Unexpected Joy, Unbelieveable Grief

By August 12, 2011My Life, Parenting

A couple of months ago we were very surprised to find ourselves pregnant with our 4th child.  It seemed we were so busy with 3 that we had little time to make a 4th!  I wanted another baby.  From the moments after I had Violet I told my husband that I did not feel done.  This surprise pregnancy felt so right.

I couldn’t wait to tell my friends and family and you, my lovely readers, our big news.  I was planning on a big reveal Tuesday, after our 11 week Nuchal Translucency ultrasound and screening.  I was literally bursting with excitement to tell the kids.   After 2 painful miscarriages, I just had to get through that test.

Usually I am terrified for ultrasounds.  I have had some hard and strange things happen in my pregnancies.  Violet never moved.  Ultrasounds were petrifying as we worried what could be wrong with her.  Finally she was born, without any of the problems doctors warned us about.  It is strange because on Tuesday, while I woke up nervous, I was happy when I got to Maternal and Fetal Medicine for my test.  I go to the high risk doctors for ultrasounds because my first was born with a VSD and had tiny holes in her heart.

As soon as I laid on the table and the wand touched my belly, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  Not only could I see the heartbeat, but as the tech zoomed in my precious baby was kicking its legs and my baby waved.  Violet never moved that much my entire pregnancy.  I was elated.  It was short lived.

The tech could not get a good view of the baby from the front to get all of her measurements.  She was able to get the nuchal translucency measurement.  It measures the space in the tissue at the back of a fetus’ neck and is used to assess potential risk of downs syndrome, chromosomal disorders and congenital heart disease.  We get the test due to Sophia’s heart.  They like the reading to be around 2.5 mm but my baby’s was 6.5 mm and the tech said she had some concerns and would be back with the doctor.  She just kept saying she could not get a good look.  I was terrified. I was wondering when we could get more testing and how we would raise a special needs baby.  I had no idea the problem was much bigger than that.

When the doctor came in and looked he agreed that the baby’s head and upper torso were completely blocked by what he called a structure.  It was so quiet in there and it took so long I was making inappropriate jokes because it turns out that is how I deal with extreme stress.  He took a long time looking and then asked if he could do a vaginal ultrasound for better results.  When he looked again this doctor, who has seen so much, looked perplexed and then a bit shocked.  He left the room for a moment to consult with another doctor and then came back in with the news.

My precious baby with a healthy beating heart and wild kicking limbs had a tumor known as a Teratoma coming out of its tiny mouth.  It is called an Epignathus.  The doctor spelled it for me.  This Teratoma was larger than the baby’s head, and expected to continue to grow.  The prognosis for the baby is awful.  Google it if you dare.  It is really scary and awful and extremely rare.  The chances of its heart supporting this mass through a pregnancy are slim and the number of babies who have survived this condition can be counted on less than 1 hand.    The risk to the mother is also high, as this mass grows inside and causes numerous problems.  These Teratomas grow up into the brain, through the airways, over the face…..

11 weeks is the earliest they have ever seen one.   I was advised to end the pregnancy and offered counseling.  I saw the horrible tumor.  It was huge. While I will need counseling, I did not need it to make my decision.   I looked up at the screen and my beautiful baby and saw an angel.  My heart was broken.  I wanted to ask if I could watch the baby move around for awhile, but I thought that might be a bad idea.  I suppose I wanted to wave goodbye.

Here’s the thing.  I never thought I would make this decision.  I never thought I would be presented with such an awful diagnosis.  I called multiple times to ask if they were sure of what they saw.  I asked about my options for continuing the pregnancy.  I asked it all and they said this baby was not going to survive.  I know they were right, but I will still grieve this day and this decision for the rest of my life.  I am thankful that these doctors called me every single day from Tuesday until this morning when I went to the hospital.  I could not be more thankful that they understood this decision was a terrible one for me and my family.

I am home and I am physically okay.  Now I will start the process of moving forward emotionally.


