Julia Claire was born on March 9, 1999. At 18 weeks of pregnancy a heart rate of 64 bpm was detected during the routine ultrasound. I was immediately transferred to a specialist who diagnosed her with complete Fetal Congenital Heart Block. This is due to a disease called Lupus, which I had. The chances of that ever happening were only three percent.
The pregnancy required meds to keep the heart rate steady (in the sixties) and constant supervision. I was told she would need a pacemaker shortly after birth to give her heart any chance at all.
On a routine echo, signs of heart failure were evident. They decided to take her ceserian the next day. I was 32 weeks. The doctor's hopes were very high and so were mine!
My husband was next to me through the surgery along with twenty doctors and nurses. When they pulled her out it was very quiet. I finally heard a little cry, but that was all. She was very blue and silent. She looked like she was trying to cry, but couldn't. My doctor tried to keep me calm by telling me everything seemed fine, but I knew things weren't. She was transferred to a children's hopital - a mile away. Knowing she wasn't in the same building devastated me, but as long as she was going to be ok it didn't matter. They allowed me to visit her every single day. I was so thankful for that.
Julia's little lungs weren't ready to function on their own. Due to that and her weak heart, her other organs were failing her too. She was hooked up to an echo machine which wasn't any help. They successfully paced her heart, but it did nothing. Although, it was beautiful to see her heart rate finally beat normal. Two and a half weeks went by with no improvement - but still, we trusted and believed she'd be fine. We were finally told that only experimental drugs were left to give her. They had lost hope. We were told that if no improvement showed in three days none will at all. Three days passed and she only got worse. She was swelled beyond belief. Only a couple of times did we see her eye - and just one because the fluid layed on the rested side of her little head. I thank God we were able to capture a second when her eye was open long enough to take a picture. Unfortunately, there was no way to expel her fluids due to her kidney failure. When they tried to do it manually they came close to loosing her every time. And, because of her swelling, her lungs couldn't open. It was a revolving door for her that wouldn't stop.
On March 31st her daddy and I called our families and told them that we were letting Julia go to Heaven. I got to dress her in a ruffly pink dress, put socks on her and put a bow in her hair. That was the first and last time I got to dress my baby girl. Everyone saw her and told her how much they loved her. It was time to say goodbye, but I didn't. For I knew that there would be no separation from me. Little Julia would see me in Heaven never knowing we were apart. I sang to her, told her "mommy loves you", and that I would see her in just a few moments. I didn't realize that would be the last time she would hear my voice. My husband and I waited in another room for the doctors to remove all the tubes. When they brought her to us she was already gone. I wanted her to know what her mamma's arms felt like, and I wanted to cradle her while she went to Heaven. I held her little body as her spirit was with Jesus. It felt so good to finally hold her. I'll never forget that moment - never.
I was afraid to go home. I had her clothes waiting, bottles, etc. The hardest thing I had to do was throw away my breast milk I was saving up for her. I had two other daughters I deeply missed and they gave me a reason to go on. I immediately turned to God for strength. And even though I don't understand why He didn't intervene, I'm so thankful for the time He did give us. I felt her squeeze my finger many times. I knew that was her way of saying that she loved me. God kept us strong through our loss and kept our marriage together, stronger than ever. I'm so thankful.
I miss Julia deeply. She has changed my life. I now focus on what is eternal and not temporal. Because what's eternal is Julia, and what is temporal will eventually be no more. Her nickname was going to be Jewel, and that she is - precious, beautiful, and can never be replaced. I patiently wait until her family and I can join her in Heaven. Until then, she is forever in my heart. I am proud to be her mommy.
Mommy loves you Julia. I'll see you soon.
You can email Emily Bruner: [email protected]
anniversary date 03-31-99
date of post 09-21-99