Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Carleigh's Birth Story

I finally felt it was time to sit down and write out Carleigh's birth story (and the days after) before the memories start to fade and I forget all the little details.

Carleigh's induction was set for 7:30 am on Friday morning, March 27, 2009 at Clinton Memorial Hospital in Wilmington, OH. I woke up at 5:30 am that day so we would have time to get everything around without rushing. My parents came down the night before and that was very helpful. I finished packing our hospital bag while my mom attended to Kyndra. I made sure I ate my fill for breakfast because I knew I wouldn't be able to eat anything until I delivered Carleigh. So I made 3 blueberry waffles and ended up eating almost 2 of them. I also had a tall glass of ice cold milk. We got everything around and left our house at about 6:45 am to head to the hospital. I felt pretty calm on the ride there. I had been through an induction before with Kyndra so there was no reason to feel nervous about that part of it. Carleigh was already up for the day at this point and was moving and kicking and she already had a round of hiccups. We got to the hospital at about 7:15 am. I stopped by the registration desk to make sure I didn't have to register there since the hospital had done away with the preregister forms. They said I was ok to go straight up so we went to the elevator and went up to Mother Baby Care.

We check in with the nurses and they take me to my room, which is right next to the nurse's station. The door to my room already had a Do Not Disturb sign and a sign indicating bereavement, which I had requested in our birth plan. My nurse, Monica, showed me my gown and the lovely cup I got to pee in. So I dressed in my labor uniform and peed in the cup. Anthony's family arrived at the hospital and came to my room. Pastor Mike from my mom and dad's church also made an appearance, which was very nice, and Pastor Mark from our church was there. After some visiting we had family leave the room while Monica got my IV set and blood drawn. She got some saline running and then hooked me up to the monitor. She asked if I wanted to monitor Carleigh's heart rate and I said I wanted to at the moment. We also got some paperwork filled out, such as consent forms and birth certificate information. My cervix was checked and I was at 1 cm and my cervix was in a good position.

At about 8:15 am Monica got my Pitocin running. Around 9:00 am I was feeling the contractions but they weren't bad at all-just a little uncomfortable. I was still able to be my normally pleasant self for awhile. We had our family and friends come back in and Pastor Mark prayed. The cafeteria made homemade banana and blueberry muffins and brought drinks for our families, which was very nice! Close to 10:30 Monica backed down my Pitocin because I was having quite a few contractions close together but they weren't really bothering me. After things settled down she bumped my Pitocin back up and things continued steadily. At this point more of our family arrived for us. I was glad there was lots of people there supporting us. It helped to have them looking out for Kyndra because she couldn't really be in the room with me for very long. Kyndra had been very clingy to me for several days and being in the room for a long period of time just upset her because she couldn't be near me. When she was near she kept trying to pull at my IV and things she wasn't supposed to. During her midmorning nap though I was able to hold her and I really liked that. I don't like being away from my little girl for very long. I got some flowers from my friend Rachel and my former coworker Cathie. They made my room smell good and they were pretty. Throughout the whole labor our family and friends came in and out of my room visiting me and checking on how things were going.

Around lunch Monica let me have a cherry popsicle. I was so grateful for that darn popsicle. It tasted so good and I was hungry! It satisfied me for a least a little bit. My Pitocin was being bumped up every so often and the contractions were steady but still not too bad. I was able to get up and move around as I pleased. I browsed the internet and updated the blog every so often and I also read the end of the last book of Twilight to pass the time. I stayed hooked up to the contraction monitor the whole time besides when I used the restroom and when I walked the hallway later. Not long after 3 pm I had Monica hook me back up to the heart monitor but it was only for a little bit because Carleigh was moving around so much. Dr. F finally came by and checked on me. She checked my heart and lungs and then Carleigh's position on ultrasound to make sure she was in a favorable position for labor and she was head down and good! She didn't check my cervix because she didn't believe the contractions were hard or strong enough to really make any difference. So Monica just kept bumping up my Pitocin steadily.