I have spent the day in my bed, thinking about our precious baby and beginning to say goodbye.  When babies are born in Jewish families (my husband is Jewish) they are given Hebrew names.  We did not know if this child was a boy or a girl, but I will say goodbye to this baby and name this tiny angel

Naava Oz

Hebrew Name

While we never got to see our angel’s precious face, this baby is beautiful.  While our baby was not healthy enough to join us in our home, our angel can now be free and be strong.  I chose these names for this baby and for my family and for me, a mother in grief.  I will love my family even as I miss this beautiful child and I will be strong  for my family and for myself.

I write this as I sit in bed, alone with my thoughts and need to release these words.  I am groggy and have not the energy to edit or sugar coat or even spell check.  This is my broken heart, preparing to say goodbye.

I want to thank everyone for your support and so much cyber love.  It means more than you know to have people thinking and praying for me and my family.  I know that so many women have gone through the D&C procedure or miscarriage or the loss of any child any way.  My heart today breaks for you too.  Our angels are dancing together.

Join the discussion 86 Comments

  • I am so very sorry you had to go through this. Praying for healing and comfort for you and your family. <3

  • Ashley says:

    Oh my goodness, I am so so sorry. There are no words to express it. I am so sad for you, and I cannot imagine the situation you have been in. I just want to send you all the thoughts, love, hope, and encouragement I can for you.

  • Oh my gosh, sadness and raw hurt cannot begin to express what I feel for you and your loss. Your words said it best, for sure, but I felt that I had to write something to you. I wish you strength and peace during this time.
    My prayers are with you and your family,

  • Barbara says:

    While I’m just a stranger, I want you to know that I’m very very sorry for your loss & really moved by this tribute to your child. I can’t imagine the depth of what your family is going through, but my family will be thinking of yours in this difficult time.

  • Lisa says:

    Beautifully expressed Brittany, I’m so sad for your loss, love your angel’s name.
    Little angel babies fill heaven, and your little angel is not alone.
    Take care

  • Brittany, I’m so sorry for your loss. I saw your tweets but did not know what to say, how to comfort you. But know that I’ve been thinking of you all week.

    Just know that my thoughts are with you, your family and your beautiful angel baby. Sending love and light.

  • Molly Gold says:

    Oh Brittany my heart aches for you and your family ~ there are never any words that can soothe the soul with such grief and confusion. Prayers for body to heal and your comfort to be constant surrounding your family in love and sweet blessings.

  • Melissa says:

    Oh my gosh Brittany. I just want to let you know that my my heart, my thoughts and my prayers are with you and your family right now. If there’s anything I could ever do, please let me know.

  • Candice says:

    I’m so sorry you have to go through this. You were on my mind a lot today and you and your angel baby will continue to be in my thoughts.

  • My heart broke for you as I read this. I am so so so sorry. 🙁

  • Brittany, I have no idea the grief you are going through at this moment. All I can say is that I am so sorry for you, but thankful that you have faith that your little angel is not in pain, free, strong. I am praying for you and the family as you walk through this.

  • Oh Brittany, I am crying for you right now. Praying for you and your family.

  • Beth says:

    I am just so sorry.

  • angela says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. You and your family will be in my prayers.

  • Ali says:

    I’m so sorry. My heart aches for you and your family.

  • AZLB says:

    wow what a horrible loss. Amazing words that you put to paper. Keep with the counseling…you will need it. While mine was different I had a similar loss and even after 7 years it still can tear me apart some nights.

  • Mrs Catch says:

    So sorry. My heart is breaking for you. Sending hugs.

  • Fadra says:

    Sorry doesn’t seem to be a big enough word to capture what I feel right now. If ever there was a beautiful way to talk about such a loss, you captured it here. I can feel how much you loved that baby and I know you loved that baby enough to make sure there was never any suffering. I’m so sorry, Brittany. Sending you love and light.

  • anymommy says:

    You and your little one are in my thoughts. I am so sorry for this loss and all the pain.

  • Nichole says:

    I’m praying for you & your family. I am so sorry for your loss.

  • debi9kids says:

    Oh my goodness. My heart is breaking for your family. I am so very sorry for your horrible loss and the difficult decision you had to make.
    You have my prayers..

  • I am so sorry for your loss I am in awe how well and lovingly you articulated your grief and the sorrow that has unfolded this week. I am saying a prayer for you and your angel. I wish we knew why these things happen. Time helps. (((hugs)))

  • Carabee says:

    I know your pain and the heartbreak of the decision you had to make. It is not one i would wish on anyone. But you have handled it with strength and grace. My thoughts are with you. Hugs.

