My story begins the day I had my first scan; my mother came with me; I was happy; everyone in the family wanted the baby to be a girl; I thought that it was going to be a boy.
While the doctor was performing the scan, we were trying to make out the parts we couldn’t see; we were laughing together; then, suddenly, the look on the doctor’s face changed. He checked the scan again and again while we sat in stunned silence, then he blurted out: "Were you on any kind of medication before or after you became pregnant?" I answered: "No". Then he looked at me very gravely and said: "My dear, you know that we must bring you the bad news as well as the good". "What’s wrong?" I asked him worriedly, and he said to me: "Your baby has developed some problems; its brain has not grown; the condition is called anencephaly." "But... can anything be done?" I asked. "No", he said, "nothing can be done; there is no treatment, no operation, nothing; it just happens and there is nothing you can do about it." The news was so terrible that we even forgot to ask him whether it was a boy or a girl. My mother and I left the clinic in tears, both devastated.
To be honest, from what the doctor told me, it wasn’t entirely clear to me what was happening. I didn’t know what kind of malformation this was; I thought that, perhaps, my baby would be born with some sort of mental deficiency, or something like that. Then I went on the internet to find out more about it and that’s when I found this lovely page; it cleared up my confusion and I wept bitterly for my baby.
In my country, Chile, surgical abortions are prohibited; that’s what the doctor explained to me: hoping to escape from the deep pain that was gripping me, I had mentioned it to him, but I felt so bad afterwards, just for having suggested it.
I was able to keep going thanks to God and the enormous support from my family.
I read everything I found on this malformation and I also watched television programmes to educate myself on the subject… I wanted to understand exactly what was happening inside me, and also to reassure myself that my child’s condition was not the result of anything I had done.
Months went by and I reached the 41st week of my pregnancy. On a Friday, they told me that I had to be admitted to the hospital the following Monday, so I went to the undertaker’s and the cemetery to get everything ready; to be honest, I left this formality to the last minute: it was very painful to prepare the first funeral of my life… and for it to be my daughter. God gave me the strength…
On the Monday, I was admitted into hospital and on the Tuesday, I was moved to a pre-delivery ward to begin a misotrol treatment to mature my cervix for a normal delivery. I began to feel pain which lasted until the Thursday 5th of July: my daughter was born at 9.30 pm; she weighed 2.450 kg and measured 45 cm. I named her Sandra Maritza, after my mother who asked me to give her that name. The pain of the delivery was horrendous; I gave birth to my daughter without any kind of anesthetic; it was agony, but it was worth it for her sake.
The doctor told me that she would die as soon as the umbilical cord was cut; I begged God to let me have her for a short moment so that I could hold her in my arms, tell her that I loved her and that we would soon be together again.
She was taken away as soon as she was born; I felt her crying… Slowly they dressed her and handed her to me so that I could kiss her. She was beautiful… like an angel. After that, she was taken to the postnatal ward and I was moved to the recovery unit. I wanted to keep her with me, but they told me to wait until the next day because she needed rest.
That night I prayed a lot; I asked her not to go just yet, to wait until I could see her again.
And that’s what she did: the following day, I woke up early and they told me that she was still alive and that I should go and see her.
She was lying in what looked like an incubator and I could not touch her directly. She was so beautiful, like an angel, but all she did was sleep. I wanted to stay with her but they kept telling me that she needed to rest etc. I felt so helpless being allowed to see my daughter only when they said so and only through an incubator. They let me pick her up once but she went purple, as if she were choking; it gave me a real scare; I wasn’t ready to see her die, not so soon… So I handed her back: she started breathing again, and so did I…
That day was the happiest day in my life, but it was so short… I felt I needed to hold her and feel her; I felt so empty without her inside me. They separated us… but it had to happen some day…
Friday night came and she was still alive; more than 24 hours had gone by. The last time I saw her was at 11 pm. My Sandrita’s little hands were purple and her breathing restless. A nurse said that I should talk to her, that I should tell her to go to her rest… She said that sometimes it was the parents who held them back for that long. So I talked to her… I told her that I loved her, that she was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen, that she should go to be with God and the little angels, that she should wait for me and that we would be together again one day but that now I had to take care of her young siblings; above all, I thanked her for staying alive long enough and I told her that we would never forget her.
They told me that she might not make it through the night and that if anything happened they would come to my room to tell me.
They came up at 3.15 am to inform me that she had passed away. I did not want to go to see her because I wanted my memories to be of her alive; I don’t know if it was the right decision, but I can’t change it now…
Many people say: "you knew what was going to happen: you must have been prepared for it". I don’t think any mother is ever prepared to see her child die; it’s the deepest kind of suffering you can imagine; there is no medicine that can relieve the pain of the soul, except time…
For me, having my daughter wasn’t a bad thing- just the opposite: it was a blessing, the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to me. If I were given the choice, I would go through with it all over again a thousand times for her, because I love her and I will remember her for the rest of my life.
I love you my daughter; you are the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to me…
Last updated 14 November 2007