We were transferred to a mother-baby room, where we waited for news. Dr. Sims, the hospital’s pediatrician, came and talked to us, though I don’t remember much of what he had said. Jason had already called our parents and our pastor Gene, officially telling them the baby’s name—Quinn Ruthie—but that she was in trouble.
Soon Gene came. He waited with us. We told him what had happened. He prayed with us. I remember wishing he would leave, because I believed we were all done with him. I had no idea. Even though I expected the worst that could happen, I had no clue about the total emotional and physical incapacity we were about to experience. Since Sacred Heart Hospital has a high level NICU, and is well respected for treating babies and children, we had authorized a transfer. The transfer team came to us, although I don’t remember the names of the two women—they were dressed in purple jumpsuits. We had seen them as we were wheeled past the nursery, thinking we could go in and see our baby. We couldn’t peek at her after all, because they had just arrived and were evaluating her.
They told us straight-forwardly that our baby was very sick. Ordinarily, they would have brought her to our room before transfer, but they wanted us to see her in the nursery. I asked if we could hold her, and they had to tell me no.
We were breathless as we went down the hall. Gene came along. Jason and I stood beside Quinn, touched her, talked to her, leaned to kiss her. The nursery workers and transfer team gave us time and room. Jessica, a nursery nurse, took our camera from Gene, or he gave it to her, and started taking pictures of us. Quinn was so beautiful, but she looked awful hooked up to the ventilator. She had an umbilical IV and another IV in her hand. She had a pulse ox on her other hand. She seemed to be looking at us, but only one eye was partially open, her left eye, and she never blinked. I wiped the shiny ointment of her brows and eyelids. It was a joyful time, but such a scary and trembling one too. The atmosphere around her was still charged. We went back to our room to wait again. Soon the transfer team came back in, stating that she was getting worse. They were giving her 100% oxygen at the maximum pressure, and her oxygen saturation had sunk to the 30s or 40s. They wanted to know if we wanted to continue with the transfer. Sacred Heart had better ventilators, and her life might have been prolonged a few more hours. We looked at each other, and both said we just wanted to hold her. I felt my heart gasping. I couldn’t believe this was happening to us. I was wheeled back to the nursery once again. I sat in a rocking chair someone pulled up for me. Quinn was in my arms, at last. She felt so good. She smelled so good. We kissed her and stroked her. We laughed delightedly over her. We checked out her cute little folded up ears. We looked at her hands and feet. Her little arm was so small. She didn’t have enough strength to move. Her eyes were closed. Jessica checked her heart rate, taking her off the vent to be able to hear it. I felt panic about Quinn not getting oxygen for those extended seconds. Her heart rate was 20. Jason and I passed her back and forth, while Gene sat with us, took pictures and made phone calls for us. While I was holding her, something felt warm on my lap. I unfolded her blanket, and realized she was bleeding out her umbilical IV line because it had been pulled in all of our shuffling. Jessica helped me change her diaper, the one diaper I got to change on my baby. Someone else helped me change into another hospital gown. I sat back down with her, and realized she felt cold, but I didn’t want to say anything, to anybody.
I finally had to pee so bad, I couldn’t take it anymore. I hadn’t been able to go yet after her delivery, even though I had tried, and I still had a bunch of IV fluids in me. I asked a nurse for some help. I was wheeled back to yet a different room, yet another alarm as I realized it was on the “baby-less” hall, and all of our things had been moved for us. I peed and peed, all the while desperately wanting to get back to Quinn. When I returned to the nursery, Jason told me he thought she was gone. I was broken. We wept over her. Dr. Sims confirmed it, at 9:00 am. We gently surrendered her to the nurses, and walked back to the room, staring at the walls all the way. There were no dry eyes.