Sunday, January 6, 2013

Max Robert Searle

Everything was going well with my pregnancy. I was feeling the baby move pretty regularly and we were getting excited to find out if the baby was a boy or girl in just another week. However, November 24th was a day that everything changed. It started off as a normal Saturday, but took a turn for the worse when my water broke. While this would normally be an exciting thing, I was, of course, only 19 weeks along. At first, I hoped that I had just somehow peed my pants -- not likely, but a girl can hope. Aaron finally convinced me to call the doctor. After talking to him, I decided to run over to the hospital.

After some tests, the doctor came in and told me that we would more than likely miscarry within the next 48 hours and he sent me home with instructions on when I should come back to the hospital. Well, 48 hours came and went with no miscarriage. Later that week we went into the doctor and to our amazement -- and the doctors' -- our little baby still had a strong heartbeat and was hanging in there. The doctors still didn’t give us much hope because in order for this baby to even have a chance at survival, I would at least have to make it to 24 weeks and that was a long five weeks away. However, they told us to come in for weekly appointments and put me on moderate bed rest.

To be honest, at this point I really didn't think that the baby would make it and literally broke down in tears on a daily basis. We had friends and family come as often as possible to help with the girls and to also just help keep my mind off of things. Then when Aaron would come home from work, he would tell me to rest and would do everything else. He cleaned, cooked, did laundry, changed diapers, grocery shopped, bathed the kids, etc. (he is such an amazing husband and I am so lucky to have him, I couldn't have gotten through this without him).

As the weeks went by, I continued to leak amniotic fluid and we continued to go to the doctor. To the doctors' surprise each time we could hear a good, strong heart beat from our little one. We got into a comfortable routine at home and just took it day by day. Despite the fact that we knew there was a real risk that the baby would not make it, we couldn't help but get our hopes up after weeks of everything seemingly being OK. By the time 23 weeks hit, the doctors were talking about putting me in the hospital the following week on full bed rest and keeping me there until the baby came. At this point, I was really beginning to think that our little one was going to make it and for the first time the doctors seemed somewhat hopeful too.

However, that all changed on Christmas, at which point I was 23 weeks and three days along. The morning started off just like any other Christmas morning. We opened our presents, played with our new toys and went go Grandma’s house for brunch and more presents. At around 2 p.m. I felt something and thought it was just amniotic fluid. So, I went to the restroom and was shocked to see A LOT of blood. This had happened once before and I was able to get it to stop by lying down. So that’s what I did. I laid down for a good two hours, but the bleeding wouldn't stop. We felt we needed to go to the hospital to see what was going on. I was still hopeful, however, that the bleeding would stop as it had done before.

When we got to the hospital, we found out that I was dilated to a one and that the baby was breech, which wasn't necessarily surprising. They told us they wanted me to stay overnight for observation due to the amount of blood. Aaron asked if the progression stopped if I would be able to go home the next day. They said that might be possible. However, then they started asking question about delivery options and whatnot, something they had not done up until this point. They said that if I went ahead with a vaginal birth the baby's already small chances of survival would be reduced to almost nothing and if by some miracle the baby did survive, he would most certainly have neurological issues due to the breach birth. However, if I had a c-section the survival rate was better. Of course, they still didn’t know what condition the baby's lungs would be in. We knew that we wanted to give the baby every chance possible so we opted for a c-section, still thinking that would be weeks away.

A few hours passed and I started cramping. At first, the nurse told us that it could just be due to the bleeding. However, they went from noticeable to annoying to uncomfortable to painful. The doctor instructed the nurse to physically check me again. That's when she said it: "You're dilated to a three and I feel baby." We were pretty startled by those words. Then she said, "Things are going to get really crazy around here, but know that it's organized chaos." And that’s exactly what it was. Within minutes they had me ready for the c-section and were wheeling me into the operating room. I have never been so scared in my life. I had no idea what was going to happen with our baby and the thought of being cut open freaked me out.

