Mya Sage – Stillborn Granddaughter

Unlike when Jordan Riley was born, and I was so quick to sit and write and write… I’m finding it much harder to do so with Mya Sage. It’s been fine for me to recall bits and pieces here and there, I think because in little doses, I can handle it easier. But, to write her whole story, from my perspective – knowing to do it, I will likely need to sit and write, start to finish.. it’s felt overwhelmingly sad, achey… a place I just don’t want to go again. *takes deep breath*

Monday, October 17 @ 10 a.m. (I’m not going for exact times, in general)
I don’t usually sleep well and Sunday night was no exception. I was up late, unable to fall asleep and dosed fitfully until I saw dawn creeping in the windows. So, when my phone rang around 10, I almost didn’t answer it. It was one of those feelings that I should, so I did.

I heard Cassie sobbing on the other end of the line. I asked her “what?”, but in hindsight, it was a question I knew, just didn’t understand. Much like a child will say “what?” to something when it’s not the words they didn’t understand, but the meaning. She didn’t answer me, it sounded like someone was in the room with her and she was talking to them – though I wasn’t sure what was going on, it sounded like she was talking to a nurse. And I tried to fit things into place, what she said to understand – and I thought, ‘something is wrong with her birthing at the birth center’.. which, in and of itself didn’t make sense.. nothing really fit.

Both boys heard me ask Cas “what” and both went on alert, stopping what they were doing to listen to and watch me. So I’m sure I knew what Cas said to me, my tone of voice had to have alerted the boys that something was wrong, really wrong.

When she came back to the phone, and told me “They can’t find the heartbeat…” What broke my heart right then was her cry when she told me she couldn’t take it, couldn’t handle this.. I think I opened a door in my mind and hid part of myself in there. I don’t know how I got through the next few days if I hadn’t. She told me they were sending her downstairs for an ultrasound – I told her we were on our way. Both boys and I quickly threw on clothes and were out the door.

On my way to the hospital, I called Bob, Emily and Barbara. I cried and cried.. Got to the hospital, wiped my tears and hurried in to find them. After some debate about where she was.. we were told to go up a few floors to the perinatal imaging office.

I walked in the door, and I knew right then, there was no hope left that here had been a mistake. I could see it on every woman’s face in that office, they knew the anguish my family was facing. And part of me wanted to tell them No. Tell them I’m not going in their office, I’m not going to follow them. I don’t want to hear it. And all the while I followed them back to the room, with each boy trailing in line behind me, I knew what was happening, and that as much as I wanted to turn and go the other direction, I couldn’t.

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Mya Sage – a stillbirth story by Cassie

This is the stillbirth story of Mya Sage, written by my daughter Cassie.
Mya Sage stillborn October 18, 2011 at 6:50 a.m. weighing 6lbs 11 oz and 19.5 inches tall.

I will go back through later and add pictures, as we’ve got many and would like to share. As of this posting (10/21), I am not pre-reading this – I still have my story to write and don’t want her story to mix with mine in my thoughts.. will go back through it later.

Posted with permission.
In my daughters words, her story, written to her angel daughter….

I keep looking back to yesterday. I know I felt you.. I just know it.. I swear you had hiccups just last night, yet I sit here second guessing myself. Did I feel you pushing your little tooshie up into my ribs? Or jabbing your hand into my cervix?

Daddy is home today, on a Monday. Very rare. I’m so excited he gets to come to one of your appointments. The last one he went to was when we got to see you at 10 weeks – all gummybear-ish and perfect.

We’re driving, joking about today being a nakey-butt appointment. 36 weeks – they’ll want to do the Group B Strep culture. Daddy questions the need for a naked butt when they’re testing for Strep (you know, mouth swab, teehee).

No wait in the waiting room this time. A refreshing change from the typical 1hr+ wait that Anna and I typically endure.

180lbs. Uggh.. been sick all week, and I still packed on the pounds!

The nurse is nice today. Small talk about the weather being chilly, and the prediction of rain all week. She questions movement two different times this time. Odd, but I give it no second thought.