Around 5 pm I decided to walk the hallways so I ok'd it with Monica and I was off! I went through 3 walking partners-my sister, my mother-in-law, and my pastor. It was nice to get up and move around for a bit. I didn't really feel much contractions while walking but I did feel some pressure down there. I did quite a few laps in the hallways. About 7 pm Dr. F came and check on me again. This time she checked my cervix and I was still at 1 cm and I was 60% effaced. So throughout the whole day all my cervix did was thin a little. That was quite frustrating. We were getting to the point where the Pitocin would only run for a few more hours and then we'd have to shut it off and start it back up again the next day. I really didn't like the idea of having to stretch out labor over several days. I just didn't feel like it would be good for Carleigh. Dr. F let me know that the other option would be to break my water but she knew I really didn't want to have to do that. In the birth plan I had wanted to keep my water intact to help protect Carleigh's head during delivery. It was a hard decision to make and I struggled to decide what would be best for my daughter. In the end I chose for Dr. F to break my water. When she broke my water it was more comfortable than when I had it done with Kyndra. There was a lot of fluid that came out-more than what I thought was in there! I soaked through 2 chux and a large towel.

Monica's shift ended at 7:30 pm and my next nurse was Erin. Right after Erin came I got another cherry popsicle, which was good! My contractions started to pick up with more intensity since my water was broken. I could still feel Carleigh moving around good in my tummy but it was weird feeling her moving in there with not a lot of fluid. Erin came in around 8 pm and brought me a quilt. The quilt was made by a volunteer and donated to the Mother Baby unit for them to give to a mommy and her baby. I guess they decided to give it to me. It is very pretty and I appreciated that they thought to give it to me. By this point the contractions started to get a little more painful but still tolerable. Around 9 pm Dr. F stopped in for another visit. My cervix was 2-3 cm and I was 80% effaced so I was making progress, but not as quickly as I would've liked. She checked her position of the ultrasound machine again and she was still good.

Contractions continued to get more uncomfortable and I was pretty sure at this point I would end up with an epidural. I knew how it helped relax me and made me dilate quicker with Kyndra so I just needed to decide when I wanted it. By 10 pm I was sure it was time for the epidural so the anesthesiologist was called. I was dilated to 3 cm. Dr. G was my anesthesiologist and she did a good job putting it in. She had me sit on the edge of the bed and Anthony was in front of me. My epidural with Kyndra I was lying down while it was put in. She kept the atmosphere light and cheery and that was helpful. The epidural worked pretty much right away but not long after it was in I started feel nauseous and my BP got a little low. I ended up throwing up and it was pretty much just spit because I had nothing in me. I did feel better after that though. I decided to rest as much as possible before the delivery so I slept for a little bit.

As time passed I noticed that my epidural was concentrated more on my left side. I couldn't feel a darn thing on that side but I could feel the contractions on my right side and move that leg around just fine too. Every time I had to move to change the pad underneath me it made me laugh because my left leg was just dead and it flopped around. It was funny to see. By this point it is 2 am and I got some ice chips for my dry throat. All of our family was out in the various waiting rooms either sleeping or just sitting around waiting. Anthony and Ashley, my friend and photographer, were sleeping in my room. I had thought that some of our crew was going to go home but everyone decided to stay and stick it out. Erin had brought me a handheld doppler earlier so I could check Carleigh's heart rate whenever I wanted. I didn't feel Carleigh kicking around as much and that worried me so I checked her heart rate on the doppler and it took me awhile to find it. It had me frantic when I couldn't find it. I remember thinking in my mind "oh please, please, please be ok little Carleigh." I wave of relief washed over me when I finally found it. It was faint on the doppler but it was there. Later I had Erin check it when I was worried and she found it and it was in the 140's. The contractions kept getting more intense and I started to have to concentrate a little on my breathing to help with them. Of course, I could only feel them on my right side.

By 3:30 am the contractions were pretty intense and Dr. F was back to check on me. I was starting to feel quite a bit of pressure down there and I let them know. She checked my cervix and said I was ready to push. I couldn't believe it! The time had arrived for the birth of my daughter. I was scared, nervous, excited.....so many emotions at once. I had Anthony call Lindsey, who was at her mom's house waiting for our call, so she could get to the hospital to videotape Carleigh as soon as she was out. The room was a flurry of activity. Erin, another nurse, and Dr. F were getting things ready for the actual delivery and afterward. I got in position at the end of my bed and Anthony came to my side. Ashley got her camera ready and got into position to take pictures. I started pushing when the next contraction came. I got in about 3 pushes per contraction. I only had to go through several rounds of pushing and Carleigh's head was out. Dr. F suctioned her mouth and nose and then I continued with more pushes until she was completely out. It was 3:49 am. Dr. F clamped her cord and Anthony cut it. Carleigh was immediately laid on my chest. She was so beautiful. I looked at her for only a few moments and I knew she was gone. Erin listened for her heartbeat with a little stethoscope but could not find any. My daughter was born still.

