Monday, April 18, 2011

Ethan Thomas Gauchay

Our Little "E" returned to his Heavenly Father on April 12th. We had the wonderful opportunity to spend 7 wonderful days with his little spirit. It's hard, it's bittersweet. But we will cherish forever the time we were given to be his parents. After a long hard fight, Ethan passed peacefully in our arms. As hard as it was, we will always treasure those last moments with him. We had a beautiful graveside service with family and close friends on Saturday. We're so very grateful for the love and support that we've received through the difficult time in our lives.

I will hold on hope.

I'll find strenghth in pain.

I will change my ways.

I'll know my name as its called again.

For Ethan's Story, scroll down (it's in 5 parts)

Little "E" Part Four

The next few days were a roller coaster of ups and downs. Every morning brought with it new accomplishments and every night ended with new challenges. Wednesday April 6th After the morning X-rays, the doctors said your lungs were looking much better. Our new doctor, Dr. D, doesn't think you were seizuring yesterday, he thinks that it was just reactions from being born so early and so quickly. The brain scan was sent to a specialist at Primary Childrens hospital. They say there's a possibility your brain isn't bleeding and instead it's just swollen due to the emergency situation of the day before. Today they put a bili light on you. They're worried about you getting jaundice, so they're trying to kick it early. Your little body is all swollen and puffy today because of the fluids they've been pumping into you. Yesterday you weighed 2lbs 7oz and today you weigh 3lbs 2oz. The nurses stimulate you as little as possible so you can be comfortable. They try to touch you only every 6 hours. We figured out their time schedule today so we can be ther to touch you and help them do your tests. Today they let us take your temperature and change your diaper while they were doing their tests. We LOVED to be able to spend that extra time with you. Thursday April 7th You maintained your blood pressure through the night and they've started to take you off your meds! We got back another ultrasound of your brain, this time they're sure there's been some bleeding and we're watching to see the effects and whether or not it's spread. We had a tough talk with your doctor on what this could mean for your little body. The nurses have also discovered some blood in your urine, which means your kidneys and liver are still struggling. Your little body is so swollen with all the extra fluid they've pumped into you. Dad, Rhett and Great Uncle Barry gave you a blessing of health tonight. It was beautiful. You were also given your first "fats" tonight through IV. We call the IV your twinkies..

Friday April 8th

We got back the second brain scan this afternoon. The bleeding stopped and didn't spread. This is a huge positive! Your kidneys are starting to catch up with your body and they're doing awesome now! Grandma Curtis got to spend some special time alone with you today. She's been our angel through this process. We're still watching the effects of the bleeding on your brain and we're still worried about your liver.

Saturday April 9th

The newest tests show that your liver might be doing better. Your lungs are doing better and they've been able to turn down the help you're getting from the oxygen machine. The nurse waited for mom to get there before she changed your diaper. We waited too long and you had peed through the bedding! The nurses don't like this because it means they have to take you out of your incubator, but Mom and Dad loved it, because we got to hold you for a few short minutes while the nurse hurried and changed your blankets. Your swelling has gone down a ton and you're starting to look like a skinny baby again. This is a good sign that your liver and kidneys are doing better.

Tonight was a tough night because we had a blunt talk with the doctor. You're showing signs of improvements in small areas, but they have some big concerns. They've decided to wait until Monday to make any tough decisions. Dad, Grandpa Curtis, Grandpa Tom and Uncle Jeffrey gave you a blessing tonight. We also asked all our family to fast and pray for you tomorrow.

Sunday April 10th

They were able to take you off all your blood pressure meds, but you've started showing signs of seizures again on your monitors. We got to change your bedding again today and weigh you. Mom and Dad got to pick you up and we LOVED it! The nurses are going to start putting extra big (Preemie size) diapers on you today so they won't have to change your bedding again. We talked to Dr. Chan today. The outlook is grim, but we're getting a second opinion tomorrow. They think the reason why you started struggling inside of me is because you somehow got yourself lodged up against the umbilical cord and it started to cut off your supply of oxygen and blood.

Monday April 11th

Today while Mom and Grandma were sitting with you, you started to wiggle your foot. We got so excited that it was a sign of your medications starting to wear off. The doctor told us it was just a muscle twitch. Mom and Dad had a feeling that the doctors would have a hard talk with us today. They did. They're not seeing improvements in the areas that they need to be seeing and they feel like they've done everything they can for you. We had a specialized doctor from Primary Childrens come over and check you out. He thinks they've done everything they can for you too.

