When Evie was born, this was what we shared on Facebook:
“Our little Evelyn has made her appearance, but unfortunately has been sent to a NICU in Des Moines with breathing problems. Ty was able to accompany her right away and Megan is joining them shortly. Please be praying for our little girl. She seems to be doing well and is quite a fighter, but isn’t out of the woods yet.”
This is what we didn’t share at the time.
After nineteen hours of labor, our second child was born at 12:28 am on Mothers’ Day, but wasn’t breathing. She let out the most pitiful whimper I had ever heard. So quiet, I thought I had imagined it until I saw her medical records and saw that at least one other person had heard it as well. They took her over to the table and tried to suction her, but the tube just kept coming back out of her nose. They gave her oxygen and scrambled to find smaller tubes, they tried intubating a few times, but smaller hospitals usually don’t carry tiny enough equipment to intubate newborns. Ty, that wonderful man I married, stood next to her and held her hand the whole time feeling the life slip from her more than once. And he lied to me. He turned to me and said “She’s doing great.” That’s how I found out we had another daughter. He said “she”.
Our doula (labor assistant) wrote down her memories of the experience since so much of it was a blur for me.
“At first, it was just a big sense of relief. But, then the baby wasn’t taking her first breath. I have seen babies struggle in the beginning before so I did what I always do and encourage Mama to talk to her baby, sing to her, let her hear your voice in hopes that it would help give the baby the security to take that first breath. You did. But, there was nothing happening. The room started to fill with nurses and doctors. They tried suctioning, they cut the cord and rubbed her back. I watched the clock. 5 minutes. 10 minutes. Nothing. They put her on oxygen quickly and continued to try to stimulate her. They ran around looking for tubes small enough to put in her tiny nose. Ty went to the table where Evie lay and I stayed with you. I remember purposefully not telling you it was going to be ok because I wasn’t sure that it was. I just held you and stroked your hair and your back. 15 minutes. 20 minutes. Megan, you began to cry. A sound no mother should ever have to make. Begging for God to save your baby. Asking them to tell you what was wrong. No one was talking to you much. Ty kept looking at you and tried to smile and be reassuring. But his attention was almost entirely on the baby. 25 minutes. 35 minutes. 45 minutes. The staff called life flight and started making comments that she needed to go to Des Moines. Sometime in the midst of all of that, they called in the anesthesiologist. He was wearing jeans and an old shirt and he began to work on your baby right away. I remember him as an angel because he was the first person to really talk to you and Ty. He told you exactly what was going on. He said that they think Evie didn’t have any nasal passages and that’s why they couldn’t get tubes in. He said that they had her on oxygen and she was getting all the oxygen she needed right now so she was stable. He was honest and reassuring at the same time. I was so grateful. He kept Evie stable while they waited for emergency help. Life flight couldn’t make it out there, I think because of the wind, but an ambulance was on its way.”
The NICU transport team arrived around 3 am and were able to get her intubated. A few minutes later, our feisty Evie yanked the tube right out and had to be intubated again. Once this was done she was much more stable. Ty and I had planned to take our time discussing our favorite names to see which fit this new child, but with the new situation, we both felt she needed a name before she left. At that point, we knew there was a possibility she wouldn’t make it and no one wants to name their child after…So I requested Evelyn because I remembered that it meant life. She immediately became Evie to us.
She had a name. And then it was time to say goodbye. Prior to this, I had only seen a picture of her that a nurse took to bring over to me and I could see her little body lying on the table. They wheeled her over next to my bed so I could kiss her and let her know I would see her as soon as possible. She held onto my finger so tightly.
And then she was gone. Ty followed shortly after. And then I was left to listen to the other babies crying while I laid in my bed alone.
The next few days were a blur as potential problems were suggested and tested for. Brain abnormalities, kidney problems, heart defects, pulmonary hypertension, sepsis, and more and more. By the end of the week, we had ruled out everything except the choanal atresia (of course, now we know she has CHARGE syndrome, but we didn’t discover that until she was a month old).
Things looked pretty bleak that night and the next few days, but God was faithful through it all. He sustained us and Evie through this last year and she is such a light in our family. We had no idea the adventure that awaited us in Evie, an adventure with intense struggle, but even more intense joy. I’ll leave you with the hymn that goes with the name we chose:
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear,
Now to his temple draw near,
Join me in glad adoration.
Praise to the Lord,
who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under his wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen
How thy desires e’er have been
Granted in what he ordaineth?
Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee!
Surely his goodness and mercy here daily attend thee;
What the Almighty will do,|
If with his love he befriend thee!
Praise to the Lord,
who with marvelous wisdom hath made thee,
Decked thee with health, and with loving hand guided and stayed thee.
How oft in grief
Hath not he brought thee relief,
Spreading his wings to o’ershade thee!
Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before him.
Let the Amen
Sound from his people again;
Gladly fore’er we adore him.
We are so grateful for our beautiful little Evie. I’m glad God chose us for her and her for us. And we don’t say these things trying to make the best of a bad situation. Evie is far from a bad situation, she is an incredible situation and we truly feel immensely blessed to have her in our family.