Mik comes in. She’s always so friendly, just chit chatting away like we’re old pals. Pulls out the goop and the doppler.. no instant heartbeat, like normal. I’m distracted by the chit chatting at first. She moves to the other side, nothing. The bottom of my belly, nothing. I start to wonder why you aren’t squirming away from her prodding. Mik speculates that you’re back is against my back, but I know better. I say something about Yaya losing your aunt Jordan years ago. Mik is reassuring, trying to distract me more with small talk, but still not finding your heartbeat. I know that if you were still in there, we would hear your placenta at least. We would hear something. I would feel you seeking escape from the invasive doppler.
I know you’re gone, and the tears start rolling. I call Yaya and sob to her that they can’t find your heartbeat. She says her and the boys are getting dressed and leaving.

Mik sends us for an ultrasound right then and there. Daddy keeps asking if everything is alright – he even suggests grabbing a cup of coffee to get you going. I tell him coffee doesn’t make a heart start beating. I think it scares him. I feel bad.

We’re in the dark ultrasound room. The tech is very sweet. Actually, the whole staff is.. but they know what has happened. I can see it on their faces. The sympathy. I ignore it, and tell myself it was a technical error with the doppler. We’ll see that beautiful heart beating on the screen. But deep down inside, I know it’s not the truth.

You’re on the screen. So still. Like a photograph. Your big sister sees you and says, “Look, it’s Sissy!”. Before the tech announces it, we know. There was no little flicker. No anything.

All the tech says is, “I’m so so sorry”.. and it sets in. I’ve never cried so hard in my life.

You were just there. You were just rolled up in my belly, making me uncomfortable as you try to stretch and make yourself comfy. You just had hiccups.. Letting Anna feel them and giggle. How did I not know you were gone?

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Another Stillbirth in Our Family – Mya Sage

It is with a heavy heart that I share this sad news. One stillbirth in a family is too many, but we now have another sweet Angel to watch over our family.

My daughter, Cassie, gave birth to Mya Sage, on Tuesday, October 18th 2011, at 6:50a.m. Mya Sage weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces and was 19 ½ inches tall. She was born with a head of soft dark hair, had her daddy’s cute little toes, and looked just like her big sister Anna.

When we lost Jordan Riley, 11 years ago, we were left with an unknown cause of her passing. We opted to not have an autopsy performed, as the percentage of this providing any reason if often too high for us to feel it was worth it. While we are heartbroken at our new loss, we were at least able to see what had happened. A “cord accident”.

A cord wrapped around a baby’s neck isn’t necessarily enough to cause injury – as the cord is still attached to the mother, and is providing everything the baby needs, as well as oxygen via the bloodstream.

In Mya Sage’s case, the cord was wrapped twice around her neck and looped around under her arm. This in and of itself wasn’t the cause. It was the way the cord wrapped upon itself causing two loops that pulled against each other – thus creating a sort of double “kink”. It is a tragedy to be sure… but we at least know how it happened. Wondering “why” will forever be a question in our minds and hearts.

My daughter is writing Mya Sage’s birth story and has been sweet enough to allow me to post here on Momma Muse when it is finished. I will write the story myself, too, from my perspective and will share that too.

Cassie, her partner Daniel, and their little girl Anna (along with doggy Zoey) have been able to quietly spend this time together. They have had lots of family come together to support and share in the grief.


When I have allowed myself a minute to think here and there, I’ve remembered how I felt years ago, drowning in the grief of my own loss; I remember the numbness, the feeling of how the world around me was still turning, everyone still going about their everyday lives.. while my world felt as though it had come to a grounding halt. I’ve remembered hurting so bad, that feeling deep in my chest of pain and anguish, my heart seeming to physically feel the pain of loss… and going out in the night, in our back yard, and laying down in the grass and sobbing.

