Because it is so hard to remember every detail of the birth of any child, I want to make sure I document every memory I have of the day Faith was born. It was a hard day, but it was her birthday!
Rob and I had to be at the hospital at 7:00 am. We arrived at Shands approximately 15 minutes late (in typical Vaughn fashion) and Bryan and Christina met us at the door. I had gotten zero sleep the night before, and emotions were extremely high. I remember trying to hold it together as I walked up to greet our friends. There was a dear little lady at the valet station, who was having a hard time comprehending the concept of valet. I have to say that we got a little laugh, which helped calm the nerves....temporarily.
We rode the elevator to the third floor, and had no idea where to go. We went to three different desks, before we found the right place. As I checked in, my heart was racing continuously, as I knew we had a long day ahead of us. Dr. D happened to be sitting there, and welcomed us with his usual calm, soothing self.
They sent us to triage to get prepared for surgery. Now this triage deal was something totally new to us. Before, we had delivered at a different hospital, where you did everything in the privacy of your own room. I was not at all excited about this new concept. They gave me a gown, and sent me to the last bed against the wall. Dr. D had promised me a private room, so I asked the nurse about it just to double check, and she was quick to inform me that they were completely full. So the probability was not looking good. I was devastated. Nothing about this day had gone as I had imagined. Then she told me I would have to recover there for 2 hours as well after the surgery. I explained to the nurse our situation, and that I didn't want to spend the few minutes we may have with our daughter in the company of 12 other laboring women. She told me that unless it was absolutely crucial, or my doctor pulled a lot of strings, it probably wouldn't be possible for us to have an intimate moment with our Faith.
By then, I had gotten settled in my bed, and it was hot as blue blazes in there. If you know me at all, you know that I have extreme needle anxiety. I passed out when I got my iv with SaraGrace. They hadn't even talked about the iv, and I felt as though I was going to pass out. I was so worried about the room situation, but TERRIFIED about the spinal. I had worried about that thing for 9 months. For me, it has been the worst experience of both births of my children. They laid me down, uncovered me, and got tons of ice packs to help calm me down. Rob was such a saint. He just sat there, stroking my hair with such care and concern. He explained to the nurses my anxieties with needles, and all that had happened leading up to that day. They attempted to attach the monitor to my tummy, but little Faith was being hard headed. They couldn't find her heart beat. After about 20 minutes, they found it and instructed me to be still. Another nurse came in to give me the iv. Again, Rob explained to her my anxiety, and she was so sweet and calm. She stuck me once, and truthfully, it hurt, but it wasn't unbearable. But....it didn't work. They had to do it again, but this time proved successful. I made it! I didn't pass out!!
Since the iv was so successful, I then focused my worry on the spinal. My sister works for the Department of Anesthesiology, and she knew the doctors who would be administering my spinal. She had already explained what had happened before, so they came in together to talk to me and see if they could find out why it was so bad. Dr. E was so great! She was very compassionate. She brought me some numbing cream for my back 2 hours before surgery, so she was hopeful that it would help. In the mean time, Dr. A (the resident) assured me he would do everything he could to make it as painless as possible. Dr. E ordered some meds for my nerves, and they both came back multiple times to check on me.
My surgery got postponed by an hour. The nerves continued to build. But as nearly 60 people gathered in the waiting room, to pray and support our family, they each filed in to come pray with us in the triage room. The staff were so accommodating, and allowed everyone the opportunity to come back. Cade and SG made their way back there about every 20 minutes. One thing about it, everyone around us got to experience church with all of the prayers that were said that day.
Dr. D came back there, and I shared with them the situation with the private room. He told me if he had to take me to his house, I would have a private room. He would make sure of it! Dr. B was also with him. This was the first time we had been able to meet face to face. He had spoken with Life South about organ donation, and they didn't feel that Faith was a candidate. He also wanted to make sure he knew our wishes, and that we were all on the same page once she was born. He was so kind to ask if we had something for her to wear. Aunt Kiss went and got her gown, and he made sure it was there when the time would come.
When the time came to take us back, Rob and my sister were both able to go back with me immediately. It was time for the spinal, and I remember saying a quick prayer that God would allow it to be fairly painless so I could focus on what He had in store for us. As the time came to give me the spinal, it was nearly painless. I couldn't believe it. Dr. E and Dr. A were so wonderful, and it was not even an issue. And...I didn't pass out!!! With that out of the way, they laid me back and got ready to begin. But...I passed out! My heart rate dropped and they had to suction me out. I just remember waking up and telling Rob, "I think I just passed out!" He told me what had happened, and about that time, they pulled my precious angel out. It was 11:13 am.
