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Our Deepest Condolences

, , , , , , | Healthy | October 29, 2018

I have been a part of the Not Always Right community for a few years now. This past year, three of my submitted stories have been published: “With A Mother Like That, Pain Tolerance Is Through The Roof,” “Already Has A Big Baby To Look After,” and “Not The Formula For A Successful Doctor.” For those that aren’t familiar, I went into labor at 29 weeks, and gave birth to a beautiful little girl.

My daughter spent 70 days in the NICU. She was released to come home mid-September, with no extra care other than a multivitamin. She was happy, healthy, and so fiercely loved.

After a month of being home, I woke up at about six in the morning with a sinking feeling. I immediately checked on her in her crib, and she was gasping, struggling to breathe. I woke up my partner, and we were going to rush her to the urgent care down the road. As I was getting in the car with her, she stopped breathing completely and went limp. Her father began performing CPR as the NICU had taught us. I called 911.

A firetruck and couple of cops arrived, and paramedics got out and took over. My partner and I were pulled away and gave statements. After a few minutes, an ambulance showed up, and my baby was loaded in and taken away. One of the paramedics offered me a ride to the hospital, and I took it.

When I arrived at the same hospital where she was born, they had managed to restart her heart. They allowed me to watch and touch her while they hooked her up to machinery, and another nurse kept her breathing with a squeeze bag.

They flew my daughter to Children’s Health Care, one of the best hospitals in the nation; think Ronald McDonald house.

My partner picked me up from the local hospital, and we drove an hour to see her at Children’s. We waited for three hours before a couple of doctors pulled us away into a private room.

They told us that she was stable; however, CPR had been performed for more than 20 minutes before she came back. Without oxygen to the brain for three or four minutes, brain cells begin to die and swell. Our daughter was unresponsive, and the doctor predicted that her heart would stop again, and told us that the merciful thing would be to refuse resuscitation. He gave it a day, maybe hours. We asked for resuscitation, anyway; if there was any chance at all, we’d take it.

My daughter made it through the day, and even through the night. Her heart was beating, but she was on max medication, and a ventilator was breathing for her. She was still unresponsive, but the nurses continued to take care of her — and us. We spent the night on the couch in her room. The nurses were absolutely wonderful.

The next morning, the doctor sat down with us and stated that he believed our 14-week-old baby’s brain was non-functional; she was brain dead.

Later that afternoon, he performed what is called a brain dead test, basically dotting Is and crossing Ts on paperwork. While still supplying oxygen, they turned off the ventilator to watch for a breath; her brain should have sent this signal. Ten minutes went by. She didn’t breathe.

At this point, she couldn’t tolerate the test, and they tried to turn the ventilator back on. Her vitals were too out of whack.

Three months after she entered this world so suddenly, she passed away peacefully in our arms.

We are so thankful to every nurse and paramedic, and everyone that helped to take care of our little girl — and us — through this impossible ordeal. These people are angels sent from heaven. My baby girl will never be forgotten.

We love you, River Madeline. You will always be in our hearts.

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