My doctor suspected, and tests on the placenta later confirmed, that Madison died from a Group B Strep infection. I am by no means a medical professional, but I'll do my best to explain the way I understand it.. Group B Strep is a common bacteria that pregnant women are tested for late in pregnancy. From what I understand it's something that most women have at some point, and is usually harmless to the mother, but can cause complications in a baby. If a women tests positive for the bacteria, which I had, she is given antibiotics during labor, which I was given, and this is supposed to prevent the baby from getting it during delivery. My doctor figures that somehow the bacteria got into the bag of water earlier in labor, giving her the infection, and my body was sustaining her until she was born. This is extremely rare, my doctor has only ever seen one case like this. That woman went on to have 4 other healthy children. However, to be extra cautious, if I were to get pregnant again we would go to Spectrum at the first signs of labor and do a c-section, with a neonatal team standing by in case of complication.
Four weeks ago, at 11:21pm on October 26 our beautiful princess, Madison Paige, was born.
I woke up at about 1am that day, having contractions every few minutes. After an hour or so I woke Chris up, and we both paced the house for awhile, debating whether or not this was the real thing and if we should head to the hospital. Finally at about 5am we called my doctor to tell him we were heading in, and called my mom to come and stay with Jonah and take him to school. Funny thing is school ended up being cancelled that day due to high winds and a tornado watch - Jonah was also born during a storm, and there was a snow day the day after he was born!
The contractions were coming consistently every 2-3 minutes, but after about 3 hours in the hospital with no progress they sent me home to try and sleep. They said I might be back later that day, or it could be another week yet. Dr. Taylor told me how his wife had contractions every 5 minutes for 2 weeks before one of their children was born. I wanted to punch him. :)
I managed to get a few hours of sleep and Chris went in to work for a few hours. By about 5pm the contractions were still coming every couple minutes, and stronger than ever, so we went back in, a little afraid of being sent home again. Thankfully this time they saw some progress and we got to stay. Everything was looking great, baby's heart rate was perfect, and thanks to an epidural I was feeling much better! Things progressed fairly quickly, my water broke, and soon after I told the nurse it seemed like the baby was getting really low. She checked and said no... wait! I can feel the head! She called Dr. Taylor in a panic, and he broke many speed limits on his short drive to the hospital. During delivery the baby's heart rate started to drop, so Dr. Taylor had to help get her out quickly with a forceps. She had her cord wrapped around her neck, which is what caused the lower heart rate, and kept pulling her back in. But at 11:21 our beautiful baby girl was laid on my chest, and we heard her little cry.
After that the nurse took her from me.. I thought just to get her cleaned up and weighed and such, but when my doctor and several nurses gathered around her I knew something was wrong. She wasn't breathing. Chris and I started praying, and one of our wonderful nurses, Megan, came and prayed with us. They worked for several minutes on our baby girl right in our room, and later took her into the nursery to try some more to get her to breathe. They told us there was a neonatal team from Spectrum on the way. Chris called our parents to tell them to pray. Megan prayed with us again. Then a little more than an hour after she was born my doctor came to tell us she was gone. Our precious baby girl went home to be with Jesus.
They brought her to us and we got to hold her. We named her Madison Paige, a name that we had picked out before we were even pregnant with Jonah. She was the most beautiful, perfect baby I had ever seen. Beautiful dark, curly hair like her daddy, and even though we never got to see her smile, we could tell she was going to have a dimple like her big brother. Beautiful. Her grandpas and grandmas and Auntie Liz and Uncle Jonny came to see her and hold her. Then the nurses took her for a few hours while we somehow got a few hours of sleep.
We got to spend all day with Madison on Wednesday. Big brother Jonah got to come and meet her. He was so excited to be a big brother. He couldn't wait to make her laugh, he had been practicing how to burp her and give her a bottle and put her pipey in her mouth. He called her "Princess" from the time he found out he was having a little sister. He was going to be a great big brother.
The day is a bit of a blur... we got to have Madison all day, we had some visits from family and friends who hugged and prayed with us. But we went home that night. I think one of the hardest things we've ever had to do was hand our baby girl back to the nurse and go home. Without her. Without our baby who we've dreamed about for years. She didn't get to come home to her beautiful pink room her daddy made for her, to her closet full of pink clothes, to her mommy and daddy and big brother who loved her so much.
On Friday we got to spend some time with Madison again at the funeral home. We got to hold her again, Jonah got to hold her. She looked beautiful. Like a princess, an angel. On Saturday we had a beautiful service at our church with tons of people there to support us. Pastor Randy and Amy did an amazing job speaking and Terp made a beautiful video from our pictures of Madison. We then had a small graveside service with family at Zeeland Cemetery.
We are so blessed to have an amazing family, friends, and church family to help us through this time. The Sunday after Madison's death hundreds of people from our church surrounded our home in prayer and song. It was unbelievable. I have not had to cook a thing in the last 4 weeks, we've had tons of meals coming in. We've gotten hundreds of cards, emails, and facebook messages from people letting us know that they care and are praying for us, and many gifts to help us remember our baby. There is always someone there to give us hugs when we need them or cry with us. We are so thankful to all of you, we couldn't get through this without you.
So how are we doing? For the most part we're ok. The only explanation I have for that is God, and the tons of people lifting us up in prayer. And Jonah. We're so thankful for him.. he can make us smile when we're sad, he wipes away my tears, and he gives me his animals to cuddle with to make me happy. He doesn't really understand why Madison didn't get to come home and sleep in her bed. I recently realized he thinks heaven is at the funeral home... I told him that someday we'd get to go to heaven and see Madison again, and he asked if we could get mints from the bowl when we got there. He says "Don't worry mommy, when Madison's done at heaven she'll come home." Just the opposite, sweet boy. When we're done on earth we get to go to heaven to see her. We miss Madison like crazy. We don't understand. We're mad. We want her back so bad. I'd give anything to hold her again, and one of the only things that keeps me going some days is the promise that some day I WILL. I cannot wait for that day. Come quickly Lord Jesus!
Please continue to pray for us and the rest of our family. Pray for strength to get through each day, and for peace that only God can give.
Chris & Emily were married in May of 2000. On November 30, 2006 we were blessed with our son, Jonah, who has brought so much joy to our lives. On October 26, 2010, our beautiful daughter, Madison, was born, and shortly after her birth she went home to be with Jesus.
Chris recently changed careers, and started at Hilliard Lyons as a financial advisor. Emily works part time as a server at Pizza Hut, and full time as a mommy to Jonah. We have also been high school youth group leaders for the past several years.