Mom to Corbin Michael
February 13, 2012 – February 16, 2012
Salisbury, North Carolina
The day we found out that we were going to be parents was filled with joy, nervousness, etc. I was so excited to start shopping for little baby clothes, hats and so much more. My first ultrasound was on October 4, 2011 @ 11 weeks 5 days and Josh was so entertained with the thought that his baby looked like the Predator in the picture. That day we started picking out names, I was wishing for a little girl and Josh was wishing for a little boy. On November 12, 2011 @ 17 weeks 2 days we went to Watch Me Grow and saw our baby in 3D/4D and found out that we were having a little boy. Josh was extremely happy. We already decided that we were going to name him Corbin Michael. Over the first 7 months of my pregnancy everything was wonderful. I never had any issues, no morning sickness, only a little back pain as I got towards the end of the 2nd trimester. Everything was always fine at my doctors appointments. On Saturday, January 28, 2012 @ 28 weeks 2 days, we had another 3D/4D ultrasound and got to see our handsome son. We got to see his little fingers and watch him play with his nose. Every ultrasound that we did he was always sitting Indian style (legs crossed) which Josh said he got from me.
On Monday, January 30, 2012 everything changed. I received a call from my doctor requesting I come in to get an ultrasound because they were contacted by Watch Me Grow about some fluid. That afternoon I had the ultrasound and it confirmed that he had some extra fluid in his belly. They scheduled me for a level 2 ultrasound the next day. We were not prepared for what happened next. On Tuesday, January 31, 2012 we went to North East Women’s Institute for the level 2 ultrasound. I was nervous but never thought that anything was seriously wrong. We finished the ultrasound and were asked to wait in the counselors office. After a few minutes she came in and had the Dr. on conference call, at this point they began to explain that our son has a condition called hydrops fetalis (fluid in 2 or more body cavities) and that in most cases babies don’t survive depending on the cause. They admitted me to Carolina Medical Center – Charlotte to begin testing to try to determine the cause and if they should deliver at 28 weeks. I was in the hospital for 6 days, which were very emotional. Tuesday night they took blood samples for testing and did an amniocentesis. We had multiple doctors come in. I had an ultrasound performed by the Cardiovascular Doctor, who determined that Corbin’s heart was structurally good, heart rate was within normal standard, however it was not contracting as strongly as it should. Now they needed to try to determine what was causing the heart problems. At this time they didn’t want to deliver because Corbin’s heart rate and fluid levels were stable and he had lots of movement. I remained in the hospital for the next 5 days being monitored, and they mentioned possibly staying in the hospital until I was full term. On Monday, February 5, 2012 I was discharged from the hospital because during the 5 days the fluid stayed the same and everything was stable, however looking back now I wish I would have stayed. I had appointments 3 days a week at North East to monitor Corbin’s, heart rate, movement and fluid amounts. All my appointments were fine until February 13th.
On Monday, February 13, 2012 Josh picked me up from work for my 10a.m. appointment. During the ultrasound Corbin was not moving a lot however I didn’t think much of it because he normally didn’t move around that time. The ultrasound tech left and a different Dr. came in and looked at Corbin with the ultrasound. He then said that we needed to deliver that day at 30 weeks because there was a little more fluid and he didn’t have much movement and he was concerned that if I didn’t deliver I might have a stillbirth later. They first said I would deliver at North East, however then they recommended going to Carolina Medical Center – Charlotte because they have 24hr. cardiac. doctors on staff. We arrived and they hooked me up to the heart monitor and IV’s. Many doctor’s came in and explained that he might not make it out of the delivery room. I was taken to the OR and Corbin was born at 4:52p.m, 3lb 5oz, 14 inches, he was born on my brother’s birthday. I remember hearing them suction his nose and mouth and then all I heard was the doctors saying he didn’t have a heartbeat and they were doing chest compressions. A few seconds later they he had a heartbeat and they began removing some of the fluid. Once he was stable they took him to NICU, however I could not see him until Tuesday. Tuesday morning the nurse came in and had me get up and walk, then the doctor came in and said that they were having a hard time getting Corbin’s blood pressure stabilized, and that they had him on multiple heart medication. After they left I had Josh push me down to the NICU in the wheelchair. We got to his incubator station and he was laying there all pink and swollen with tubes everywhere. The minute i saw him my heart-felt like it was going to explode out of my chest. I love him so much; Words will never do it justice. Corbin was so handsome, he had Josh’s nose, chin and toes and my ears, hands and hair color. It was difficult seeing him hooked to all the machines and IV’s and so swollen. They had him on sedation medication, but he would hold and squeeze my finger and would move his arms and legs when I touched his little feet. We couldn’t hold him, but we were able to touch his face, head and feet. He was fighting so hard for us. I was just so over the moon to see and touch him that I believed everyone when they told me that he was going to be just fine, even though the doctors the chances of him surviving were low, my mind never allowed me to believe it. Those were the best three days of my life. by far. Josh and I were both SO proud to be parents to him. The first time he held my finger, I will forever hold on to that memory, I so deeply cherish that moment. I knew that he knew me, I knew that he could hear me and that he knew I was there with him. He was all I ever wanted and needed in life. During the next 3 days we went down every morning and afternoon, now looking back I wish I would have stayed there every minute. He was given blood transfusions and he would make small improvements, however he was not responding to any of the heart medications.
