Our Daughter, Andie Grace
The very first time we heard Andie's heart beat at only 8 weeks pregnant. The doctor was sooo shocked they found it that early.
It filled our hearts with so much love. But, when the doctors told
usshe had a calcification on her heart 11 weeks later, but not to worry. I knew from then on that something was wrong. Everyone
told me I was crazy because they assured us she would be just
fine. I hate to admit this, but as I told some of you I had the
hardest time attaching myself to my pregnancy because I
was afraid something was going to happen to her. I
wouldn't buy anything. I remember one day laying in
bed holding by precious baby and belly and telling her
I was so sorry for feeling that way. I told her I loved
her so much and couldn't wait to meet and see her. It
wasn't a matter of love or want , it was ALL FEAR.
So I then started buying and tried to get past my fear,
but it was always in the back of my head.Andie was
born on February 19, 2009 @ 7:02 pm. We had a long
labor because her heart rate kept dropping. Again,
the doctors and nurses assured us it was normal. Then
at one point I burst into tears and my doctor asked
what was wrong and I told him I knew there was
something wrong with her heart. He said no she
is fine. After Andie was born, she had a little
bluish tint, but then pinked up. They said her blood
sugar was low, she had a little heart murmur, and her
APGAR scores were 6 &7 (RED FLAG) but didn't know it. Other
than that she was doing ok. Little did we all know
that Andie Grace was fighting for her life. We took
her home on Friday pm. She cried a few times
through out the night, but I fed her and she went
back to sleep. I could tell the way she was crying,
something was wrong.I even told her daddy this.
By Saturday all she wanted to do was sleep.
She would not eat or anything. She looked a little
Jaundice. Finally after 9 hours of this, I called the
pediatricians office and they said get her to the ER ASAP.
I was freaking out about taking my brand new baby to the
ER because of all the germs. They told me to go in
and tell them I have a 2 day old non responsive baby and
they would come out and look at her. So I did , the nurse
said she looks a little grey bring her in. So her daddy went
to park and we went inside the ER. Right in the lobby they
made me take her foot out of her pj's and put the pulse ox
on her toe. The nurse said OMG she is only at 56% oxygen.
They grabbed a wheel chair told me to sit down with her
and raced us to a room. It was a bad dream. They took her
from me when we got to the room. They must of had 15
doctors and nurses around her. I was just bawling. I had no
idea what was going on. Then they did the ultimate thing
you only see on TV, they sent a Chaplain in to talk to me.
I said NO. She is not going to die. This is when the
nightmare began. They kept yelling intubation. I was
yelling tell me if your going to intubate. I knew that
was serious. While all of this was going on, Duane was
parking the car and then came in and asked where we
were at. They said the room number. While the nurse was
walking him there, over the loud speaker it said room ?
CODE BLUE. Duane said what does that mean? Heart stopped
the nurse said.Dunae said that is my daughters room.
So they walked a little faster of course. Then he walks
in the room to me bawling andthe Chaplain by me.
He looked an me and I just said
"what is going "? He just hugged me and didn't know what to say.
We both felt like it was all a bad dream.
I will never forget one of the NICU
nurses who kept giving me eye contact. Finally the
NICU doctor yelled ANYONE WHO DOES NOT NEED TO
BE HERE LEAVE NOW! I think all the interns, etc were
so excited to see a new baby to work on they all came.
After that, the great nurse grabbed my hand and said touch
your baby we have her stable. I kept saying I wanted her
up to the NICU. The ER doctor then told me I had to
give him permission to release her to the NICU. I signed
the papers, and away we went. It was just like a scene
from the show ER. The rushed her and us through some
back doors to the main elevators, made everyone in the
elevator get out and was waiting for us."Hold the elevator
for mom and dad" I couldn't walk very fast, because I was
full of stitches. I yelled go just go . We will be right behind
you, so they did. The neonatologist walked with us and then
explained what would go on from here. They were going to
run some tests to see if she was septic, sick with pneumonia,
Group B, RSV,etc, and a heart defect. When we got there,
so was the Chaplain. One of the sweet nurses asked us if
we wanted him to leave an we were like
YES PLEASE ANSD NOW! By this point they told
us they thought we would be in the NICU for at least two
weeks. So the planning started in my head for the boys,
because I was not leaving her alone. By around 10 pm that
night they told us she had one of two heart defects and
they hoped for the better one. But now we had a new
problem too. Her lugs had Pulmonary Hypertension.
They were not infected, they were big and not functioning
right because of the heart defect. They then told us we
would go to ST Joes to the pediatric cardiac unit. At first
by helicopter and then they felt they had her stable enough
for an ambulance ride. As scared as I was to go with her in the helicopter, it had to have been better than that rough ride.
