In 2007, I was excited to be expecting my first baby. I wasn’t anticipating any complications but during our first ultrasound they noticed she was measuring small and scheduled another follow-up appointment. On March 7, 2007, I went to a second ultrasound appointment to check Grace’s growth. They saw that she hadn’t grown much since her last appointment and advised for me to see a specialist the next day at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. I was given a steroid treatment to help the baby’s lungs develop and sent home on strict bedrest.

At my appointment the next day, they discovered that I had reversed end diastolic umbilical flow, oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid) as well as severe IUGR (Intrauterine Growth Restriction). The doctors were concerned enough to admit me to the hospital for observation. Just a few hours later, the doctor came to my room- Grace was in distress and we needed to make a decision on when to deliver her to give her the best chance at survival.

On March 8, 2007, about 27 weeks' gestation, Grace Leighann was born weighing only 12.7 ounces and was about 11 inches long. She was rushed to the NICU, and I was sent to recovery from my c-section. Our families came to see her, and we thought that things were going to be stable for the night. Unfortunately, after returning to my room, the NICU doctor came in to let us know that Grace’s lungs had collapsed. They had been able to revive her, but she was not doing well. We called our families to come back to the hospital and discussed with the doctor her poor prognosis and needed to make the difficult decision if continuing medical care was in Grace’s best interest.

We were able to have her baptized and hold her to say our goodbyes before unhooking the rest of the machines. Our sweet Grace passed away just 9 hours after her birth at 4:30 am on March 9, 2007. She fought hard during her time on earth, but she was born just too small and too soon.

I had never sought out the help and support I truly needed to support me through my grief journey until many years later and I know the vital role that support holds in starting to heal for many people. I have always tried to find ways to celebrate and remember Grace, but since finding No Foot Too Small in 2018, I’m able to celebrate and remember her with so many other families that understand.

Grace is the big sister to two earthly half-brothers, Kaden and Cole. Our boys get so much joy from being a part of NFTS and celebrating their big sister and it makes my heart so happy to watch them celebrate her and ask questions about her. 

Krista Porter and family