But, still, I’ve been keeping myself from really “feeling”. I don’t want to let myself get close to these feelings. The anger I feel… I want to shake my fists and scream at the sky how unfair this is.. I want to take the pain from this young couple, and not let them feel this. I’d take it in a second, without thought – give me that grief and let them never feel it. As much that I don’t want to feel the hurt I know is there for my girl.. Because as much as I hurt for the loss of this beautiful young life, I hurt even more for my daughter and her pain, for Daniel’s loss… for Anna’s confusion. I keep wanting to say “it’s not fair”…. and I don’t care that Life isn’t fair, I know that.. I know it’s not… doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Anna knows her baby sister grew wings and flew. She’ll always have her own special Angel.

Will write the story when my heart and mind can handle more.

Labor for Anna

Note: if you read this as it was happening, or later that first day, there is probably more to read, so please be sure to skim through towards the end to catch up on the end of labor and birth.

Cas - labor

Well, for whatever ready (yes, I’m tired.. I meant reason), MV Hospital will not allow me to access Anna Riley’s website… however, mine is ok. So, I’ll be posting here our labor progress. And we’ve done a LOT the past two days.

Contractions started around 3 a.m. Friday April 3rd (after days and weeks of braxton hicks). Cas thought maybe her water had broke… she finally texted me to ask what to do. Decided to wait and see what happened. Contractions continued throughout the day and evening. We went to the hospital around 6ish to see if she had indeed broke her water… turned out not to be.. and even more discouraging, she was still only a cm dilated. No fun.

Home we went.

Cas sent me a text around 2:30 Saturday morning …. contractions were hurting, coming 7-10 minutes apart. She took a bath and I started preparing to go hang out with her.

I headed over there around 5:00 a.m. and we started counting contractions. They were painful but not really too close together – around 7 to 10 minutes apart. Then they got to 4 to 6 minutes apart. Very hard for her to deal through, but she was truly doing a terrific job handling them.

We went to breakfast at Golden Nugget and she managed through a few contractions while we were there ( She said, “Do you have any idea how hard it is to act normal? – I had to laugh) and also ate a pancake and piece of sausage. Doctor said to wait until contractions were 5 minutes apart regularly… so she trudged through the day with me following. From breakfast to the mall… then home to try to nap.. shower after shower (she did a lot of wishing for a bigger water heater).

About 3 she said it was just too painful to deal through. Regardless of the contractions not being 5 minutes and less regularly, we headed to the hospital. Alice, the first nurse checked her and she was 4 cm. Can’t tell you how excited I was to hear that!

Cas was then admitted because her blood pressure was up too high and she had protein in her urine. We weren’t arguing. After so many hours, she was in dire need of some intervention so she could get some much needed sleep.

Daniel was with his uncle most of the day helping him move. As soon as we knew she was being admitted, we got a hold of him and he got here quicker than quick.

They gave her a shot of nubain soon after getting her into a labor/delivery room.. she didn’t care much for it.. it made her feel loopy without doing much for relieving the contractions.

Epidural in place about 8:30 p.m. Saturday night. Had to take it out and replace it because the first one was leaking – unusual, but all is ok. Fifteen minutes later and Cas is still feeling pain, but Daniel is very attentive.

Her blood pressure dropped after the epidural, so the anesthesiologist came back and gave her something to help… blood pressure up got her admitted, now it’s dropping. Oh boy! Between a dose of nubain, some magnesium sulfate, the epidural.. her body is just wondering what’s up!

Nurse broke her water about 9:15p.m and said she was about 6 cm dilated. A little bit closer…

Cas wasn’t feeling well… she kept complaining her face and hands and arms felt weird. Not knowing why we called the nurse to come talk to her. It’s the magnesium sulfate. It works on all the soft or fine muscles. Weird.

She’s trying to get some rest, but having a hard time getting comfy while she’s half numb.

About 12:00 a.m. (Sun 4/5) the anesthesiologist (Scott, we learned) came back to give her a new epidural. He took out the first one (or rather, the second one, since the first leaked) and put a new one in. It seems to be working much better now. She had reached a point that the epidural was wearing off, or just not working where it was located and the contractions didn’t bother her so much as the contracting around the catheter. Now the new epidural in working, she doesn’t seem to notice the catheter at all. She is finally dozing off.

