I’ve always wanted children, -always-. Even when I was a little girl, my biggest dream was getting married and having a family… Wherever I saw a baby or a child, my heart expanded, and I just wanted to nurture them, take care of them, give them love, make them happy, see them smile.
When I met my husband Frank, the urge to become a mother grew almost instantly. We had such a great connection, such a great love and such a great understanding for each other that it soon felt like the only thing missing. My hubby proposed to me not even a year after we met, and soon we were married. Everything was going so fast, that sometimes we thought if we weren’t rushing it all too much, so we decided to wait a bit with children. Yeah right!! My biological clock was ticking like crazy, every Pampers commercial would make me drool like a nutcase. But hubby was also ready… And as we were planning our honeymoon, we planned to go for it a lot sooner.
So a few months later, we finally held a positive pregnancy test in our hands… Excited, and over the moon we looked forward to this little baby joining our lives in September 2013. Everything went smoothly… I had almost no pregnancy symptoms that were bugging me, except my growing belly. But that wasn’t bugging me, I loved my belly (not so fond of those hips though)!
At 21 weeks, I got scared during the night, thinking I might have lost amniotic fluid, so we went rushing into the ER. The assistant on duty did an echo. The amniotic sac looked fine, and the baby had plenty of fluid. It seemed more like she had given me a good kick in the bladder. But she noticed something else… “I’m seeing something in the brain, I’m not sure if it’s anything, this is a very old machine, so don’t worry…” she said. But I saw her looking and staring again at that screen, and I was worried, very worried. She called my gynecologist and asked her what to do. Since it was the middle of the night, they kept us there for the night for observation. They also told me that my gynecologist would be in the next day, and that she could take a decent look at the baby with a professor that was specialized in brain conditions for fetuses.
It was a night filled with nightmares… My dreams told me something was wrong, but I tried to stay positive, believing we’d be out of there in no time after the echo the next day. The next morning, they did the echo first thing… How could I have imagined our world was about to be shaken to the core, our dreams shattered, our hearts broken… We got into the room. The first thing the professor said to me was: “I am going to look at your baby, and I will tell you my thoughts when I finish”. The professor and my OB looked did an extended echo. That was it. I could tell from their faces. This was not good. My baby was not alright. Something was terribly wrong…
And I wasn’t wrong. Our baby girl was diagnosed with a condition called Hydrocephalus. Her head was filled with fluids… The fluids had completely destroyed the brain she had been developing the weeks before. She would never be born alive. The fluid had destroyed everything she had. She could never recover. She could never develop further. She could never live. I completely froze. As if I was standing right outside my body, looking at everything from a distance. We had to terminate the pregnancy immediately they said. Prolonging the pregnancy would be harmful for the baby and me. No point in continuing. She wasn’t going to make it. Before we had even absorbed this news they were planning the induced labor. My OB accompanied us to our room, offering us kind words and comfort on the way. I am so grateful she was there. She was kind, understanding, and comforting. But especially honest, to the point, leaving no space for doubts. “This is not your fault”, she kept repeating. “There is nothing you could have done to prevent this”. Sahar was perfect, except her condition. There was nothing genetically wrong with her, which was good news for subsequent pregnancies. Another pregnancy?? I want this baby, I thought. I want my girl. My baby Sahar.
We were broken, we were lost, we were shocked, we were sad, we were disoriented. Our parents joined us soon after the bad news. My mom held my hand as the OB was explaining everything once again. Our dads stood there with us, offering their support, suffering with us… My OB told us to go home, try to assimilate the terrible news, and call back with any questions. I felt numb, I wasn’t reacting to the news, I felt sedated. I saw my husband broken, and I didn’t know how to comfort him. I just kept thinking: Why the hell am I not crying?? Don’t I care??? We went home… We went to sleep when we couldn’t keep our eyes open anymore. I had a nightmare and woke up. And then it hit me. This is real. It is not a nightmare. This is happening, and there’s nothing I can do about it… I crashed, I cried, I hyperventilated, I was hysterical… My poor baby… Frank held me, we cried together… until we fell a sleep again….
The next few days were hell. Everything went slow motion. Seconds were minutes, minutes were hours, hours were days… In the meanwhile, my little sweet baby, my darling Sahar, was moving around in my belly, kicking… Living… This couldn’t be true. They must have missed something I thought. I’m sure there’s something we can do! What if I carry her to full term? Maybe she’ll get better…. We went back to the hospital a few days after. I’m sure something has changed. Frank was skeptical… “I don’t think they made a mistake, three different doctors confirmed the condition, and another 5 reviewed their decision”, he said. But I kept hoping, it’s all I could do.
The inevitable happened, the OB confirmed the condition again. It had even gotten worse, way worse, in just a few days… If I would carry her to full term, she could experience terrible pains. Her brain function was almost none, but what if she could feel pain? It would be terrible for her. How could I do that to my baby? I would go through the pain for her, but there’s no way we could switch… “It’s important to terminate this pregnancy, also for your health”, she said. If she’d continue growing, her head would grow out of proportion, making a natural birth impossible for me, it could be fatal for me. What did I care… I just cared about my baby… But my OB told me I had to think of the future and of my husband… “There is nothing you can do for your baby now, except letting her go, and spare her the pain of experiencing her condition…” The hard words the professor spoke to me flashed through my head… “Do you want me to explain to you what horror you would be making her go through if you continue this pregnancy?” Those were one of the most harsh words I ever got to hear. But it made me realize. We had no choice.
Will she be born alive? She’s alive now, I feel her kicking, I thought… The chance that she would be born alive was almost non-existent. The induced labor, and especially her condition. They didn’t know if the little brain tissue that was left could make her regulate her heart beat at all. They told me to prepare myself for a stillbirth. So I did. Labor was hard, it was long, it was painful. Low blood pressure, high fevers, vomiting, hiccups… I got the jackpot. 36 hours later, she was there. Our daughter, Sahar. “Do you want to see her?”, my OB asked. Of course I do! I couldn’t wait to see her, to hold her. She gave her to me instantly. She was P E R F E C T.
Against all odds, she was delivered alive. Her heart was still beating. She didn’t cry. I didn’t hear her cry. But I could see her, I could touch her, I could kiss her, tell her I loved her. And we did just that. Sahar was born May 7th 2013. She lived a bit less than an hour. An hour in which we gave her all the love and warmth we could possibly give her. We held her as long as we could. Her grandparents held her too, they kissed her too, they said “Hi” to her too. That moment was so peaceful for me. I didn’t feel sad, the only thing I could feel was LOVE. Great LOVE. Unconditional LOVE. I was proud of this little fighter. She was still alive… Alive to meet us, alive to feel us, alive to say goodbye… Even if it was for a little while… We don’t know exactly when she left us, I didn’t want to know either… I just wanted to hold her as long as I could, cuddle here, kiss her, tell her everything would be okay, tell her and make her feel how much we love her.
These were the hardest, most difficult and terrible days of our lives… They also were the most beautiful. She was our baby, and she was BEAUTIFUL. This is hard. Harder than I can ever put into words. It’s painful, it even hurts physically. It strangles you. But if you would ask me if would be possible to not have experienced this at all, I would say no. I wished her alive, healthy, delivered in her own time, and safely in my arms. But even now, her life was a miracle, an inspiration, and the most beautiful experience of our lives. She changed us forever…
She will be loved forever, cherished forever, remembered always… Sahar, our firstborn, gone to soon… Such a great impact she had, such great love she left in our hearts… A true miracle… Forever in our hearts…