Monday, June 1, 2015

June 1 - Dear Nicholas Sparks (Guest Blogger Michele Childress)

Dear Mr. Sparks,

I'd like to share the story of our precious cherub in heaven. Where should I begin? In September 1997 we had a healthy baby boy named Larry Jr. When he was little over a year old we were ready to have another baby. I conceived Kayla in Jan. 1999, her due date was set for October 9 1999. The pregnancy started out great with no complaints. On May 14th I had my 1st ultrasound. They had told me she was developing normally. Then I began having problems with pains in my pelvic area and rib area. I told my doctor and they gave me medication for a urinary tract infection. My 2nd ultrasound was on June 18th.I was told we were having a healthy baby girl. We were so excited and began getting prepared for her arrival. The pains I'd been having became more frequent and settled also in my back. The doctors still believed everything was fine. Then I began getting so big (my stomach)! I went to see my doctor and said "Am I farther along than I thought?" He then became concerned so he had an ultrasound ordered that day on Aug. 2nd.It showed that Kayla was healthy and I had developed "Polyhydramnios". He said that was the main causes of my discomfort. He scheduled an appointment for me to see a specialist to remove some of the fluid for the next week. (Aug. 12) I didn't make it that far. I began having uncomfortable cramps on Aug. 8th at around 4:00pm.I knew in my heart something was wrong. At 7:30pm I called the hospital and they told me to come in but they were not too concerned. We got my things together, kissed our son goodnight while his grandfather stayed (Larry's dad). When we arrived at the hospital at 8:30 they had me filling out so many papers. Finally I went upstairs. The nurses checked me and said, "Your not going home", I was dilated at 3 already. I was so frightened. They put meds in my IV to stop labor but it would not work so they gave me steroids and gave me an epidural because my contractions got worse. My labor was so long!They gave me an ultrasound on the 9th to check on her condition. "Still doing well, just wanting to see you early", the doctors said. Later that day they removed some of my amniotic fluid in fear that she may get tangled in the umbilical cord if my water broke since I had a large amount. The doctor came in the next day and poked 3 small holes in my amniotic bag to break my water. At 4:22pm Aug. 10th 1999 our beautiful baby was born. That's when we found out our lives would change forever. They rushed Kayla's tiny body to NICU. She only weighed 4lbs 5oz. And was 161/2 inches long. I was told before she was born that this would happen because her lungs would be underdeveloped. A neonatologist and my doctor came back in my room about 15 minutes later and that's when I found out that Kayla had a diaphragmatic hernia (left). They told me that she needed to be flown to Kaiser Sunset in Hollywood that night. My mother was there to support us throughout the whole time and my sister also. I went to NICU to see her. I was determined to have the strength to stand and see her. There were so many wires, tubes, IVs and a ventilator. I was so devastated and in much shock. They told me she was sedated and they didn't want her to have much stimulation. The helicopter came and took her to Hollywood Los Angeles. They wouldn't release me so my mom took our son and drove to L.A. to be with her and give consent to her treatments she would need until I could come. She arrived at 6:05am in critical condition. At about 8:10am I received a call asking for my consent to give Kayla Nitric Oxide. They told me she was more ill than she was before arriving. At about 12:00pm they finally released me. My husband and I left L.A. we arrived at 4:00pm. Some doctors and a genetics doctor took us in another room and told us Kayla may not survive, to be prepared for her to that day. I wouldn't give up my hope. The Lord answered our prayers that day! She became stable. On Aug. 16th, she fought through her 1st surgery. They repaired the hernia. After they began feeding her formula for preemies she began spitting all of it back up. They soon realized that she was suffering from reflux. They performed her 2nd surgery on Sept. 3rd. It went well and with the G-tube in her stomach she began eating well. If all this wasn't enough Kayla's geneticist came and told us that she had a chromosomal disorder called Pallister Killian Syndrome.Her chances of survival had dropped even more. On Oct. 13th we were home and received a call saying that Kayla may come home to a hospital here because she'd be able to come home within a couple of weeks because she was doing so well. She was off of the vent now and using nose prongs for oxygen. The doctor made arrangements with the only doctor here who knew how to care for her. Kayla came to Bakersfield Oct. 14th, we were so happy and went to be with her. Then her new doctor dropped a bombshell on us, "I'm going to leave tomorrow to work in India" she said. A deep pit filled me where my stomach was supposed to be. I felt in my heart that something may go wrong because her next doctor had no idea how to care for her and he was asking us if we knew.

Oct. 15th, they told me they were trying to change her G-tube to a bigger one because "It was taking too long to feed her". They couldn't get the bigger one in so they put the same one back in. She cried for hours. I begged for them to give her something for the pain but they said she'd be fine. Then Oct. 16th she was back on the vent. We stayed with her all day because she was very ill. The doctor said "she may have pneumonia" but wasn't sure. He did say she'd pull through ok. That night Kayla had many seizures and her heart kept stopping so they gave her meds and performed CPR many times to restart her heart. This happened all night. At 3:00am we went home to rest a few hours so we could be with her. At 5:45am Oct. 17th we had received a call "Come to the hospital because Kayla's isn't doing well". We went straight there and when we walked in the door they told us not to scrub in. We were being taken to a private room. I saw the desk monitor and her heart had stopped. They told us that her time of death was 6:00am.We had arrived at 6:10am.We were so devastated and so upset. We held her cold precious body for hours and my husband had to take her from me to give to the nurses because I said that I wasn't going to let go. I honestly thought she would wake up. Then much guilt filled me, and anger too. "What did I do to hurt my baby?" I still feel that way. I felt as if my heart was ripped out of my chest. We had a beautiful, large funeral for her. Everyone had been so grateful; my mom, my stepfather, my siblings, our good friends and a few relatives. My shock and disbelief is over but depression and guilt still fill my heart. Our 2 year old son keeps us busy and the Lord is here for me too. I'll never forget Kayla for her precious memories remain forever. We have a box full of her pictures, clothing, and many other mementos. We visit the cemetery every weekend. I like to put toys and flowers on her stone. I only got to hold her a few times and not for long. I did get to change her diapers a few times too. I do not regret having her, the only regrets I have are that I wish I could have spent more time with her, I wish she had stayed in Hollywood until time to come home and I wish I never went home to rest the morning she died. My advice to anyone whose lost an infant is keep your head up, don't lose faith, let God show you the way and don't listen to anyone who tells you to forget about your baby and move on. May God bless you. Also treasure your sweet memories forever.

Kayla's mom, Michele Childress 

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