Going to the Light
A 365-day Photo Journal

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day 10: HB to HB

click photo to see larger version

Yesterday we had dinner with my wife's family to celebrate the 10th birthday of my neice Halee Beth (HB). I asked her mother to write up the wonderful story of Halee's coming into this world.

Halee’s Story
by Melissa Morgan

Ten years ago this week on August 12th, 1999 Halee Beth was born. She was 5lbs 5oz and we were told that she most likely would not survive the night. We were devastated, Halee was our third child we had been through this before but it was nothing like this! Three days before she was born I had started to feel really tired, very drained. I had been getting our other two children ready to go back to school, shopping etc; I just thought I was really tired from being on the go & the horrible heat in August. The kids started school that morning and after I dropped them off I felt just horrible, I went home and went back to bed the rest of the morning. I started feeling flushed and my stomach felt like dead weight very heavy. If I had not had two children before I might not have realized this was not right. I called the doctor and he said to come in, so I picked up the kids from school and just took Katie & Josh with me. I figured no big deal they would just hook me up to the monitor check her heart rate and send me home, just another worried expectant mother, but that was not the case! They hooked me up to the monitor and she would not move for them either, they then checked her heart rate. It was slow and not improving as they monitored it was even going down. My doctor was out of town and the doctor on call sent me over to check into the hospital. So there I was with two children & Dean was working on the other side of town at least 45 minutes away, & my parents were by chance on vacation in Colorado. Halee was not due for another 6 weeks.

We checked into the hospital and immediately they hooked me up to every machine possible and started an IV. There was no change and her heart rate continued to drop. Dean finally got to the hospital and the doctor talked to both of us. They wanted to take the baby right away by emergency c-section, and there was no time to waste. They had checked me into the hospital around 5:30pm and by 9:00pm Halee was born. They said if I had not come in when I did she would have been dead by morning. She was not crying when they pulled her out she was completely grey and not making much movement at all. They took her and began working on her right away in the room; before they wheeled her off she was making some crying sounds. It all seems like such a blur now. Everything was happening very fast. Luckily our doctor only worked out of Presbyterian and they had a wonderful NICU. There were two nurses that we already knew from college, sisters of one of my dear friends. Kay was on the floor that night and she would come and give me up dates and would check on us, but no one would tell me what exactly was going on with Halee. Finally the doctor came in to talk to us; he said that things were very serious the baby had lost a lot of blood through the umbilical cord and her hemoglobin count was a 5. I did not even know what a normal count was but later we learned that they had NEVER delivered a baby alive with that low of a count EVER!!!! We asked the doctor when we could see her; he looked puzzled and said we are not even sure she will make it through the night. I was not able to walk or sit up yet from the c-section, but they let Dean into to see Halee. She had wires hooked up all over her and an IV coming from her head. The nurses took a picture of her for him to bring me so I could see her. It was all very unreal like it was happening to someone else and I was watching this story unfold on a movie screen. The next morning I woke up in the room and I was alone, (Dean had gone to breakfast while I was sleeping) I heard a baby crying from the next room, and it hit me that we might go home without our little girl. I remember praying right then Lord do not give me more than I can handle.

God was so faithful to us and answered my prayer. Every day the doctor would give us very little hope, “she is a very sick girl” he would say. They had to do two complete blood transfusions that first night. The other thing was I have AB negative blood & Halee is the only one of my children to have the same blood type AB negative. If her blood had not been negative then when her blood was mixing with my blood as it was hemorrhaging out it could have killed both of us. There were many blessings along the way thought the whole ordeal. Halee had a very special nurse Ann who was working the night Halee was born. They had warned the NICU that a very sick baby was coming that night and Ann began to pray for Halee even before she was born.

Each day the doctor would tell us we just don’t know she is very sick, and then she would surprise them all by making giant strides that day. Everyday Halee would get stronger; I finally got to hold her when she was 5 days old, and when she was 9 days old I finally got to feed her. She was so weak that it took too much energy for her to eat on her own so they were feeding her through a tube, but she finally got off the breathing machine, then the feeding tube was taken out and she got to have a bottle. It was all very exciting each day a new and wonderful step closer to getting to go home. Halee was 14 days old when we finally got to take her home. She was 4 lbs 12 oz, but she was such a fighter. They called her a little spit fire in the nursery; she had such a strong will to live. That strong will still serves her well in life…though at times it does drive us a little crazy.

Halee’s story is still told by the nurses at the NICU. Two of the nurses are now teachers at a Nursing School and I ran into one of them the other day. She told me that she tells Halee’s story every year to new nurses, and they still use Halee’s fetal monitor strip to train new nurses in the NICU unit on the worst case scenario. One other blessing is that we didn’t have to pay a penny for the hospital stay. What our insurance didn’t cover the hospital wrote off. It was a teaching hospital and they considered Halee’s case a learning opportunity.

This week Halee Beth turns 10, I can hardly believe it! I cannot imagine my life without her, she has been such a blessing to our family. She is a completely healthy and happy 10 year old with no effects of her birth…except her exceptionally strong will!


Kristie said...

Happy Birthday, Halee Beth! :)

OK, here's my request. Would it be terrible trouble to ask you to post your photo information each day? I'd love to know what camera settings you were using .... did you need a tripod .... natural light vs flash .... any reflectors ... etc. You're posting amazing shots and I'm certainly happy admiring them, but I'd love to know more about how you're acheiving such great results. (Hmmmm, Kristie, selfish much?) :)

Alisa said...

me too, me too!
I must be selfish also.
I also would like to request that you teach a class. A beginner one for me.

Happy Birthday Halle Beth!

Territory Mom said...

Happy Birthday Halee!!! Love your photo. Isn't God great? I was told my son would never walk or talk, now I'm always yelling, "be quiet, stop running." Life is good!

Jim Smith said...

Okay ladies...here's the info for today's photo. All natural lighting with no reflectors and no tripod (although I did have support from leaning on a table top. I used a 135mm f2.0L lens at f2.8, 1/40 shutter speed, and ISO set to 800.

I'll try to post this info in the future. Here's a quick lesson. Often, you can save a photo from the web and find a lot of info embedded in the photo file itself. For instance, click on one of my photos to see the larger version and then right-click on the image and save to your computer. Then find the file you saved and right-click on it and select PROPERTIES. Next click on the SUMMARY tab at the top and then click on the ADVANCED button. Bingo you've got all the camera data stored with the photo. Alisa...these are Windows instructions. I'm not sure how it would work with a Mac.

jenX said...

Jim - I will need more than information posted. I will need you to take all my pictures for me. hahahaha!

I never knew Melissa and Dean went through all this with their baby girl. What a harrowing, touching story. And, this photo - like we are all quickly learning - is just divine. These freckles are priceless. I think she looks like her momma. Blessings on you, Halee. The best is yet to be. jen

Alisa said...

Right as I started reading how to find the information on each photo I remembered that Jay has shown me how a few times- on our Mac. I will have to have him do it again, and again and again for me to remember myself!