01/30/2014 11:15 am ET Updated Apr 01, 2014

Delivering A Healthy Baby After Losing a Child

I am 28, married and the mother of an 8 year-old boy. Two years ago, we lost our second child, Joely Oyola Rodríguez, during birth. I had no idea my baby was in trouble until I was 22 weeks into my pregnancy. Up until then, everything seemed normal.

A sonogram had shown that my baby had ventriculomegalia. In other words, the ventricles in her brain were rapidly filling up with liquid, which would cause major brain damage unless operated on. We also found out that she had severe Down syndrome. The doctors explained that, if born, my baby would require constant care and an immediate operation in order to avoid further damage. If she was not operated on early enough, she could be left in a total vegetative state. My husband and I chose to have an early delivery with the hope that the operation would save her from further harm.

Six months into my pregnancy, I was taken to the hospital to induce birth. After hours of anguish and pain, my baby was stillborn. My husband and I were emotionally devastated. Because she was born after the 25-week mark, we had to register and bury her. Our pain was so great that we sought counseling and the help of psychologists and psychiatrists. To this day, I have not fully recovered.

My husband and I never thought we would have another child. We had not spoken about it or planned it. Yet, eight months ago I found out I was pregnant again. I was terrified during the first three months, for I feared I would relive the same nightmare. Yet, this time it has been different. I received the prenatal services offered by COSSMA, a community health clinic implemented in Cidra, Puerto Rico that specializes in providing care in underserved communities. At the COSSMA clinic, a Primary Care Medical Home, I have access to psychologists, social workers, health educators, dental services, pharmacy, and nutritionist. Under the Growing Healthy Together program, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, it has been much easier to receive comprehensive care for my pregnancy.

My obstetrician at COSSMA, Dr. Tatiana Fournier, began to provide care when I was in my eighth week. She monitors both me and my baby regularly. Every three weeks, I visit her in-person and she even monitors me through my mobile phone. My obstetrician has given me the tools to deal with my fears and concerns. Once a month, I also see a COSSMA perinatologist.

October 19th, 2013 was the second anniversary of my baby's death. I was at peace because I am bringing another child into the world. I feel like a first-time mother; I take care of myself, take folic acid and prenatal vitamins, eat well, exercise and try to be stress-free. If I have a concern, I do not hesitate to contact my obstetrician.

On December 11, 2013 at 11:28 AM I delivered a healthy baby named Lyah I. Oyola Rodríguez. She weighed 5 pounds 14 ounces and measured 19 1/2 inches. The comprehensive prenatal care provided by COSSMA helped me through a safe pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby.