
As I progressed in my pregnancy it should have been the other way around. I had a doctors appointment November 30, 2016. She was hardly moving at all and none of my ‘tricks’ were working. I was able to check her heartbeat and it was fine, even at 11:00 pm the night before that doctors appointment it was ok. That morning I didn’t check it and decided to just wait until my appointment. I really didn’t want to go, I just felt like the doctor would tell me she was getting worse.
When we arrived, I told our doctor that she hadn’t been moving much. He had begun turning the screen away from me at our visit’s. He then asked me when I felt her move last …. I knew she was gone.
That moment was the worst, my world came crashing down. I told him I wanted to have her as soon as possible. I went home, took a shower and went to the hospital. I had to have another ultrasound to be sure. The silence was deafening.
I had to have her vaginally, she came into the world that evening at 7:03 pm. Henleigh Marie was 1 lb 9 oz. born at 20.5 weeks.
Her diagnosis was a chromosome issue, she had Down Syndrome, and actually passed away due to Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. She was beautiful but had had so much fluid in her tiny body. I got to spend time with her, kiss and hold her. Her brothers, Daddy, and family got to hold her also. She was perfect on the outside besides the fluid. After the delivery I started haemorrhaging and was sent into emergency surgery. I lost over half the blood in my body that night. I still wonder how were there no signs for so long?
We had a funeral for our beautiful daughter and life began without her. It has been the longest, loneliest, darkest journey of my life. I keep thinking things will get better. I will heal from her loss. Honestly, I just get better at acting and living around the big gaping dark hole. I miss her everyday and what could have and what should have been I have never felt more lonely in my life. I feel the only ones that can relate to me are other angel baby mothers. Even with them, I can’t sit and have a discussion because if I let any of my feelings out I will never stop crying. So I keep them pushed down just enough to get by. Sometimes tears come but I can still keep my act together most of the time.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of my sweet baby girl. I don’t think there will ever be a day I won’t think of her for the rest of my life, I’m fine with that.
As written by Henleigh’s Mother, Jessica.