They took her immediately over to the little bassinet, where both Dr. K and Dr. B evaluated her. Rob was right by their side. As they evaluated Faith, they realized that there was nothing they could do for her. They couldn't even stabilize her. As Dr. B came over to give me the news, tears filled my eyes, but I have to say that God covered me with a peace. A peace that I knew could come only from Him. We had prayed that His will would be clear, and that if a decision had to be made it would be black and white. He answered that prayer.
Rob helped wrap her up, and he brought her over to me. He was such a rock! I will never forget the first time I saw her face. She never opened her eyes, but she was so peaceful. I just stroked her curly brown hair, and kissed her over and over again. I told her that I loved her and that I was so proud of her. They kept checking her heart rate, and though it was slowing down, she was hanging on. They weighed her and reported a whopping 5 pounds 5.4 ounces. She was so tiny!
Dr. E, the anesthesiologist, asked us if we had brought a camera. We had not because they had initially told us that it was not allowed. She offered hers to us and took several pictures of the three of us. We have never been able to get pictures of any of our children in the operating room, so this was a real gift. She then offered for Aunt Kiss to go get Christina's camera, so she did and took several more precious pictures. Dr. E had some how managed to print the pictures she took, and my parents had them before I was out of the operating room. They got to see her alive through those pictures.
As they continued to check her heart rate, they told us at 11:55 am she was no longer with us. I just held her a little longer. It was so hard to let her go, but I knew what a blessing it was for her to be in the arms of Jesus. We had prayed that God would allow us time with her. He answered that prayer. We had prayed that she would go peacefully, if He was to take her home. He answered that prayer. We had prayed for healing. He answered that prayer. She was now healed in heaven with a perfect little body.
The doctors had asked if we would be okay with them doing a form of an autopsy, which required no incisions; just a thorough evaluation. We agreed, and Rob stayed right there with her. As my surgery was complete, Dr. D made sure we were able to go to a private room, where my children and family and friends would meet their angel they had prayed so diligently for.
Aunt Kiss went outside to tell everyone about Faith. She met my parents in the hallway, and knew she couldn't face the crowd of people to tell them all that had happened. My dad went in to the waiting room, where he shared that Faith was gone. Not long after that, Dr. D came in and shared with everyone all that had happened in the operating room. My dad said he has never met a more humble doctor than Dr. D. He said that Dr. D had shared what a privilege it was to be our doctor.
Once the doctors had completed their evaluation, Rob and our nurse cleaned her up, and dressed her in her little gown. He brought her to our room, and she was BEAUTIFUL! She looked so peaceful, yet like such a little girl. Of course we had the hair bow waiting on her, and she looked so cute! Chontelle was in our room waiting for us to take our pictures. Cade and SG came in and they were such troopers. They both wanted to hold her, and they just looked at her in awe. They checked out her hair, her little hand, and SG admired her bow. They argued about who she looked like. Chontelle was able to take quite a few pictures, and I'm so glad we were able to do that.
Once she was done, and our family had some time, our parents came in and got the first glimpse of their little angel. They all bragged about how much she looked like SaraGrace, but with brown hair. No one could believe that she was really gone. Rob did such an amazing job recounting her birth details to them, so that they could experience just a part of her little life. I'm telling you, he was so amazing! God really gave him the strength to carry our family through the day.
Once everyone had a chance to see her, we called the funeral home. We knew it would take some time, so we just sat and took in every detail about her. Cade was able to hold her a couple of times, and he was so proud to be her big brother. He asked some questions, but he was strong, just like his daddy.
Our Father knew we needed a laugh, so He sent in the grief counselor. There was nothing funny about her or what she was sharing, but as she left, she was trying to figure out who was who. Rob, the kids, the Volpes, Kicken, and Aunt Amy were all in the room. As the counselor left, she looked at Amy and said, "And you must be the Grandma!" Amy was none to happy about that, and was quick to inform her she was NOT the grandma. We laughed together about that all night, and the next day.
The funeral home came to get Faith a little after 6:00. Rob and Cade took Faith to meet him downstairs. It was hard for both of them to let her go, but they knew they had to. Once they came back, we were taken to our room. We got to go to the new hospital, and had a suite of a room! It was very quiet, and it was like being in the Marriott! I was starving, as I hadn't eaten since 10:00 am that morning. Rob and Bryan went and got us some Texas Roadhouse. I devoured a steak and a double order of cheese fries in no time flat.
We were all so exhausted, but I wanted to make sure that I could recount every detail of that day. We talked it over and over again, and it was so hard to believe that day had finally come to an end. Though it was an extremely difficult, sad day, it was a good day. We knew that Faith had fulfilled her purpose that God had set for her life. We knew that we had done all we could as her parents to give her a chance at life. We knew that we had finished this leg of the race, and that Jesus was right beside us, making sure every detail was accounted for.
May 19th, 2011 is a day that will be remembered by many as the day Baby Faith came into this world, leaving a footprint on the hearts of everyone who knew her.