  • Monika says:

    I found this post through a tweet from Fadra & I can’t even begin to say how much sorrow I’m feeling in my heart for you , your family & this tragic diagnosis & loss. I’ve suffered 2 miscarriages myself but never heard heartbeats with mine & can’t even fathom how you’re processing all of this. Know that there are people out there praying for you as you grieve & sending hugs as you get counseling. Your angel is resting peacefully & will not be forgotten.

  • Brittany, I am so, so sorry. Please let me know if you need a friend in Charlotte to do anything — run errands, cook, babysit. I’d be happy to help in any way I can during this difficult time. *big hugs*

  • Sara says:

    Brittany, I came to your post via a tweet (which I shouldn’t be reading anyway because it’s Shabbat). I am terribly sorry for your loss. You may not know this but this weekend is Shabbat Nachamu, Shabbat of Comfort. Someday you will be fully healed but until that day you shall be given comfort. Today though you took the first step, and with each tiny step know that you do not walk alone. While I do not know you personally, I do offer you and your family my deepest sympathy and condolences. May you find healing and comfort as each day starts anew.

    With kindness,

  • Maura says:

    I am so sorry for your pain and loss. (((HUGS)))

  • Pam C says:

    I want to reach through the screen and hug you! I have so many things I could say from my own experience with a rare pregnancy loss but it doesn’t matter what anyone says because your baby isn’t in your arms and that is all you know right now. Some people may say things that are hurtful even of they don’t mean it, I never imagined how much the phrase “it wasn’t meant to be” could break my heart into a thousand more pieces. Feel free to ignore them. Or call them out I did a few times and it felt great but it won’t change anything. Just know that we are praying for you as long as it takes.

  • You are in my thoughts and prayers – you are so full of strength and love, and we will all be holding you close to our hearts.

  • Dear Brittany,

    I am so moved my your beautiful words of tribute for your beautiful precious little angel, Naava Oz. There no words of comfort that I can provide to heal your aching heart but I send you my love, wishes for healing and my prayers for you and your family. I am truly sorry for your loss.

  • Melisa says:

    What a beautiful name for your angel! Sorry for your loss…wish I had more words to offer to console and bring peace. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Christiana says:

    Oh, Brittany, I am so sorry! I heard that you had lost the baby via the Luckies, but I didn’t know all of the story and my heart breaks for you for having to make that choice. I lost a baby about 18 months ago and I pray that they are dancing in the streets of gold together today. I am sending you hugs. I know I can speak for both myself and the Luckies when I say we are so sorry for your loss.

  • Megan says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. HUGE hugs mama. I am in absolute awe of your strength, and your love for this child. My heart goes out to you as tears stream down my face for you. Big love, you are an inspiration.

  • Katie says:

    Oh, there are no words. My heart has literally broken for you. Being a parent begins when that pregnancy test comes up positive and being a parent means making some tough choices that are unimagineable. You were and continue to be an amazing mother to your Naava Oz. What a fortunate child to have such strong and loving parents who have done the very best they could under horrible, awful conditions. And to do it with the love, compassion, strength, and composure you have. . . well, it is awe inspiring.

    I know there is much grieving done and to be done. I lost a baby at this same timeframe (though under completely different circumstances), so I have some small inkling of what you are going through. It is a tough road to walk and can be very lonely at times. I wish you peace and comfort. Please know that my heart and prayers are with you and your family and will continue to be.

    If there is anything that this stranger can do for you, please don’t hesitate to contact me through my blog.

  • I am so sorry! Praying for you and your family as you walk this hard road!

  • Megan says:

    Oh my god Brittany, I am so sorry how awful. Big hugs to you and your family. I have tears for you and your little angel. If you need anything, really, you know where to find me….

  • My heart is with you and your family right now, Brittany. I am so awed by your courage in sharing your story with us. We love you!

  • Lisa L says:

    I’m sorry that you had to go through this..I can’t imagine what you are feeling. But I just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you, your family & your precious angel.

  • Jackiek says:

    I am so truly sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers- that you can find comfort and peace through this sad time.

