May 23rd was the last normal day of our lives. We went to have a NST done. Dakota was healthy and vibrant as usual. They told me to call the following Saturday to check for beds to be induced. We went home. Excited that our baby girl would be here in mere days. I was 36 weeks 2 days.

May 24th started like any other day. Cleaning, chasing Dace around, exhaustion. That afternoon I started to have contractions. I was unaware as to whether I was in active labor or if it was Braxton Hicks. A few hours later my husband came home. I showed him Dakota’s crib set that had came in that morning. Shortly after his arrival I told him it was time to go. Luckily I already had my bag packed and all I had to do was add my shower stuff and toothbrush. We made it to the hospital in record time. It’s a 30 minute drive on a regular day, we made it in 17. That included going through the gate and one red light. Scott met us there and got Dace. Dustin rushed me inside up to Labor and Delivery.

We got to L&D I had to sign in. Fill out the same paper work I had the day before, as if something had changed. We were excited. Our daughter would be here soon, or so we thought. They got me in a bed and was hooking me up to a fetal monitor. And I noticed the nurse searching frantically from Dakota’s heart beat. I figured she was moving and hard to locate like most other times. But I was wrong, dead wrong. She left to get the ultrasound machine, ultrasound tech and doctor. They came in, I couldn’t see the screen. All I could see was Dustin’s face and the Staff’s faces. I knew something was wrong. Then the words that will haunt me for the rest of my days were said. “Honey, when was the last time you felt this baby move?” to which I responded, “I’m not sure earlier I think.” Then she told me with tears in her eyes ” I’m sorry honey, but your baby has died.” I was 36 weeks 3 days. 4 days from being induced. Barely 24 hours after my baby girl was healthy, vibrant.

At 10:47 pm Dakota Blakely Brown was born into this world without so much as a breath. The quietest birth you had ever heard. Everyone in the room was in tears. I cried the entire time I pushed. Dustin was the first to hold her. I didn’t see him holding her, but that would be the only time he would ever hold his first born (and probably only) Daughter. She was perfection at its best. Dark curly hair, long fingers, big feet, fat roll just like her brother over her nose and blue eyes. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I never wanted to let go. The photographer came in and took pictures and left. Then as soon as the first family member arrived we had her sent to the morgue. We didn’t want anyone to remember her that way. We also wanted to avoid hysterics (long story).

I went home at 10 am the next day. Instead of resting like most pregnant women I didn’t have time. I wasn’t able. We had to go here and there to get everything set up and to get Dustin’s bereavement leave approved so we could make the 3 hour drive back to South Carolina. We buried her June 2nd. In the saddest funeral I have ever attended. It was a hot day. LAter that evening it stormed an amazing storm. I knew then that Heaven had received my angel.
I went to her grave the day we decided to head back to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. It was the first time since the funeral. I have been 3 times since we buried her.

I can’t help but to blame myself for her dying. It was, after all, my body that failed her. I get a condition called Cholestasis, it is a gestational liver disease. I believe that is what took my daughters life. Though I will never know due to an incomplete autopsy, because blood work wasn’t requested. Since I have undergone many blood tests and one ultrasound. Since I will never get answers from Dakota I have to pray I get some from my own body. I can’t lose another baby. I’ll die.

This was the short sweet version of my story. Feel free to read the whole story at

Thank you for letting me share my Dakota’s story with you.

Dearest Dakota,

Mommy, Daddy and Dace miss you more than you know. We love you so much. Our family is incomplete without you. Dace is learning to say your name. He points to your picture when our name is said. He hugs Mommy when I cry for you. Daddy blames himself for your death. Don’t let him do that. Keep sending him signs that you love him. You have made us better people. I can’t wait until the day that I get to tell your siblings how you changed us for the better. I will never take anything else for granted. We love you more than words can say. We miss you just as much. One day we will get to see each other again. Wait for us.
We love you!

Mommy, Daddy & Dace


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