Charlie Jay Kelley Baby Charlie's Journey

First post: Mar 17, 2017 Latest post: Sep 17, 2017

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting. The first time Ashley got pregnant, we found out that our baby did not have a heartbeat at the 9 week  ultrasound. The doctor said the baby stopped growing at 6 weeks and it was a "missed miscarriage." We were absolutely devastated. Ashley was scheduled for a D&C several days later which was very traumatic. Our doctor said Ashley was very fertile since we had gotten pregnant on our 2nd try. It didn't  make us feel any better though, because as a lesbian couple it is still very difficult to plan and time everything perfectly. There is nothing romantic trying to make a baby in the insemination  process.

Luckily our doctor told us we could try again after Ashley's first period, and the first 3 months after a miscarriage are actually the most fertile. We tried as soon as we could and got pregnant on the first try! We were elated! And scared, because our emotions from the miscarriage were still very raw.

At out first visit with this current pregnancy, we had an ultrasound to determine the due date. We were already terrified going in since we had not had a good experience yet. The very first sentence the tech said was, "Oh!There were twins." So matter-of-factly. Without feeling. I said "were?!" as my eyes filled with tears and I looked at the two sacs on the screen- and saw one sac had a tiny shaped teddy graham and the other had a much smaller circle and a poll.  The tech said, "Looks like one of the twins stopped growing at 6 weeks.  They were fraternal. Like Ashley and her sister Angie.

Bittersweet symphony. I cried tears of grief for another lost baby and tears of joy for the one that lived. 

In January Ashley had an  ultrasound scheduled for the 17th. Ashley's mom had been in ICU for several days and we knew that she wouldn't make it through the day. We debated rescheduling- but I wanted to go to the ultrasound to make sure the baby was ok- the amount of stress Ashley had been under really worried me. I wanted reassurance that he was ok.  We asked the family for advice and everyone agreed we should get checked out real quick- that Ashley's mom would have wanted that for us. 

When we got to that appointment I let the nurses know that we were in a hurry because Ashley's mom was dying at another hospital in town. We didn't have to wait- they got us right in. The ultrasound was speedy and we were escorted to a room to see the doctor quickly. The doctor could see we were upset, she said I know you are in a hurry, I am sorry about your mom... There was a concern on the ultrasound.  They couldn't see a valve in his heart. She said not to worry yet- its not common but also not uncommon- And not to worry about it but come back in a few weeks for another ultrasound.

We went back to ICU to see Dee.  Dee was unable to speak and was unresponsive the entire time she was in ICU. We told her the news, we cried, we asked her to watch over Charlie, please protect him, be his guardian angel.  Dee's eyes flicked open and she looked right into Ashley's eyes. Ashley cried tears of joy for that one moment.  I told her I loved her so much, and asked her if she could hear me, and if she could would she please open her eyes for me too? And her eyes opened, she looked right into my soul. I knew she loved me and heard me. There was comfort in that moment. I will never forget that moment.  Dee passed away a few hours later, surrounded by all her family.

The next few weeks were immensely stressful as we tried to process Dee's death, and take care of Dee's estate, all while Ashley was dealing with pregnancy issues- nausea, heartburn, exhaustion, being uncomfortable, fear that something was wrong with Charlie's heart.

Our next visit to the ob was 25 weeks-and on Valentine's day.  Which should be a happy day, but ours was filled with worry, anxiety, fear. Mixed emotions. Wanting to go to the doctor to have answers. And not knowing how we would be able to handle any negative news.  They did the ultrasound, and found the valve almost immediately!  Joy!!! But there was something else not right now... he was measuring a little bit small. He was in the 15 percentile for weight and size I tried to shrug it off. I'm small. My boys are small. Charlie would fit in with the family. The doctor asked a lot of questions- how tall is the donor? any genetic disorders in your family? Are you sure about the insemination date? Are you sure about the date of your last period?  Lets do another ultrasound in 4  weeks to monitor this.... he was in the 15 percentile for weight and size.

On March 14 at our 30 week ultrasound,  Charlie's head measured 29 weeks, but his legs and arms only measured at 27 weeks.  He now was at a 5 percentile for size (about 2 pounds). This was cause for serious concern.  She diagnosed it as Intrauterine Growth Restriction. Our doctor referred us to see a perinatal specialist to get further testing. She gave us clear instructions not to google it and to wait for the specialist appointment. The next day I think I was a zombie. Scary thoughts would fly into my mind- is he going to be disabled? Will he be a dwarf?  Does he have a genetic disorder? Then I would feel guilty, because I knew I would love him no matter what. My fears were of the unknown - the possibilities.  Everyone wants a healthy baby. Would I have a healthy baby? Would I be able to handle it if I don't?

March 16, 2017 we went to the Perinatal Specialist at 8am. The ultrasound lasted about an hour. Afterwards we met with the specialist.  We discovered that the main reason for his slowed growth and development is because of a Marginal Cord Insertion which means that the umbilical cord inserts into the edge of the placenta instead of in the middle, which causes less blood flow and oxygen flow to the baby. Also this could lead to other complications including fetal distress. The doctor admitted Ashley into the hospital at Cox South for observation, monitoring and bedrest until Charlie is born.  She was given a steroid shot for his lungs.  

We have been told that Charlie could be born as early as tomorrow, or as late as at 34-35 weeks. They will not let him go for more than 36 weeks because there could be other complications and he would be better off in an incubator.  She will have a c-section because it is the safest for him to avoid complications. When Charlie is born he will most likely be in ICU until the end of May.

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