It broke Mommy and Daddy's hearts to hear the news. Your nurse got you out of your incubator tonight so we could rock and snuggle you for the first time. We loved every minute of it and we're so grateful for the fight your little body has been giving for us. We had a really hard time leaving you tonight and going home.

Tuesday April 12th

We will always remember this as a bittersweet day. Your grandparents and some aunts and uncles were able to come say their goodbyes and hold you for the first time. It was a wonderful time as everyone took their turn to tell you how much they loved you.

Mom and Dad spent all afternoon with you. We had some pictures taken together that we will cherish forever. We were given the wonderful blessing to hold you and love you as you passed away peacefully in our arms. It was the hardest day of our lives, but we know you're in a better place and your little body is finally at peace.

Little "E" Part Three

Ethan Thomas Gauchay was born on April 5th at 5:45 PM. He weighed 2 lbs 7oz and was 14inches long.

It seemed to take hours to get any news on what was going on with Ethan. I was getting anxious, as I was laying there being sewn up. I finally started asking how long it would take to get an update on our little guy so our anesthesiologist sent someone out to get answers for us. Though it felt like hours, it was really only 10 minutes before a doctor came in to talk to us about Ethan. The doctor said he wasn't stable yet, but they were doing everything they could. He had started seizuring right after he was delivered and the medical team was trying to get the seizures to stop.

They said they would try and let us see him as soon as possible. After about 45 minutes of being stiched up, I was wheeled back to my room to recover. As soon as we got back in my room, they told Geoffrey he could go in and see Ethan for the first time. He grabbed the camera and took off to see our little guy.

The medical team was still trying to get the seizures to stop while Geoffrey was with him. It took a lot of doses of 2 different powerful medications to finally get them to stop. They were also having trouble with his lungs. They weren't quite big enough to support his little body. He was on a ventilator that was pumping 600 breaths per minute and causing his tiny chest to bounce quickly. The third concern came from an ultrasound they did of his brain. There were some dark areas showing up on the results and doctors were debating whether or not his brain was bleeding.

The doctors thought it was best for me to get to a certain point in my recovery before I would be able to see my sweet little Ethan. So, for the first couple hours of his life, all I got to see were pictures that Geoffrey took.

Two hours after he was born, I was finally able to see him for the first time. They wheeled my entire bed from my recovery room into the NICU. He was perfect. Ten fingers, ten toes, a tiny little body. It broke my heart to see how many tubes and machines were hooked up to him. I couldn't get to him very well because he was in an incubator, but they opened up the side and let me touch him for the first time. I couldn't believe this tiny little man was my miracle baby that had been fighting for months to stay inside of me. After just a couple of minutes with Ethan, they wheeled me back into recovery, and then finally back to my room that had become my home in the hospital. The doctors kept us updated of his condition and I pushed my nurses to let me see him again. We were told that they weren't sure if he would make it through the night, but if he did they would reassess his condition in the morning. With that weighing on our hearts, we decided to give him a name and a blessing that night. Our nurse and the wonderful nurses in the NICU made it possible for my parents, Geoffrey's parents, and both Geoffrey and I to all be together in the room with him while Ethan's Dad gave him a beautiful blessing and in it, named him Ethan Thomas Gauchay. We stayed with him for as long as we could that night and then headed back to our room to get some rest.

