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Life story
February 19, 2012
LABOR  (Mommy)

I woke up with mild contractions around 6 am. They progressed slowly but by about 10 am we were pretty certain I was in real labor and called our midwives. They arrived around 11 am and shortly after that Trish, my sister, came to take Isaac to her house. Contractions continued to get stronger and closer together. After a very long, non progressive labor with Isaac, we were surprised at how quickly it was progressing. The midwives checked Lilly's heart rate frequently and then my cervix. When I was still only 2 cm I decided to "relax" in the pool. Labor intensified and I couldn't find a bareable position but the pool did help. It was miserable and I couldn't hold anything down. Finally I was progressing but only to 4 cm. I told Casey I didn't know if I could do this. The pain was too much and unrelenting. I had him pack a hospital bag, just in case, but told myself to hold out at least another hour to see if I would progress more and hopefully go into transition.

The labor got worse. I longed to leave for the hospital but I knew the ride would be excruciating and it was an hour away. We were taught that this would happen. I would want to go to the hospital, find some relief, but if I could get past that part I would be fine and the baby would come soon thereafter. I had no breaks. The contractions started coming one on top of the other. I couldn't talk or think. Around 6 pm, at the height of a contraction, my water broke and with it came instant relief. It was so wierd. I had a strange moment of clarity. Then I looked down and saw A Lot of meconium. My midwife and I looked at each other and, practically at the same time, said we should go to the hospital.

To ensure that I wouldn't end up pushing the baby out in the car, she checked me and Lilly's heartrate before we left. Lilly was at about 132 and I was at about 5 or 6 cm so we hopped in the car and went to Miami Valley. This was not our hospital but it was only 10 minutes away and we knew a Doctor there that would take good care of us. We were excited. We thought we would just have a normal birth in a hospital instead of at home and who cared cause we would soon meet our baby girl! We weren't really concerned about the meconium. After all there was meconium with Isaac and I went almost 4 days before they talked me into a c-section.


When we got to Miami Valley we took our time getting checked in, pausing for contractions. I was vaguely concerned that since my water had broken the labor was comparatively mild. The contractions were coming every few minutes now and I could definately hold a conversation. It was just...strange. Finally we got up to triage where we waited for a nurse. I peed in a cup, stood around talking to the nurse and thought everything was normal. She put the two monitors on my stomach, one for Lilly's heartbeat and the other to monitor contractions. She chomped away on her gum asking about family medical history and medication I might be taking etc. Casey asked about Lilly's heart rate, he noticed it was low at 115. She seemed unconcerned and said it was still within normal range. She continued to ask useless questions that they should already know since I have been to this hospital several times.

Then the nightmare began. All of a sudden our little space was full of people asking me to lie down and roll over and trying to stick me with needles. Someone asked if they could do an internal monitor, we said no since to do this they literally screw something into the baby's head. They were all talking at once. No one explained anything. A doctor checked me midcontraction and OH the pain!! Then I was moving. They were taking me away from Casey and I could hear him arguing. What was going on?? Then I was in an operating room and they were trying to get me to crawl onto another bed. I said not until they let my husband in. A lady said "don't you understand we're trying to save your baby?"! NO I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND!! NO ONE TOLD ME ANYTHING! At that I must have leaped into that bed cause I was in it. Someone tried to tie me down while someone tred to gas me. I FREAKED out! And then Casey was there. He asked if they could do a spinal. I said "do whatever Dr. Woods says, I trust him". We looked at each other for a split second, panic I'm sure on both our faces, and I let the rude nurse with the gas mask attack me. I remember saying I couldn't breath, i was suffocating, and all went black.

