Saturday, May 23, 2015

May 23 - Dear Nicholas Sparks (Guest Blogger Cary & Teresa Bracken)

Dear Mr. Sparks,

Madeline is our second daughter. We became pregnant shortly after giving birth to our first daughter Sophia. Sophia was a full term stillborn who was such a special part of our lives. When we lost her the desire to have another child never left us. As soon as the doctors told us it was okay to have another baby we tried and we got pregnant right away. The doctor watched us very closely since we lost Sophia. I had monthly ultrasounds with Maddie. My doctor chose to do Biophysical Profiles, which is a combination of ultrasound and fetal non stress test, beginning at 30 weeks. Maddie got a 10/10 on her first two. Nothing could prepare us for the 32 week BPP. She got a 4/10. She only made one movement with one of her feet. At first when we looked at the ultrasound machine the only sign of life she had was a heartbeat. She was so lethargic. The ultrasound tech and nurse hooked me up to the fetal non stress test which was non-reactive. My doctor put me in the hospital immediately for continuous monitoring. Maddie showed no signs of improvement. My doctor came in on August 27, 1998 and told my husband and I that he would be doing an emergency C-section that evening. He wanted to get another dose of the steroid in to help her lungs develop.

Nothing could prepare us for the delivery. She was barely alive when they delivered her. She got a 1 on her apgar. Her heart was barely beating. They had to immediately bag her to help her breath. No parent should have to witness this. My poor husband had to be helped to the floor because he almost fainted.

They gave me something to help me sleep after she was born. I thank God for this. I could not handle watching as they worked on her. They finally got her stable and were able to take her to the NICU unit. At this point they still didn't know what was wrong with her. Her stomach was distended. As she was in the NICU unit her stomach became more and more dark. It looked bruised. They took X-rays of her chest and stomach. They gave her medicine to help clear her lungs up. The next day my husband and I made the decision to have her moved from St Francis to Riley Hospital for Children. Since I had a C-section I stayed behind at St Francis. It was so hard watching them take her away. I wasn't sure if I would see her alive again. My husband went to Riley once they had her stable. The next morning the surgeon called my husband and told him they were taking Maddie to surgery. At this point they still didn't know what was wrong with her. After the surgery started it was about 10-15 minutes later that the surgeon came out to speak with my husband. He told Cary that he needed to sit down. He told Cary that Maddie had a left sided CDH. He also went onto tell him that her small intestine went up into the hole of the diaphragm. This caused the small intestine to completely die. He said that there was nothing that could be done to help Maddie and that the best thing for her would be to remove the vent and let her go. At this point my husband had to drive to come get me at St Francis. When he walked in the room his face said it all. We then rushed back to Riley where his family and my mother were waiting. We all went in as a family and said our good-byes. Everyone left, except our Priest, so that Cary and I could say our final good-byes. Once we did they removed the vent. Cary held her and by accident he moved her causing her to wake up. She opened one eye and looked straight at Cary and then passed away very peacefully. It was so sad yet so beautiful. The attached picture is the one where she is looking at her daddy, as she passed into Heaven!

Cary & Teresa Bracken

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