Lilliana Francesca — Stillborn, but Born Still

My name is Shannon and this is the story of my first born daughter, Lilliana Francesca, who was born still, but still born on December 15, 2012.

My husband and I were thrilled to find out the awesome news last May that we were expecting. I had a wonderful pregnancy, with no morning sickness, I continued to exercise, ate healthy and did all the things I was supposed to. Because of my age (39 at the time, now 40) I was seen and monitored at lot and beginning at 32 weeks, I was going twice a week to the doctor — for ultrasounds, non-stress tests, etc. All looked great! Lilliana even passed her bio-physical with flying colors. We were so happy and anticipating her arrival  –we had just about finished her nursery and her clothes were washed and waiting for her.

On Tuesday December 11, I went in for my first weekly appointment and had an ultrasound and NST done; all looked great. Wednesday evening my parents came over and brought dinner, and Lilliana was dancing all around inside me. I went to work Thursday and was busy, running around, and couldn’t remember really feeling her, but thought because I was walking around, she must have been moving. After work on Thursday, I went home and told my hubby that I don’t remember feeling her, but maybe because she was bigger and had less room, or because I was very active that day. He agreed.

The next morning I woke up very early and realized my princess had not woken me up kicking through the night like she normally does. My husband got me OJ and that didn’t help, so I got up and got dressed for my doctor’s appointment and left early – arriving an hour before my scheduled time. I told the nurse I couldn’t feel her – they put me on the monitor and when they didn’t pick up a heartbeat I knew in my heart something was wrong. They then took me to another room to do an ultrasound and it was in that moment that I knew I was changed forever, when my doctor came in and looked at me and said “I’m sorry hon”…

I crumpled, began screaming and crying and asking WHY… my world crashed around me and there was nothing I could do.

My husband came to the doctor’s office and I felt like everything was in slow motion, that it was all a nightmare. We went right to the hospital and I remember punching the dashboard and being so angry and not understanding WHY. The next day and a half is a blur – inducing me, people in and out, crying, feeling numb, feeling I was watching this happen to someone else, feeling empty.  With the induction started, I didn’t realize still what I had to do – deliver my beautiful girl who I would have to greet and then say goodbye. Not fair….

Friday night I finally fell asleep only to be woken up at 5 am to have my water broken, and then the pushing started around 9 am. My sweet baby girl Lilliana Francesca was born on Saturday December 15 at 10:58 am, weighing 4 lbs 6 oz and measuring 17 1/4 inches long. She came to us with one eye open, and the other closed – winking at us, and from what I believe, telling us she was ok. I pray every day she is. I then had to be whisked away for a D&C, but she was never alone – my husband stayed with her, as did my mom and sister and dad. My husband’s family also got to see her, and I’m so glad they all saw her and that she is real and HERE and part of all of us now. When I finally got to hold her, I didn’t want to let her go. But I knew I had to and that may have been the hardest thing I’ll ever do in my entire life was to let her out of my arms. We had a beautiful mass and service for her, and now I sleep with the purple blanket she was wrapped in at the hospital – it’s with me every night.

I am slowly returning to work and I work at the hospital where this all happened, so it’s soooo hard, but I am here. I must live for my girl, she wants that, and I know I will never be the same person and am forever changed, but maybe that’s not a bad thing and Lily Bear taught us all something. We don’t have any answers as to why this happened or what went wrong, but perhaps she was too pure for this world. I miss her every day of my life and she’s in my mind in all I do, say and feel. She’s my daughter, my first born, and always will be. Le Le, Mommy and Daddy miss you and love you more than words can say.  Your name means pure, beautiful and free–so be free sweetie, and I know you are watching all of us as our sweet guardian angel.

I love you.

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