Note: This story contains details and depictions of child loss that may upset some. Discretion is advised.
There is perhaps no scenario more heartbreakingly nightmarish for a parent than losing their child.
I can only imagine that the pain and sorrow at having to say goodbye to the thing you love most in all the world is enough to break even the hardiest of souls.
As per Love What Matters, Whitney Quinton spent many years fighting a number of different illnesses and conditions, including endometriosis and adenomyosis.
After welcoming her first son, she suffered a terrible miscarriage in her next pregnancy, but continued to dream of one day giving her little boy a sibling.
Three years after her miscarriage, she underwent surgery for endometriosis, and soon after learned that she had fallen pregnant again.
Needless to say, after the heartache of what had happened before, Whitney and her partner were overjoyed.
Scans showed that the couple were expecting a little girl, though at the ultrasound when the gender was revealed, a scene that should have been one of undiluted happiness soon turned to tragedy.
The first warning sign for Whitney was that the scans were taking longer than usual.
“I started getting worked up while we waited and my husband tried to reassure me it would be okay,” she explained to Love What Matters.
“My mind was going a thousand miles a minute thinking about all of the things she could have and how scared I was.“
Soon came the news that every expectant parent dreads.
A radiologist stepped into the room and informed Whitney and her partner that their daughter’s heart was in the wrong spot. She was also missing a kidney, while her long bones were not growing, and she had severe abnormalities with her hands and feet.
“She then stated in very direct terms, ‘You can terminate this pregnancy in the next three weeks if you are unable to handle this‘, Whitney said.
“I let out a scream I didn’t even know I was capable of. I fell to my knees and kept screaming. I immediately had sheets of tears streaming down my face. My husband continued to rub my back while he too wept.“
Whitney went on to describe the difficulty of the following two weeks. Whitney and her husband were tired, confused and heartbroken. They underwent numerous tests and hospital visits, with doctors informing them that their unborn daughter would have a very low quality of life, if she survived at all.
She explained: “Day and night, my husband and I cried. We felt like we had nothing left to give. Selfishly, we wanted her.
“To us, she was perfect even though there were so many complications with her health. It didn’t matter to us. But as parents you learn that it’s not about what’s best for you, it’s about what’s best for her and what she would want.“
Prayers and healing
To aid them in their decision, the struggling couple turned to God. Whitney described how they prayed intensely, hoping to be given some sort of clarity on what was the right choice.
Whitney explained: “Two days later, we agreed that neither she nor I needed to suffer for one more minute. The induction was scheduled for a few days later, and the evening came for me to take the medication to induce labour. I would be delivering her the next day.“
She continued: “I had blurred vision and was so gravely ill that I told Brett I loved him many times in case I died. I was supposed to attend my work party the night before as I thought it would be better to have a distraction instead of sobbing all evening. The time came to leave and my health turned a corner.“
Whitney’s experience when it came time to deliver her baby was, unsurprisingly, painful and traumatic.
“I woke up and the nurse came to check on me. In my sleep, our daughter, Ruby-Jo, had arrived,” she said.
“The doctor came in to pick up her tiny, 1- pound, lifeless body and I went into complete shock.“
Whitney explained how she felt an immense, immediate wave of guilt, sadness, and anger.
Amid her heart break, though, her husband whispered a set of words she’ll never forget.
“Whits, it’s okay. You did it,” he told her. “She’s finally home and she’s perfect. She’s with our family in Heaven, and she’s not in pain anymore. I am so proud of you.“
“Not a day has gone by that I don’t think about the words my husband said to me that day,” Whitney wrote. “He saved me then, and his words continue to save me daily when I fight demons with the Earth-shattering decision we had to make for her.”
In retrospect, Whitney learned that her baby’s heart defect likely meant that she wouldn’t have survived long outside of her mother’s body.
“It was hard news to hear, but it was a relief knowing that we had made the best decision for her,” Whitney wrote.
It should go without saying that Whitney’s grief is still raw today.
“She is sealed to our family and, someday in Heaven, we will all be reunited,” Whitney said.
“I will embrace her and I know she will thank us for relieving her of all of her suffering. We will thank her for teaching us how to turn to God, to have more compassion, and be there for others during tragedies to lift them up.”