On December 11, 2021, my daughter Faith went to heaven. I was 32 weeks pregnant and suffered a placenta abruption from an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder called antiphospholipid syndrome. I remember holding Faith for the very first time. Beautiful black hair, a button nose, and the tiniest little ears. She was my dream come true. But just as quickly as I said hello, I said goodbye to my firstborn. The days following the day I lost Faith were a blur. All I ever wanted to be was a mother and now my future was so unclear. Will I ever have children? Should I even try? Maybe Faith was my only chance, and I should accept that children aren’t a part of my future.

Woman wearing necklace that says, "Faith" - Parenting After Loss: In Her Name and In Her Heart

Author’s Personal Collection/Victoria Pisano – Photo Credit: Samantha Blasone – SB Photo

Shortly after, I looked at my husband and said maybe children aren’t our path – maybe we were meant for something else. My loving husband looked at me and said Faith is our first daughter and she always will be, but we always wanted more children, so we will.

My sweet husband loved me back to life and showed me that even though it seemed impossible, we had to keep living.

In May, five months after Faith went to heaven, my husband and I decided to attend a wedding of his close friends in Charleston, South Carolina. He said getting away for a weekend would be good for us and a change of scenery would help my mind. He wasn’t wrong, we had the most beautiful weekend, surrounded by friends and the most amazing food I’ve ever eaten. I felt myself begin to smile again.

After we flew home, I felt lighter and the slightest bit happy again. On June 2nd, my cycle was due, and I had no regular signs. My heart skipped a beat.

Could it be possible? So soon? I took a pregnancy test, and the words rang true – pregnant. My husband and I just stared at each other and cried. Our sweet girl Faith sent a baby to heal our broken hearts.

We called a specialist immediately and told her our history.

After running several tests, she told me that I had antiphospholipid syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that causes my blood to clot during pregnancy. She explained that my body believes that growing a baby is an outside intruder and to clot my blood to protect myself. I sat there shocked. How could my body do this? Why doesn’t my body want to protect and nurture my baby? Did I do something to my body for this to occur?

Is it my fault that Faith died?

The questions ran through my mind. The doctor looked at me and said there was treatment. I heard Anthony exhale. But all I could still think was, “My body did this to my baby.”

The autoimmune disorder is not hereditary, nor was it my fault. It was something that occurs to a small percentage of women at birth. To this day, I cannot help but feel frustration towards my body for not being able to hold and protect her.

I would have to take daily Lovenox injections in my stomach to keep my blood thin. My first thought was, “You want me to put a needle in my stomach where my baby is growing?”

The first week was awful – there was bruising all over my stomach, and I would cry every night before my husband gave me my shot. The needle would burn, and the larger I would get, the more scared I would become.

One month passed by, then two. I started to show quickly.

People began to stare at work. Their questions and whispers at the tips of their tongues. All I did was pretend my beautiful baby growing inside me wasn’t there. No belly rubs as I sat at my desk. No smiles as people asked me when I was due. Just pure fear and sadness.

At night when I would go home, I would lay and cry endlessly and pray to get through one more day. Just one more day with my baby.

I didn’t tell many of my family or friends and would stay home on the weekends. I isolated myself out of fear but also because I didn’t want to answer questions or have people stare at me, knowing how soon I had just lost everything.

All the while I was pregnant, I was missing milestones I thought I would be celebrating with Faith.

My 30th birthday. The 4th of July. Thanksgiving. Her birthday. Christmas. Every holiday and event is just another reminder that Faith wasn’t here and that I would soon deliver another baby.

On January 20th, at my 37-week scan, the doctor noticed that my amniotic fluid was low. In many cases, women would be monitored closely until the baby was born, but because of my medical history and condition, the doctor said we would be going for a c-section tonight. I was shocked, I thought I had two more weeks before the big day.

I was brought to the hospital at 5 pm. My c-section was scheduled for 9 pm. Those were the longest 4 hours of my life. I sat, taking deep breaths for 4 hours. Having constant flashbacks of Faith being in my arms, eyes closed. My heart broken. My husband sat holding my hand, kissing my tears away.

And then we went into the room. I went pale white; shock started to settle into my body. My sweet doctor repeated you are ok, and they allowed my husband in.

Mom and baby - Parenting After Loss: In Her Name and In Her Heart

Author’s Personal Collection/Victoria Pisano – Photo Credit: Samantha Blasone – SB Photo

Within minutes I heard my baby girl’s scream. She was here. My Cecilia was here.

Family on a bed - Parenting After Loss: In Her Name and In Her Heart

Author’s Personal Collection/Victoria Pisano – Photo Credit: Samantha Blasone – SB Photo

I had never been so happy in my life to hear a baby screaming.

Feeding a baby - Parenting After Loss: In Her Name and In Her Heart

Author’s Personal Collection/Victoria Pisano – Photo Credit: Samantha Blasone – SB Photo

She was gorgeous and looked so much like Faith tears swelled in my eyes for the baby girl’s warm cheeks I would kiss forever, and the baby girl I had to kiss goodbye.

Mom reading book to baby - Parenting After Loss: In Her Name and In Her Heart

Author’s Personal Collection/Victoria Pisano – Photo Credit: Samantha Blasone – SB Photo

We agreed that Cecilia’s middle name would be Faith, after her big sister. Cecilia Faith. She will carry her sister in her name and in her heart forever.

Handprint in a frame with family behind it on bed - Parenting After Loss: In Her Name and In Her Heart

Author’s Personal Collection/Victoria Pisano – Photo Credit: Samantha Blasone – SB Photo

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