October is Infant Loss Awareness Month in America, and despite the fact that it’s been celebrated since 1988, it’s a difficult topic that really hasn’t received the attention it deserves. Few people know that 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in ᴍɪsᴄᴀʀʀɪᴀɢᴇ or ᴅ.ᴇᴀ.ᴛʜ, and it is a deeply painful ʟᴏss for the parents and the entire family; a secret tra.ge.dy that is not talked about.
Alyssa Youn went to her routine consultation one afternoon in September. She was pregnant for the first time, and her pregnancy was considered high-ʀɪsᴋ due to physical conditions such as ᴄᴇʀᴇʙʀᴀʟ ᴘᴀʟsʏ and type 2 ᴅɪᴀʙᴇᴛᴇs, among others.
When she had her ultrasound, Scarlett was 19 weeks old and in perfect condition. Her parents couldn’t wait to hold her in their arms.
Alyssa and Justin met when they were both teenagers, 6 years ago, and immediately knew they wanted to be together forever. Talking about marriage was something very natural, because despite their youth, they were very clear about what they wanted.
When the pregnancy test result came back positive, they were excited and happy. Everything seemed to be going according to plan until that September afternoon, when Alyssa felt an unusual ᴘᴀɪɴ. While she was doing the ultrasound, she felt tired.
She attributed her tiredness to the aches and ᴘᴀɪɴs of pregnancy, but little by little they grew in intensity until they became an upset stomach with great ᴘᴇʟᴠɪᴄ ᴘᴀɪɴ.
A day passed and she could no longer bear the ᴘᴀɪɴ, so she was transferred to the emergency room, as she had slight ʙʟᴇᴇᴅɪɴɢ. The doctors checked her out and sent her home. The couple left relieved, and everything seemed to be normal again, despite the fact that every doctor they spoke to seemed concerned.
Something in her felt wrong. The next day, they arrived at the hospital, and after examining her, the obstetrician told them that she suffered from an incompetent ᴄᴇʀᴠɪx, a condition that occurs in one of every 100 pregnancies, her body was trying to a.b.or.t the little girl.
They could do a procedure to sew the collar shut, but it wouldn’t make much difference to her, it could also prevent pregnancy.
Although little Scarlett was showing all the signs of a normally developing fetus, she was growing very large and Alyssa’s ᴄᴇʀᴠɪx was getting more and more dilated, even with the magnesium she was given.
“I felt that I had failed my husband and our daughter. All she could say was ‘I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry’. I must have repeated it a dozen times. We both cried and prayed, calling our family and close friends to break the news and tell them it would be a good idea for them to go to the hospital. We were surrounded by a lot of love and a lot of prayers that day.”
At just 20 weeks and 5 days, little Scarlett was too young to survive. Alyssa and Justin knew that their daughter would not survive the labor, so they gathered all her loved ones in the delivery room to welcome and say goodbye to the little girl, although they still hoped for a miracle.
“As soon as I hugged her, I apologized, sorry for not being able to protect her. I told her I loved her and that it was okay if she wanted to leave. Seeing your child ᴅ.ɪ.ᴇ while knowing there is nothing you can do is a terrible thing. You feel powerless.”
They all gathered around her and hugged her one by one. Scarlett survived only two hours, but during that time she received all the love from those who were waiting for her with pleasure. Her brief time in the world was captured by her grandmother in beautiful images.
Alyssa found a powerful purpose in her daughter: to encourage other mothers to talk about ab.ort.ion, sᴛɪʟʟʙɪʀᴛʜ, and cervical incompetence to raise awareness among mothers-to-be so that fewer and fewer premature babies ᴅ.ɪ.ᴇ.