Za’morah | Trauma and Loss

After being diagnosed with PCOS in 2009, my dreams of becoming a mom were crushed when I was told my body would fight off 9/10 pregnancies, making it almost impossible to carry to term. Fortunately, in October 2019, I had my first live birth… a little girl, and after 3 previous losses, I was head over heals.

Fast forward to February 2020: I went to the ER with what I thought was a gallbladder issue only to find out I was 8 weeks pregnant, which to me seemed impossible seeing how I had a 12 week old at home and she alone was a miracle. I was terrified. What was I going to do with two under one? But I instantly fell in love the moment I saw her little flutters on the screen. I chose to parent.

My pregnancy seemed to fly as I watched my first hit milestones. I began having dreams about watching my girls grow up as best friends and I was filled with joy. But then things took a turn and in the beginning of August, I was diagnosed with onset preeclampsia. I went to the hospital on Friday August 7th with excruciating pain in my stomach. An MRI was performed, and baby was monitored for two hours on the machine. I was having contractions two to three minutes apart, but I was not dilating. I was sent home Friday evening and told to come back if my symptoms persisted or got worse.

Saturday August 8th, I called my OB and explain the pain I was having. I went back to the hospital still contracting two to three minutes apart with no dilation. I was hooked up to the monitors then later sent home saying my baby looked fine. On Sunday August 9th, I called my OB again and let him know I was still contracting and the pain had gotten worse. I was instructed strict bed rest and to go to labor and delivery “if I felt like it” I did as my OBGYN instructed and got in bed and rested.

I woke up on Monday August 10th at 4:30 a.m. – 36 weeks and 6 days – with the worst migraine I have ever experienced. The labor pains were worse, contractions were still two to three minutes apart and in my stomach I could pinpoint two exact locations of where I was hurting. I was rushed to the hospital by ambulance and hooked up to the monitors. I was given medicine to maintain my blood pressure also asked to eat and to drink. I received two bags of fluids. The doctor said the baby looked fine so he was going to send me home.

I pleaded with the doctor: “The baby may look fine, but please don’t send me home.” His response was that the baby looked find on the monitor and “we don’t treat based on gut instincts.”He discharged me and as I was leaving the hospital, my placenta detached I began to hemorrhage.

They put me in a room, I hit the call light and nobody came. I started screaming as the pain intensified. The nurse came in the room to hook up the monitors and was unable to find her heartbeat. The doctor came in and requested that radiology come stat with an ultrasound machine. I begged for oxygen which he then responded “Megan, look at me: I can’t get to you.” I was fading in and out of consciousness.

After performing the ultrasound, I was told my daughter’s heartbeat was very faint and I was rushed to the operating room immediately. It took 12 minutes get my daughter out; because of the amount of blood he couldn’t find her. For 16 minutes they perform CPR on my newborn baby. Her chest was left bruised. They then told my mother they were switching from the baby to me, and they were not looking optimistic about either of us surviving. After delivery I received three units of blood.

I woke up in recovery two hours later and was told my daughter lost a lot of oxygen during birth and they were not sure the extent of the brain damage yet. She was on a cooling pad for 72 hours. During the warming process she had 27 seizures, and on day five they declared my daughter brain dead. Her official diagnosis was severe hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.

I was 36 weeks and 6 days when I delivered my sweet Za’Morah on Monday August 10th. Six days later, I was asked to remove my baby from life support. She never took a breath on her own but she fought for 69 min with no assistance from machines.

On Angels’ Wings came in and was able to capture photos without the machines, the cords and nurses that always surrounded her bedside…. ones with clothes on an ones that we could finally freely hold our baby.

My world is forever changed. I feel empty, I feel angry, and I feel alone. Nothing will ever heal the heartache I will forever feel. I hope to have more kids in the future. But my anxiety stops me from wanting to try because I anticipate the worst. For now, I will snuggle her big sister even tighter every day.

by Megan Hembree
Mommy to Za’Morah

Share This