TRIAGE (Daddy)


When we first arrived at Miami Valley we were so excited, talking about our baby girl that was so close to greeting us with her newborn cries. Lorri was in a much better place now that her water had broken, there was the meconium so of course we got to the hospital as soon as possible. Isaac had meconium and the labor lasted 4 days after so we weren't overly concerned. Arriving in Triage Lorri did the normal check-in, pee in a cup and have wires hooked up. After getting situated on the bed our midwife arrived and tagged me out so I could go park the car. Of course when I arrived at the car the battery had died! Great, now I had to wait to get a jump and park. 15 minutes later I came back inside and up to Triage having safely parked the car. I tagged our midwife back out (only allowed 1 support person with the mommy in Triage at a time). I noticed the nurse was still asking erroneous family history questions. I remember Lorri answering all of these exact same questions the last time she was here. I assumed everything had been done as far as checking on Lilly first before getting to this point. When I looked down I noticed the heart rate for Lilly was around 115ish which was low for her, always being above 130 and usually over 140. The nurse glanced at the heart rate and said it was normal, didn't seem the least bit concerned. So I didn't think anything of it. After another 10 minutes or so of questions about family history suddenly 3 more nurses arrived in the room. They wanted Lorri to turn over and tried to force her to turn mid contraction. They didn't explain why, they wanted to move the monitors around. I asked them to wait for her contraction to finish and they looked at me as if I was dumb for requesting this. They never explained that they were unable to locate Lilly's heart rate. They had Lorri switch sides twice in the next 5 minutes before about 4 other people rushed over, one a resident Dr. who wanted to check Lorri. She agreed and he then said he wanted to do an internal monitor. Again, no one indicated that they couldn't get a heart rate on Lilly, they just ordered gas on Lorri and an internal monitor. We said no and they looked at us like we were stupid. WHY DIDN'T ANYONE SAY "Hey, we can't find a heart rate"?? We would have said get her out NOW! Cut Lorri open right here if need be! Instead of having one person in charge to explain things while others worked on Lorri they talked as if we were not there, as if two (now scared) parents weren't in the room. Lorri looked at me and said to get Brenda so I quickly ran to get her. By the time I returned, less than 2 minutes later they were wheeling Lorri down to the operating room. I asked what was going on and they said they were doing an emergency cesarean. I asked why and all I was told was "We have too". You do?? Why?? I was then told I would not be able to join Lorri in the operating room and had to wait outside, there was no time to do a spinal. I was still very confused, why the rush what was going on? Finally Lorri said to trust Dr. Woods judgment, he said there was no time for a spinal, they had to get Lilly out now. I said ok and left the room with a nurse. I asked her to bring Lilly to me as soon as she was out so I could do skin to skin and begged them to take good care of Lorri. She said she would bring me Lilly as soon as possible...Then the true horror began...





Nothing could be more frightening for a husband than waiting alone outside of an operating room while his wife is having major surgery, his child being cut out of her. I remember shaking, pacing, trying not to cry in fright. I called Trish and let her know what was happening, as if I knew ANYTHING really, just that she was in the operating room. I posted a quick update on Facebook asking for prayer, things were going smoothly anymore, Lorri in the in O.R. and we just wanted everyone to be ok. Something like an anchor was in my stomach, I could barely move, barely breathe. Time seemed to stand still, another father came into my waiting room and said congratulations to me. For some reason I didn't feel like a congratulations was in order, where was my baby, where was my wife, what was taking so long?! Time went by, 10 minutes, 15, 20, then I lost track of time, time seemed like it was playing tricks on me. I have no idea how long I waited. My mind was racing, was Lorri ok, oh God, please let Lorri be ok! Was Lilly ok, God I will give and do anything but please let them both be ok! A husband that can do absolutely nothing to help his wife and child feels so scared, at least I did. We are supposed to protect our families, keep them safe. What could I do?! Nothing...wait...pace back and forth. A text came in from Trisha, any update? No...I wanted to hit the floor on my knees and cry out to God to protect them, why didn't I? What was keeping me from hitting my knees? I began to pray, I prayed as hard as I ever had before in my life. I prayed for God to be the protector, God to watch them, God to keep them safe. Keep them safe, keep them safe, protect them, help them, help the Dr.'s, help the nurses. Tears ran down my face and I kept praying. I've never felt more alone or scared in my life, I needed to be strong but how? God, be my strength!


