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Hi Yall 😉   Man does it feel good to have that story done and published! (If you haven’t read it yet you can click here […]

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hi dolls, I just finished writing a piece for an online magazine. They asked me to write about my experience living in the mountains etc. […]

The Story of my Baby Phoenix

Phoenix

December 9th 2014 was the happiest, scariest, saddest, exhilarating day of my life. It started out as a normal morning. I woke up before Travis and decided I would make him breakfast for a change. I went to the store to get what I needed and got to work. Not too long after that I was feeling very light headed and dizzy and had to sit down to rest. Travis ended up finishing what I started. I didn’t think much of it. Just laid down and felt better.

 

The day before I had a prenatal appointment and an ultrasound. The doctors told me that Phoenix looked great. I did have a stress test done, which was routine because I had a two-vessel umbilical cord oppose to norm three vessels. All my stress tests had been normal until this one. The machine was reading all over the place. It seemed so odd that the doctor and I deemed the machine faulty. I went home after that feeling confident that everything was fine.

 

Soon after I lay down due to my dizziness my phone rang. My midwife was concerned about Phoenix’s heart rate. She said the ultrasound came back and also showed a very high heart rate. We could not blame faulty machinery anymore, and asked if I would come back to the hospital for additional monitoring. Slightly panicked I threw on the nearest clothes I could pull over my huge belly and Travis and I headed to the hospital, not packing a single bag or looking back.

 

We walked up to the maternity ward and I was immediately hooked up to monitors. The machine was showing normal rates and I was breathing easy again. I thought surely we would be able to go home soon.

 

Travis and I are both researchers. We knew the hospital business, specifically the maternity business, inside and out at this point. We knew all the stats of the hospital we were giving birth at and were slightly skeptical of working with OBGYN’s, who are technically surgeons, trained to do surgery for “complicated births.” For this reason we chose to work with a midwife. I loved my midwife, Claudia, she was great.

 

Claudia came in and looked at the monitors and still did not seem pleased. The numbers were looking great, but she said the sounds she was hearing seemed to be double what the numbers were showing. She said that possibly Phoenix’s heart rate was so fast that the machine was only picking up half of the beats making it look normal. She left the room again and Travis and I are beginning to feel on alert. We had read about so many cases just like ours where couples are dooped into a birth outside their birth plan.

 

After Claudia left the anesthesiologist came in and introduced himself. This is when I officially became freaked out. He was charming and likeable and talked to us about possible ways of anesthesia as if we were preparing for something…..what exactly we had no idea. Next we had multiple doctors coming in all suggesting a c-section immediately.

 

HOLY SHIT. I immediately broke down. I was 37 weeks pregnant. Not a risky time to have your baby but still early. This was the last thing I expected to happen when we walked into this hospital. Now Travis and I were on high alert. This was the absolute worst-case scenario for our birth plan, the furthest thing from what we wanted. Talk about having your world rocked.

 

Of course, considering the circumstances in which this all came about, Travis and I were extremely hesitant to rush into a C-section. After an hour of discussing/arguing, calling family and friends who were experts in the field, and getting second and third opinions, we decided that a C-section was the best thing for Phoenix. Travis went home to get our bags and they started prepping me for surgery.

 

I texted both my parents telling them to get on a plane or start driving because Phoenix will be in the world in the next two hours. Tensions were high. Looking back I can’t believe how calm I was. I simply did what they told me to do and went in to the OR. I knew I had to do this for Phoenix and he was all I could think about. I was painted up, hooked up, and drugged up. I was given a spinal tap, which I will say was the weirdest sensation I have ever felt, or not felt I guess. I have such a sensitive back I was terrified I would flinch and result in being paralyzed the rest of my life. Good news, I can still walk.

 

After my spinal tap I was laid down and Travis was allowed into the OR. He was all scrubbed up with a mask for his beard and everything. We were excited to meet our little man. The doctors said that most likely once he is born his heart rate will go back to normal, that something about being in the womb was upsetting him. A few moments later and one HUGE push on my belly and out popped little baby Phoenix. He was the most beautiful newborn baby I have ever seen. His cry was loud and I knew that was a good sign.

 

They took him to a little table near by to wash him up and check his vitals. They gave him a score of 9 on the APGAR scale and I felt so relieved. They put him on my chest and I cried in happiness. For that split second I felt so sure he was ok and I was the happiest I had ever been in my entire life.

 

A couple minutes later they took him to the nursery. They said his breathing was irregular and his heart rate was still very high. I told Travis to follow them with baby. I wanted one of us with him at all times. They finished stitching me up and said they would take me to see Phoenix after for a little bit. The meds they had given me made me shake so terribly I could hardly hold on to Phoenix. I saw him for just a minute and then I was wheeled back to my room. Too much touch was very over stimulating for baby and sent his heart rate soaring.

 

Being torn away from your newborn baby is unlike any feeling I have ever felt. Not to mention how hard it was to watch him struggle. I was devastated. I am not the type of person who cries often, especially not in front of strangers. If I am crying….it’s bad. I was bawling, all the time, it didn’t matter who was around. I officially did not have a care in the world for how people viewed me. My life was about Phoenix now.

