Thursday, June 13, 2013

Peyton's Story, by her daddy

Post by Kyle

In 2010 I was wrapping up my career as a store manager for a national drug store chain. Our oldest daughters were 7 and 5 at the time. We normally take a family vacation to Top Sail NC with my parents and sister, brother in law, niece and nephews. But this year we decided to take a special vacation and booked a 4 night Disney cruise and 4 nights at the Magic Kingdom. We were so exhausted after returning home that I took another vacation a week later. It was about three weeks later that we learned that my wife was carrying our third child. We were excited and nervous as we are not “spring chicks” any more.

We went for our first ultra sound that August. The results came back and we were sent to a bigger hospital about 30 miles north of where we live. This hospital has a maternal fetal medicine unit. We were told that because of our age, our child was at increased risk of chromosome disorders. Some markers from the first ultrasound concerned our doctors. However they were very positive after the second ultrasound done at the bigger hospital.

Just when we thought we could relax, I took my wife to the hospital because she was bleeding excessively. We were told there was nothing we could do but wait. After everything calmed down, we were told the danger had passed and we were sent home. This cycle of stress followed by brief periods of relaxation, continued for the next four months.

During this time I officially left my job and started back to college. That alone was stressful enough. We were then to report for an ultra sound every three weeks.

We did find out that we were expecting another little girl. We named her Peyton Elizabeth. (Which seemed fitting as we had just donated the last of the little girl clothes to the local Hospice store). It seemed that about every other appointment, we were given bad news, everything from Downs syndrome to cystic fibrosis to heart problems. In the meantime my wife and I were both sent for blood work and met with the genetic counselor, to try to rule out potential problems. We saw different doctors on a regular basis; I suppose it was whoever was on call.

Finally in December we were strongly encouraged to have an amniocentesis completed. Of all days, there was a snow day that day and my oldest two daughters were with us. They didn’t know what to think.

It was about a week later that we received the phone call that would change our world forever. And yes I said PHONE CALL. The genetic counselor was the one to call us that our daughter was diagnosed with trisomy 18. We were not given much information other than it was 100% fatal. We were told that most babies were lost in the first trimester.

It was at this time that the Disney movie Tangled was in theaters. Naturally already having two daughters, who are very into Disney, we went to see it. It may sound strange but a movie about a lost princess really touched all of us. We went to watch Tangled one more time on New Year’s Eve. My wife says she was moving on that night.

Two days later we arrived for our three week ultra sound. The tech barely started when she excused herself and called the doctor on call. We knew there was something wrong. As the doctor entered the room he exclaimed “well, we knew this was gonna happen, she’s dead”. All I could do was comfort my wife as she burst into tears. We were told to contact our regular doctor on how we were to proceed.

The rest of the day (and really the next couple of months) I really just felt numb. This happened on a Tuesday and we were told my wife would have to deliver naturally and she would have to wait till Thursday January 6 at 6am. We did as we were told, all the while I tried to make my wife comfortable and take care of my two oldest daughters.

The day did not go as planned and my wife was in labor for over 36 hours. She was on a lot of medication as the doctor was trying to make her comfortable. About 4am the doctor came in, in tears herself, as she told us that because it had been days since our daughter had passed, we may not get a baby in one piece. And because my wife had been in labor for almost 24 hours it was too late to perform a c-section as there was a high risk my wife could bleed out and I would lose her too. It was about that time that my wife had her first anxiety attack, a very vicious belief that she was going to die. The doctor medicated her more. My wife slept most of the morning. It wasn’t until the nurses rotated again that evening that our nurse helped us. She got my wife up and moving. And finally it happened, and Peyton was delivered on Friday evening, just like her older sisters. All my girls were delivered on a Friday evening. It was January 7,  2011. When my wife delivered we were left alone in the room with our little girl.
Daddy Time <3
I called our Priest and he came right over and blessed the body. And by 9pm we were headed home. It is the most horrendous duty of a parent to bury their child. But that’s what we did on January 11, 2010. We did have calling hours the night before and over 100 family and friends showed up to support us.

As horrible as that time was the following months were more insidious. We found it difficult to be around family, friends, other babies, but most of all just to BE. Looking back on that time even my daughters grieved heavily, just in their own way.

I added a new tattoo, a bright sun with Peyton’s name underneath.

I found that I had lost confidence in myself. It was all I could do to get my daughters to and from school and myself to and from class. That summer I began to talk to a therapist. We have tried many things to ease the pain. We decorate Peyton’s stone, we have released balloons, donated books on grieving to the hospital, my wife is trying to get a prenatal hospice program in place, and we have released lanterns. I realized, thru therapy, that I need to tell people what I need; friends and family are not mind readers.

Fast forward to 2012, my family seems to be adjusting to our new normal. We have even been graced by our rainbow baby, Hayden Elizabeth, our fourth daughter born in October 2012. My wife seems to be doing better at home and work. Even though my daughters still talk about Peyton, they couldn’t be happier with their baby sister Hayden. And I have one year to go before I graduate college with my accounting degree.

In conclusion, one would think that our faith would have faltered. But in fact my faith is stronger
than ever. 

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