I Am Strong – Cesarean Birth After Neonatal Loss

by Heather Crescimanno on October 20, 2014

*trigger warning*

I am strong because in April of 2012, I gave birth to a precious baby girl named Evelyn, prematurely at 24 weeks due to incompetent cervix, premature labor, and infection.

I am strong because I endured a frightening classical c-section 4 hours after entering the hospital with a smile on my face, knowing it was the best chance my baby had to survive.

I am strong because I was told I will never have a future vaginal birth due to my vertical incision, and I would never be allowed to go into labor for fear of rupturing my uterus.

I am strong because I spent every single night in the NICU watching my tiny 1 pound 5 ounce, 11.75 inch long daughter through a plastic window, unable to hold her.

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I am strong because I pumped breast milk for her every 3 hours.

I am strong because at 5 weeks and 3 days old my little girl developed an infection called NEC, and within hours of its discovery, it took her life.

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I am strong because I held her for the first and only time as she was passing away.

I am strong because throughout the most horrifying time of my life I was able to plan a beautiful funeral for my baby, something no mother should ever have to do.

I am strong because 4 weeks after she died, I donated all of my pumped breast milk, roughly 600 ounces, to a milk bank  to help babies like her.

I am strong because 1 year and 9 months later I discovered that I was again pregnant, I was elated.

I am strong because I was considered high risk and went to many, many extra appointments.

I am strong because at 13 weeks and 5 days I went into the hospital to have a preventative cerclage placed in the hopes of getting me to full term.

I am strong because I was placed on modified bed rest for over a month, but I took it upon myself to continue bed rest as much as I could throughout the entire pregnancy.

I am strong because I was given weekly progesterone shots.

I am strong because despite the constant fear of losing another baby I decorated a beautiful nursery for our second daughter.

I am strong because at 6 months I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

I am strong because I gave up all of my favorite foods, took medication, and drew blood up to 5 times a day to control it.

I am strong because I held my breath during more than 21 ultrasounds, expecting to hear the worst each time.

I am strong because at 37 weeks to the day, 3 days after my cerclage was removed,  I began having contractions that eventually were 2-4 minutes apart.

I am strong because I finally realized they were not Braxton Hicks and had my husband drive me to the hospital.

I am strong because I was given 4 pills of Procardia to help relax my uterus, but the contractions continued to get more intense.

I am strong because after 3 or so hours of contracting in the hospital I was told I would be having my cesarean that night.

I am strong because at 8:08pm, just one minute later than my first daughter’s birth, my second beautiful girl, Emily, came screaming into the world at 6 pounds 5 ounces and 19 inches long.

I am strong because during her birth my doctor discovered that my previous incision scar was thinning, and had I not gotten to the hospital when I did it would have eventually ruptured, and endangered both of our lives.

I am strong because I heard over the curtain the doctors exclaim that Emily had a true knot in her umbilical cord and her cord was wrapped around her neck, but thankfully neither affected her health.

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I am strong because my baby had to spend 5 days in the NICU, due to being slightly premature and having jaundice, a place I thought I would never have to visit again.

I am strong because I was finally able to bring our baby home from the hospital.

I am strong because I have two beautiful girls, one on Earth and one in my heart, to motivate me to be the absolute best mother that I can be.

From Katariina Shoemaker

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel October 20, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Beautiful! <3

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Amanda Barker October 20, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Thank you for sharing your birth story. I lost my son last month because of cervical insufficiency. It is so comforting to my fears to read about women who have tried again successfully. Blessed be.

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Katiram October 20, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Love to you, mama. You are strong!

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jenna October 21, 2014 at 8:33 am

two beautiful baby girls that are forever yours. <3 you ARE strong.

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Stephanie October 29, 2014 at 7:36 pm

You are an inspiration.

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Sarah December 12, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Wow, what a wonderful story! All mothers are strong and those that share such inspiring stories like yours are at the top of the tier.

I have never experienced a risky pregnancy or complicated birth. I gave birth naturally and did all I could to prepare beforehand so that I could control everything within my power to give my babies the best I could.

Of course things happen beyond our control and modern medicine saves lives because of it. You are truly inspiring and I hope others reflect as I have.

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Sarah June 29, 2015 at 5:14 pm

I too lost my first child, a daughter in July of 2014. It was the most difficult thing I have ever experienced. You are right. No mother should have to plan her child’s funeral. I am currently pregnant again with our second child, a boy. There is certainly a lot of anxiety when you have a history like we do. However, I do take strength from knowing that my sweet daughter is praying for her mom and brother from heaven.

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Smith Shah March 10, 2016 at 7:41 am

It’s truly inspiration!

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Angela February 26, 2017 at 6:26 pm

You are strong and wise! Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

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