On this day eight years ago we went in for our second intrauterine blood transfusion with our baby Lucy. Her first IUT went perfectly according to my MFMs. It was performed a little over a week earlier at 18 weeks gestation. But it didn’t really go perfectly, we know that now.
A few days ago I was reading over my medical records and the details break my heart. During the first IUT they discovered that Lucy’s hematocrit was only 6, which meant she was incredibly anemic. The doctors put donor blood into the cord and it went into the umbilical vein as they hoped. It is very hard to guide a needle through a woman’s uterus and into the baby’s umbilical vein, especially on a baby as tiny as Lucy. The procedure is much easier and safer when performed at later gestations. But that day during the first IUT, the MFMs were successful and hit the cord as planned.
I often wonder, what would have happened if the doctors had stopped then and performed another IUT two days later. That’s probably what Dr. Moise and Dr. Trevett would have done. Instead, my doctors injected Lucy with Lasix (this is something I never noticed in my medical records before now) and they went in with a second needle through my uterus into her abdomen. She had ascites (fluid building up) which was the beginning of fetal hydrops. The doctors injected more blood into the ascitic fluid in her abdomen, which would never get absorbed and would only further bloat her little body. Instead of following up and checking on Lucy in the days after the IUT, our doctors refused to check her anemia levels or do another IUT. They gave up on her well before she was dead.
And so, on this day in 2013, Josh and I went into the hospital in Birmingham and as they got me prepped for the second IUT, we watched on the ultrasound as Lucy’s heart gradually slowed down and stopped. I don’t know if there is any trauma quite like watching your own child’s heart slow down and stop beating. Lots of therapy, EMDR sessions and years of anti-anxiety meds later and I am still deeply traumatized by what happened on that day and the days leading up to and following her death.
Now, we have three living reminders of what my outcome with Lucy could have been with the right monitoring and the right treatment…a healthy daughter who would be turning eight this year. Her three younger siblings, Nora, Callum and August will get to celebrate healthy milestones and birthday parties this year. Lucy will not.
And so, on this eighth year after losing my daughter to HDFN, I will work hard to process my grief and forgive the doctors again for their carelessness and I will decide not to hold on to bitterness. There is so much freedom in choosing forgiveness over bitterness. I will continue trusting God with my life story and the lives of my children, even thought He let Lucy die. I will keep turning to Him for my peace, my joy and my purpose. I will celebrate the goodness that has come from Lucy’s life- the many babies who are alive today because of her, the realness of heaven and the joy I have set before me as I walk towards my real home, and the great work we have been able to accomplish so far through The Allo Hope Foundation.
We love you so much, Lucy Dair. Eight years closer to having you for eternity.
In other news, our baby August is doing well and is already five months old. He brings us so much joy, especially on hard days like this.