Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mom to Andrew Monroe
November 4th, 2007 - November 30th, 2007
State Road, North Carolina

My husband, Skip, and I met 7 years ago, and finally married March, 2, 2007. We were so happy to actually be married, and were excited to start a family. We found out that we were expecting at the end of June 07. We were so elated to be bringing our first little one into the world. The expected due date was 2-21-08, which fell in between the rest of the family's birthdays. Mine is 2-14, and my husbands is 2-20, not to mention the rest of the family with Feb. birthdays. so the two of us argued about who's birthday our li'l one's would end up falling on. The 21st would have been solely his though.

I went to all of my doctors appointments, and I had the most amazing doctor ever, and the pregnancy was going along smoothly, and everything was perfect. All of the tests came back negative.. and all the ultrasounds showed our li'l peanut to be growing just as he was supposed to. All of his organs were forming and working just as they should while still inside mommy.

I kept telling my husband we were going to have a girl, because of all the "old wives tales" but we finally got to see what we were having at my 20 week appointment. He was definitely all BOY. I was a little disappointed because I wanted a little girl to dress up and play with, but ecstatic none the less that our little boy was growing and doing so well. He had all of his parts and his little heart and kidneys were so perfect on the pictures, and performing as they should. He was beautiful.

Everything continued to go smoothly for the next few weeks, except that I actually started having the "pregnancy symptoms." I started to have a dull ache in my lower back, but didn't think anything of it other than it being the hormones, and just pains from my growing belly. However, the day before I was to go for my 24 week appointment, Oct. 31, I started having some minor spotting, so I called the doctor to see if I needed to come in. They told me not to worry and just take it easy for the day since I had an appointment (that I never made it to) the next day anyway. The rest of the day was pretty much uneventful, I stayed off my feet, and took the day off of work, and just took it easy like the nurse said. By that night the spotting had more or less quit, and I went to bed at ease, thinking that everything would be okay, and I would get to go to the doctor tomorrow and he would tell me that everything was great. That didn't happen.

I woke up around 5:30am on Thursday morning, Nov. 1, to go to the bathroom, and had a gush of water on the way back to bed. I awoke my husband and told him we needed to get to the hospital immediately. When we got there, my doctor came in and tested to see if it was truly amniotic fluid(it was), and checked out to see how our little boy was. He was still doing just fine, heart rate around 160-170 and moving around just like normal. However, things could change very quickly since my membranes had ruptured. They rushed me to a hospital that was capable of taking care of a high risk pregnancy, and a premature baby. I spent almost 2 days in LnD ICU, hooked up to all kinds of monitors, and IV's, to slow down the inevitable. Everything still looked pretty good and they figured that they would be able to move me, if it continued to go well. After about 40 hours of being in that dreadful room, they sent me to antepartum, where I would spend the rest of my time until my son was born, have it be a few hours or the next few months. Again everything seemed to calm back down, and every time they checked on him, his heart rate was strong and he wasn't in distress.

My husband never left my side, unless my parents were there, and then he only left long enough to come home and take a shower, and change clothes. He wanted to make sure that I was okay and that I wouldn't be alone in case something happened. We were all praying that I would have a very long hospital stay, and that Andrew would wait until closer to his due date to make his appearance, but he had other plans.

On Nov. 4, 2007, at around 9:50 I started having some pain in my side, and I called in the nurse and she checked me and the baby, and said that he was still doing fine, and that I wasn't having contractions - or at least if I were they were to small for the monitor to pick up. Nonetheless she called the doctor in to come do a check, and when they did they found that the cord had prolapsed through my cervix, and they rushed me in for emergency c-section. They were in such a hurry to get my little man out, that I was not even starting to get numb before they began the surgery. Everything happened so fast, it was unbelievable. They rolled me back for surgery at around 10:00 and Andrew was born at 10:13. They tell me he didn't breathe on his own before they tubed him, but I know I heard him cry. I didn't get to see him right after he was born, they immediately rushed him off to the NICU, so they could get him started on all of his machines. My husband held my hand as they stitched me back up, and then sent me to recovery. He then took my parents back to see him, as I stayed in recovery trying to move my toes. I finally got to see my perfect little boy at around 2:30 am. He looked so pitiful hooked up to all those machines, and IV's, but he was so gorgeous. I spent the next 3 days in the hospital recovering from my surgery, and spending time with my son. It was 3 of the hardest days that I had ever been through. We never knew what to expect as we went into the nursery or called them to check on our son. He would go from having a really great day to being horrible in a matter of minutes. he started gaining strength, and was lower on the vents on the day that I was released, so it made it somewhat easier to leave. I was so sad to leave and not bring him home with us,since that's what mommies are supposed to do.. go to the hospital... have their baby and bring them home.. however Andrew wouldn't be coming home for a very long time, if he survived.

