Our day started bright and early!! 5:00 AM we were up and at em' since we had to be to the hospital by 7:00 for the 9:00 C-Section. Actually, Mommy was having a hard time sleeping so she made her way out to the couch even earlier than that. Mommy jumped in the shower while Daddy...paced nervously around the house. At some point Daddy realized he needed to get ready too, so he got the last few things packed in the bag and loaded up the car. At about 6:30 we headed out, but not before one final baby bump picture!
Daddy was a nervous wreck the entire drive to the hospital! We got there right at 7:00 and started checking in. We were so hopeful that our favorite nurse Carrie would be there that day, but knew she was the first to get called off that morning, so weren't surprised when she wasn't at the nurses station, although we were certainly disappointed. While we were checking in, somebody came out of one of the C-Section rooms behind us...IT WAS CARRIE!! Turns out she had been called off that morning, but about 45 minutes later was called back in! And the best part, she was assigned to us!!! This was just the first of many blessing throughout the day!!
After getting checked in we were taken to the C-Section room and mommy got into her cute gown and was hooked up to all the monitors! They put a baby heartbeat monitor on and we loved so much hearing Paetyn's heartbeat over the next hour. At about 8:00 Grandma and Grandpa Gillett and Allen showed up and our dads gave us fathers blessings. As we got closer to the surgery, the nurses brought daddy an awesome OR clean suit to wear! He looked awesome! Great Grandma Makey and Great Grandpa Lynn showed up before the surgery as well as Aunt Amber and Uncle Josh. Our AMAZING Angel Watch girls Amelia and Cindy were both able to make it too!! All of the sudden, it was time! The nurses came in to wheel Mommy back to the OR. The only thing Daddy remembers as they walked out of the room was Uncle Josh saying to him "little piece of advice, don't look over the screen!"
We got back into the OR at exactly 9:00!!! When does that ever happen?!! They had Mommy jump up on the operating table and had Daddy sit in front of her so the anesthesiologist could administer the epidural. We had been told by many nurses at the hospital that there was 1 anesthesiologist that was by far the best...and as luck would have it (or maybe it wasn't luck) he was the anesthesiologist on duty that day!! Mommy was squeezing daddy's hands so tight, but before we knew it, the epidural was in and Mommy didn't even feel it! The anesthesiologist had daddy come around to the front of the table to sit by mommy's head, and our videographer Matt came in and took up the other corner of the room while Trichelle our photographer and our parents were brought into the "transition room" which was connected to the OR with a small window so they could watch. Dr. Julia came in the room and she and the nurses did their "team timeout", which included going over the procedure, counting all the tools, and finally asking Mommy what she was there for. It was 9:14 and they were ready to go! Daddy briefly considered Uncle Josh's advice, then threw it out the window! He watched as Julia made the incision. He briefly looked down at Mommy, wondering still if Josh was right, then looked back up. He was shocked to see Julia sticking her hands under the upper flap of skin, then lifting straight up and tugging to each side!!! At this point, Daddy decided maybe Josh was right, so he just put his forehead down on Mommy's forehead. About a minute later, Julia said she was ready to puncture the amniotic sack...Daddy couldn't resist. He looked up as she punctured it and watched as amniotic fluid went spraying everywhere!!!! The nurses quickly pulled something up over the flow and funneled it into some reservoirs on the side of the operating table. Mommy had over a gallon and a half of amniotic fluid! Next thing we knew, Julia was ready to pull Paetyn out! Daddy watched as Julia reached in and pulled his baby girl into this world at 9:18, just 4 minutes after the first incision was made!!!
