JOY TURNED TO TERROR

We found out we were pregnant with our second child in January 2017. We have a son who is two now, and we had planned on trying to have them close in age. We found out she was a girl around week 17. I wept with happiness. I don’t think I had ever been so happy about anything in my life. The pregnancy was normal, or so we thought.

Week 19 came around, and we had the 20-week ultrasound that checks for the baby’s development. They found out that she had abnormally large, cystic kidneys. They told us that she wasn’t going to make it. Our world shattered. I kept thinking, instead of a baby shower, I am going to have to plan a funeral.


FIGHTING FOR THE FUTURE

I came across Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler’s story, so I contacted her. She connected me with a fetal surgeon who could do a similar procedure as she had done for her daughter. We fought hard to keep our baby girl alive with the help of saline injections. I had to get the insurance company to agree to pay for the procedure which was very difficult. We ended up getting it approved, and I went in for the procedure.


GONE TOO SOON

Unfortunately, during the first procedure, she passed away after her heart gave out. I had to wait an hour for them to tell me if her heart was still beating or not. Because it was the first round, and we had to do it weekly, I didn't have anyone with me. I had to call my husband to tell him that we had lost our daughter. He picked me up, and we went home, grabbed a few things, and went straight to the hospital to deliver her.

She was born at 2:36 a.m., weighing 2 pounds. We named her Maxeen Eva. We call her our little star, and every night before we go to sleep we sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to her with our son.


IN MEMORY OF MAXEEN EVA

Maxeen Eva, born on June 30, 2017, in Baldwin Park, California, passed away June 29, 2017 in Pasadena, California. Maxeen means "greatest," and Eva means "life." Although her time here on earth was brief, she left the greatest impression on our lives. While in the womb, she made her presence known. The sensation of her little kicks and movements always gave us hope; they were so strong and sometimes even noticeable from the outside. They were constant reminders that she was there, alive and with a purpose. 

Maxeen's life had so much purpose. When we found out we were having a girl, our joy could not be contained. Would she look like mommy or daddy? Would she have cute curly hair? We finally felt that our family was complete. Upon hearing the devastating news, our dreams became despair, but Maxeen didn't allow us to stay there. Instead, we gained courage like we never knew we had. We were strong like we never knew we could be. We learned to trust in God's will and fought to keep our baby girl alive, always leaving it up to God to choose what would be best.

Maxeen's life had meaning. We were so fortunate to know her and so blessed to be graced with her presence. The big presence of such a little girl. The life-changing presence of a beautiful little angel. Our souls are forever changed, the depth of our faith forever amplified by her and her short existence. Although we couldn't save her, she came to help save us.

God mercifully took our baby girl home, and she was spared a life of pain. She will forever be in our hearts, our little angel, our perfect little girl, our star . . . Maxeen.

"Twinkle, twinkle, Little Star, do you know how loved you are? Like a diamond in the sky, forever shining in our eye. Twinkle, twinkle, Little Star, do you know how loved you are?"

Maxeen Eva was laid to rest on July 12, 2017 at Forest Lawn, Covina Hills. A small intimate gathering was held in her memory on July 15, 2017.


FACING HARD DECISIONS

In all of this, we found out that I have only one kidney, and I am now faced with the hard decision of whether or not we want to try again. During genetic counseling, we learned that there is between a <1% and 50% chance that this could happen again. So, we are still going through the grief of losing our daughter as well as the fear of what if.


SHARE YOUR STORY

Every story is different, but collectively they remind us that we are not alone. In this spirit, we welcome submissions about your experience carrying to term.

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