I’m Shana 👋🏻

A coffee chugging, oil loving, poem writing city girl.

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Aubree’s Story

For those who do not know, I was pregnant at age 18 with my sweet daughter who was born sleeping at only 22 weeks. At her 20-week ultrasound (which is the anatomy scan) I was told there was nothing wrong with what they saw. I got to see her brain, lungs, kidneys, spine, and hear her heart beat; it was magical to see the life I created and I was in awe throughout the whole entire process. It was at that point that I also had the opportunity to find out that I was having a little GIRL and knew immediately that she would be my Aubree Rose. After she was born, I spent time with her: holding her, kissing her and telling her just how much I loved her. I smiled and I cried but more than anything, I left the hospital missing a piece of me, of my heart. One of the most difficult things I have ever had to do to this day was to leave her behind, to try and move on. I never received any real answers as to why she was born prematurely. The only possible explanation they gave me was that her passing might have been due to complications from the umbilical cord being wrapped around her neck. I tried to accept that explanation considering it was coming from a professional’s mouth, although part of me always wondered. I have continued to search for answers as I wanted to know: was it me, or was she sick? I did not have an autopsy done after she was born because I was young and was unable to afford it and trust me- I beat myself up about it... all the time. The obstetrician who delivered Aubree was unable to give me any answers and honestly, I couldn’t bring myself to go back to the same place she was born when I next in need to see an OBGYN. Six years later, I brought myself to find a new doctor who was finally able to deliver the answers I had been so desperately waiting for: why my baby girl had passed. I wasn’t sure I would ever receive answers especially after years of searching and wondering, “who, what, when, where, why and how”? This new doctor was determined to help find me answers and carried out a full blood panel as well as multiple ultrasounds and it turned out- everything came back perfectly normal, aside from some suspected mild endometriosis that would not have had any effect on the situation. The next step was to review Aubree’s 20 week ultrasound to check one more time if anything might have been missed. She contacted the hospital where I had received my prenatal care and had them fax over all of my records from the pregnancy. The doctor, along with a radiologist, then took a closer look. Forty-five minutes later she walked in and immediately began apologizing, which is when I knew something had been missed all those years ago. It turned out, I had a 2 vessel umbilical cord, or an SUA (single umbilical artery). In a healthy pregnancy, the umbilical cord should have 3 vessels: 1 vein and 2 arteries. The umbilical vein carries oxygen-rich blood to the baby and the umbilical arteries carry oxygen-poor blood away from the fetus and to the placenta. The placenta then returns the wastes to the mother’s blood, for the kidneys eliminate them. An SUA occurs in only 1% of pregnancies making it quite rare. The cause of this is still unknown, although there are many theories and possible risk factors, the main factor being genetics. In some pregnancies with this condition, it causes no noticeable issues, but in others like my own, there can be serious consequences. These can include birth defects, heart problems, kidney problems, spinal defects as well as a greater risk for the genetic abnormality known as VATER which stands for vertebral defects, anal atresia, transesophageal fistula with esophageal atresia, and radial dysplasia.Babies with a two-vessel cord may also be at higher risk for not growing properly which then may result in slower-than-normal fetal growth, or stillbirth. Although we are unsure of exactly what specific issues the SUA had on my pregnancy, we do know that it obviously should have been caught during the 20 week anatomy scan when they should have been looking closely for these umbilical arteries: thus the repeated apologizing by my current doctor- although it was no fault of her own. It feels surreal to finally have an answer but honestly, I feel more lost than I ever have. I’ve spent so many years being angry at God and at myself. Now that I have an answer, I should be relieved, especially since I was told it is extremely unlikely to happen again and was no fault of my own that any of this happened. I always thought finding out the exact cause would bring me so much comfort. But now, I am left with an entirely new perspective on the situation to ponder and I can’t help but feel an array of emotions. Entirely new questions now fill my head, especially what might have happened if they had caught it sooner and is there anything more I could have done to prevent this mistake? Even years later, the news has been incredibly difficult to process, although I know that like anything, it will take time to process and begin to heal. My hope is that I can finally begin to grow from my experience instead of letting it hold me back. And to my Aubree Rose- I miss you more than words can say but thank you for giving me a chance to be your mama. I’ll see you soon baby girl, rest easy and fly high. 💕