All I could do was stare at this precious baby I had just given birth to. She was mine. I had wanted so badly for her to be born alive and to be able to spend some time with her but at that moment it didn't matter. Regardless if she was alive or her spirit was already in Heaven, she was in my arms and that's all I cared about. After so many months of waiting for her she was here. Beside me, Anthony was crying for our daughter. I just gazed into her beautiful face, which looked much like Kyndra. I caressed her tiny fingers and toes. I just took it all in. I noticed her bruises from being born and I wished that they weren't there. I prayed that she passed before delivery and didn't have to suffer. Right after Carleigh was born Lindsey arrived and immediately started videotaping. Ashley was already taking lots of pictures.

It was about 45 minutes later that we let our parents come in to meet Carleigh. Anthony had went out to tell them that Carleigh had been born but that she didn't make it. Many of them took it hard. Emotions ran very high that evening as we both rejoiced for Carleigh's birth and mourned for her passing. Eventually we let everyone else come back. I had Erin weigh Carleigh and she was 3 lbs and 15 oz. A small little bundle of joy! After holding her a little longer I let Erin give her a bath. Carleigh stayed in the room while she did it and we all watched. Erin was very careful and gentle with her. After her bath she came back to me and I dressed her in her hospital outfit. It fit her so perfectly except for the hat, which was too big but I wasn't surprised. I had a tiny white crochet hat with ties that fit her just perfectly. That hat pretty much stayed on her the whole time. I had a tiny pink bracelet to put on her but it was too big for her little wrist so I put her gold ring, which was too big for her, on the bracelet and put it on her left ankle. It fit better there. She was such an angel in her little white and pink outfit.

I let all of our family and friends hold her while I ate a turkey sandwich and drank a 7UP. I was quite hungry and thirsty. I am sure it meant a lot for them to be able to spend some time with her. I didn't want anyone to miss out on that experience. We got some imprints of Carleigh's hands and her feet in clay. Then we got her hand and footprints in her baby book with pink ink and on the back of a few bassinet cards. Her hands were difficult to do because her fingers were starting to curl but we managed. I had Erin measure her and she was 13 1/2 inches long. Her head was 9 inches, her chest was 10 1/2 inches, and her abdomen was 10 inches. Eventually our crew filtered out of the hospital and back to wherever they were staying and Anthony and I were alone with our daughter. Once I was able to walk we went to our postpartum room with Carleigh. We got ready for bed and went to sleep. It was really the morning but we were quite exhausted from the long day and night behind us. Anthony was on the chair/bed in the room and Carleigh and I snuggled up in my bed.

The next day our family came back to the hospital to see us and we all just spent time with Carleigh. I had my mom and dad bring donuts for the nurses for being so nice to us. I made sure they brought me some donuts too. I changed the dressing on her head and my nurse, Michaella, helped me to get some locks of hair for us to keep. She actually had quite a bit of hair on her! The days in the hospital passed by so quickly. I really don't know where the time went. Before I knew it our last day arrived. Dr. F gave us the go ahead to be discharged after she checked me over. We went over last minute papers and made arrangements to take Carleigh to Fisher & Edgington funeral home.

I changed Carleigh's outfit to an all white one that had pants and a long-sleeved shirt. I didn't have any socks so I left the little booties on her. It was very emotional changing her clothes. I knew time was drawing near where I wouldn't be able to have her in my arms anymore and I honestly wasn't ready for that. So I dressed her with tears in my eyes and then I held her so very close to my heart. All of our stuff was ready to go. Michaella brought a cart and we loaded up and she escorted us out. It felt like a walk down death row, not that I have ever experienced that but that's all I can think of to compare it to. We got to the main entrance of the hospital and Anthony and my dad went and got the cars and loaded things up. I stayed inside with Carleigh because it was a little chilly and rainy outside and I didn't want her out in that. It was just me and Michaella inside now and we hugged and cried and said goodbye. I walked Carleigh out to the van. I made sure she was covered up good with her fuzzy pink blanket. We made the too short drive to the funeral home and went inside. Craig, one of the funeral directors, was waiting for us. Anthony and I sat on the couch with Carleigh and spent our last few minutes with her. We hugged and kissed her and just stared at our precious daughter. Then I got up and I handed her over to Craig and gave her one last kiss. Honestly, that was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. It broke me. Anthony held me and I just sobbed. I couldn't catch my breath. He kept his arm around me as we went out to our van. We made the long drive home without our daughter. At that moment I never felt more empty before in all my life. I missed having her in my arms and it had only been a few minutes since she had left them. At home I could only look forward in anticipation to the next day when I could see my daughter again, even though it would be to dress her in her burial outfit.

