Dear Samantha,

Hi baby girl! You have been on mind a lot this week. I have a story that I want to share with you. It’s about you, my little baby girl. In a few weeks it will be year since we found out about you. In December last year your daddy and I found out we were pregnant for the first time. We were so excited. We shared with all our family that they were receiving an early Christmas present. That present was you!

Things were going well and you were getting bigger and bigger. Daddy and I were getting ready for you to come. We got a crib, made plans for the changing table, and began to plan what your room was going to look like. At Christmas you received a cute little toy in our stocking and I received things to help understand pregnancy better.

Shortly after Christmas I began to feel you moving around. To me, it felt like butterflies fluttering around. On ultrasounds you were a busy little girl, bouncing around inside or maybe even dancing. I would be sitting in the chair and start giggling when I would feel you move around. Daddy would always ask “what?” and I would say “the baby is bouncing around”.

At our first doctor appointment the doctor decided that I needed an ultrasound to see really how big you were. The doctors said one thing, your daddy and I thought another. So, we had our first ultrasound. It was you, me, and the doctors. The ultrasound tech said nothing other than that she needed to go talk to the doctor. I was moved into a room where the doctor talked to me about what the photos showed. I only remember bits and pieces of that talk and that day. We were told that the road ahead was going to be tough. There was extra fluid around your head and the doctor said it was most likely due to Turner’s Syndrome. Just to rule out other possibilities a bunch of test were run and we were sent to the perinatal doctor.

The visit at the perinatal doctor gave us a lot of pictures of you and another chance to watch you moving around. They were unable to do anything else that day, other than say they were pretty sure that you had Turner’s Syndrome. Another appointment was scheduled at a later time to run an amnio. In the meantime we were sent home and brought all of our family up to date on what was going on. We had a busy few weeks. Daddy had a holiday work party that we went to, I had one at my work as well, and we celebrated my teaching achievements at a gala. So you got a chance to be a part of some different things.

We never got a chance to return to the perinatal doctor because in the morning I went to a regular doctor appointment. That is when I found out that you had grown your angel wings. I left the doctor and made a bunch of phone calls. I was told that I needed to go home, get some stuff, and head to the hospital. So, daddy and I packed up some things and headed over to the hospital. That night we had some visitors stop by and then it was just us.

Then next our two, became three when you arrived into the world on January 27, 2011.  You were 17 weeks old, 2.4 ozs., and 5 inches long, a beautiful baby. Daddy and I held you for a while, took some pictures, and got your handprints and footprints. The next day we made your handprints and footprints in clay. That night we went home with a keepsake box (that has now become two boxes) in our arms.

One week later you were buried at Resurrection Cemetery with 25 other little ones. There was a beautiful service and we received a lit candle to honor you. In May your name, Samantha Jean Lauterbach, was written on the children’s memorial garden wall. Every so often I visit you there and you sometimes visit me. You visit me through dragonflies.

You are always in my heart and I wear a special necklace every day that helps me feel closer to you. I miss you baby girl. Some day we will meet again and I will be able to hold you in my arms. I love you!

Love,
Mommy

     

Liz Lauterbach

Wife, Mom, Photographer, and Writer walking the path of healing by sharing my story. http://www.myinfantloss.com
  • http://berylaynyoung.com Beryl

    I know all to well the rush of doctors leading up to a fatal diagnosis. It brings back memories of my own loss and Bella. Your images this week tell your story so well. The middle one I’d love to hear more about. The blur of finding out about Samantha’s condition? The fuzziness that comes after loss? That image is a fantastic image because it bubbles up to the surface a million questions and leaves me wondering more. Thank you for sharing Samantha’s story with us this week. xo.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=616156917 Liz Lauterbach

      Truthfully I am much more behind the camera type of person and would much rather be the one taking the picture, then being in the picture myself. It’s been a long time since I have seen a photo of myself I like. So, when I started thinking about pictures and trying things out it came down to me, the mirror, and a camera. I took some shots and then began to go through them. When I saw the one that is blury it just seemed so fitting. I was on my own at both the OB appointments when I found out the devestating news. So, they were kind a whirlwind and I only remember a few things from them. It also goes with how I felt for a while afterwards and occassionaly it is how I feel now. Still so many unanswered questions, most of which I don’t think I will ever find the answer to or grow impatient waiting on.

  • LauraBeck12

    I loved your letter and your photos Liz. I am so sorry that you lost your sweet baby girl. I lost my only son as well this year. It’s such a horribly painful and confusing thing. I am a mother, with a mother’s body, with a mother’s mind, with a mother’s instinct, with a mother’s love…. and no baby. I wonder if you have the same sort of thoughts and feelings?

    • http://berylaynyoung.com Beryl

      I just saw this comment and have to say here that YES I had those feelings ALL THE TIME. When we lost Bella we had no other living children and it would frustrate me to be a mom but have no ‘proof’ to show for it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=616156917 Liz Lauterbach

      Yes, definately! These feelings and thoughts really kick in more when I am around other children. And it has been a tough go for me career wise as well because of these feelings. There is nothing more right now that I want then to grow our family. So yes, I understand where you are coming from.

  • Kristie Weichel

    Liz thank you for sharing Samantha with us. I lost my son, Wilhelm, in January also. I had a special necklace made just a couple of weeks after we lost him and I wear it everyday. I love your photo of it as well. I love the image of your daughter visiting you through dragonflies. What a beautiful thing 🙂

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=616156917 Liz Lauterbach

      Thank you. The heart is the necklace my husband had created for me shortly after we lost Samantha and I added the dragonfly this Summer when I saw it. It seemed perfect and fitting. Thank you for sharing Wilhlem. Having you talk about the photos of your little one and not being able to look at them until recently made me realize that I haven’t looked at my photos of Samantha at all since we lost her in January. Your photos are deeply touching. (I tried to post to the blog, but it wouldn’t let me, so I hope you don’t mind me saying it here)

  • Holly

    I love your necklace. I’m sure it means a lot to you to be able to wear it for your daughter. How special that she visits you through dragonflies. I’m glad you have that connection with her.

    I understand getting such a diagnosis. It is devastating. ((hug))

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=616156917 Liz Lauterbach

      Thank you. It is interesting because now when my mom sees a dragonfly that touches her she sends me it. I have several around the house and in the garden.

      Do you have any special connections like that with your little one?

  • jessica

    I love your necklace too!! I love that your daughter visits you through dragonflies. The day we lost there were hummingbirds flying all over the place and for a the next eek or so we would see them constantly! Thank you for sharing your letter and pictures!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=616156917 Liz Lauterbach

      Thank you Jessica. It brings such a relief to have something that is a symbol for us and can bring comfort and peace throughout our days doesn’t it.

   
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