Monday, August 6, 2012

The longest days of our lives

Ainsley Beatrix Ward.....Ainsley Beatrix Ward. I just love saying it! A beautiful name for our beautiful daughter, who I fell in love with the moment I saw her.  I was given the pleasure of meeting Ainsley on Friday, August 3 2012; around 11:49am. The circumstances by which we first met were definitely not what I had envisioned or hoped for. Over the past few days I have done my best to communicate to family and friends how Ainsley came into the world, as well as the challenges she now faces. This task has seemed impossible, and this blog is my attempt to share our sweet daughter's progress, while maybe typing through some emotions/feelings I'm having at the same time.
 Ginnie and I had arrived at the hospital for her to be induced into labor on Wednesday at 5:30pm. We were feeling a little rushed, as the original time we had been told was 8:00pm that night, but this last minute change only made me more excited and anxious to meet our daughter! Inductions are many times quite a long process, and ours started out slow. By Thursday morning/afternoon, Ginnie was feeling light contractions, and by 4:45 was entering active labor. Dilation was slow but steady, Ginnie was a rock star in navigating the ever increasing contractions with purpose and doing well at it.  However, Ginnie being Ginnie, she had not slept much at all in the past few days due to getting everything ready at the house, and then being in an unfamiliar hospital room waiting for something to happen that we had been dreaming of for the past 3 years. All that said, she was very tired, and late that night was just out of energy (almost to the point of passing out), and we decided to use the assistance of an epidural. Not to mention that she had to save some energy for pushing. Contractions and dilation continued, and by around 11:00am Friday she was waiting for the order to start pushing. Pushing began and Ginnie was continuously told by our midwife and nurse that her pushes were very productive, and Ainsley was making good progress. During this time the nurse and midwife noticed that Ainsley's heart rate had dipped a few times. Ginnie switched positions a few times, and to begin with, this seemed to help. While continuing to push our midwife again noticed a drop in Ainsley's heart rate and immediately called in for an emergency C-section. Now the whirlwind began. Ginnie was quickly unplugged from everything and whisked just down the hall to the OR. The urgency of our midwife and nurse had me worried, but I just kept telling myself that they were just being cautious. Due to the emergent nature of the C-section I was unable to directly follow Ginnie into the OR, and had to instead get scrubs on and wait outside for someone to come get me. An older nurse was with me outside helping me get dressed in scrubs for the OR, and was impressing upon me that everything would be fine, and that they just wanted to get started before bringing me in. I waited/paced for what seemed like 20 minutes, when in reality it was about 9 or 10. Finally a nurse appeared and beckoned me forward to follow her into the OR. Upon entering the OR I immediately looked for Ginnie, only to catch a glimpse of the grisly scene that is a half finished c-section. I wondered where Ainsley was and turned to my right. I then observed a team of staff/doctors surrounding this small table where I saw my daughter being given chest compressions, while doctors hurriedly blurted out language that became nothing but gibberish in my head as I observed that our daughter was not breathing. How long had she been there? How long had her heart not been beating? I quickly moved over to Ginnie to check on her. I was given a seat beside her and was greeted by the question, "Where is she? What's going on"? I just told her that the doctors were working on Ainsley and everything was going to be ok. I kept peeking around the sheet over Ginnie's head to see what was happening with Ainsley. I told Ginnie I was going to check on Ainsley and got permission to go stand by the team working on her. Upon approaching the team of doctors I heard, "We're calling it at 5 min..."  AT 5 min? How long had it already been? At this point time really just slowed down and I began to start to accept the possibility that the daughter we had waited to meet for 9.5 months might not live through her birth. I then knew there was nothing I could do and decided to go comfort and wait with Ginnie. I continued to tell her that the doctor's were working with Ainsley and that she would be ok. About 30 seconds later, one of the doctors approached me and knelt beside me. He was slow to start speaking, and it felt as if he was about to tell my wife and I that they had been unable to save our daughter, Ainsley Beatrix Ward. Instead, he said,"We were able to restart your daughter's heart..." At which point I blubbered in a sob, "So, she's alive"?! He stated that she was, but not nearly out of the woods and in critical condition. I was able to kiss Ginnie and then follow the team of miracle workers, who saved our daughter, up to the NICU, while one of them breathed for my daughter by squeezing a bag.
After making my way up to the NICU with Ainsley I was able to observe the doctor who had helped save our daughter's life, set up a more permanant IV into Ainsley's umbilical cord, and attach her breathing tube to a ventilator. I was then able to snap a couple of pictures of her before she was set up with more IV's, tubes and monitoring devices. These pictures are from those moments right after she arrived at the NICU.

