Kylie May

Kylie May

Layla Faith

Layla Faith

Zoey Noelle

Zoey Noelle


Our baby boy, due March 16th.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Layla's Story

It was the typical Tuesday for us. An ultrasound appointment after we dropped off Kylie at school. My sister had an appointment with our Dr., and we had a couple questions for her. So, we stopped in and got our answers. We talked with Sarah & Chad for a little while. Then Mom, Bryan and I headed to our ultrasound. We should have known something was up from the very beginning. We had these ultrasounds every three weeks and always had the same routine. 

We went in a different door, had a different nurse, different room, different ultrasound tech, etc. It really irritated me. If you know me well, I like consistency. The ultrasound was very uncomfortable. We couldn't really get a good view of Layla (I blamed it on the different technician). Then we went in to see Dr. Hayes.  I didn't pull out my notebook for mom, because after making it to 34 weeks, I figured it would be the same as usual. When we got into the Dr.'s office, he started by saying, "This is why we've been having ultrasounds every few weeks.". So, I immediately pulled out my notebook an gave it to mom. 

All I heard was "You should deliver in the next week. The sooner, the better". Then I started crying and stopped listening. Mom's notes say that Layla's chest pressure was elevated and there was significantly not enough blood. I remember he kept saying that her demise would be in the next week or two. What an awful word, demise. 

We went to my Dr.'s office to schedule the c-section. Sarah & Chad came back to be with us. Our initial thought was to wait until Wednesday so we could spend the day with Kylie. I couldn't stop thinking about her. I just wanted to see her. Then we changed our minds to later on Tuesday evening. Chad made a good point. He said, "We know her heart is beating now. Why wait?". It was 12:15, we had to be back at 2 for the surgery at 4. A friend picked up Kylie from school & kept her for the day. The more normal, the better for Kylie. We all went home, packed up our bags, emailed work, posted a blog, made phone calls & went back to the hospital. 

Mom & Dad Gruse were there when we got there. We spent the next hour and a half prepping. Pastor Ross got there at 3:20, my Dad, Adam & Staci a little later. I made everyone wear a Layla ribbon & laid out all of her clothes for when we got back. Chad had worked with the anesthesiologist in the past. He explained our situation & asked if my mom & sister could come in the OR with us. He okay'd it and mom, Sarah and Bryan got in their scrubs. Just before we left, Pastor Ross prayed for us. 

Right after the Dr. pulled Layla out, they showed her to me. Finally, I got to see my baby! They wrapped her up and I held her up close to my left shoulder. I could feel her wiggling under my left hand. I knew her heart was beating. Her beautiful lips were open and she moved her mouth. She didn't open her eyes. Every couple minutes I could feel her try to take a breath. She did it four times. Bryan had his hand on her, too, and could feel her. Sarah & Mom had to stay in their seats, but got up a few times to come & see her. 

Just before we left the OR, I asked them to clean her up a little & put the hat from Sarah on. They bundled her up & gave her back to me for heading back to the room. Her heart was still beating. I remember being rolled down the hallway and seeing one person after another who was there for us. So much love. (I'd like to mention that the only person missing was my sister, Emily. She lives in Jacksonville, FL & obviously couldn't make it. She was there in spirit.)

I held her for a long time before letting anyone else hold her. Adam was in charge of my camera. I just wanted so many pictures. Bryan told him to "just keep snapping". After we got 'settled' in the room, Pastor Ross prayed over her. Bryan held her. Our nurse, Ann, from Dr. Hayes's office & our geneticist, Amy, came in to visit. Sarah was the first to hold her, other than me and Bryan. As far as we know, her heart was still beating. After Sarah held her, we unwrapped her blankets so we could see the rest of her tiny body. We admired it for a minute, and then Dr. Winburn came to check her heartbeat. There was none.

We continued to pass her around. Staci, my mom and Bryan's mom all held her. By this time, Kylie was on her way to visit. So, I wanted Layla to have a bath & be in her dress before Kylie got there. The nurses bathed her, so sweetly. They washed her cute dark brown hair with baby shampoo. We all watched as they got her dressed. Her angel dress was too big, but the nurses taped it in the back so you could see her little arms peeking out. 

I held her again. She smelled just like any other newborn who just had a bath. I gave her so many kisses and held her tight. Kylie May got there just after her bath. Bryan met her in the hallway to explain what was going on. She smiled so big when she saw me & Layla. She sat next to me, touched Layla's cheek & looked around at all the people in the room watching us. Kylie was only there for 15 minutes, but it was perfect. I'm so happy we decided to have her come. It was so good to see her with her little sister. 

The hospital has a photographer that volunteers her time to do pictures. She came in and did pictures of Layla. I haven't seen them yet, but I'm sure they'll be treasured. After pictures, they brought the x-ray machine up so Layla didn't have to leave the room. They took two x-rays for the research. 

Everybody was out of the room for the x-rays. My dad came in & held Layla. Then Bryan's dad came in and held her. We talked with Pastor Ross for a while before he left for the night. He had called our funeral director for us to arrange everything. He held Layla and we had a nice talk & prayer. 

The nurses did hand & footprints while people were leaving. When they were done, I held Layla. Bryan and I cut a piece of her short hair to save. She was still in her pretty white dress & pink blankie. We put her hat back on and waited for the funeral director to come at 9. Mom & Sarah were the only ones left. They gave us a few minutes to say good-bye. 

The day was so long. I was exhausted, both physically & emotionally. Sarah and Bryan left around 10:15. We wanted Bryan to get a good night's sleep. Mom stayed with me for the night. I remember saying, "I want to write a few things down so I don't forget." It turned in to me telling mom things to write in my notebook every five minutes while I dozed off to sleep. Those notes and the pictures are what I used to write this. I don't want to forget. I'm sure I never will. 


Sarah said...

Nancy and Bryan,
It was truly an amazing day filled with love and family. Thank you for letting me be a part of those special hours.

Marissa's Blog said...

Thank you for sharing with us your memories and feelings about the day Layla was born. You have such an incredibly supportive family, they are all so wonderful.

Rabelers said...

I'm so glad you wrote all of this down and took pictures of this special day that you will never forget. Thank you for sharing your heart with us all. Sending hugs and love your way. Hilary