Luke, Danny and Sharon (Daniel’s parents & brother) are in the waiting room… just too excited to wait at home. 🙂 Luke came back to visit his brother. So sweet. Kristin came by earlier (Daniel’s sister, one of them).. and she rubbed Cassie’s feet… Cas was a real sport about having a few siblings stop by.. but they didn’t stay long. Oh, but Cas did say even though Kristin rubbed her feet and she had the epidural, she could tell it was awesome and plans to get her to do it again. Kristin says she naturally exudes reiki and I think I believe her..

At the time of the new epidural, Cas was still at 6 cm… a pitocin drip was started too. Let’s get this ball.. er.. baby rollin’!

Well, we sure got things going, but poor Cas was never relieved of her pain. The nurse seemed to get a slight attitude and after a few times of noticing it, I asked to talk to her… she admitted she was upset.. but not at us… instead she was upset because she felt like the anesthesiologists let Cas down. After replacing the epidural 3 times and she was still in pain, she felt like the head honcho should have stepped up to the plate and redone it himself. Instead, he said that some people just didn’t know the difference between pressure and sharp pain.

Cas was sure feeling pain, regardless of whether it was pressure or sharp pain, I agree with nurse Sherrie.. should not have been like this for her. She was getting absolutely no relief and should she have required an emergency c-sec, they’d have had to knock her out completely as what was going on was completely insufficient. At least I wasn’t alone in my thoughts on this.

It took a few hours for Cas to get from 7 to 9cm and seemed to be a little stuck at 9 for about an hour at 3:30.. with a cervical lip all the way round the babies head. By 4:30, the nurse said yes, let’s get you pushing…

Cas was utterly, completely exhausted. She’d look at me with the most tired, pleading eyes, just trying to find some strength (or maybe an out)… between me and the nurse, and herself, Cas remembered to breath through contractions, slow in, slow out. And when she’d say she was too tired to do it, I’d coax her through again (got to do, can’t leave the baby in there). Other times, she’d say I can’t, I can’t, I just don’t have the strength and then she’d take a deep breath and get back down to business.

The nurse suggested getting the doctor to use a suction.. Cas only caught part of what was being said and ask what, are you going to cut me? And the nurse quickly reassured her that wasn’t what was being talked about at all…. Cas looked at her and said “Are you lying!?” We all thought that was funny.

In the end, with the help of the suction, and an episiotomy (she’d have torn, not to mention taken hours longer had she not had this help… which I am convinced would have let to a c-section because of her waning strength and conviction and no breaks) she managed to work with the doctor and out came the most beautiful little baby girl I’ve seen since May 21, 93 (which happened to be her aunt Em… I’m not included Jordan as that situation was completely different)…

**** Will post updates later… but a quickie.. Anna Riley was born at 5:39a.m Sunday April 5th tipping the scales at 8 pounds 3 ounces.

See some pictures. Anna Riley flickr set.

Beautiful Belly Pictures

After birth, a woman’s belly is rarely ever the same as before pregnancy (let alone, multiple pregnancies!).

I never developed stretchmarks, but I did lose my pre-pregnancy, tight-muscled, flat belly. My cute little belly-button slit is now just a hole. My now-soft, stretchy-skinned belly makes funny “faces” at my kids and sends them in to giggle fits. I have a little belly pooch, I like to think looks womanly. Too bad my middle is still about as wide as my hips, which I never did really grow any during my 5 pregnancies.

Came across a wonderful website this morning, The Shape of a Mother. A website almost any mother who has experienced the body-morphing effects of pregnacy could identify with…

Teigen Jacob – Unassisted Birth

Teigen – an unassisted homebirth, waterbirth with transport to hospital after the birth.

>My water broke around 1:00 a.m. on June 6th. The contractions weren’t often and weren’t painful at all. But, since we didn’t know how long it would be, we set up the pool and got things ready. I tried sleeping on and off through the early morning, but didn’t get much in at all. Got the girls up and ready for school and then we waited all day… with nothing much happening, or seemingly not.

