Angie
Mom to Ella Joy
Born October 2nd, 2004
Heaven Bound October 6th, 2004
Guthrie, Oklahoma
Where do I begin to tell the story about one of “God’s greatest gifts?” I know people may think I am crazy by saying this but this year I finally figured it out…God picks only the very special people to be parents of his “angels”.  I am so sad yet honored that I got to carry her…So this is where my story begins.  

It began in or around Jan 2003.  We decided to begin trying to have our 3rd baby…Much to our dismay the entire year nothing happened.  I went to my GP doctor and was found to have had PCOS (polycystic Ovarian syndrome), began medication and approx 3-4 months later at the end of Feb 2004 we found out we were pregnant…YAY!! Found out we probably conceived on or about Feb 14th…Our due date was to be Nov 4, 2004. Even better news was that about 5 of my friends also were expecting….
On June 8th 2004 on my husbands 28th birthday we had our ultrasound.  It told us we would be welcoming our 3rd baby girl!  We were so excited..My pregnancy was good..however at the 28th week when I did the diabetes test I took the first one and failed miserably…took the 3 hour and I failed again.  I joined the other women diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  
Around my 8th month of pregnancy I went into premature labor.  The doctor gave me medicine to stop contractions and told me to stop taking the medication at 35 weeks along.  However since my husband was at supervisor training in Dallas, Texas I waited until sat the 2nd of october.  He got home at 2 pm. The minute he got home we left to the next town to go to the birthing center for a routine NST (non stress test) to check out the baby.  We still hadn’t picked out a name for her. We had a list of 10, we couldn’t agree.  We did know her middle name would be Joy (after her maternal grandmother).  
After sitting in the room with two kids and my husband for what seemed like forever the nurses began filing in.  They brought an IV bag… needles… after being uncertain what was going on I finally asked…They said the doctor will be here at 8 p.m. to perform your csection…We were shocked no one told us anything and we had no idea I was in labor.  My parents were in our home town 20 min away…we had no camera or anything.  We made our phone calls and everyone arrived…The doc arrived and then it all began…I remember sitting on the bed getting my spinal tap…I remember arguing with my husband over names… I didn’t like the 2 he liked and he didn’t like mine…We were not ready for this… It was a “routine” test. But it’s ok we were ready to welcome her to our family! 
At 8:28 p.m. on sat oct 2nd our baby girl arrived.The minute she was born my husband said she doesn’t look like a Lauren or Taryn (those were the two names he liked) he blurted out how about Ella (which was not even on our list.  I liked Ellie) She was great for a bit…everyone held her…counted fingers and toes…her sister’s hugged and kissed her as well they were 9 1/2 and 5.  I was feeling pretty good also…I had her at a birthing center and they allowed my husband to take her to meet everyone while I was still in getting sutured up! At about 9:30 p.m. things took a drastic turn.. We noticed she was turning purple and blowing bubbles.  She didn’t open her eyes and I don’t recall hearing her cry.  
At a birthing center there is no nursery.  We told the nurse several times that something seemed wrong and she insisted that she was fine.  After finally getting the nurse to look at her she decided to take her to check her out and said she’d bring her back… Finally after sitting for about an eternity (ok maybe a hour and a half) her daddy finally went looking for her… Then they came with the news…She had to be revived and it took awhile cause they have certain staff that are “specialized” in reviving infants so they had to call all those people in..it took 45 mins to revive her….They then asked permission to transfer her to OKC 16 miles away!  Of course we said yes… The flight for life crew had to get her stabilized enough to transfer her.  My husband followed in his car…
We found out she had died 2 times in the ambulance.  We were told she had persistant fetal circulation and pulmonary hypertension.  She was put in an oxygen tent down there and when that didn’t work they need to do surgery to insert a tube into her jugular vein to hook her to an ECMO machine which is like a heart lung bypass machine. Keep in mind she still had no name.  I told my husband please name her before she goes into surgery that I wanted the surgeons to know her name instead of “baby girl”…He chose Ella (come to find out that was his great grandmothers name we had no idea).  Meanwhile I had been up for a long time.  My GYN doc said I could have sleeping pills but the nurses and babys doctor said I needed to be coherant to make “decisions”.  My cousin stayed the night with me while he went with the baby.  Every time the phone rung I would startle and dread what he was going to tell me…I stayed in hospital all day sun and Monday they released me.  The doctor said they were releasing me early so I could go be with Ella.  They said I may have to come back…I said there was no way I would…
Finally Monday afternoon mother and daughter were reunited..She was so beautiful! I was relieved.  The head nurse or whatever she was told me that they would call with changes but that they would not call for good news…Tues all was good thought she was doing better…Wed we were down to see her and almost back to Guthrie when our phone rang.  They asked us to please come back immediately, that the surgeons wanted to talk to us…I was so scared…We arrived at like 3:00 P.M.  She took us in this room and said that Ella had to be turned off the ECMO (a heart lung bypass machine for babies) due to the fact she had bleeding on her brain…Grade 4 is the worst and she had it on both sides…There was nothing more they could do for her…I told them they were wrong and please do another brain scan and check again please! That to give her a chance…No matter how much screaming and crying I did there was no chance…I wasn’t ready to let her go!  They told us we could have her baptized and that their chaplain could do the honors or our pastor…We didn’t go to church a whole lot..I babysat on Sundays in the nursery…but we knew that pastor was out of town…Who else would I call?  I had no doubts who would help us…My cousin..Shari (she’s always been more of a sister to me), well her father in law was a pastor.  My cousin contacted him and they both began to come as they were about an hour away. My brother came as well as my parents.  My sis in law went and picked up the kids and was on her way down with them…She was baptized and I swear she flinched when the water from the shell hit her head.  We ended up calling my sister in law who was almost there with the girls and told her to turn around that it was too late.  At 5:30, all machines were turned off.  A rocking chair was out as well as an office chair..and they put a curtain up, for there was another baby on the ecmo machine.
 