Little "E" Part Two

April 5th started like any other day in the hospital. My Dad stopped by first thing that morning to say Hello and spend some time with me, and then my Mom came in the afternoon to talk and entertain me. About 3 o'clock that afternoon, I went in for another non-stress test. I was nervous about the test because the last couple of days hadn't showed results as good as what I'd gotten in the past. I had voiced my concerns to my doctors about the tests, but they reassured me that it was normal to have variations in the tests and they thought he was doing fine. My mom came into my test with me like she did most days and talked to me while I was being monitored. Geoffrey was also in and out of the testing room. He was usually at work while my tests were being done, but it was a lot later in the day then I normally had my test done, so he happened to be back from work this time. About 20 minutes into the test I started to realize I hadn't felt Ethan kick yet, this is one of the tests that he was usually pretty active during. When the nurse came to check how my test was doing I voiced my concerns to her, she looked at the test results and said he hadn't had any accelerations in his heart rate. This was a big concern. She suggested giving the test a couple more minutes and then she'd go show it to my doctor and get an opinion on what the next step should be. After a couple more minutes, they still weren't seeing the results that they wanted to see. She took the test results and went to find my doctor, when she came back she told me my doctor wanted me to go in for an ultrasound called a biophysical profile. They would watch Ethan for 4 different types of movements for a 30 minute time period and give us a score out of 10. It was the longest 30 minutes of my life. Geoffrey and I sat watching the monitor begging Ethan to move around and let us know he was okay. By the end of the test, he had moved very little. The ultrasound tech gave us a 0 out of 10 as our score. Our hearts sunk. I couldn't believe this was happening. I had made it 8 weeks and still had 7 1/2 to go. It was too early for him to come. At that point, our doctors decided to move us immediately into the labor and delivery wing of the hospital. I was hooked up to monitors so they could continue to watch Ethan. My doctor came in and reassured us that they weren't ready to deliver him yet, they just wanted to monitor him some more. She told me to relax and let me know that I could be in there for awhile being monitored and then turned and left the room. I asked my nurse to find my mom and send her in to sit with us. A couple of minutes later my doctor came quickly back into the room with an army of nurses and residents following her. She told me that they had looked at my tests a little bit closer and felt they needed to deliver him immediately. Before I could blink I had all kinds of people working on me and getting me ready to deliver our little Ethan. Somewhere in the chaos Geoffrey gave Ethan and I a blessing. I felt everything would be okay. Geoffrey was given scrubs to change into, and they were pushing me down the hall into an operating room. The operating room was just as chaotic, there were so many people and so much happening around me, I couldn't make sense of it all. My anesthesiologist gave me a spinal block and I was ready to go. The delivery happened so quickly, Geoffrey was able to stand at my head and watch our little man come into this world. As soon as Ethan was out, he was immediately whisked through a window into the NICU so they could begin working on him. I didn't get to see him and Geoffrey only got a quick glimpse as he was handed off to the Neonatologist. As they continued my surgery, all I could think about was our little man and if he was okay.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Beginning

On February 9th, my water broke. I was only 18 1/2 weeks pregnant. After a long day in the ER we went home with little to be hopeful for. I was told that the chances of me going into labor or getting an infection in the next week were huge. If I made it past that first week, I still had 5 more to go, before I would be 24 weeks and my pregnancy would be considered "viable". I was sent to a specialist the next day, put on antibioitics, and told to stay in bed. There wasn't much else they could do for me or my sweet baby boy.

With 24 weeks as my goal, I started my bedrest. For the next 5 1/2 weeks I stayed in bed at home. I would have gone crazy if my Mom hadn't been there every step of the way. She arrived at my house before Geoffrey left for work in the morning and stayed until he got home every night. Not only was she there, but she always had something for me to do. She taught me how to crochet, and how to knit. She brought all kinds of craft projects for the nursery we were planning. We spent our days doing crafts and watching old movies. On top of entertaining me, she would feed us, clean my house, and run errands for me. One of the biggest blessings I received out of this experience was all the time I was lucky enough to spend with her. She was my rock and I couldn't have made it through the days ahead without her.

We also had so many other family members and friends that were there for us every step of the way. We rarely had to make our own dinner at night thanks to good friends and family. We were lucky enough to have lots of visitors that would come over and entertain us and spend time with us. The only time I left my house was once a week to go to a doctors appointment, so I was very grateful for the time people came over and spent with me.

Once I made it to the 24 week mark, I was admitted to the hospital. Up until now, the doctors were only monitoring me and my well being, but now they felt there was more they could do for our sweet baby. Our biggest concerns were his lung development and his movement. When my water broke, I lost all of my amniotic fluid. A baby can survive without it, but it really hinders lung development and makes it harder for them to move around. I was given steroid shots the first couple of days to help with lung development and we were both checked every 4 hours for any signs of stress, infection or contractions. On top of our checks every 4 hours, I would have a non-stress test that lasted about 45 minutes each day.

We started to learn about his personality with each of these tests. He hated the doppler machine that would tell us his heart rate every 4 hours. Whenever a nurse would come in and turn it on, he would get really active and move around a lot. He hated them poking and prodding at him to find his heart, and once they would find it, he would kick at the wand that was pushed up against my belly, or move around so they would have to start the test all over again. These were the times we would feel him the most.

For the next 2 weeks, we basically moved into the hospital. Geoffrey would sleep there with me every night on a pull out couch next to my bed. I spent my days with my mom by my side, doing craft projects and entertaining me, and my nights going on wheel chairs rides around the hospital and watching Greys Anatomy with my husband. We didn't love our time spent at the hospital, but we were getting into a comfortable routine everyday and enjoying our time together.