Although some advised abortion, mom-to-be resolute in trusting God
EDMOND, Okla. (BP)--When Robin Fiechtl's second daughter was born, Fiechtl cried for three hours.
It wasn't because she was disappointed her second offspring was also a girl, and it wasn't even post-partum blues.
Fiechtl's cries were tears of happiness and praise because all 7 pounds, 12 ounces and 21 inches of Delaneigh Elizabeth were perfect.
It wasn't supposed to be that way.
If the baby made it to term, she was supposed to be either terribly deformed, brain-dead or born with little chance to take her first breath. And the outlook throughout the pregnancy wasn't bright for her mother, who also faced possible death.
Fiechtl's pregnancy with Delaneigh was a surprise to her and husband Dan, who were so wrapped up in 2-year-old daughter Isabel that they had not even thought of another child.
However, when Fiechtl, who was an athlete throughout high school and college, had hip surgery and was scheduled for an X-ray, she thought she had better check to see if she was pregnant before submitting to the test.
"We got the shock of our lives when the pregnancy test came out positive," Fiechtl recounted. "I had had a miscarriage when Isabel was 8 months old, but we had not talked about more children."
Robin and Dan met while they were in college at the University of Central Oklahoma and knew they would be married after their first date. Dan, who is from Kansas, works in sales for Weyerauser, and Robin, a native of Midwest City, Okla., has a degree in nutrition and dietetics. However, she got pregnant about a year after they were married in 1998 and has been a stay-at-home mom.
Shortly after she discovered she was pregnant for the third time, she started bleeding. Doctors could not find any fetal tones and told her she miscarried. But when she went back for an ultrasound the next week, she discovered she was carrying a four-week-old fetus.
Because she continued to have bleeding, doctors did a scope and then said the baby looked fine. More problems led to tests of Fiechtl's gall bladder and colon. The problems seemed to be with her instead of the baby. She was hospitalized 10 times during the pregnancy and eventually had gall bladder surgery.
"I was scared because I was taking so many medications," Fiechtl said. "Doctors assured me none of them would cause birth defects, but I spent a lot of time doing research to make sure. After all, it was my baby we were talking about, not theirs."
At 12 weeks, Fiechtl went into labor, and doctors discovered a blood clot in the uterus the same size as the baby.
"They told me if the clot broke loose, I could bleed to death in 10 minutes and would lose the baby," she said. "That's when they started suggesting we abort the baby."
Fiechtl, a member of Country Estates Baptist Church in Midwest City, said she told doctors abortion was not an option, that the pregnancy was in God's hands.
"Sometimes I got so mad, I wanted to throw things at them," Fiechtl admitted. She said that even her family and church members suggested she might want to think about ending the pregnancy.
"They did it out of love because they were concerned about me," Fiechtl said. "I even got a letter from a woman in my church who said I needed to be a more responsible mother to the child I already had."
She said in October things really began to get bad, with bleeding about every other day, and in November, when they found out she was carrying a girl, Fiechtl's water broke and she lost about half of the amniotic fluid. The baby was deprived of oxygen for four days, and an ultrasound showed no brain function.
"I was told the baby's brain looked like mashed potatoes," Fiechtl said. "This was the lowest point of the pregnancy. I got on my knees and gave everything to God, telling Him I was willing to accept whatever was going to happen."
Fiechtl said she and Dan decided she would go into labor, deliver the baby and say goodbye to her.
"I was not willing to allow someone to suck my baby out of my body in pieces," she said. "I was going to deliver her and have a funeral."
She said she realized how loving God is to let her hold her baby and then take her into His arms.
"We planned on an early delivery, planned for the worst and talked about how we would do a funeral," Fiechtl said. "We were distraught but content with whatever God was allowing to happen."
During a January check-up, doctors said the blood clot was growing with the baby and it needed to come out. But in February, there was no sign of the clot.
"There was no medical explanation for the clot being gone," Fiechtl said. "It dissolved on its own."
Doctors at the time said the baby was growing on track and there was some brain activity.
Fiechtl again went into labor at the end of February. It was stopped, but the amniotic fluid was half of what it should be.
Fiechtl was scheduled to have labor induced on April 9. But on April 7, she woke up her husband and told him she thought she was in labor. When they got to the hospital, she was told she had a bladder infection and was experiencing spasms.
"I told them I thought I knew the difference between labor contractions and bladder spasms, but they sent me home," Fiechtl said.
By the time they reached their house, she said the contractions were really strong, so they rushed back to the hospital, where Delaneigh was born later that day.
"We didn't know what we would face," Fiechtl said. "I had already mourned her loss, knowing I was going to deliver her and she was going to die. I, along with the medical professionals, didn't think she could survive all my surgeries, medications and being deprived of oxygen.
"What a miracle when a perfect little baby was laid on my stomach."
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: DELANEIGH ELIZABETH FIETCHL and A HEALTHY 4TH.