Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fourteen years already?

I can't believe that it has been fourteen years since I had to say hello and goodbye to my second daughter in the same breath. I don't normally talk about Kierston as it makes people uncomfortable to talk about dead babies but today is the day of her birth and I have mentioned her here and there throughout the years on the blog so I thought today would be a good day to share her story. As a way of healing, I wrote down all that I could remember of her pregnancy, birth and the days that followed. I didn't know about blogs then so I created a website and copied her story there. This site is now removed from the web as it was only on a free site but as luck would have it, I found a cached copy of it. This is copied and pasted with very little editing, I did correct some spelling and grammatical errors that I made, at the time it was written spelling and punctuation weren't a priority.

Kierston's Story

Picture enhancing curtsey of

Kierston Skyler Stroh
April 27, 1997
3lbs 6.6ozs
17 1/4 inches

We found out that we were going to have another child early October of 1996. We couldn't believe it, my being pregnant was such a surprise.

I started to get a sharp pain in my side, mostly when I made any sudden movements. I called the doctor and we were told that this was normal. A few days later I had begun to have a pink discharge. We were devastated, and were expecting the worst. We had to wait a whole day for an ultra sound to verify that the pregnancy was viable. When we got to the office, we were told to have a seat and wait until the tech was ready to see us.

So many things were running through our minds, is the baby all right? Is it something I did? Why was I bleeding? Then our name was called. Nervously we walked into the exam room and the ultra sound showed a normal, healthy 7 week old fetus. Our little "Peanut" was in there waving and the little heart was flickering. It was beautiful! They found the cause of the spotting was due to a small tear in the lining. My doctor advised me to take it easy.

The spotting stopped. And another ultra sound was scheduled in late January. I couldn't wait, finally I would find out who was sharing my body with me. IT'S A GIRL! Kierston, another little girl, we were so excited!

At the next doctor's appointment, we were told that they had found tiny little cysts on Kierston's brain. What does this mean I asked? Most of the time the cysts go away, but an AFP test was performed. If it came back normal then everything was fine and in most cases they would just go away.

What a long 10 days that was, but low and behold everything was normal. What a tough little girl we had, just waiting to meet us, and we couldn't wait.

Around 24 weeks, I began to cramp. I was told to monitor the cramping, it wasn't until then that I realized I was having CONTRACTIONS! It's too early for this was all I could think. My doctor wasn't worried though. So I started to monitor the contractions, sometimes I would get as many as 8 in an hour. Still my doctor did nothing.

At 26 weeks, I was losing sleep; I was getting woken up by contractions. At my next appointment I had to beg the doctor to give me something to make them stop. Finally I was put on terbutaline, but only on an as needed basis. I didn't understand why he did that, but we followed his advice.

By 29 weeks the medicine stopped working. At this point we had to go to triage once a week to get a shot to stop the contractions. Still, my doctor did not change his opinion.
By the 31st week I was put on terbutaline 2.5 mg every 6 hours. That seemed to do the trick for a few days. Then back to the hospital for another shot. My next doctor's appointment was the next day.

During the doctor's appointment, it seemed like we were being rushed. Finally Toby put his foot down and demanded that I be put on bed rest. My doctor reluctantly agreed to this and filled out the necessary paper work. WAIT, they didn't weigh me, the nurse who looked bothered that I brought it up, and huffed as she led me back to the scale. I had LOST 1 pound. I know, it was just 1 pound, but compared to my gaining 4-5 pounds per the past few visits I was freaking out! My doctor again assured me that it was normal. How, my diet hadn't changed? This appointment was on a Monday.

On that Wednesday, April 23, 1997, Kierston kicked me very hard. So hard that it hurt. I told Toby and he rested his hand on my belly. She did it again, and it hurt!

The next day, April 24, was business as usual. Me playing with my "Peanut," she loved to kick where ever I touched my belly. I was already in love with her. Just a few more weeks and I would be hugging and kissing this sweet little baby of ours.

