Alyssa Young and her husband, Justin, had been talking about being parents since they first met and started dating as teenagers. They were thrilled when six years later, they were expecting their first child: a baby girl. However, things didn’t go as planned, and baby Scarlett was born at an age considered too young to survive.
In September 2016, Young went in for a routine check-up. Young has cerebral palsy, as well as Type 2 diabetes, and she was being carefully monitored during her pregnancy. She told LittleThings:
On September 28th, I had a routine ultrasound. Scarlett was perfect. Weighing in at 14 ounces and heart rate of 131, she was so chunky and so perfect. I was 19 weeks 6 days, and she was just my pride and joy.
But then Young began experiencing pain that she initially thought was normal. By October 2, her pain had become more intense that Young went to the emergency room. The doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with her or Scarlett, despite the pain and minor bleeding, so Young was sent home. Still she felt that something was wrong.
“Every doctor I had talked to so far didn’t seem worried, so I had trusted in them,” she told LittleThings. “I knew everything was going to be fine. I prayed everything would be. I prayed harder than I ever have in my entire life.”
The next day, October 3, Young was taken to the hospital again, but this time she received devastating news.
“When we arrived at the hospital, the kind nurses made sure I was comfortable…Once settled in, the on-call obstetrician came in to do an exam,” said Young. “He told us that I was either suffering from incompetent cervix or my body was trying to miscarry our beautiful baby girl.”
Young was given magnesium to try to stop her from dilating. She was also put on bed rest.
“I don’t really remember what time they came in to check on me, but I know it was early,” she said. “The ultrasound showed I was dilated to five centimeters and Scarlett was basically on her way to meet us… I felt like I had failed. I felt like I failed him and our daughter. All I could spit out was, ‘I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.’ I must have repeated that a dozen times. We both cried and prayed, prayed and cried. We called our family and close friends to tell them the news. We told them that it’d be a good idea to come to the hospital. We were surrounded by so much love that day. So many prayers and so much love filled that hospital room.”
Scarlett was born at 20 weeks, and she lived for two hours after her birth. Young says that as she held her daughter, Scarlett gasped for breath. She told Scarlett how much she loved her, and she made sure her daughter’s brief life outside the womb was filled with love.
Now Young is sharing Scarlett’s story with hopes of raising awareness for cervical incompetence, miscarriage, and stillbirth.