The whole surgery only took a few minutes and then they rushed our tiny baby boy to the NICU. With the surgery successful and me doing OK, Aaron was able to go with him and watch everything that was happening. For 45 minutes they worked on him to get his lungs to expand. They ended up putting six different breathing tubes down his throat to ensure proper placement. Eventually, with the respirator operating on its highest pressure setting and 100 percent oxygen, the realization came that his little lungs were just too small to do what they needed to do. We were told that they could keep him alive with the ventilator for a few more hours or potentially a day or two, but at the pressure they were having to use it would destroy what lungs he did have in the process. At that point they took the tubes out of his little throat, wrapped him in a warm blanket and handed him to us to let his short time on this Earth be as peaceful as possible.

Not knowing how much time he would have, Aaron asked one of the nurses, who we knew was LDS, to find someone on the staff who was also LDS and could help Aaron give our son a name and blessing before he left this world. The blessing was beautiful and everyone in the room -- doctors, nurses and us, of course -- were in tears by the time Aaron was finished. Seemingly within minutes of the blessing ending, Max's heart stopped beating while I held him in my arms and he returned to his Heavenly Father.

We named him Max Robert Searle. Max was one of the names we have always liked (it's Aaron's grandpa's name and his dad's middle name). He weighed one pound, five ounces and was 11.6 inches long. He was born at 11:21 p.m. on Christmas Day and lived for 2 hours and 4 minutes, passing away on December 26th. He was definitely a Searle baby, with Devon's nose and Aaron's eyebrows. We feel so blessed to have had him for even the short time we did and miss him terribly. However, we know we will see him again and that he will be part of our family forever.


jenn potter said...

Devon, I am in tears reading this. Not because of total sadness for you, but of thankfulness as well. I am so glad you have the understanding you do, that you know little Max is part of your forever family. Thank you for sharing your story with us, and for your unconditional love to your boy and your whole family. I think about you a lot and pray for your family's continued comfort.

The Hansen's said...

I also am in tears. Thanks for sharing and for your beautiful testimony to shine through your words. You are a wonderful family and we are honored to know you. you are always in our prayers!

Natalie said...

Devon I am so sorry. Reading this reminded me once again what an amazing individual you are. I have been thinking of you lots. Love you and miss you.

Kari said...

Oh my gosh, I am in tears reading this. I am so sorry for your loss, and grateful for your example of faith in our Heavenly Father and His plan of eternal families. My heart is full and tender for your family at this time. We love you guys and will keep you in our prayers.

Scott and Jamie said...

Amazing story, and you are so strong to go through this! You have been in my prayers and I hope your family can find peace.

Simonds Family said...

Thank you for sharing your family's story, Devon. It brings tears to my eyes and warmth and joy to my heart at the strength of your testimony. No wonder God sent you such a special little boy.

Mark and Lauren said...

Devon, your post is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. We love you guys and are continually thinking of your family.

Jon and Kim said...

Oh Devon,
My heart just aches for you! I am crying reading your post. What a sweet post, but so difficult to experience. I am so sorry that you guys have had to experience this. There just should never have to be baby coffins. They make me so sad that a baby has to die. But at the same time, the words that your husband shared at the funeral are so true. What a blessing to know that you will be with your sweet baby Max again one day. I have had 2 miscarriages this past year and they have been very difficult. So I can empathize a little. But nothing compared to what you have endured. You are a strong woman and are blessed to have a good husband. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you. If you send me your address, I would like to send you a book that one of my neighbors gave me when I had my 2nd miscarriage.
Your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

Bryan, Stacie, Claire, Mia and Buddy said...

I too am in tears reading this. Your words are amazing. It has helped me to have even more gratitude for the knowledge of the gospel and life after death. I am so sorry your little one only lived here on earth for such a short time, but what a blessing to know that Max is a personal angel guiding you home to our Heavenly Father. My prayers are with you and your family!

Rochelle said...

OH Devon!!! I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. You are an amazing strong woman and I'm so sorry you had to go through something so terrible. I'm glad you got to meet him and had some time with him. What a wonderful Christmas gift, for him to wait 4 weeks so you can have a wonderful few hours with him. Then what a horrible Christmas present!

I'm here if you ever need anything. You were a wonderful neighbor...we all have our trials and I've been so consumed with mine, I feel like an awful friend!