8 months pregnant
with Sophie

Sophie Isabelle Macadar was born on 27 August 2001 after an uneventful pregnancy.  Sadly, she had undiagnosed vasa previa, and though her mother experienced unexplained bleeding at term, Sophie died before she could be delivered. 

On what would have been Sophie's first birthday, Sophie's mother and friends walked 10k in her memory and raised over $4,000 to increase awareness of this heartbreaking condition and fund needed research.  The International Vasa Previa Foundation adopted Sophie's Walk for Vasa Previa as it's primary fundraiser the very next year.  People around the world have walked in Sophie's Walk each year since. 

In 2001, I was 39 years old and had a beautiful daughter, Marie Claire who was 6 1/2 years old.  I had been promising her a baby sibling for years and had had a miscarriage and D&C in April 2000 when at 10 weeks no heartbeat was found.  In December 2000, I discovered I was pregnant again.  I was thrilled. The pregnancy went pretty well, although I experienced severe vomiting during the first five months.

 

From the beginning I had voiced concerns to my doctor because my cousin and one of my best friends had lost their babies in 2000, days before their due date, one due to an apparent cord strangulation and the other still does not know how. Because of this, I had asked the doctor for a color Doppler ultrasound the last four weeks of pregnancy to check for cord positioning and although he initially said yes, at around the 36th week he said no to the ultrasounds because the color Doppler was too expensive and insurance would not cover.  He reassured me I was fine anyway and not to worry. He said that even if I did a weekly ultrasound, the cord could strangulate the baby at any time (not too reassuring).

 

After my amnio in late March, the doctor told me I had a marginal placenta. I had several ultrasounds and in June the placenta showed to be low lying. In ultrasound on 13 July, the placenta had risen to normal.

 

At the beginning of week 38, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. As soon as I learned about the condition I began to practically beg my doctor to induce me or do a C-section, but he refused arguing that since the cervix was high and closed and the baby was not yet in my pelvis, induction would lead to C-section, which was too risky. No matter how much I begged, it all fell on deaf ears. I was sent home and ordered to lie on my left side for a couple days. I stayed pretty much on bed rest since then.

 

I was admitted to the hospital two days before my due date on 8/24/2001 at 3 a.m. after passing two large clots of blood at home and then bleeding a LOT more than normal, approximately 300 cc's of blood (although the doctor and nurses asserted this was normal bloody show).  The blood was very liquid, not clotty and I kept asking at the hospital how come I had bled so much but the doctor never ordered testing of the blood.  Instead he ordered a regular ultrasound (not color Doppler), which indicated a score of 8/8 and after 8 hours of monitoring I was discharged from the hospital even though I begged the doctor to "get my baby out" and to keep me in the hospital. The doctor told me the hospital was full, the nurses were busy and they did not have time for an elective procedure. I went home distraught.

 

Then the unthinkable happened 2 days later. I was in bed at 11:30 p.m. and felt my baby kick.  I said good night to her.  And then a second later, I felt a warm liquid.  It was not my water; it was blood, lots of liquid red blood. As I sat on the toilet bleeding profusely, I called the doctor's service and he called back 5 minutes later. Although I specifically yelled that I was hemorrhaging profusely, he calmly said, "OK, we are going to deliver this baby, go to the Hospital."  He told me to drive to a hospital that is 8 miles away instead of to the nearest hospital that is 1/2 mile away and he has privileges there too. Upon arrival there, nurses checked for fetal heartbeat and none was found.  It was only then that they notified the doctor.  He arrived 10 minutes later.  Ultrasound found no heartbeat, 40 minutes had passed since my call and my Sophie Isabelle was declared dead at 12:11 a.m. on 8/27/01. My worst nightmare had come true. My cervix was still high and closed.  We proceeded to induce and I delivered at 6:30 that morning.  Sophie Isabelle was a beautiful 6 lb 11 oz baby.

 

The blood on Friday the 24th was fetal blood, not maternal blood, due to a small membrane rupture.  This was a huge warning that was ignored.  If the doctor had had the blood tested with a simple APT or Ogita test, he would have realized this was no "normal bloody show". Two days later, on Sophie's due date, two days after our last warning, she lost her life when my membranes ruptured and she exsanguinated due to vasa previa.

Sophie's mother now works with the International Vasa Previa Foundation (IVPF).  Ninety-five percent of vasa previa diagnosis' made antepartum result in the successful birth of healthy babies when correctly managed by the OB.  But up to 95% of vasa previa cases that are undiagnosed result in the death of these otherwise healthy babies. A simple transvaginal ultrasound with color Doppler can diagnose vasa previa and prevent an almost certain fatal outcome.
It only takes a moment to diagnose life…


 

Click here to learn more about Sophie's Walk

 

Thanks to significant advances in research and publicity, the International Vasa Previa Foundation is helping raise awareness of simple measures that doctors, radiologists and pregnant women can take to prevent vasa previa deaths. If someone you know has been affected by vasa previa, contact the International Vasa Previa Foundation at info@vasaprevia.com

Sophie's Walk for Vasa Previa takes place each year in cities  around the world over the first weekend in October.  Please help us with this important fundraiser by registering to walk in your town or even by organizing a walk in your area!

Click here to register for Sophie's Walk