Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mom to Zoey Ellen Neal
Stillborn on May 14th, 2008
Winston, GA

In April of 2008 I was admitted to the hospital with severe respiratory problems.  My oxygen level was so low I was not able to stay conscience for long.  I was 24 weeks pregnant with a baby girl.

I was put into an induced coma when they diagnosed me with A.R.D.S (acute respiratory distress syndrome) three days later.  I spent a month in the coma while the rest of the world continued around me.  
My 2-year old daughter was passed around to family for care and asked for her mommy everyday.  But no one knew if I was going to make it or not.  Most people die from this condition.  My perinatologist performed an ultrasound about every other day to make sure the baby was doing well.  She thrived for 3 very long weeks.
On the morning on May 14th another ultrasound was performed but the doctor could find no heartbeat.  He tried for an entire hour but nothing was heard.  That evening they had to perform a c-section to remove the baby as quickly as possible so I would not have an increased risk for another infection.  I was still in the coma and had no idea what was going on.  
Zoey was 2lb 1oz, 19in long.
After Zoey was delivered, I started getting better the very next day.  i finally woke up a week later to my mom and my sister sitting beside me.  They had to tell me what happened because I couldn't remember anything from before or during the coma.  I had lost my baby and missed my living child so much that I physically hurt inside.  I had missed an entire month of her life and in a 2-year old's development, that seems like forever.
The second day I was awake they brought Zoey to me to hold.  I was still very weak and my muscles had atrophied during the coma so I had to have someone help me hold her.  I tried so hard to look at her face and her full head of hair but it was so hard to.
When they finally moved me out of the ICU into a regular room I was able to see my 2-year old.  She was kinda scared of mommy because I still had several things hooked to me and was still on some medication.  
I went to physical rehab a week later and got stronger each day.  I had to learn how to walk all over again and how to even hold a utensil.  It was hard and painful but I was able to make it through.
On the day I left the hospital on June 4th, 2008, almost 3 weeks after Zoey passed I asked to see her again.  Most babies after death begin to "turn" a few days after but Zoey didn't.  She looked just as perfect as the day she was born.  I was finally able to hold her and look at her and touch her and swaddle her.  I looked at her hair and her fingers and toes, her long feet, her skinny legs, her beautiful face.  She was a perfect angel wrapped in a pink blanket that God had preserved just for me.  The nurses said the had honestly never seen anything like it.
We buried her and had a funeral for her on June 8th with family and friends.
Today, my 2-year old is now 4 1/2 and thriving in preschool and I have had another precious baby girl in August of 2009.  I still miss Zoey everyday and wish all the time that I could hold her again, even for just a minute.  She lost her life to save mine and I will be eternally grateful for the sacrifice that baby made for her mommy before even entering the world.  I love you Zoey.


Michele said...


Thank you so much for sharing your story here. I cannot even begin to imagine what you had gone through. Please know that we are all here to support you if you should ever need anything.

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