Mom of baby who lived five hours after birth: “She was compatible with life and love”

I discovered out I was having a second child in late February. I got my first ultrasound on March 21, 2014. I was eight weeks along. My next ultrasound wouldn’t be until June 13, 2014, because they informed me that everything appeared to be in order. At my 20-week scan, I would learn the gender of my unborn child.

Finally, the day I had been looking forward to had come.

I took my mother and my 3-year-old son with me to the gender ultrasound. Once more, the door was opened for us. Starting the ultrasonography. The tech finally asked: “Would you like to know what you’re having?” after a brief delay.

I was thrilled and replied YES. Because I already had my son, I had been praying for a girl. It’s a female, she declared.

I was overjoyed! Her name was already chosen by us. Jane Marley

The technician then started measuring my adorable Marley. To allow us to glimpse the face of our infant, she flipped over to the 3D side. I saw her swiftly go back to the standard screen, which displayed the profile picture of my baby. When she did that, I had a gut feeling that something was off. She looked at me as she began to organize her belongings and said, “I have to tell you something.” I was inconsolable. My biggest fear was about to come true.

There is a problem with your baby, she stated. She informed me that based on her measurements and what she had observed, my baby appeared to be missing her skull, and she was unsure whether the entire baby’s brain was present.

I became numb. I believe that because I was in such shock, I started to daydream. Let me go speak to the doctor so we can get you into a room immediately, she said.

I recall that I could only cry. What does this mean, I was asking my mother while I was reading it. Will Marley be alright? Even though my mother was sobbing, I knew she couldn’t provide me with the answers.

I seem to recall that I didn’t give a damn what this meant. She is my child, so if she were born crippled, I would look after her.

Since I was unsure of her illness at the time, I had high hopes for her well-being. While I awaited the arrival of the doctor, I was in a room. There was a sense of endless waiting.

“Have you ever heard of anencephaly?” the doctor said when she entered. Naturally, I replied “No.” She went on to describe what that meant.

I snapped. I heard what I most feared to hear.

She continued by advising me to induce my pregnancy as soon as possible because I have experienced preeclampsia a few times during this pregnancy. I firmly rejected her. Like with my son, I intended to carry my daughter to term. She advised me to visit a specialist so that a second ultrasound could be performed to support her findings.

I saw the specialist for my ultrasound appointment five days later. Maternal Fetal Medicine EVMS was the medical group I visited. After their scan, they informed me that Marley had a complete brain, she merely lacked a skull. I was informed that it was known as exencephaly. They assured me that if I chose to carry her to term, there would be no problems. I switched to their office for the remainder of my pregnancy, so it goes without saying.

They performed ultrasounds at a few of my routine doctor visits and informed me that I had polyhydramnios. Marley wasn’t consuming the extra amniotic fluid, therefore I had a lot of it.

My poly had grown really terrible, so they took me out of work on September 12, 2014. I was warned that I might give birth prematurely. Because I intended to donate Marley’s heart valves, I was devastated. In Virginia, where I live, I spoke with LifeNet. Marley’s heart valves might save two kids, according to LifeNet, which manages organ donations in this area, but Marley would need to weigh 8 pounds at birth in order to contribute. I was aware that if I gave birth early, she wouldn’t be big enough to give.

My water started leaking on September 19, 2014. I was induced with my son at 40 weeks and 4 days, so with him, my water had to be broken, so I wasn’t sure what was going on. When Marley was born, I was only 34 weeks pregnant.

My contractions had gotten harder by September 23. I was admitted to the hospital at 5 cm dilated at 12 o’clock after my mother drove me there. I was crying nonstop because I was so upset. The arrival of Marley surprised me. I wasn’t prepared to part with my baby girl. They informed me that I couldn’t give anything else because she had anencephaly and I knew she would be too small to donate her heart valves.

At the hospital, I met a beautiful midwife who learned about Marley’s condition and my determination to carry Marley to term. Wendy was her name. She informed me that she wished to be present for Marley’s birth. That day, her duty was scheduled to conclude at 7 p.m., but she insisted on staying.

Marley was actually given by Wendy. She checked on me when I was inside and advised me to push.

Marley arrived at 5:58 p.m. after three pushes.

She was given a “Happy Birthday” by Wendy, who then placed her on my chest. She was so ecstatic that Marley had survived birth.

She was 15 1/4 inches long and 3 pounds, 10 ounces in weight. She was stunning beyond words.

I did not see anencephaly when I glanced at my infant daughter. I saw my lovely, ideal newborn girl.

When she was born, there were many members of my family and friends present. Everyone cuddled and hugged her. She spent her entire existence outside of my womb being held and adored. I was cuddling with Marley after everyone had departed. My mother placed the baby in the tiny hospital bassinet after receiving her from me. After checking her pulse, the nurse left the room to call a doctor. Marley’s chest was examined by the doctor when she entered the room with a stethoscope. I will never forget the moment she turned to face me and said, “I am so sorry, she’s gone.”

My daughter passed away at 11:02 p.m. I sobbed till I was unable to cry any more.

Marley was mine until three in the morning when I realized it was time to give her up. That wasn’t how I wanted to remember her. Handing my baby girl over to the hospital was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

The necessity of leaving the hospital without anything was the second most difficult situation. My daughter has permanently altered my life.

In order to share Marley’s experience and raise awareness for anencephaly, I subsequently established a Facebook page. My goal is to support other mothers going through similar circumstances. I want people to realize that just because society thinks your child is flawed and unfit for life, you don’t have to be intimidated into having an early abortion or induction. Marley was ideal and suited for both love and life. I feel grateful that I got to be her mother and that she lived for five glorious hours.

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