All because two people fell in love....

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In 2000 I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I was elated and scared all at the same time. In January 2001 I found out my first baby would be a little girl, oddly enough I knew form the beginning she was a girl and I could not have been happier. About a month later I started feeling very tired and not like myself. I brushed it off as pregnancy fatigue and continued on with life. In late February early March I began feeling worse and I also started gaining weight at an alarming rate. I saw the on-call OB/GYN and he dismissed my concerns as "eating too much" and told me I was pregnant and that I needed to see a dietician. I made an appointment for the following week. Five days later I had a very rough night with a lot of chest like pain. I decided to call my OB again. They "diagnosed" me over the phone with bronchitis and told me to see my family Dr. I made an appointment for that morning and my mom was going to take me. As she was showering I got sick and became very faint. We lived two blocks from the doctors offices so decided to still go there. When I arrived I had gained 11 pounds in five days and my blood pressure was 180/92. They wanted me to immediately go to the hospital and let my mother drive me because she is a nurse and we were about 1.5 miles from the hospital.

Upon arriving at the ER I was called by name when I walked in and immediately escorted to labor and delivery. I really had no idea what to expect but thought that I would simply be given some sort of miracle drug that would make me feel better and then I would be sent home. When I got upstairs another set of vitals was taken along with some lab work and my blood pressure was now even higher and there was protein in my urine and my platelet count was 37,000. My liver and kidney function were also elevated indicating they were in trouble. I still had no idea what was happening but my OB informed me that I would be having my baby that day. I was 29 weeks pregnant.

As the hours passed I got more and more critical and a C-section was off the table because my platelet count was so low. Within 6 hours of arrival my platelet count had dropped below 10,000 (normal is 150,000-500,000) my blood pressure was 210/170 and my liver and kidneys were shutting down. I was dying and my daughter was having some issues with her heart rate due to intrauterine asphyxia. Luckily she was able to be delivered vaginally very quickly with a high dose of pitocin. She was grey and limp when she was born but was able to be resuscitated very quickly and was immediately taken to the NICU. In most cases of HELLP syndrome the mother's condition begins to improve 12-24 hours after delivery. In my case it did not. I continued to get worse and I did not respond to treatment. I also developed DIC (disseminated Intravascular Coagulation) a condition where your blood no longer clots properly. I was so critical I could not leave my room and the NICU arranged to bring my daughter Lexi to see me because there was a very good chance I could die and I had not seen her since she was born over 24 hours before that.
I held her very briefly before she had to be taken back to the NICU.

On the third day after I delivered I finally began to improve. I was able to go home from the hospital almost 2 weeks after I delivered my daughter leaving her behind to fight in the NICU for several more weeks. After nearly 3 months Lexi was able to come home from the NICU weighing 4lbs 6oz.. That was over 12 years ago and although we have been through a lot I couldn't wish for a more beautiful, wonderful young woman to call my daughter.

In February 2008 we were graciously blessed with our second daughter Alexia. Her biological mother gave her a gift that I could not, 40 weeks of perfect uneventful pregnancy. A gift that I can't thank her enough for and can never in a million years to repay. Alexia is my mini me. She acts exactly like me and mimics everything that I do. I cherish every single moment I have with her and I realize what I beautiful precious gift she is. I love her to the moon and back.

In June 2008 My wonderful husband and I were shocked to find out we were expecting our third child. We didn't think we could have any more children and we knew from those two pink lines that I was a high risk pregnancy. From my first OB visit we had a game plan and hit the ground running. The entire pregnancy was smooth and uneventful....until it wasn't.

On October 30th 2008 I was out with my mom (my poor mom right) and my water broke. I was 22 weeks pregnant. I was an hour away from my OB office and they told me to drive to the office. So as calm as I could my mother drove me and my husband left to meet me there. When I arrived they confirmed my worst fear, that my water had in fact broken. I was admitted to the OB unit and given the statistics of my situation. I honestly can't remember what they told me all I remember was them giving me hope. As small as it was I remember there being hope. I was in the hospital for days with no change, I took that as a sign. A sign that things would  be just fine. My little princess would continue to grow and she would be just fine. A little early maybe but hey I had already had one preemie and she was doing just fine, I could do it again. I had never been so wrong in my life. On November 3, 2008 I started to run a fever. As the day went on the higher it got. Soon it became clear that I was septic and that my baby was coming. That night I went into septic shock and my temp shot up to 108 degrees. I was once again fighting for my life and so was my baby. The NICU Dr. came in and spoke with me and my husband and told us that due to the infection and our daughters gestational age they did not want to attempt to save her when she was born unless she was born crying, they would just simply let her die. I was 22 weeks and 6 days and the hospital considers viability to be 23 weeks. To this day I still go back and forth how I feel about this decision. My husband begged and pleaded with the staff to save our daughter, finally our OB explained to him that I was dying and that he needed to go and be with me. He came and sat by my side and begged my not to leave him. He told me that he was not done loving me yet and that he could not live with out me. I firmly believe that his words saved my life that night.