Some days are more of a struggle than others, but every day I miss her. I am so glad I had this journey with Carleigh and that she is my daughter. She is so very special me and a blessing straight from God. Thank you, Lord, for sending her to me.

29 comments:

The G Fam said...

What an amazing experience. So beautiful. I know that she loves you so much more for giving her life and not ending it. What a blessing she will continue to be in your family's life.
heart hugs,
Emily

Brooks said...

I am so grateful to you for posting all of that. It must have been exhausting.

Anonymous said...

i have no words...my hubby is looking at me like i am crazy i am crying so bad. that was beautiful. really.
love lovinmyseabee

Mrs Banjo said...

thank you so much for shairing your journy with us. my heart goes out 2 you and your family! you are all in my prayers
rayni *remmismommy cm

Mom Putnam said...

Honey, there are no words to say to you that could ever help with the pain you are feeling. I want you to know that your father and I are so very proud of you for carrying this precious baby and giving her life. You are a strong, faithful, loving. woman and mother and I am so blessed to be called YOUR mother, you make me so very proud. We will always remember Carleigh and have her with us till God decides to take us home too. I love you more than life itself----Your MOM

MommyIvy said...

I am so sorry. My heart is breaking for you. Thank you for sharing your story. You truly are an inspiration to me. You are such a stron lady. I wish I could take some of the pain from you. Just know that God is rocking your preciuos Angel and that you will see your baby girl soon.

Sara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sara said...

I heard about your story and this blog from cafemom. I have read every post and cried so much for you and your family. I honestly can't get you out of my head. I am so sorry for your loss and will continue to pray for you. I also think Carleigh is beautiful and is blessed to have you as her mother. I can't imagine how tough this has all been on you, but I admire you very much for your grace and strength. God bless you and your family.
Sara (sawakc)

Amanda said...

Hi Holly. I originally read about you on cafemom, and I've been checking on your page regularly. Your strength and faith are amazing, and Carleigh is so blessed that she had you as her mommy. I'm so sorry for your loss, and I continue to pray for you and your family during this tough time. Sending prayer, hugs, and love your way.

Anonymous said...

God bless you and your family. Your faith and the legecy of Carleigh has changed my life. I hope to be 1/8 of the mother that you are. I'll keep you in my prayers.

stitchndeb said...

Thank you so much for posting your birth story. You are such a phenomenal person, Holly, and so faithful. I really admire you and will continue praying for you. ~Debbie

Divamommaof4 said...

God Bless you and your family. I have been keeping up with your story for only a short time But you are a very strong woman to carry her to full term and deliver. You two are both very lucky if only to have each other for a short time. But do know that she is in a peaceful place and being very well taken care of. I have cried many times from reading your story. My prayers are with you as you try to recover both physically and emotionally.

Anonymous said...

Holly...wow. What a beautiful story, and so many memories to carry on in your heart. *tear* Your birth story will be shared by many, and always remembered. Carleigh left quite an impact on a lot of people. I'm so glad that I was able to be part of this story. Thank You! Love you and see ya guys tonight.
-Linds xoxox

Celia said...

Thank you for sharing that. I really am at a loss for words. My heart aches for you & also for me for I know my journey will be so similar. I can't begin to tell you how much it means to me that you are willing to share this. I can only hope that I will have the strength to do the same when my time comes.

Sarah (Lovemy918-CM) said...

Oh my goodness Holly. Your an amazing woman. No words can express how I feel, my body is aching for you and your family. You continue to be in our prayers, We all love you at CM! So glad you shared your story

Anonymous said...

I cried when I read this and I will never forget being able to witness Carleigh being born. I feel truly blessed I was able to be apart of this amazing journey. I was worried I would be too emotional, but I managed to let out just the right amount of tears. I have never experienced joy and sorrow at the same time. I was so happy to see her, to see that you gave her a chance, and sad that she had to go so soon.