On Thursday, February 16, 2012 the nurses came in to check my vitals and give me medicine and Josh called the NICU to check on Corbin. Everything was the same and we ate breakfast and then went down to see Corbin. His blood pressure was very low. The nurse practitioner came and began to tell us that Corbin’s organs were all slowly starting to stop. His heart was the only thing working, but just barely. She said that his heart could just stop at any moment or it could slowly start dropping. She also said that they saw a small amount of brain damage where he wasn’t getting enough oxygen to his brain, but they didn’t know the extent. She said that we needed to decide if we wanted to hold him or just leave him hooked to the machines in the incubator. I couldn’t do anything but hold sit beside his incubator and cry and hold his little hand. I could tell that he couldn’t keep fighting because he would just barely grip my finger. We decided to hold him with all the IV’s still in, however they had to switch to a different ventilator. Josh called in all the family and friends. Before we held him, we created a footprint mold and hand and footprints. Then the nurse placed him in my arms and I couldn’t stop crying because I knew that was going to be the first and last time I would get to hold him. He squinted when I kissed his forehead. After a few minutes Josh called for the doctor because he said he felt something and knew that he had passed. I have never felt such pain and emptiness. The pain at that moment cut threw me like lightening and its intensity is absolutely indescribable. It was beyond deafening. I will carry that pain with me until the day that I die, that I know. It was a nightmare, everything felt like it was in slow motion but speeding by at the same time, like it was a movie, it was someone else’s sick script that we were living in and none of it made any sense at all. We cried and held him for several minutes after he passed. An organization called “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep” came and took pictures so that we would have memories of him to cherish forever.
I am angry that I was given something so absolutely beautiful, the family that I always wanted and he suffered and we suffered and now we have to spend the rest of our lives without him. I lost so much that day, not just our son, but my hope, my happiness, my personality, my entire life. Everyone says to take it day by day and with time it will get easier, but I can’t seem to believe that.
My son never got to eat food, he never got to drink a drink, all he knew was needles and tubes. He never got to be held the way every baby desires to be held. I never got to change his diaper. I never even saw his little butt. There is a part of my son, the boy that Josh and I made from scratch, that we never saw and we’ll never see again. It was the worst day of my life that will always replay in my mind. The tears, the pain, the questions, the confusion, the shock, the anger. It’s hard to believe that this all happened to me. My mind just can’t make sense of any of it. Everyday I question every decision that we made, whether I should have stayed in the hospital, said no to the c-section, got a second opinion before the c-section, was he not moving just because of the time of day, so many what if’s. My doctor said over and over that it was nothing I did and that there was nothing I could have done differently, but no matter how many times he says that the what if’s are always going to be there.
I don’t know where to go from here. I don’t know what to do. All I want is my son back. I just want to protect him and take care of him. I am a completely different person now that this has happened to us. Everything has changed. I would have done anything to hear Corbin cry, to see him open his eyes. It was very hard to leave the hospital with out him, knowing we would never bring him home. When I stepped outside and there was this hustling city all around me, I went there pregnant and now I was leaving without my baby.
Everything since that Thursday has been a blur, nothing seems to matter anymore. I miss feeling his kicks every night, feeling him squeeze my finger. I miss my son more than anyone will ever understand. He was only here for 3 short days but those 3 days mean more than anything in the world to me.
I love you Corbin. I hope, so much, that you know that.