I then went down to check on Ginnie in the recovery room. We ended up having to wait a while for x-ray results showing that no utencils were left inside Ginnie after the C-Section procedures, so I went up to be with Ainsley until Ginnie was out of recovery. As I arrived back at the NICU, there as literally a line of doctor's and specialists waiting to assist in sustaining Ainsley's life by doing tests or giving her needed fluids, nutrients, and most important of all..her cooling blanket. I don't know if any of you have heard of "hypotermia therapy" (I think that's what it's called), but it is relatively new to the medical community and has only been used internationally for the past 10 years, and at Mission Hospital for the past 5 years. I was aware of the basics of this therapy after following along with the beautiful story of Zach, Marissa, and Asher White; as Asher had a rough start to his life as well, and needed the assistance of this cooling therapy. The idea is that once a baby has experienced a traumatic event/traumatic birth, they are placed on a cooling blanket to keep their body at a low temperature in order to discourage futher damage via swelling, gives doctor's more control over manipulating recovery, and keeps the internal organs slowed down so that the body is allowed to focus all it's energy on healing what needs to be healed. It has produced amazing results, and we are hoping that the same is true for Ainsley and her recovery. Anyway, once the line of doctors had thinned out a little, the staff in the NICU was nice enough to assist us in getting enough things out of the way so that Ginnie could come up to the NICU in her bed and really see Ainsley for the first time. The only other time she had a glimpse of her was right after they revived her and had to rush her to the NICU. It was a brief visit, but at least Ginnie was able to lay eyes on her recently revived daughter.
Honestly, the whole next day was kind of a blur of trying to  sleep, spending as much time as possible with Ainsley in NICU, asking a rediculous amount of questions, and hoping for the best. Many little things have happened over the past 24 hours, but right now we are excited for the events of tomorrow. Today, starting at 12:38pm, the doctor's and nurses will begin to start the slow process of warming up Ainsley's body to normal temerpatures. Also, it is possible that Ainsley will have the chance to get off of the ventilator and breathe on her own. If all of these things go smoothly, Ginnie and I might get to hold her tomorrow night and maybe even get some skin to skin time with her. A lot of things have to fall into place for everything to go smoothly, but all we can do is hope right? Anyway, as of our last visit with her tonight, she has been peeing more regularly (yay!), continued to poop regularly (zyeah!), and her sugars level has stayed in the normal range for the entire day (yes indeed!). Our little girl thus far appears to be a fighter and will hopefully come back to whatever her baseline will be with a vengeance! Thank you everyone for your support through calls, prayers, and positive thoughts sent our way! And a special thanks to the miraculously beautiful people of New Dawn Midwifery and Mission Hospital, you saved our daughter's life! We are both so grateful to have such an awesome community of family and friends to support us in a time of need...Yuns Rock!


  1. Thank you for sharing this, Michael. You and Ginnie are truly amazing. Zach and I share a lot of overlapping feelings and experiences here and it's important to know you're not alone in this. Ainsley Bea is the perfect little nose like Mama ;-) Precious dollbaby. I will look forward to following her progress and please know we wrap your family in our love and support. These NICU babies are fact, I suggest coming up with a warrior name for her. You should start taking suggestions ;-) Keep writing, it's good for the soul! Love to you and yours! MKW

  2. Mike,
    Your family is in our prayers. Adam shared the blog with me this morning, and we will be following every step of the way. Ainsley is beautiful. If you need anything, please feel free to call us.

    The Brands