She was handed to my husband and I…My mom stood in front of us cause she was still hooked to monitors and since she was we couldn’t just hand her back and forth.. So my mom had to stand and hold her while we switched positions.  We did this for what seemed like forever…I sang a song to her ” you are my sunshine”  I talked to her and told her that it was ok to let go. We didn’t want her to suffer anymore…finally the gal with us told us we could pick an outfit for her out of this closet of new donated clothing so that we could have her dressed..Well i got up to go look and not long after that at 6:37 p.m. Ella Joy Heimsoth took her last breath, while her mom was out in the hallway..We were relieved she would no longer be in pain and I was upset that I was not in the room at the time. I kept saying how come when I left…What kind of mother am i???  Then we were told by the nurse that sometimes people will do that they will either wait for someone to leave the room or they will wait till someone gets there.  We were told she was probably not wanting me to see that.  She died peacefully in the middle of her dads and grandmas arms..Almost like my mom was lifting her up!  
We stayed for a couple more hours… called the funeral home and called My husband’s family who lived in Wyoming.  Her paternal grandmother came that night.  Upon leaving the hospital I called some people like my kids school secretary to tell them that they wouldn’t be at school.  At that time a friend I’d had since jr high called from wyoming she heard the news from my mother in law.  She asked if she could please come down.  I told her sure..On the 6th of October is the day ella passed away which also is my grandmas birthday.  
Planning her funeral was awful, we should have been planning her homecoming and clothes to bring her home in, not a casket and clothes to bury her in.  Her funeral was going to be closed casket…the day of we changed her minds…We wanted everyone who wanted to see her to be able to.  
I remember being in a daze and I felt so empty.  What she passed from is rare and most of the time fatal.  If we knew before hand that she wouldn’t have survived we still would have had her.  Everyone deserves a chance. This year was tough cause it was the same days of the week again and my husband was out of town again!  
Then on October 6th 2010 while eating lunch with this same friend that flew down rented a hotel room and car, it dawned on me that I can honor her memory and create a group that I can send a card, text or email or even a phone call if they want, something that I can send them on either the birth date or born sleeping date or something to let them know someone is thinking of them and cares…I have only started a facebook page so far called Eternally Ella.  And also that day I thought wow we are truly a special family cause we were chosen to be the parents of an angel.  What an honor that the Lord chose us.  It just took me 6 yrs to figure out.  When I did a whole new peace settled over me…
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Comments

  1. Megan says:

    I too have felt guilty that I had stepped out of the room when my daughter passed. I can't imagine how my husband felt watching his daughter flatline. She also left us on my mother's birthday. August 3rd is a very bittersweet day but Mackenzie will never be forgotten.

  2. Sarita Boyette says:

    Our preemie daughter, Meredith Helen, lived from October 3 – 6, 1974. She died alone as we weren't allowed in the nursery and we didn't know she was dying, either. We never got to hold her. I'm sorry your Ella is not here but it looks like something good is coming from your experience.

  3. Billie Norden says:

    Angie – Praise God for his infinite blessing of peace. Thinking of you always – Billie Norden

  4. Anonymous says:

    Megan I read your blog it is beautiful i also love the poem about dads! that is so true!

    Sarita i'm so sorry about your baby girl!!! i'm sure all babies are up there playing with each other!!!

    Billie–thank you! love you all!

  5. Jennifer says:

    you are beautiful. the words you use, how God chooses special people to be the parents of His little angels…. those words ring very true. in 2004 I lost my 2.and a half month old son, Levi. I became an addict and an alcoholic. On the 5th anniversary of his death, in 2009, I was gifted a miraculous vision of my son, and I suddenly realized that I was the special person chosen to be with him while he was here on Earth, showing everyone he was in contact with His infinite wisdom and love. I was chosen to be His mommy! From that moment on, I have vowed to be sober, and to treat myself with respect. On October 6 2012, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Ghanima. Mothering her is a blessing and a joy, although sometimes it can bring back the pain of losing Levi. She looks so much like him. I read your story today when I was feeling low, and I thank you for your words, as well as your resonance and perseverance.

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