Friday the 25th of April, while watching TV, I felt her kick one time. It was about 3 in the afternoon. I really didn't think much of it; she must have been sleeping was all.
When we went to bed, there was still no movement. I was getting worried, but I was so tired that I fell asleep before making any decision as to go to the hospital or not.

I tried all day Saturday the 26th, to get my "Peanut" to play with me, she wouldn't. Toby was at work so I nervously waited for him to return. While waiting I called the hospital to see what was normal. They asked if I felt more than 4 kicks in an hour. No, not in 24 hours had I felt a kick! I then called my doctor, he wasn't on call but the OB/GYN on duty told me if I was worried to go to the hospital. So to kill time until Toby got there, I jumped into the shower.

When we got to the hospital they hooked me up to the fetal heart monitor. NOTHING! Oh my God, this can't be happening to us, she was so alive, such a fighter! They tried again, and still there was nothing. The nurse ran to get an ultra sound machine, she was such a nice person, and tried to calm us.

They did the ultra sound, and there was our sweet little girl, still, not moving, and no heart beat. We were in shock, my head was spinning. I couldn't believe it. Another doctor came in to confirm that there was no heart beat. Her reply was this, "I am so sorry, this has to be the worst day of your life." And she was right, it was. I wanted to melt into that hospital bed and die; I just couldn't see what there was to live for. My baby was dead! What did I do?

From this point we were given the option to go home and wait for the onset of labor, or to be induced. We didn't even think about it, we were NOT going to wait. I was moved to a room in the NICU wing and they started the medication to soften my cervix. I was given 1 prostaglandin gel insert every 3 hours, from 7pm until 2am. 

After the 1st one the contractions were steady every three minutes. I couldn't sleep, and the room was freezing. It was tough to hear babies crying when we knew that ours never would. My Mom and Toby never left my side the whole night.

At 5am I was woken up so I could shower and get ready for the pitocin iv. While this was being done Toby went home to shower and call his parents to let them know what was going on, at the time they lived in another state.

At 11:07 am on April 27, 1997, Kierston Skyler Stroh came into this world. She was delivered breech so she had her perfectly shaped head, and daddy's sweet little nose. She was beautiful!

They cleaned her up, and placed her in my arms; I hugged and held my darling daughter so close. Then it was daddy's turn. From the moment we found out, she was his whole world. It just wasn't fair that someone so loved never even got a chance. The umbilical cord was between her legs and wrapped around her belly twice. She suffocated. I felt like my body had betrayed her.

After we had our time with her we asked the priest to baptize her. Then we said our good-byes. I was then moved to another floor, one that had no babies. It was a relief but surreal, at least there wasn't a constant crying reminder of what we lost.

Leaving the hospital was by far the worst thing. My friend Holly thought to bring me a teddy bear and I held that as we left but nothing could replace Kierston.

The hospital took many pictures of her, and sent them to us a few weeks later. They also did her foot prints and gave us a memory book to put everything in.

She was buried on May 5, 1997. I knew from the start that I would attend the service, but as soon as I got there, I wished I was somewhere else. Many people came to show their support, and for that we are grateful.

It's hard not to think about what might have been, how old she would be now, what milestones she would be achieving, would she be crawling, would she still look like her dad? These are thoughts that I have all the time.

In the early morning, right when the sun just starts to come in the window, and if Toby is lying right, I can see her in him. When I first noticed this, Toby had fallen asleep on the couch, and had his head turned to the side slightly and his hands resting on his chest (just like Kierston in the picture above), it took my breath away! I just couldn't believe how much they look alike.

by Dorothy Ferguson

How very softly
you tiptoed into my world.
Almost silently,
only a moment you stayed.
But what an imprint
your footsteps have left
upon my heart.

We love and miss you Kierston, you are in our hearts forever.
Mom and Dad


It is not the will of the father,
which is in heaven
that one of these little ones should perish...
Matthew 18:14

[I Poured My Heart Out]

As I read this, it brings back a flood of emotions, takes me right back to those days.