At 11:48pm Arianna Elaine was born weighing 1lb 1oz, she was 12 inches long. She lived for 27 minutes. We had to sum up an entire lifetime of love in just 27 minutes. Saying goodbye to the most precious thing I have ever known was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Even after all of these years the pain is still very much there. Although it has changed a lot over the years and the grief has evolved I have learned that it will never go away.

After losing Arianna I desperately wanted to experience the joy of having  a child again. I met with two MFM's and with their help and Clomid we conceived another baby. Yes another girl! The pregnancy was very trying and full of medical intervention. I had a transabdominal cerclage placed at 13ish weeks and 17p injections as well as weekly ultrasounds, biweekly ob appts, bed rests and a few pre term labor scares but in the end it was all worth it. I was able to make it to 36 weeks and Keira was born in December 2009 and she was perfect. She along with her two surviving sisters bring so much joy to Jerry and I that it is almost hard to believe. We miss Arianna every single day but we talk about her often and try and find new ways to honor her each and every chance we get.


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  • i read this story with tears in my eyes and i am so sorry to hear about this terrible ordeal you have been thru, i am just glad that you have a support system and 3 beautiful girls still. you are blessed. i have just recently lost my first baby at 26 weeks due to severe pre-eclampsia, i dont know if i will ever get over this loss.  The cut is too deep. my deepest fear is of getting pregnant and having the same problems again because there was no explanation as to why it happend in the first place and no guarantee of it not happening in future and reading your story has made me fear it even more real.

  • Wow. You are a strong woman. I bless your family. What a blessing to have 3 girls that share the joy of having you, and for your little angel Arianna, I know you'll see her when the time comes.

  • I could never imagine what u have gone through you are a tough person no matter how hard it seems some times God did it for a reason (:

  • You are so strong girl this just brought tears to my eyes  i couldnt imagine going through all of this. this makes me thankful for what i went through i couldnt imagine me going through anything worse than what i did and u are a great woman u have been through hell and back and your still standing strong you are in my prayers :)

  • I read your story and it's apparent that it doesn't matter how long we had the chance to hold our angels, it could've been 27 mins, a day or 5 months like my baby, the pain is there. I know your pain and no one should have to go through this but we are a selected few who have lived it and continue living. I admire your strength for not giving up and conceiving again. I hope one day I have another baby but the fear is very present! Enjoy your 3 girls!

  • I'm so sorry for your loss and feel your pain.You are a very brave woman fighting for your babies and I'm happy that you have three kids. Your story is symbol of motherhood and shows how beautiful is loving a baby. I know that you miss your little Arianna everyday, but we all know that they are up with God and angels.

    I also lost my little baby boy (Daniel) at 23w4d because of IC on September 2013. Now I'm 11w pregnant with Daniel's sibling and will have a cerclage next week. Thanks for sharing your beautiful story with us, as it gives me hope and encourages me that miracle is possible. God bless you and all beautiful mothers (in fact parents) because as you are saying fathers are just as important as mothers. My husband too does everything for me and our little one to make this pregnancy full term.

    All the best

    Fatima

  • Wow, I came to your page because you were so sweet to write on mine and I wanted to say thank you for sharing. But reading you're entire story brought me to tears. It was so much for you , I'm so sorry for your loss and all you've been through.. My husband doesn't want me to get pregnant again because he's afraid to lose me. I, selfishly want to have another, but simply because I want my Livia to have a sibling..God bless and take care

  • Jami,

     I umm...TEARS TEARS TEARS! You my dear are a wonderful and powerful women. Though Arianna is gone she is always with you and blessing you to live your life with her sisters! It is never fair to lose a baby but you had such a wonderful support system! And the strength in yourself and marriage is amazing! MANY HUGS AND LOTS OF LOVE TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!

    Deidre

  • you certainly have "been through the wringer"...the things and medical issues that some mums have to go through is the stuff of nightmares, at times...may God bless you and perhaps this song will do a bit of that....www.youtube.com/watch

  • Your story is a beautiful and hard one to read. What strength you must have to make it through hard times like these! Your daughters sound absolutely wonderful. :) Praying for you as you remember little Arianna, and also thankful for the family you do have. Knowing you (even through the internet) has already helped me to know that I can handle this NICU journey. Thank you!

  • What a sad and amazing story all at the same time. I am so sorry for your loss. I'm also so grateful for your amazing gifts!

  • Hi  i have a question could i be pregnant with birth control still in my system

  • Thank you Jami for your love and support. It is truly appreciated. Its tough I know some days are better then others but I still grieve for Gabriel. What was truly the challenge was plan his funeral yesterday it was the most heart wrenching and heart breaking experience. I was fighting back tears until the end but I had to let go. My husband says I a very strong woman but at that moment I don't feel strong.   I sincerely admire your strength and courage as you let go of Arianna. I also admire your strength as you fought for your life. Its amazing how your husband's words helped you overcome your  infection. You are a tremendous inspiration to me. May god continue to bless you with happiness and strength.

    Love and hugs,

    Jessica

  • Such an amazing story. So thankful for meeting you and Share Union. It changed me in so many ways and for that I will be forever thankful.