Welcome, friends and family. We are using this platform to keep everyone updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting. See below for Carly’s story.
Carly was born at 9:41 am on Monday, June 29, 2020, at the U of M Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. I had been laboring at home in Detroit for over 30 hours, with a midwife and her assistant, with the intention of having a home birth. Over those 30 hours I had not been able to sleep or eat anything (threw up 7 times), and was overall feeling very drained physically. The final straw came when my midwife checked me and my cervix had closed from 8cm to 4cm, and I decided then to transfer to the hospital and get an epidural to relieve the pain and allow myself to rest. For my entire labor, both at home and at the hospital, the baby’s heart rate was good, and amniotic fluids were clear (no visible signal of meconium).
Carly was born limp with Apgar scores of 1, 3, and 4. Once she came out, she was covered in a huge amount of meconium; as one nurse put it, the thickest meconium she had ever seen. During labor she had somehow experienced a major loss of oxygen and blood flow, referred to as HIE - Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, to her brain, liver, and kidneys. It is unclear if the meconium was entirely responsible for this or if there had been a separate issue, or multiple factors, earlier on in labor. She was immediately put into hypothermia therapy, “brain cooling” where she was kept on a cooling bed for 72 hours, to prevent inflammation and further injury. She was then gradually warmed up over 24 hours, during which period she experienced many small seizures (over 100 in a 48 hour period). Once she was warmed up she had an MRI- the results of which indicated that her entire cortex was severely, globally damaged. They did say that her brain stem and cerebellum are still intact. Neurologists’ prognosis for her is very poor. Based on their experience with babies in her situation, they predict that it is unlikely she will ever walk, talk, or be able to process thought.
The doctors here are still unsure of what exactly caused the extent of HIE for Carly. There is no single issue that they can point to that is conclusive. During the 6 hours she was being monitored in the hospital before birth, there were no red flags that she was in distress. I have reviewed her heart rate monitor graphs from the time we were admitted to the hospital to the time she was born and they appear well within a safe range the whole time. Her case is going to be reviewed by 2 committees, to try to determine what went so wrong.
This has been an incredibly difficult time for me and my family. I have never experienced so much raw grief, or cried so much, in my life. I know that I will continue to grieve what’s happened for a long time, but I do feel like we are turning a corner these days in acceptance, and grace. We are cautiously hopeful about her future and pray that she will prove everyone wrong. Already she is surprising us by some of the small signs of progress she is making. And I firmly believe that, no matter what, she will only help us, and anyone who comes to know her, to grow and learn to love in ways we never realized possible.
I keep repeating that our hearts are open and welcoming to all of the love, prayer, magic and miracles of the universe. We are so humbled and grateful for all of the support and love that continues to come our way.
Edited to add:
Many people have asked how they can help.
Donations of a meal, money or items from Carly’s registry can help ease the stress of this time and brighten our spirits.
We may set up a gofundme campaign in the future to help with specialized therapies for Carly.
Money at this point is used towards basics like prepared meals, babysitting for Forest, essentials for Carly (like diapers!), house cleaning help.
>To sign up for a date on meal train: https://mealtrain.com/l1kzod
>To donate money by Venmo:
>Carly’s registry: https://www.babylist.com/baby-vanessa-reilly-bates