All of the previous fears and worries about her acrania and potential cleft seemed to have disappeared at some point over the past 2 hours. None of that even crossed our minds when Paetyn came out, the only thing Daddy noticed was how purple Paetyn was. He watched, a bit worried, as the nurses held her at the end of the table and suctioned her, but she seemed to be alive!! They asked if Mommy wanted to see her...which of course she did, so they brought her to the front of the table, but only for about 5 seconds. Carrie then took Paetyn into the transition room to finish cleaning her and for the neonatologist and pediatrician to briefly examine her. Daddy just sat there, not knowing what to do, when the anesthesiologist reminded him that he should go in there with them! He hurried into the transition room and watched as Paetyn was examined. She had started to gain a little color at this point, which made Daddy feel much better. Paetyn's brain was very much intact, which we believe was due to her brain being attached to the amniotic sac, another miracle! And the cleft that Dr. Cambell thought she could see up Paetyn's cheek actually turned out to be the cutest little "skin tag" that was one of Daddy's favorite features on her beautiful face! She did have a cleft on the right side of her mouth that seemed to have "pushed" her top lip all over the the left side of her face. (See Paetyn's Acrania page if you would like to see pictures of her brain)
Daddy just stood in the transition room not knowing what to do. Thankfully, Cindy was standing next to Daddy and told him he could hold Paetyns hand while they examined her!!
It felt like they were examining her for 30 minutes (but was really only probably 3-4 minutes). They asked if we wanted Paetyn weighed and measured; Daddy just studdered and stumbled over his words until he finally got out "how long will that take?" It would take less than a minute so he had them do it. Paetyn was 2 lbs 10 ounces and 14 inches long!
The neonatologist wanted to keep examining her, so daddy finally asked "can I take her to mommy"? They put a little beanie on over Paetyn's brain, and the cutest little diaper, then wrapped her up in a blanket!! Daddy finally got to hold his baby girl for the first time!!!! He took her back into the OR to properly meet Mommy!! Mommy's eyes instantly welled with tears of joy and she looked at her sweet little girl!! Julia was just about finished stitching her up, and once she finished, Daddy handed Paetyn to mommy!! They rolled mommy out of the room back to the C-Section room, snuggling her baby girl the whole way, unable to take her eyes off of her!!!
By 9:39 we were back in the C-Section room!! We had been told to plan on an hour to an hour and a half for the C-Section, so we had told most of our family to get to the hospital at 10:00; luckily, most of our family was already there by then and they all got a chance to come up and meet Paetyn! The nurses asked if we wanted to give Paetyn oxygen, which we did, so they put a cannula tube in her mouth. By 10:15 everybody had shown up so we dressed Paetyn in her beautiful blessing dress that Mommy and Great Grandma Gillett made from Mommy’s wedding dress. Well, actually Daddy was too nervous to dress her so he had Cindy come to the rescue!! She looked so beautiful and so peaceful! Grandmomma Allen had made the prettiest bracelet for Paetyn that we also put on her. Bishop Parkinson arrived at about 10:30 so we gathered together to give her her blessing. As daddy carried Paetyn over, her arm fell and her bracelet slipped off her arm, but miraculously, she caught it with 2 of her little (yet VERY long) fingers and wouldn't let it drop! She is our dainty little princess!
After the blessing, our families left the room so we could have some alone time as a family. For weeks we had been praying that we would get an hour with Paetyn before she went back to Heaven, and we had already passed that hour mark. Matt and Trichelle stuck around and got a lot more good pictures of our family!! We snuggled her and loved on her and Daddy read her a few books over the next 30 minutes. Nurses kept coming in and out and checking on Mommy, but we hardly noticed them, we were just too fixated and too in love with our baby girl!! After we had enough time alone as a family, we invited our families back in so they could hold Paetyn and properly meet her!! Everybody got a chance to hold her and love on her for a few minutes each.
At some point, the neonatologist came back in to check on Paetyn. She was very impressed with how well she was doing, and even mentioned the possibility of taking her home for a few days, which we thought was a very weird thing to even suggest, and pushed it out of our minds so as to not get our hopes up too high, but still, Paetyn was doing so well and had already far surpassed our greatest hopes!!
Sometime around noon the nurses came in and told us things were going so well that they were going to transfer us to postpartum. They put us in a wing all to ourselves at the end of the hallway where there was a small sitting area right outside our room. It was so perfect and yet another blessing! Our families were able to hang out comfortably in the hallway, and the nurses even brought a tray full of cookies and drinks for everybody!! We had the BEST nurses!!!
At about 3 oclock we were all amazed at how well she was still doing, and somebody suggested we should sing "Happy 6 hours to you" to Paetyn!! This became our favorite tradition each hour that day!!
