A Mother’s Heartbreaking Loss: Saying Goodbye to My Perfect Baby Boy

Losing a child is a pain that no parent should ever have to endure. In August 2020, a young mother named Alexandra shared her heartbreaking story about the loss of her 2-day-old baby boy. Her seemingly healthy baby was born with a condition called Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), which occurs when the brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen during pregnancy or delivery.

Unsuspecting RN Faces a Devastating Diagnosis

Alexandra, a registered nurse, and her husband were overjoyed to discover that they were expecting a baby. Alexandra had a healthy and smooth pregnancy and planned to continue working right up until her due date. However, at 37 weeks, she suddenly started feeling unwell.

While reading computer charts at work, Alexandra noticed flecks in her vision. She began experiencing vomiting, shakiness, and lightheadedness. Concerned, she checked her blood pressure and realized it was sky high. It was time to contact her healthcare provider.

After spending a few hours in the Labor and Delivery unit, Alexandra was sent home with a cup to collect a urine sample. The doctors did a final check-up and everything seemed normal. But a few days later, her doctor informed her that she had preeclampsia. Despite this, Alexandra remained confident that her baby would be fine.

She contacted her husband and 26 hours later, she was induced. Alexandra was told that her baby, whom they named Wells, looked perfect and the labor was progressing well. They were eagerly anticipating meeting their son.

The Devastating HIE Diagnosis

However, after two hours of labor, it became clear that Wells was not making his way into the world naturally. Alexandra had to undergo a C-section. When Wells was delivered, he did not cry. The medical team quickly realized that he was not breathing on his own and had no muscle tone or gag reflex. It was a chaotic moment as they worked to intubate the baby and stabilize him. Despite having a heartbeat, Wells was in critical condition.

Alexandra and her husband were denied the joy of holding their newborn son. Instead, they anxiously waited for updates on his condition. It felt like a lifetime before someone finally told them that Wells had hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). His pupils were non-responsive, his blood sugar was dangerously low, and his liver and kidneys were not functioning properly. Alexandra describes the devastating moment when the doctor broke the news: “Our perfectly healthy baby boy was now fighting for his life.”

Rebuilding and Finding Purpose in the Midst of Heartbreak

Within 48 hours, Alexandra and her husband’s world fell apart. Baby Wells lost his battle with HIE and passed away. Alexandra spent the next few months living in a fog of grief, but eventually found a path that would allow her to honor the memory of her beloved son. She started a company called Alexandra & Wells, an apparel store that helps families who have experienced the loss of a baby.

Understanding HIE and Its Consequences

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, although not usually fatal, can have a significant impact on organ function and development. Some children are lucky enough to have no long-term complications from HIE. However, others may experience developmental delays, motor impairment, epilepsy, or cognitive impairment.

HIE can occur during labor and delivery due to various reasons. Problems with the umbilical cord, such as it being wrapped around the baby’s neck, issues with the uterus or placenta, abnormal fetal position, and low maternal blood pressure can all lead to HIE-related complications. Additionally, HIE can also happen after birth due to serious infections, heart or lung diseases, and traumatic brain injuries during pregnancy or delivery.

Losing baby Wells to Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy was a heartbreaking tragedy. However, Alexandra’s resourcefulness allowed her to channel her grief into something positive. Her story serves as a reminder for all parents that having a support system of experienced healthcare professionals during childbirth can make a significant difference in minimizing long-term complications.


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