Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Rayleigh's Big Day

Last but not least, Baby Cinco came home! Miss Rayleigh Ann was the last baby out of my belly (Baby E) and the last baby out of the NICU. At birth, Rayleigh weighed 2lbs 8oz. Out of all the quints, she did the very best for the first month in the NICU. In fact, I awarded her with the Star NICU Patient award. She was the only quint that wasn't intubated, she was on CPAP only. She was the quiet patient and I hardly ever worried about her. As time kept ticking along, some of the other babies were coming off oxygen, but not Rayleigh. It was like she did so good at the beginning and all of the sudden all the other babies were outdoing her. The day after Brant was discharged, at the beginning of June, Rayleigh got severely ill. My family took turns coming to Dallas to stay with the baby/babies who were discharged while I still went to the NICU everyday to visit the other babies. There was no way I was leaving my babies in the hospital and not go see them, even when I had babies at home to take care of, I couldn't imagine not seeing every single one of them every day. So, I left Brant at home, with a caretaker (because Baylor NICU wouldn't let me bring discharged babies back to the NICU) and headed up to see the girls. Rayleigh was just laying in her bed lifeless. She had no energy at all and she was running a fever. She was needing a lot more oxygen and her stats kept dropping out. On this particular day, none of our primary nurses were at work, so there were nurses that I wasn't familiar with working with the girls. I was holding Tessa when Rayleigh started having one of her episodes. I didn't realize at the time, but the nurses called a Code Blue. In a matter of seconds there were people everywhere! I was still holding Tessa and they didn't realize I was there. I heard one of the nurses say, "I"m glad mom's not here", and then another nurses told her, "yes she is, she's right behind you". I knew then, it was bad. I was so scared and a few tears started falling, but for the most part I kept it together. They decided to move Rayleigh back to the side of the NICU where the more critical babies were. Within a day or so, they had to put Rayleigh on the ventilator for more support. She was really swollen and just laid lifeless. Most of the time, she just slept. Every once-in-a-while I could see a tear roll out of the corner of her eyes and it broke my heart. One day I just blatantly asked the neonatologist if she was going to die, that's just how sick she was. The doctors didn't know what was wrong with her; x-rays of her lungs were cloudy. The doctors originally blamed me for her getting sick because I had an ear infection a couple of days before she got sick. I had no idea ear infections were contagious. It was a devastating time, I seriously thought I was going to be the reason she was going to die. Rayleigh stayed sick for weeks. Finally, the doctors figured out that her PDA was open and that is what was causing all her problems. She was going to have to be transferred to Children's Hospital in Dallas to have a procedure to close her PDA. But, because she was so sick, they had to keep her at Baylor to try to get her healthier and stronger for the transfer. I was so thankful when they finally figured out what was wrong with her, it was excruciating not having answers and not knowing what to do to help her. Finally, the day came when she was ready to be moved to Children's to have her heart procedure. They were able to fix her heart in the cath lab so she didn't have to be cut open (it wasn't an open heart surgery). They went in with a catheter and plugged the hole (her PDA). Any surgery on a baby is terrifying but when they are messing around with the heart, that adds a whole new dimension to the stress and worry. Thankfully, it was only about a 20-30 minute procedure and then the doctor came out to tell us everything was great. They weren't able to close the hole like they originally thought they would because when they actually saw the hole it was much bigger than originally expected, never-the-less, they closed it. Thank the Lord for modern technology and great doctors!

Now let me add a little more drama to this story! While all this was going on with Rayleigh I had Brant at home. Ten days later, Tessa was discharged, but if you remember, Tessa stopped eating and was dehydrated and constipated and had to be admitted to Children's NICU. So I had Brant at home, Tessa at Children's, and Mia, Gracie, & Rayleigh at Baylor and I thought Rayleigh was going to die! (Eventually I had Brant at home, Tessa and Rayleigh at Children's, and Mia and Gracie at Baylor.) And, the day after Rayleigh's heart procedure, was my sister, Kayla's, wedding! I was not sleeping at night because Brant wouldn't sleep and I was going between 2 hospitals during the day. I seriously thought I was going to lose my mind! And I know they only way I survived that time without going crazy was by the grace of God! So many people were praying for us and I could feel those prayers. I also had so much support from my family and friends and they helped me so much. Trust me, prayers really work!

After Rayleigh's heart procedure, she stayed a couple of days at Children's for observation then they transported her back to Baylor. After closing the PDA, Rayleigh was pretty much immediately better. She was off oxygen in about a week; it was amazing! She was still struggling to eat, so the doctors decided to give her a g-tube, for back-up, that way she could go home. The day she was released was so bittersweet for me. There were times when I honestly didn't think I was going to take all five of my babies home. Our NICU journey was much harder and longer than I had ever imagined. I was thankful God had taken care of the babies and that they were over-all healthy! I was also so sad to say good-bye to our NICU nurses/family. Our nurses were absolutely amazing. I don't know what I would have done without them. They will always hold a very special place in my heart!

Today, Rayleigh is a healthy growing girl. She is much quieter than all the other babies. She likes to play by herself a lot. She is a total mama's girl (and I love every second of it!). She has a ton of long brown hair and it is wild! She has big beautiful brown eyes. She is sweet and has a beautiful little grin. She is a little mischievous. Even though she's only 2 minutes younger than Gracie, she's the baby of the family and we're so thankful she's here and healthy.

The day Rayleigh came home was such a joyous day. No more being away from my babies. No more splitting my time between home and the hospital. We had finally arrived at the moment that doctors first told us was impossible; we brought FIVE babies home from the hospital and they were all healthy and beautiful little blessings!
She came home in a beautiful yellow smocked dress.

She loves her Ellie paci

She has the darkest complexion out of all my kids!

Rayleigh's always been the hardest quint to get to smile.

Chubby cheeks

I always save my yellow M&M's for last because yellow is my favorite M&M color. It's only fitting that Baby Cinco is the yellow M&M.

Snuggling with daddy- we had to take her to the ER because she got really sick with a upper respiratory infection. 
Mama's girl

Learning to eat.
Too cool for words!
She's the only quint who had to wear a helmet.

Helmet or not...she was going to have a bow on her head! lol

Bouncing around

Sticking her tongue out

Unhappy little girl

Her hair was so long it practically covered up the helmet.

Helping mama support the Mean Green!
Ponytail time!

Happy girl

Pouty face... she's good about pouting and making you feel sorry for her.

Wild curly hair!

Silly girl

Beautiful little princess

Her funny face

She loves to stick her tongue out.
Climbing partners! (R&G)
Growing up too fast!
We're so glad you're home and healthy! You are such a blessing and we're so thankful God gave you to us to love!


  1. What a great update! Rayleigh is the one of your five I can always pick out. She is as unique as her name! God picked very special parents for that crew, too! I am sure all the prayers gave you the strength to manage so many crises. Thank you for documenting your amazing story.