As many of you know, we have just endured the heartbreaking death of our only child, Hanne Margaret Knudson, at 23 weeks and 5 days while traveling abroad in Athens, Greece. Her birth occurred unexpectedly after an unpreventable and deadly pregnancy complication occurred. All pre-natal visits indicated that Megan and Hanne were completely healthy. Megan was cleared to travel by two doctors after full examination, including a high risk maternal-fetal care ultrasound. Unfortunately, in the middle of the night on August 9th, Megan started bleeding. We made the 2.5 hour journey in the middle of the night to Mitera Hospital in Athens, Greece. We discovered that Megan's cervix had opened past the point of repair and the baby's amniotic sac was exposed through the vagina.
Megan spent 10 days on fully inverted back rest under the care of Ryan and her mom trying to grow Hanne to the point where she would have a chance to live outside the womb. Unfortunately, this effort was unsuccessful because the amniotic sac became severely infected. Labor was induced on August 18th and Hanne was stillborn at 1:50pm. She was an absolutely beautiful, big baby for her age with dark hair like her parents. The infection overcame her small, vulnerable body and thankfully our doctor assures us she did not suffer because her central nervous system was not fully developed.
This process of waiting with the chance of infection put Megan's health at great risk. If she had not delivered Hanne, the infectious disease staff say that she might have died with only one more day on bed rest. Thankfully, Megan is alive and has maintained a healthy uterus. Megan is still hospitalized and receiving a large amount of IV antibiotics multiple times a day. She is also dealing with swelling and circulation problems due to the long bed rest. We are currently waiting until Megan can be cleared to leave the hospital. Ryan and Megan's mom selflessly stayed with her during her entire bed rest. Ryan has continually stayed at the hospital for the entirety of this harrowing ordeal.
As we have waited together, we have endured an insulting and re-traumatizing bureaucratic struggle to bring the remains of our dear Hanne back to the United States. At home, Hanne's birth would have been considered a still birth and she would have been issued a death certificate. Here, even at nearly 24 weeks, her birth was considered a miscarriage and we are lacking a death certificate that would easily facilitate funeral services and travel to the US. Now it appears we will be able to bring her home, however, not in the fashion we would prefer. This task is also proving to be extremely expensive. Thankfully, our friend's family at Hoff Funeral Services in Minnesota have generously agreed to take care of Hanne in the United States.
We are not typically ones to ask for help, but the emotional, medical, and financial burden of this situation is overwhelming. Many people have asked how they can help. Due to funeral arrangement expenses as well as unexpected travel and medical costs, we find that we are in need of financial assistance. Any financial contribution, no matter how small would be a great gift that relieves stress in this situation. Please do not feel obligated in any way to contribute. We have appreciated the wealth of prayers, communication, and well wishes as their own unique gifts. However, if you are so inclined to help us financially we would greatly appreciate it.
Here is a break down of our anticipated expenses in this situation in order of need:
* Caring for Hanne's Remains ($4,300) - includes coordination with Greek funeral home, American embassy, and American funeral home to prepare her body for travel; embalming (required for travel); travel casket; cargo coordination costs; fees; document preparation; translation services.
* Unexpected Medical Expenses (?) - Thankfully we purchased a travel insurance plan that appears to be covering a bulk of the hospitalization. We do not know at this point what our expenses will be, but it is likely we will have to pay a share.
* Travel Change Costs (?) - We were forced to cancel our flights to stay here indefinitely. We bought our tickets with frequent flyer miles. In order to get home we are very limited in our selection of equivalent flights. We will likely have to pay additional cost to simply get a flight that can take us home. We are working hard to figure out how to make this cost effective but it's proven difficult because it's high-travel season and we don't know when we can depart. Due to swelling, we are seeking medical permission for an upgrade where Megan can lay down, but we are not sure whether we can get this or whether we will have to pay for it.
* Our Continued Family Building Journey ($15,000-$30,000) We have been trying for eight years to have a child. Of the many, many interventions we have tried, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) has been our only successful option due to Megan's reproductive concerns. We successfully conceived in September 2017 but lost this child in a miscarriage. Hanne's was our first successful pregnancy. Hanne was our last remaining embryo. When we are ready to continue trying to grow our family we will be starting from ground zero. We have already spent $30,000 out of pocket because fertility treatment is not covered by our insurance. We do not know if we will continue to pursue fertility treatment or adoption (starts around $25,000) and we certainly do not expect anyone to contribute to this cause. However, if there would be any excess funds we would use them for our family building efforts. And if you felt you wanted to contribute to this cause, we would humbly and graciously accept. The miracle of meeting our Hanne has strengthened our desire to parent a living child. She was so amazing and we only wish that we could have seen her grow and learned who she would have become as a person.
Thank you dearly for reading our story. If you are compelled to share it with someone you know we would be grateful. We truly appreciate the love and support we have received from all around.
Ryan and Megan Knudson
DonationsSee top donations
- Nick Schwei
- Andrew Koenig
- Robin Meise
- John Nesgaard
- Rick & Connie Huss
Fundraising team (4)
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more