Pregnancy is always an emotional roller coaster—but for the truly high-risk, carrying a baby is carried out on the knife-edge of joy and sorrow. Here are real stories of inspirational pregnancies.
Positive Pregnancy after Loss: Jennifer's Story
"I am living proof that people can go through this and still have a happy outcome," says Jennifer Hancock, of Bradenton, Florida. Hancock is the proud mother of a nine-month-old boy—and a survivor of a high-risk, high-stress pregnancy.
Less than three years ago, Hancock and her husband lost their daughter, Loretta, to stillbirth at 36 weeks gestation. Loretta was to be the Hancocks' first child, and the couple was thrilled at the thought of being parents. Hancock kept in shape by eating right, walking, and going to aquanatal classes. She suffered from gestational diabetes, but her blood-sugar levels were easily controlled.
Then around 36 weeks, Hancock noticed her baby wasn't moving much. Hancock and her husband headed to the hospital where the staff found Loretta's heartbeat wasn't changing in response to stimulation. "They tried to wake her up—had me drink juice, and so on—but nothing worked," says Hancock. At around 1 AM, Loretta's heartbeat stopped. She was delivered via emergency Cesarean but couldn't be revived.
"We basically know the sequence of events that led to her death, but 'why' will remain a mystery," says Hancock. "I had 250 CCs of her blood in my system, basically, all of her blood. She simply bled into my body through her placenta, which is something that simply doesn't happen."
"The autopsy showed that all her vital organs were busy making blood to make up for the loss, but it wasn't enough to compensate. She was a healthy child; the placenta just malfunctioned. So, they know what happened, but not why, and as I understand it, we are one of only two or three recorded cases of a fetal-maternal hemorrhage."
Afterwards, the Hancocks weren't sure if they wanted to try again. "We weren't in an emotionally recovered state for almost nine months afterwards, so it wasn't even on the table," says Hancock. A conversation with a family friend who had lost a child and regretted never trying again convinced them to work toward another baby, but the couple had doubts until a pregnancy was confirmed. After that, says Hancock, "we never looked back."