It's great to read this because I know I got photos of all of that--so it's good I didn't miss out on anything you would remember! There will always be a place for Carleigh in my heart. Like everyone has said, it's amazing to see how many people have taken the time out of their day to let you know their story has touched them as well! I think about you and your family every day!

Lots of love!
Ashley

The McDaniel's said...

Thank you for sharing this with all of us. I know that if has been typed over and over but your strength is the type I could only pray for. You are amazing in so many ways and I will continue to follow this journey you are on. I wish I could take some of the ache away from you and Anthony. My prayers will continue for you and your family!

Sarah said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am about 1 1/2 weeks from my induction. Seeing Carleigh and how perfect she was is so wonderful. I will pray for your family. I didn't realize you lived in Ohio. I am in Cincinnati. I have been following your blog for months now. Thanks again for sharing

Alissa said...

Thank you so much for sharing Holly!

Nicole said...

I cant say that I know the pain you are going through, but I do know what it is like to walk out of the hospital with empty arms and a broken heart. And I know what it is like to miss your child every day.
I am so sorry that you didnt get the chance to nurse Carleigh, like you'd wanted to.
I hope that you and Anthony, and Kyndra too, are dealing ok with this great loss.

Betty said...

Tears, tears, and more tears. Thank you so much for sharing Carleigh's birth story. I am so sorry that God didnt grant your wish to have her born alive, but He has his reasons. Ugh. What I wouldnt give to know some of those reasons about things. HaHaHa! Seriously, though...I am so sorry you had to go through that. I really am. I am so glad that you have Anthony there to lean and cry on. Strong men make all the difference! I'm sure he is hurting too. Men just have different ways of dealing with things. Your family is always in our prayers...

Andi Soergel said...

Thank you for sharing your amazing story. Like someone else said, my husband is looking at me like I'm crazy for sitting at the computer and crying! When I told him I was reading the latest update on your blog, he understood. I have been keeping him updated.
Many prayers for you and your family. God sees every tear you cry!

Stacy said...

Thanks for sharing your story! I read about you on CafeMom and I have been checking your blog daily to see how you are doing. I don't know how you are doing this, but I think you and your family are amazing people! You did something I don't know if I could do- and I am so glad you allowed us all to be on this journey with you. Thanks again and you are in my thoughts and prayers!! Stacy (stacy8606 from CafeMom)

Danielle-lee said...

Found you through Misty's blog. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are a testiment of true faith....I am in awe. I pray that your heart heals.

jennagale said...

Thanks you for sharing all of this with us Holly. It makes me cry to read your words, and I just wish I could hug you. (and Anthony!) You are one of the strongest people I know, and I'm so blessed to have you as a friend. Kyndra and Carleigh are so lucky to have you as their mother. I have shared your story with my husband and a few close family members/friends, and they all mourn for you. We are all amazed at your strength and love!
Jen

Anonymous said...

my heart goes out to you and your family.....i am friends with Celia Barnes....i have occasionally looked at your blog and followed your story because the two of you were told on the same day about your precious little babies.....my deep thoughts and prayers are with you......

With love in my heart,
Jennifer Carter

Laura said...

That is such a beautiful birth story! Thank you for sharing it with us.
I hope your heart is able to heal in time.
Love, Laura (emslala)

Mandy & Jeremy Hall said...

What a beautiful story about your daughter. She shares a special day with my son, Connor James, who was born and passed on 3/28/08.

Alexxandra said...

Hi. My name is Ali, and I found your blog through I have my own angel. I spent over an hour reading though your blog, and I want to tell you; you are amazing, and strong.
I lost my amazing son; who grew wings and swam to heaven December 5th, 2008. He was seventeen and 1/2 months old, talking more than we could stand to hear, and eagerly awaiting Santa Clause. He was a mommys boy, and I miss him... SO much. He slipped outside without anyone knowing that cold afternoon, and he fell into our family swimming pool. He was only in the water about two minutes, but the ambulance neglected to listen to us, or to check his airway; his airway was blocked by a corndog he had tried throwing back up during CPR. It was blocked for forty five minutes. My little trooper fought a hard battle for eighteen hours before his brain was scanned and he was found to be deterierating from a severe hypothermic state, he had no brain waves left after receiving no oxygen for almost an hour. We pulled his life support, and let him fly away... We miss Jayden, he was the best thing that ever happened to us.

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