So Sunday by noon we were on our way to St Joes. Dad and
Grandma Paulus followed the ambulance. I couldn't believe
when we walked through those double doors on that
7th floor ALL the babies with heart defects. They made
us step aside why they got her all hooked up and then
we all moved in. Believe it or not, it was a nice room. Day
two at St Joes hospital,( but Andie was for days old )they
finally had to do the inevitable. They had to put her on
a breathing tube. I was there by myself that early am
and crying my eyes out standing by her door. They brought
me a chair, I will never forget that.I felt like I was going
to pass out. They were trying to get her lungs down and
healthy before they fixed her heart problem. By 3pm on
her fourth day, they told us they were going to surgery
or she could die and they were going NOW !We had to
sign release forms. I talked and cried to her, told her to
please fight, told her to please get better so she could
wear all her cute new head bands, and we would lay in
bed eat and watch TV forever. I did try to remember
every wrinkle in her foot and hand just in case and
most of all I told her how much I love her. But I NEVER
said good bye. I just had something come over me that
said she was going to pull through this surgery. Even
after the jerk anesthesiologist told us on the way to
the operating room, you know she may not make it
through this. Well no **it!! Thanks! We let anyone that
was there to visit, see her just in case. We got to walk
her all the way to the surgery room. I talked to her
until the minute they wheeled her in the room. Finally
I don't remember how long it was , but shorter than
they said. The nurse came in the waiting room and
told us she was doing great and did not have to put her
on ECMO.( Lung and heart bypass) and would be back in
her room soon.Which all in all they should have put her on
ECMO so her body could rest and possibly heal fully. They
would not let us in her room until they got her all settled.
When we finally saw her, she looked sooo different. She
was so swollen because of all the fluid she was retaining
from the surgery. I thought she had down syndrome. The
nurses laughed at me even though I was serious. You can
see from the pics what I mean. She was on 14 to 16 IV
meds at once.She fought hard for a while and a lot of
the docs had no hope. Then finally she started responding.
We had finally turned that coner they said and what news
that was to hear. AMEN!
Andie continued to fight for her life, overcoming the impossible.
On Monday March 9th, they got her ready for her to be
extabated.She did okay for a while. Finally they pulled it
out that pm.I got to hold her the next am for the first time
in two weeks.But don't think for a moment I didnt cherish
every finger hold,looks she gave me, books I read to her
and just looking and talking to her everday while she was in her isolate. But by the next pm, she wasn'tdoing well. They had to reintabate her and bag her a lot to keep oxygen in her lungs.
It went from bad dings from machines all night letting us know
she had a problem ,to us knowing she was doing good
and the ding were meds running low or her brest milk out,
back to us knowingshe was doing bad again. They tried
for that whole week by putting her back on meds she
passed to go off before.They tried by using meds in her
brething tube which they had never did before.When they
did this Grandma Paulus and I were the only ones there.
We went to the waiting room, because I was soo scared. The pulmonologist came in and said her numbers are up,but it
could be a shortlived celebration. We walked back in her room. Remember, they had her fully sedated and when we walked in she
opened and closed her eyes for a quick moment at fisrt I
thougt she was saying Im trying to fight mommy. But now
I think that was Good bye mommy , I love you. The only
thing I wish they would have done, is put her on ECMO,
which is lung and heart bypass and it would have given
her lungs and heart a full rest to heal. Lets just say we
fianlly had to have a meeting with the doctors on Thurdsday
the 12, 2009. Thats when they said they had calls into
other hospitals, and mentioned the meds in in her bretahing
tube. By Thursday midday, they put the meds in her tube
and she was sedated. Grandma Paulus and I were the only
ones there and we went to the waiing room, because I was
scared. They came in and siad her number swebt up, but it
could be short lived. They were right. She again was being
poked everywhere with new IVs wondering if one was
clogged and they had to keep bagging her to keep oxygen in
her lungs, By Friday am, I looked at Duane and cried and said
she can NOT suffer and go through anymore he agreed.
During Andie's final week…which was when they thought
she was doing well enough to take her off the ventilator.
It didn't go as planned…Andie's little heart and lungs…had enough.
We then had another meeting with the docs who said there was nothing else they could do. So we called our family in the
conference room and told them we were going to make her comfortable and it was time to recieve her wings.
The wings of honor.I had one rule, I wanted her room
packed and cleared out before we said our goodbyes.
We made phone calls and had all family and friends
come say goodbye. Then Duane and I asked everyone
to leave cause it was our time. We talked to her ,
told her we were sorry and how much we
love and would miss her. I don't know how I did it.
I aksed to change a diaper before she died.They let me.
I had my private time with her. Then Duane held her as
they gave her something to make her comfy. I sat next
to her and rubbed her hed and we just talked to her
until she passed. Then I asked to change her diaper agian
and get her dressed. We stayed another 2 hours just talking
and holding her, but we knew her soul was gone.
We fell in love the first time we heard that precious heart beat…
and ours heart broke into pieces when we sat there by her side and watched her heart beat…one last time.On March 13th, 2009, Andie went to Heaven and received her wings.
Her wings of honor.
We love and miss you so much baby girl