  • There aren’t even words to express to you how sorry I am. My heart and prayers go out for you and your family. Our little angel babies are in heaven together right now, playing at the feet of Jesus. I know that we only know one another through a screen, but know that if you ever need a shoulder to cry on, that I’m here.

  • I am so sorry for your loss. You’ve made us all love your beautiful angel with this post.

  • I am so sorry for your loss. Words can’t describe how sorry I am for you. I pray for healing for you in the coming weeks and months and hope you find solace in your life and children.

  • I am so very sorry for your loss and for what you and your family have had to endure. I simply have no other words. I’m not even sure there ARE any other words. I’m just so very sorry.

  • Frelle says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, and you are so brave, not only for the decision you had to make, but for writing and telling your readers about it.. and educating and advocating for the condition. I appreciate the scientific background because it’s something I’m interested in… but your thorough sharing of the journey and your feelings, and the support offered by the staff you worked with, it’s such a big part of the story too. Thank you for opening up and speaking about this, and I hope that the comments have given you strength and comfort. Ill be thinking of you.

  • Dave Seel says:

    I’m so sorry darling. You’re in our thoughts and prayers. May love continue to sustain you in this difficult time. Hold you children tight and know that you will meet this little angel too someday….

  • Elena says:

    This was heartwrenching– I am so sorry for the loss of your angel and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Beautiful words here from you.
    Your lovely family, your beautiful children and sweet husband … hug them closer, take strength and comfort in them and remember always your Angel, you were carrying the warmth and glow of an Angel.
    Your Angel is home by the side of their Heavenly Father til you meet again.

  • I am so sorry for your loss. When a mother is presented with such terrible odds, it is such an unimaginable weight. Good thoughts and prayers to you as you work your way through this time.

  • Julie says:

    I am so sorry that you had to experience this, and so grateful for the advances in medical technology that allowed you to have early knowledge of the problem and offered you choices.

  • Kelly says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. My heart aches for you, what an extremely difficult decision to make. Sending love and comfort from my family to yours across the internet miles.

  • I am so very sorry!!! You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Lacy says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I went through something similar a few years ago, and I know it’s terribly difficult. Counseling helped me a lot. Best wishes to you for a speedy physical recovery and emotional healing.

  • michelle says:

    I found your blog yesterday googling “play kitchens” and really enjoyed it. Then I read this last post. I am so sorry for your grief, heartache and pain. I will be praying against feelings of guilt or shame. You had to make an unspeakable choice and did the best you could with a horrific situation. Prayers also for a quick healing, both physically and emotionally, and that you would have the courage (God willing) to step out again in faith with a new pregnancy. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”-Psalm 30:5

  • Alice says:

    I am thinking of you & your family. No parent should ever have to experience the loss of a child – I am so sorry.

  • Bryna says:

    Through tears, I can only add my heartfelt “sorry” that seems so little at a time like this. I’m sure that Naava Oz is in good loving arms somewhere up in heaven…

  • I’ve been keeping you in my thoughts and prayers, sweetheart. I am so very sorry for your loss.

  • Mary Van der Linden says:

    Brittany, beautiful name. Words can’t express our sympathy. We love you. We will keep you and Naava Oz close in prayer.

  • Kiran says:

    Oh Brittany, I am SO, SO sorry. I am guessing that when I met you you were actually newly pregnant. I am truly so sad for you. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Brittany Stewart says:

    I’m at a loss for words. I am so so sorry to hear about your loss, I really can’t even begin to imagine what this would feel like. My heart broke a little reading this post; this is something no one should ever have to deal with.

  • Oh, Brittany, I’m just catching up. I am so so sorry for what you are dealing with. Sending you lots of cyber hugs…

  • Anne Fitzpatrick says:

    Brittany, I’m sorry you’ve lost Naava Oz. I feel your heartbreak. May you feel her presence and find joy in that. Love, Anne

  • StephanieNelson says:

    Brittany, you continue to be in my thoughts. I wish only the best for you and your family, especially now.

  • Jenn says:

    I don’t even know what to say other than how very sorry I am for this loss. You and Ross are in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time. Much love to you all!

  • April says:

    I am so sorry for your loss! I will be praying for you. God has a plan, just trust in him and lean on him in this time of need. I can not begin to imagine.