Things started to kick in around 6 or so that evening and I figured within the next 4-6 hours, we’d have our baby… I got in the pool close to 6:30 or 7 and here’s our story…

Just in the pool and thinking it felt so much better than outside. It didn’t keep the contractions from hurting, but did help me relax through them. Leaning on the side, on my knees, helped not only with gravity, I’m sure, but also helped me focus and stay in my own little world.

Things are starting to pick up in intensity. I realized after that I spent a lot of my labor with my eyes closed. I tried to remember to change positions to help with everything… but sometimes it just hurt too much to want to move.

Transition has fully kicked in at this point (around 9p or so). With contractions coming every couple minutes and having 3 peeks each to them… they were really getting rough to deal with.

Bob was so great! Rubbing my lower back really helped and he was right there for each contraction… I know his arms must have been getting tired.

I was getting more vocal during transition. Moaning a lot through the contractions seemed to really help. It helped keep me from tensing up. And Bob would tell me ‘Let it out’… encouraging me to go ahead and make the noises I needed to make… He knew that not only would making noise help me, but that telling me to let it out would make me feel more comfortable in doing so.

I got out of the pool a few times to go tinkle. I think sitting on the toilet helped open me up a little bit, as far as being able to go pee. Bob would come with me and while I’d have contractions, he’d keep rotating two towels, getting them wet so I could put them on my lower belly. I cried a few times and knew it was transition, but would ask Bob “I can do this, right?” and he’d look at me and tell me how great I was doing… and tell me “Yes, you Can!”. I knew I was the one doing the “work”, but he has always been so strong for me, whenever I needed him… and he wasn’t about to let me down now either.


This is close to 9:30 or so… I felt a change in the way it felt when Bob would rub my lower back. It no longer felt so good and actually was very uncomfortable. So, I ended up changing position and feeling inside to see if I could feel Teigen’s head. Sure enough, I could feel head, hair and a cervical lip. I knew working with the next few contractions, little grunty pushes and patience and the lip would be gone. At this point, Teigen’s head is starting to crown and I am feeling with one hand in front, his head, and the other in back, my bottom… I was hoping not to tear.

I was letting out some deep screams and panting between contractions so I didn’t push too fast. It seemed to take about 3 contractions to get his head out, but it all went really quick.

It’s burning and hurting and I was wanting it to be done!! Head is coming out now and I am reaching and feeling around to see if I was tearing or not… so far, so good.

Once the head was out, I flipped over to all fours… Bob was reaching in here to help guide Teigen up and out of the water. The cord was draped loosely around Teigen’s neck.. Bob described it as a loose necklace… and…

At 9:55 P.M., Teigen is born… Bob hands Teigen to me… he’s covered in vernix, and limp… But he’s beautiful! And we did it all ourselves!


This is where I’m editing part of our birth story (12/04). It’s very hard to convey everything that happened during this period in a way that everyone understand. At the time, things were very scary. We’d lost a baby the pregnancy before (due to unknown reasons, and nothing we did or didn’t do). We did this ourselves and while we were confident in what we were doing, we were also alone. We did things to protect Teigen as well as ourselves.

At this point, Teigen wasn’t breathing. Later we thought it was how he was brought up out of the water… I spoke with a few doctors and midwives about this and we were assured this was not the cause of his delayed breathing. Regardless, at the time, it was quite a scary feeling. We passed Teigen around, from me to Bob to my mom, each of us working to get him to breath. At the time, it seemed very urgent, but I think that time had slowed quite dramatically and we were feeling an urgency that wasn’t quite as urgent as it seemed. Bob asked if we should call 911. I said yes.. my main thought was I was not losing another baby. While he was on the phone, Teigen started coughing and breathing. It was light and raspy, but it was breathing. It was this point that I knew for certain everything was going to be ok.

