After being found to be 4cm dilated at only 21 weeks of gestation, mom is admitted to the hospital, given medication, and is kept on strict bedrest. Diagnosis: Incompetent cervix
Despite the fact that she is 5cm dilated with membranes bulging to the introitus, an amazing doctor decides that he is willing to attempt to put a cerclage into her cervix. By the grace of God he is able to use a foley catheter bulb to push the bulging membranes back up inside her uterus and is able to successfully insert a cerclage. This is a picture of mom's cervix with the cerclage in place. (cervical opening is towards the bottom, the cerclage can be seen sticking up out of the top like a stick.)
Mom's membranes rupture at only 22 weeks of gestation. They are able to keep her pregnant for a full week longer, but an infection in the uterus (which caused the incompetent cervix as well as the premature rupture of membranes) is dangerous to mom as well as baby. The decision to have the baby is made, the cerclage is removed, and mom is now fully dilated. The doctor prepares for delivery.
Mom starts pushing...and the head crowns quickly. Because this baby is so tiny, a crowning head looks very different than a full term head.
The head is about to be born...it is fully crowned in this photo (again, a stark contract to a full term head that is crowned).
A tiny baby girl slips out into the doctor's hands. Her cord is wrapped around her body, across her shoulders.
Plastic drapes (normal for any delivery) are under mom's bottom and baby is sat on top of the plastic for a fleeting moment while the doctor cuts her umbilical cord. A size comparison can be made between this tiny newborn and the bulb srynge (green)...
She is quickly taken to the warmer and wiped off. She begins to try to breathe, and the doula yells to the mom from across the room, "Listen! Listen to her.." The room becomes pin-drop silent and a tiny mew can be heard. Mom begins to sob as she hears her daughter's cries...it will be the only time she gets to hear her baby's cry.
They immediately begin intubation.
She is intubated and a hat put on her. She is stable for now.
Daddy reaches into the warmer and touched his baby girl on the hand.
Before being wheeled to the NICU, mom gets a chance to meet her baby and give her a kiss.
Ready to be transported.
Grandma and big brother meet the baby for the first time on her way to the NICU.
Once in the NICU, she is weighed....
Tiny feet kick the air.
The placenta is delivered 5 hours later (not unusual for that early of a delivery)...another size comparison can be made by looking at the cord clamps in the bowl.
After delivering the placenta, mom gets to go to the NICU and hold her baby's hand.
Two days after she entered into the world, severe bleeding in the brain is found. They place baby mom and dad's lap so that they might hold and love their daughter as she passes. This photo was taken as she passed.
Daddy holds his baby girl.
Big brother gets his first chance to hold his little sister.
Grandma's turn to hold the baby while mom looks on.
She was perfect in every way - just too little.
The family grieves together.
They don't want to forget any detail of her...her tiny, delicate fingers....
Mom loves her baby.
The doula, who has been with them most of the past 2 weeks, says goodbye to her.
Mom dresses her baby...
...and is overcome with grief.
Perfect little baby feet.
The family is exhausted over everything they have experienced in the last 2 weeks.
When the family is ready, she is taken back to her NICU room and handprinted and fingerprinted.
Her footprints and handprints.
Visitors to the funeral 5 days later are welcomed by a plaque.
Baby holds a picture of her family in the coffin with her.
The doctor that worked so hard to save her (by administering the cerclage and finally by catching her as she was born) looks down at the baby in the coffin and cries.
Mom and Grandma say goodbye to her for the last time.
Dad carries the coffin containing his daughter over to the burial plot.
The graveside service.
Everyone attending releases a white balloon...in memory of Jackie.
Everyone stands around and thinks about life, God, and babies as they watch the group of balloons float up towards heaven.
Goodbye, Jacqueline Michelle.