 

Phoenix 2

 

As time passed Phoenix started to make progress it seemed. His breathing started to be more regular. I felt like we would be in the hospital around 4 days (the norm for C-sections) and then be home with a healthy baby. His weight was 6lbs 15oz, which meant he would have strength to fight. Travis spent half his time with me and half his time in the nursery with Phoenix. I was so thankful to have Travis in the nursery, giving Phoenix a familiar voice.

 

Every few hours they would wheel me into the nursery to see Phoenix. Seeing my baby hooked up to machines, looking somewhat lifeless was excruciatingly painful. Worse than any physical pain I have ever felt. I completely forgot about the huge gash in my belly when I was around Phoenix. Physical pain dissipated when forced to confront this kind of emotional pain. He looked so helpless, so small. The slightest touch from us sent his heart rate up. I prayed myself to sleep that night, making promises I knew I couldn’t keep as long as Phoenix made it.

 

The next morning took a turn for the worse. Phoenix heart rate was higher. The nurses were using a technique to bring him out of his episodes that made me sick watching. In order to bring him back to a normal heart rate they would cover his face with a bag of ice, sort of suffocating him for a second and he would pop out of it. It worked, and they were doing what was best for him but it made me sick watching it, and still does today just thinking about it.

 

Phoenix’s doctor decided it was time to move him to a hospital with more expertise in cardiology. That night a helicopter landed right outside the window of my room to pick him up and take him to Denver. My nurse asked if I wanted them to bring Phoenix to me to say goodbye. I said no. I was not going to say goodbye to my newborn son because I would be seeing him again soon, but they brought him by my room anyways as they were leaving the building.

 

He was in a little plastic looking box and he looked so sad and helpless. THAT, was now the most painful moment of my life. I hated them for bringing him to me like that. I wanted them to (excuse my language) hurry the fuck up and get my child to a place that could save him. Instead they had to stop by my room and make small talk with my parents while I bawled my eyes out. Finally I became quite rude and asked/told them to just go. I have never seen such behavior out of myself honestly but I didn’t care.

 

I kept asking the nurses over and over again if he was going to be ok. Their answers of “he is in really good hands” or “he will get the care he needs now” were like daggers in my heart. All I wanted was someone to tell me that Phoenix wasn’t going to die, but no one would, because at that moment no one really knew if he was going to live or not. I have never wished to die. Even that night I didn’t wish death but I wished for a coma. I wanted to go into a coma and wake up weeks later when everything would be over. The pain was unbearable. I was tired of crying, and when you get tired of crying but the pain is still there your body has no way of release and your mind begins to go a little nuts.

 

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My parents went to Denver to be with Phoenix, Travis stayed with me. My doctor would not release me from the hospital as I had just had major surgery 24 hours before. I was determined to make the progress necessary to get out of there and down to Denver by morning. Through the night I worked on walking, going to the bathroom on my own, eating, and pumping for breast milk. By morning I had made all the necessary steps and we were on our way to Denver.

 

The NICU in Denver was a huge step up. Phoenix had his own little room and he was actually the healthiest baby there. When we got there he had even more tubes than before. I tried so hard to hold back the tears, but they were a force in which I could not fight and came flooding in. Over night his left lung had collapsed and so he had a tube in his chest, he also had a feeding tube, which went into his belly. Again he looked lifeless.

 

That day we talked to the cardiologist and neonatologist, both were so much more confident about Phoenix’s condition. They were experts in exactly the condition that Phoenix has and knew how to combat it right away. My panic level began to lower. As he explained the condition, like word vomit I HAD to ask, “Is he going to be ok?” I literally interrupted him. He kind of laughed as if he was shocked that I was that worried and said yes he would be fine. Finally, I got the answer I needed and my heart sang.


Phoenix spent the next 7 days in the NICU in Denver and they were hard days. Days of monitors beeping and sending your heart rate through the roof, eating crappy hospital food, and very little sleep. We drove there and back every day which was at least 45 minutes each way. Plus was I was recovering from a C-section. I was up every couple hours pumping to ensure my milk came in and stayed. I was exhausted. Phoenix’s room had a little rocking chair but that was it. Those days were long and uncomfortable but worth it. I wanted to be with Phoenix every minute that I could.

 

Finally after all Phoenix’s hard work we were told we could finally go home. He has a condition called SVT (Supra Ventricular Tachycardia). Basically his heart is perfect as far as the physical elements of it. The electrical signals of his heart make his heart beat twice as often as it should. He is on a medication that helps keep it stable and we have been told that 90% of babies born with SVT grow out of it within 6 months. I was relieved and terrified at the same time. I wanted Phoenix home with me so badly but I was terrified that I was now solely responsible for his wellbeing. I monitored him like crazy that first week, checking his heart every time he had a noise. But we made it. He is now a month old and showing no signs of slowing down. He is growing like crazy and the cutest little baby I have ever seen.

 

This experience has truly changed my perspective on life. Not only by becoming a parent but by becoming a parent who almost lost a child. There are things that matter in this life and there are so many more things that don’t. Every day I wake up to this little face, is a day I am thankful for the important things, giving less time and energy to the non-important things. Phoenix has already taught some of life’s most important lessons; I look forward to many more.

 

I am still in awe of this perfect little human that we created....I have found my calling, being a Mama :)

 

Finally, to any parents who have lost a child, my heart aches for you. Your pain is one that no one can understand unless experiencing it first hand. I merely felt the tip of the iceberg of what it means to lose a child. I send you all love and light and hope that you find peace.

 

XOXO,

 

Haley Anne