— March 4th, 2003 – It’s been hard going back through these pictures. I had wanted this really incredible birth… I wanted Teigen to come out gently into this world and have a peaceful beginning. We did it ourselves, yes. We did it without drugs, without intervention… but in the end, he had a harder start to life than either of my girls. Would I do this again? People have emailed and asked me. I thought yes, I would. But, now, I don’t think so. I believe if we have another baby, we will take a different route… not sure what yet, but then, I’m not pregnant yet either. (Note: some pictures have been removed because of the graphic nature – and the weird emails I was receiving)–


Notice Teigen’s coloring.. he was pinking up quite nicely and the paramedics, when they got there, commented on his coloring being good. The next several minutes were crazy… the paramedics came, the dogs (all 4 of them) were going crazy, the girls were worried. They were all very nice and basically scooped us up and took us off to the hospital. I had a temp when we got there, so there was question as to whether I’d be able to see Teigen for a while (I didn’t get to see him for 15 hours)… Bob kept going to be with him and coming to check on me…

The hospital, it is my opinion and agreed by several, kept Teigen for a week to be sure he was well. They first told us they thought he had pneumonia, however, my doctor, Teigen’s pediatrician, reassured us that this cultures came back negative.. so he was in the hospital, on antibiotics “just in case”. I’d have liked to have argued with them (the other staff), taken him home. But having him safe, and him coming home with ME, not CPS, was my main concern. That was not an easy week, regardless of what was wrong (or not wrong) with Teigen.

I don’t think it was mentioned in my first edition of his birth story, but my doctor later told me at one of Teigen’s check-ups, that we had done nothing wrong. He was proud of what we’d done and didn’t want us to harbor any guilt. Whatever seemed to be wrong with Teigen could easily have been an issue for any baby born IN the hospital, as we were to late experience yet again, but thankfully as a much smaller issue. My doctor is a gem. I love him.

It has been commented on, or directly asked why I removed my shirt.. it was a natural instinct. I did it without even realizing.. maybe to be ready to nurse or to get skin-to-skin directly after birth.

Ryland Quin – After Birth

Love newborn baby pictures!

These are pictures taken within the first few days after Ryland being born. It was so nice to be home so quickly! And the weather was beautiful. Ryland was passed from arms to arms as everyone wanted a chance to hold the new little baby.


Wrapped in his cozy blanket, Ry is sleeping peacefully. Bob and I were waiting for the doctor to come in to release Ry and me.. We were ready to go home! It didn’t take too long. We were headed out the doors close to 6 in the evening. It felt so good, but also a little strange.

On the way down to the lobby, one person commented on the ‘little baby’ and wanted to know how old he was. They were surprised to hear only hours, literally!


Baby Ry with big brother Teigen and sister Emilee barely a day old. Neither Tege or Em were very awake yet. They look a bit groggy.


A great napping place… with big sister Cassie. He found this shoulder(s) comfy on many occasions to come:


Can a shoulder get any better than daddy’s shoulder? Ry loved napping with daddy.


Momma’s favorite place to tuck Ry in… this sling is the cotton adjustable sling from Kangaroo Korner… awesome!! Definitely a favorite!! I had ordered this pouch before I had Ry. We got it in the mail the day after he was born. It was perfect timing! This picture, Ry is 1 day old.



Ry with Grandpa

Ouchy new front teeth…

Me & my boys..

Ryland Quin – Pregnancy

Pregnancy with Ryland seemed to go by so quickly. There was much for me to think about, the past two births weighing heavy on my mind, heavy on my heart. In some ways it was nice to have it move along so fast, as each of my previous pregnancies seemed to really drag out. On the other hand, knowing that the reason it was going so fast was in part due to fears that I just couldn’t get resolved and in part because I dreaded the end and new beginning of my relationship with Teigen. After Ryland got here, we had lots of changes to make, lots of adjusting to do, in particular Teigen and I, but we’ve made our changes and we are happy to have Ry with us. Even Teigen thinks he’s pretty cool (some times!).

In looking at these belly pictures, notice the one at the bottom, how round my belly looks. Every single pregnancy, boys and girls both, I was round like a basketball. Fun, but sure hard to find clothes that fit good!