THE NEWS (Daddy)


Finally I saw the nurse, she was coming down to me, but where was Lilly? She had another person with her, a Dr. it looked like. Oh GOD! What has happened? I felt my face pale and I stood still, my eyes were dry by this point, but I was filled with terror. It seemed like it took those two days to walk the 20 or so feet to me. They asked me to sit down and the Dr. proceeded to say "I have good news and bad news. The good news, congratulations, you're a daddy of a beautiful little girl." Relief! Wait, what is wrong with Lorri? A million possibly scenarios ran through my head at that moment, two children growing up without their mommy was the one that kept coming back, all of this happened in a split second. The Dr. looked at me and said "However, your daughter came into the world in as bad of a condition as a baby can." Time froze, what was he saying? Is Lilly ok? Is she ALIVE?! Is Lorri ok? Again, more scenarios ran through my head, now of a Daddy raising his son without a sister or mommy. Fear, no terror gripped me. He proceeded to tell me how it took them 10 minutes to resuscitate Lilly. She was now over in the NICU and they were doing everything possible to help her. I quickly asked him if Lorri was ok and they said she was fine, some great news! A bit of relief... Now to focus fully on my daughter, what's wrong? The Dr. tried to explain it to me like this. He first said that she had been without oxygen for an unknown amount of time, anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. AN HOUR!? We have been here for an hour, no way it was that long they would have noticed right?? He explained how anyone without oxygen to their brain suffers some sort of brain damage, more damage the longer you are without oxygen. He explained how they would treat this. He said they would lower her body temperature down to I think 92 degrees, he said this would help slow down any spread of brain damage. He explained how our bodies can handle this lowered temperature, how if someone fell through ice, they could survive for an extended period of time underwater without oxygen because their organs would slow down and require less energy to do their job. They wanted to start her on the cooling treatment right away, this treatment lasts 72 hours. Not only that, he said her PH was 6.5. A healthy child would have a PH of 7.4. PH is a measure of acid buildup in your blood, more acid means less oxygen. They said to imagine a marathon runner who collapses at the end, they collapse because their PH drops, the amount of acid in their blood is more than oxygen and they can't get enough oxygen to their body. They said most babies born as low as 6.9 would not have lived, she baffled them by surviving! He said her condition was beyond critical, they said about 4x critical. He mentioned a risky procedure where they reroute her blood flow to a machine that oxygenates her blood and allows her heart to rest. They would do that if they needed but they wanted their heart specialist to see if it was needed first. At this point things become a blur, I remember asking him how long she would be in the NICU, after all, she was going to get better right? He said it would be a while, weeks possibly. I remember him explaining things as good as he could and then saying he needed to get over to the NICU to help. At that point I believe I was in shock, I’m not sure I left that state for a very long time. I needed to be with my baby girl, she needed her daddy! I remember asking when I could go over there and they said right away, however I wouldn’t be able to hold her as she was hooked up to machines. I left to go see her with the Dr., I’m not sure if the nurse came with me or not. The whole time I continued to pray for God to help, for him to intervene, I also knew that I had to be back when Lorri came out of the O.R. so she wasn’t alone when they told her the news. I wished there were more of me, one to stay and wait for Lorri, the other to go be with our baby. Now that I knew the news though I was able to process everything and I was confident that Lillian would be ok, this was just going to be a rough few weeks. I had no idea what was to come… 

February 19, 2012

This is a work in progress, however, for those of you curious we have listed the main conditions that Lilly was born with and struggled with in the NICU.

Meconium aspiration syndrome: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

Meconium aspiration syndrome is a serious condition in which a newborn breathes a mixture of meconium and amniotic fluid into the lungs around the time of delivery.

PPHN Information on diagnosis, treatment and causes of Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn. SSRI/Paxil lawsuits for PPHN financial compensation.
February 19, 2012
Lillian was born at 8:22 pm on February 19, 2012. She weighed 7 lbs 14 oz and was 21 inches long.
February 23, 2012
Lillian Hope Topping passed away in her mommy's arms at 8:20 am on February 23, 2012.