A little over four and a half years ago my life was perfect. I had an incredible husband, two amazing, healthy, beautiful kids, and I was pregnant with our third. We found out baby #3 was a little girl, and we started to prepare for her arrival. We bought clothes, started putting her room together, and life was what I had dreamed. Then I went to my 20-week appointment, and my life crumbled. I walked into the doctor and laid on the table to get a sonogram of our baby girl. Then the ultrasound technician asked the doctor to come in. He told us that our baby girl’s heart had stopped, and she is no longer living. Our hearts shattered.
After a talk with the doctor, I started to prepare for the delivery of our lifeless baby girl. I was induced the following morning and went through thirteen hours of labor. When I delivered our sweet girl the room was unlike anything I have ever felt. It was peaceful, full of love, full of pain, full of tears, but what I remember the most was the sound. It was so quiet, but at the same time, I could hear the most beautiful sound. To me it was the sound of an angel being born. As I held my baby girl in my arms, I fell in love and felt broken all at the same time. We named her Harper Kayte Valenzuela.
Going home to an empty nursery and having empty arms made it feel like I couldn’t go on. Surprisingly, my arms physically ached to hold a baby. Many days and nights were unbearable. There were times I felt like breathing wasn’t even an option. But then I had this overwhelming feeling that this is not what Harper would want me to do. I felt her love and comfort over me saying, “Mom, it’s OK. We will be together again, but the other kids need you.” I felt myself slowly getting to a point where I could move forward.
After a few months, we were able to get pregnant again, and life felt like it was piecing back together a bit. We found out we were expecting another sweet baby girl. Once again we started to prepare for arrival. When I was 20 weeks pregnant with her, I was down by my doctor’s office and decided to just go in to get some heart tones done. I was in my second trimester and was feeling great. I was nesting and happy.
Upon doing heart tones and a sonogram, they found that her heart had stopped. How did this happen AGAIN?! What did I do wrong? What should I have done differently? The answer was nothing. I did everything right. The doctor came in to talk to me, and I knew the drill. I knew what was going to happen next.
My labor was horrible. My body had been in labor twice in less then 9 months. I ended up asking for the epidural, which they weren’t able to get in until the very last second of the thirteen-hour labor. Early in my labor, my husband ended up in the emergency room for what they thought was a bleeding ulcer, but ended up being a trigger that his appendix was bursting. So while he was there, my best friend growing up came in to help. With labor getting excruciatingly worse, she ended up texting my mom to come in. My mom had three miscarriages herself, but she was very quiet about them. With my mom and best friend there, I finally delivered, and my sweet little girl was in my arms. We named her Quinci Jill Valenzuela. I felt that she was sent for my mom, Jill. My mom has been very quiet and pushed her miscarriages to the side, like she was basically told to do so many years ago. Her heart became hard for them, and she never had closure. When Quinci was born, my mom was by her side the whole time. She took many pictures and went with her to get weighed, dressed, and measured. She just stared at her. Her closure had started. She realized that it was a baby. A baby with fingers, toes, mouth, little ears and a perfect little body. She was in awe. You could see my moms heart healing, yet at the same time crumbling, as she said goodbye to her granddaughter.
Life was so fragile and so complicated and so full of unanswered questions. We did decide to do an autopsy with Quinci because of the exact same situation happening twice. Her results came back, and everything was perfect. I began getting tested and everything looked good. But the confusion didn’t end there. Six months later, we began to try and get pregnant again, but after three years of trying, we still have not been able to get pregnant. I have gone through many fertility tests, as well as procedures and surgery. My husband has gone through testing. We have taken countless fertility medications and tried eating/not eating different foods. You name it, and we have tried it. The only thing we have not tried is IVF. Both my husband and I have talked that if IVF was for sure going to give us a baby, we would do it. But there is a chance it wouldn’t work, or that the baby wouldn’t make it. To us we didn’t feel it was best for our family to put that financial strain for something we didn’t know would work or not.
My whole life I have always wanted to adopt. But after we lost Quinci, the thought of adoption scared me so badly, so we never talked about it more than once. But after three years of countless tears, something fell into our laps that we couldn’t deny. We now are in the process of adoption, and it’s going so great. Everything has come together, which gives me the full heart of knowing we are doing exactly what we need to be. We are almost done with our classes, and soon will be starting the inspection on our home.
Our hearts have been broken beyond repair, but the love and support we have for each other gets us through. I don’t like the phrase “moving on,” so we say “moving forward.” That’s why I have such a love for Forever Footprints. This organization has given me such an incredible outlet to help me feel and know I am not alone. It’s given me a chance to meet and help others who have gone through similar situations. Forever Footprints gives hope, support, and love, which is what these women and families need.
What is the Forever Footprints Ambassador Family?
The family is chosen by the organization to represent the mission of Forever Footprints. They are actively involved in the organization, have been impacted by our programs, and commit to being a voice for pregnancy and infant loss.