Monday, April 09, 2007

On November 30th 2006, our beautiful baby boy Charlie was born into this world, and on December 4th, he left to become an angel.
At our 18 week ultrasound we found out that Charlie was going to be born with a heart defect called transposition of the great arteries. We were told not to worry because this was on of the easy ones to fix. For the rest of the pregnancy we were worried of course, but very optimistic that we'd have a wonderful outcome. On Tuesday, November 28th, my water broke unexpectedly. I was scared because I was only 34 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I knew it was too soon for Charlie to be here, so I was terrified. We went to the hospital where they told us that my water had indeed broken, and that they'd get me into a room and call my doctor. 15 hours later, they decided to induce me. After 28 hours of labor, (17 hours of natural/no drugs, and 11 hours with epidural) I didn't progress past 3 cm, so a cesarean section was done. They hurried Charlie past me so I could see him as they were getting ready to transport him to nearby Children's hospital. Our Charlie was rushed to the NICU because when he stopped crying, he would stop breathing. They diagnosed Charlie with Respiratory Distress Syndrome and told us his lungs were not mature enough. (I had asked them if they could give me steroids when my water first broke to help develop his lungs and they said "no, he should be fine").
After bagging Charlie for 6 hours to help him breathe, they finally got him on a oscillatory ventilator.
As I sat in the recovery room at one hospital, our Charlie fought for his life at another one. When I finally got to my room, my mother told me that Charlie was in trouble (no one had told me anything before that time because I was so out of it that they didn't want me to be hysterical). My mom went and told the nurses that I needed to be taken via tunnel to Children's to see my son. They said "no" because I still had the epidural in and they needed my doctors approval. They said that I could see him tomorrow.
My mom told them I needed to go NOW because he may not be there tomorrow. The nurses immediately hoisted me into a wheel chair, and took me to see him.
When I saw him, he was hooked to many machines and monitors. He was still blue, despite being on a ventilator. The chaplain was there and both my husband and my family were praying. (they bended the 2 people per bedside rule that night so everyone could see him) Charlie was baptized just in case the worst happened.
The praying and the baptism seemed to work, because Charlie improved significantly. Over the next few days, Charlie was slowly being weaned off of the ventilator (although not completely). He has a balloon septostomy/heart catheter procedure done on December 1st to open up a hole in his heart to allow his heart to function better until he was well enough for surgery. The risks for this procedure were heart attack and stroke, although the chances of either of those happening are so tiny that the benefits outweigh the risks. The only thing we noticed after the procedure was that Charlie's leg was purple afterward since they put the catheter in at the top of his leg.
December 2nd and 3rd, Charlie continued to improve. On December 2nd, we had very few visitors. We took that time to spend with Charlie without the pressures of entertaining others.
On December 3rd, we got to hold Charlie for the first, and sadly the last time while he was here on earth. It was the happiest day of my life. The nurse felt comfortable enough to let us hold our Charlie although he was hooked up to a million machines and monitors. I sang to him, and rocked him. Both my family, and my husbands' family came from out of town to spend the day with Charlie.
That night, as my husband and I were leaving for the night we felt safe knowing Charlie was being well cared for. (We only were going 100 feet to the Ronald McDonald house next door) We kissed Charlie goodnight, talked to his nurse for a bit, and then kissed him again and left. We went to the Ronald McDonald house to try to get some rest.
Exhausted, we reluctantly fell into an uneasy sleep, but only for a little while. Only a few hours later, at 1:42 a.m. on December 4th Corey received an alarming phone call from one of the nurses at the NICU. She said to come quickly because Charlie's heart had stopped.
We raced to the NICU, only to find 30 doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals surrounding our son. They looked hopeless. They tried for over an hour to help Charlie find a regular heartbeat, but it was to no avail. At 2:54 a.m. on December 4th, our Charlie became an ANGEL.

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