One thing daddy had to do with his baby girl was to paint her nails!!! She looked so pretty with her Christmas nails! After finishing one of her hands, Paetyn picked her hand up off mommy’s finger and turned it around as if to look to see how pretty it was!
As we reached 5 o’clock (8 hours with Paetyn) her condition seemed to be getting worse. It seemed like we didn't have long left with her, so our familes left the room so we could be together alone as a family. This was without a doubt the hardest part of the day. We held Paetyn close and watched as she seemed to struggle to breath. We worried that leaving the oxygen in at this point was prolonging things unnecessarily and causing Paetyn to struggle, so we called our nurse and asked if a pediatrition could come check on her. It took him about 20 minutes to get there, which initially we were frustrated about, but turned out to be another blessing as it gave us some really good time with our baby girl. We snuggled her, kissed her, read to her, sang to her, and had a family prayer!
The pediatrician arrived and listened to our concerns. He was a very genuine and caring man. He listened to her heart and said it still sounded very strong and suggested we remove the oxygen for about 5 minutes and see if her heart rate changed; if, after that 5 minutes her heart rate had increased we would know that she was then in distress and we would put the oxygen back on. We sat and talked for a few minutes and he listened to her heart again and didn't notice any change so we made the decision to leave the oxygen off. Daddy asked if we could borrow a stethoscope to listen to her heart. They were happy to let us keep the stethoscope for awhile so that we and our entire family could have the opportunity to listen to her heart beating! Listening to Paetyn's heartbeat was another one of our very favorite experiences!
Our families were still waiting out in the hallway when the pediatrician left; he didn't say a word to anybody as he left quite hastily. A few minutes later he returned after he had the chance to compose himself; like I said, he was a very genuine person and had great concern for Paetyn! He took a few minutes and explained to everybody what he had just talked with us about. When he was done, everybody came in and had their turn listening to Paetyn's heart!
Daddy was very worried for about 15-20 minutes after talking to the pediatrician. Paetyn seemed to be struggling and turning quite purple. But after awhile, it seemed that Paetyn suddenly realized, “Hey, I'm not getting oxygen anymore, I better do something about this” and she started breathing on her own very well!! Her color came back and we could see her chest moving very well!!
Since she was doing so well we decided to Skype her cousins. All of her cousins were able to get to meet her and spend a few minutes looking at her! When her cousin Billy first saw her he said "It looks like she has a mustache!" and when her cousin Brooke saw her she said "She looks kinda funny, but she also looks kinda cute!" It was so cute to see and hear their reactions to their little cousin! When she was Skyping with her Price cousins she gave a biiiig wave to them!!
While we were Skyping with cousins, Great Granny and Gramps Westover were trying to get their Skype to work but having a very hard time. It took nearly an hour to get it to work; but finally they did! We were able to spend about 15 minutes Skyping Great Granny and Gramps and they were even able to sing Happy 11 Hours to You with us! Paetyn had now met her entire family, except for Uncle Jack who is currently serving a mission in Missouri, luckily his Mission President did let us skype with him for about 20 minutes the next day.
After Skyping with Great Granny and Gramps we thought it might be nice to try and feed Paetyn, so the nurse brought in a small syringe with some formula.
A few minutes later Paetyn was passed to her Grandpa Gillett. After holding her for only a moment he asked for the stethoscope. He listened then said "Tim you might want to come listen". Paetyn was handed to Mommy so that Daddy could listen for a heartbeat. He listened for a minute, then pulled the stethoscope off and said he couldn't hear a heartbeat. Mommy listened and she couldn't hear one either. Our baby girl had gone back to heaven, as peacefully as she possibly could, with her tiny arms crossed over her chest, our dainty little angel! The feeling in the room was not one of sorrow, but rather absolute peace and comfort. The spirit could be felt so strong by everyone and we know there were angels in the room with us.
Looking back at the video of mommy feeding her, we think it very likely that this was about the time that she passed.
We were blessed with 11 wonderful hours with our precious little angel!! We truly could not have asked for our day to go any better than it did. We are so grateful for all the love and support we have received from so many people!! Thank you all so much!!