I Loved My Daughter Enough To Let Her Go

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Disclaimer: This story contains details and depictions of child loss that may be upsetting to some.

Miracle Pregnancy

“We loved her enough to let her go.

After trying for six years to have another baby and four laparoscopies to remove my endometriosis, in the summer of 2021 we found out we were finally expecting again. Three years prior I had had a terrible miscarriage and had been battling severe endometriosis and adenomyoisis for 18 years at that point.

How perfect, a boy and a girl.

At 21 weeks pregnant, we attended our scan to find out the gender. They let us know it was a girl and we were thrilled! However, the scan was taking longer than usual.  They brought in another tech to take more photos and then instructed us to move to the consult room.

I started getting worked up while we waited and my husband tried to reassure me it would be okay. My mind was going a thousand miles a minute thinking about all of the things she could have and how scared I was.

The radiologist walked in and had a piece of paper and a pen in her hand. She informed us that our daughter’s heart was in the wrong spot, she was missing a kidney, her long bones were not growing, and she had severe abnormalities with her hands and feet. She then stated in very direct terms, ‘You can terminate this pregnancy in the next three weeks if you are unable to handle this.’

I let out a scream I didn’t even know I was capable of. I fell to my knees and kept screaming. I immediately had sheets of tears streaming down my face. My husband continued to rub my back while he too wept.

The radiologist let us know she made an appointment to do an amniocentesis and a 3D ultrasound in three days, handed Brett the appointment card, and left the room. My lip wouldn’t stop quivering from sobbing so much. Brett finally said, ‘Let’s get out of this room. I hate this room.’

We walked to our vehicle, got in, and continued to just weep. After a few minutes of us not saying anything to each other, I said, ‘She may never come home with us.’ Through choking down his own tears that were almost making him gasp for air, he said he was so sorry that we got our hopes up and we shouldn’t have been excited too soon until we were all in the clear.

Rising Complications

The next two and a half weeks were hell. Not only had I been at death’s door with nausea the entire pregnancy for nearly six months now, I found out she may not live. I had people in my life keep telling me the nausea will go away soon and in the end I’d get a baby!

We attended dozens of appointments over the next two weeks. Endless blood work, extra scans, daily phone calls and texts with my OBGYN  about the quality of her life, radiologists, occupational therapists, and lastly a geneticist. They were dark times and truly some of lowest points of my entire life.

I was exhausted and, on top of it all, I’d hardly seen my son between work and doctors appointments. I missed him immensely and wept continually about how unfair this all was.

The meeting with the genetic specialists was eye opening. They looked into my family history and, between me, two of my sisters, and my mom, we have way more losses than live births statistically. The doctors there could not put the pieces together what our daughter had, but what they told us that the quality of her life would be poor. The comments that kept being thrown around were as follows:

‘She will scream every minute of her life.’

‘She will never come home with you.’

‘Her life will be like whack a mole. She will always be in pain, but you won’t know what she’s every crying about.’

‘Her heart is the biggest problem as it may not be strong enough to live outside of you.’

‘Her missing a kidney is a big problem.’

‘When we see this much wrong on a scan, we can say in full confidence that there is usually way more wrong that we can’t see.’

‘The choice is yours because we do not know what she has.’

The Decision

Day and night, my husband and I cried. We felt like we had nothing left to give. Selfishly, we wanted her.

To us, she was perfect even though there were so many complications with her health. It didn’t matter to us. But as parents you learn that it’s not about what’s best for you, it’s about what’s best for her and what she would want.

We know that she wanted to be with our family and that she will always be ours, but it broke our hearts about having to send her back to Heaven.

The only way we knew what to do was to make a decision and pray on it. The prayers we had in our bedroom on our knees will forever be some of the most moving, powerful, spiritual, and memorable prayers in our marriage. We prayed to God, ‘We have made a decision and we ask for your help. We don’t know what to do. If this is right, we will find strength in us to let her come home to you.’

Two days later, we agreed that neither she nor I needed to suffer for one more minute. The induction was scheduled for a few days later, and the evening came for me to take the medication to induce labour. I would be delivering her the next day.

Imagine with worst stomach bug you’ve ever had in your entire life, but try not to vomit. Why? Because the pill cost $400 each.

I had blurred vision and was so gravely ill that I told Brett I loved him many times in case I died. I was supposed to attend my work party the night before as I thought it would be better to have a distraction instead of sobbing all evening. The time came to leave and my health turned a corner.

I swear it was angels who came to my aid because I needed a small pick-me-up.

The Delivery

Saturday Dec 4th, 2021. The morning came quickly and we were off to the hospital. I wept walking to my room. I saw the delivery table and it hit me that our baby would be laying on there dead in a few hours.

I had taken my second $400 dollar pill and the nurse let me know I couldn’t vomit for at least two more hours. They got an epidural into me as I was already in full-blown labor. I gripped onto the bedside bars with all of my strength to keep that final dose in my system.

It was a terrible mental game because I knew I had to keep the pill in me to deliver her, but I didn’t want to let her go. I wanted her and I didn’t want the induction to work. Two hours passed and the nurse gave me a bucket and I projectile vomited five times.

Again, who helped me keep that pill in? Angels. I couldn’t have done it myself. After I felt like a bus had hit me 23 times keeping that pill down, the epidural did its job and I was able to go to sleep.

Two hours later, I woke up and the nurse came to check on me. In my sleep, our daughter, Ruby-Jo, had arrived. The doctor came in to pick up her tiny, 1- pound, lifeless body and I went into complete shock.

Mother holds stillborn daughter in hospital bed
Courtesy of Whitney Quinton

All I could think was, ‘What on Earth had I just done!? She was dead! We let her die, and I hated myself.’ I began shedding tears of immeasurable anger.

Brett ran to my side with a very calm and loving demeanor. He grabbed my hand and with tears streaming down his face said, ‘Whits, it’s okay. You did it. She’s finally home and she’s perfect. She’s with our family in Heaven, and she’s not in pain anymore. I am so proud of you.’

Not a day has gone by that I don’t think about the words my husband said to me that day. He saved me then, and his words continue to save me daily when I fight demons with the Earth-shattering decision we had to make for her.

Husband looks at stillborn daughter
Courtesy of Whitney Quinton

The Aftermath

The biggest miracle at the end of it all was finding out, when her autopsy came back, that her heart condition alone wouldn’t have allowed us to bring her home. They said she would’ve lived in an incubator until she passed away or, very likely, would’ve died at birth even if carried to full term. It was hard news to hear, but it was a relief knowing that we had made the best decision for her.

I’m grateful for the Earthly and Heavenly angels that carried us through losing our sweet Ruby-Jo, and still carry us because the grief we endure not having her here is something most people would never be able to comprehend.

When I look back on our journey with her, I recognize how many miracles and tender mercies there were. I realize how God was truly walking with me every single step of the way.

She is sealed to our family and, someday in Heaven, we will all be reunited.

I will embrace her and I know she will thank us for relieving her of all of her suffering. We will thank her for teaching us how to turn to God, to have more compassion, and be there for others during tragedies to lift them up.”

Family of three mourn child over small coffin
Courtesy of Whitney Quinton

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Whitney Quinton. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Have a story of love, kindness, healing, or overcoming to share? Visit our submissions portal to submit today.

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