The rest of the week went by fast, and Andrew seemed to be doing well. He was completely off of his blood pressure medicine, and his vent settings were the lowest that they had been. They had begun to feed him, and they even let us spend some time and take some pictures with him, as they cleaned his little isolette. We had gone on Friday, Nov. 9, and since he was having such a good day, we thought that we would wait until Sunday to come back and see him; again Andrew had other plans. On Nov. 10, the nurse called and said that he had some discoloration on his abdomen, and that they had to go up on his vent settings, and start giving him more mediation, and that they had stopped the feeds. He was going to have to be transfered to another hospital where he could be taken "better care of." The doctor at the other hospital diagnosed him with NEC, and told us that he would have to have surgery. They placed a little rubber drain tube in his stomach, so the bad stuff could drain out, and help to prevent an infection or further complications. He would have to have another surgery later, when he got bigger to fix the hole in his bowels.

Again.. he came back from that, he was our little soldier and he fought so hard to stay with us. He was coming back and doing really well again, his vent settings were really low, and he had began to get some color back. But as the NICU roller coaster goes.. there is usually a downhill ride when you've been going up so high. He had another episode, and his left lung collapsed, his right lung was overinflated, and his blood pressure was declining because the right lung was putting pressure on his heart. The doctors had told us time and time again, that they had done all they could.. and were asking us what we wanted to do about his care.. we told them to continue going as hard as they could..Again.. he came back from that..his vent settings were getting lower, he was off of his meds, and everything again was looking up. I had called to check on him at 11:30 pm on Nov. 29, and the nurse that I loved ohh so much, Ladia, was telling me that he was down on his vent settings, and that she was going to have to turn him down some more because his 02 sats were too high. That was such wonderful news since he was already on 40% and had been on 100% for the past few days. However, Andrew had one last surprise for us.. He was tired, he'd been through a lot, and he finally decided that he had had enough. We received a call early Friday morning, and the nurse told me that somehow, his vent tube had come out, and that he had passed. To this day I remember the sinking feeling when I heard the phone ring.. and I was so afraid to answer it, after everything had been going so well that day, our little Andrew was tired, and he had gone home to be with the Lord.

Though the 26 days that he was with us, were some of the toughest days that I hope that we will ever go through, we enjoyed the time that we got to spend with our son. It was a hard time for all of us, never knowing what you might hear on the other end of the line. But now, we no longer have to worry about it; he is at peace, and he doesn't have to suffer. Though my dreams for my son are shattered, I know that his life now is better than any I could have ever given him.

I love you forever Andrew, and though you never spoke with words, your little soul spoke volumes to all the hearts of those that knew you. We will never forget the 26 days that we had your beautiful soul with us.

It was heartbreaking, and each day it's tough just to get out of bed in the mornings, but I have peace in knowing that my little angel is in Heaven, watching over me. It's definitely a pain that I would never wish on anyone, because each day I have to live with the hole in my heart. I wish to be a mother so bad, but it's hard to even think about getting pregnant again, because I am so worried that I might have to bury yet another child. The 26 days that I spent being a mother to Andrew, were the best days of my life, even though they were tough. It was so amazing the connection and the love that I had, and still have for my li'l man. I miss him so much, but I know that he's in a perfect place, and I know that I will get to see and hold him again.

As we celebrate our birthday's we also celebrate him. He brought so much love into our lives, that I may have never known unless we got to meet him. Though I wish that we could be celebrating his birthday in the coming weeks, I know that he is celebrating in Heaven with our friends and family.

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