  • Samantha says:

    Thank you for this very REAL post. I hope you are feeling better. It sounds so inadequate but I genuinely hope that.

  • MoninaW says:

    Oh Brittany, my heart aches for you and your family. But know that an angel is now watching upon all of you.

  • julie says:

    I’m so sorry. You’re brave to share your thoughts and emotions, I’m sure it will help others one day to know they’re not alone. Neither are you! Hugs!

  • Emily says:


    Will remember you in my prayers.

  • Drbabymamadrama says:

    Heartbroken for you. Pregnancy loss is hard, no matter how it happens. Hope you are healing well. My prayers are with you.

  • Yuliya says:

    I didn’t want my fear of saying the wrong thing to prevent me from telling you that I am here for you (in my own cyber way) and I grieve alongside you. I am so sorry for your loss. It was excruciating to read and I am sending you prayers and good thoughts. I hope anyone that needs to see your words will also find some measure of comfort in them.

  • Jeanine says:

    I am so sorry to hear your story. I know it sounds cliche but you will be stronger for it. All my best to you and your family.

  • i am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and please reach out if you need an ear. much love Brittany.

  • Kisha Floren says:

    Oh, Brittany, I am so very, very sorry that you have to go through this heartbreaking loss. Please take care of yourself and take the time to begin healing from this tragedy. Much love to you.

  • brittany, i am so very far behind. and i don’t even know what words to offer you, but i wanted you to know that i read naava’s story and that your baby’s voice was heard. you have my number. sending you much light and healing.

  • Theresa Remmey says:

    Dear Britney,
    I am so so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my prayers during this difficult time. If there is anything I can do or if you want to talk please let me know.

  • I’m so very sorry for your loss. <3

  • Brittney says:

    I’m so sorry you had to go through this. I know we tweeted back and forth when you had your D&C and you asked if I was ok. I am doing alright, but definitely heart broken to have lost my first pregnancy. It’s so awful to go through miscarriage… There really aren’t great words to describe it. Here’s my post about it if you haven’t read it.
    I hope that both of us have future success in pregnancy.

  • A says:

    I am so very sorry. I just lost my baby at 11 weeks as well. No heartbeat at the NT scan after everything had been great at our 9 week check. It’s horrible and sad. I love the name you chose. It’s beautiful and strong just like you.

  • […] my blog, my marriage and yes, my mothering.  Lately isn’t even the right word.  We lost our baby to a fetal teratoma months ago.  That’s a tumor.  This tumor is called an epignathus.  A […]

  • Vicky says:

    I came across your blog by googling ‘DOC band rash’ and loved your posts about the band. Then I read this post, I can not imagine the pain you must feel (even still) but your eloquent post reminds me how precious life is. I will give my LO a few extra hugs and kisses today. God Bless you and your family.

  • Megan says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. My heart aches for you. I too, lost a baby at around 12 weeks, it was my first pregnancy back in September of 2010. I believe that all our babies that didn’t make it to earth are surely blessed angels in heaven.
    I’m so sorry for your loss – 8.12.11 was a day that will be remembered forever, the circle of life, my son was born three weeks early and you had to say goodbye to your precious angel. We were both crying that day. I’m so sorry for your loss. Bless you for having the strength to share your story! Hugs!!

  • laurie nemeth says:

    There are no words to express my sadness for you and yours. Such an emotional day already and I just have to ask God to see a way to heal our hearts and help us through these difficult times..

    • Brittany says:

      Thank you so much. It has been a VERY emotional year, and an event that I nowhere near recovered from. I pray and I rely on my friends and family and the wonderful community of support I have found here and online. You don’t know how much your words mean to me, but thank you.

  • […] you to all of my friends, old and new, who have provided love and support in the last 2 weeks since we found out our 11 week old fetus would never live here on earth.  I chose to write about our experience and our loss to help me heal and to provide a voice to the […]

  • I know I’m a year late, but I’m sorry you had to suffer through such a painful event. My sister-in-law went through something similar, though a different diagnosis. Hugs.
    Lady Jennie recently posted… It’s Back to School in France!My Profile

  • Alyssa bushendale says:

    My daughter was born at 24 weeks with a oral teratoma. She was 1lb 9oz and lived for 42 mins.

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