Reknown Regional Medical Center in Reno, Nevada
Virginia Baptist Hospital of Lynchburg, Virginia
The Preemie Project in Iowa
These diapers were handcrafted by Vanessa, Barbara, Jeannette, Domonique, Megan K, and Megan B. in loving memory of Jemma Jayleen Lester.
Riley Blake Summer Song collection
Week 5 could not come fast enough we were having our first ultrasound and oh how exciting it was knowing we will get to see our little ones heart beat. The day came and after 45 minutes of ultrasound and taking pictures we knew we were having twins. We were so excited and relieved when suddenly to our surprise the the ultrasound tech said uh oh... my heart sank and I asked what was wrong. She told me she had to get the Dr and I almost passed out with fear. I asked why and she told me there might be third. The Dr came in and confirmed yes there are three, I cried and my husband laughed. We always wanted children and now we were going from NONE to DONE. Our dreams were coming true I was going to be a mommy my dream was coming true!
I was sick every day really sick the only safe times of the day were 10 am to 6pm. And the worst time of all was 4am I think that is when I became a human jungle gym, but I was simply delighted to be pregnant and was trying to contain my happiness while keeping my fears at bay. The most interesting thing to me while pregnant with triplets is even if I was feeling well if all three of them started moving I would get motion sickness. I knew there was a risk of miscarriage and with multiples the chance of it was heightened. I was just waiting and waiting for time to go on so I could let go of my fears. With Triplets I was considered high risk so I saw the Dr every two weeks. Each appointment they had to do an ultrasound with the Dr simply to be sure there were 3 heartbeats and every other with Maternal Fetal Medicine. Week after week all was going well.
I had several scares, but at At 20 weeks my Dr was elated at how well I was doing and thought he could extend my pregnancy past the 36 weeks they usually deliver triplets at. He said he would not be surprised if we went full term. This was the first time he showed excitement and was telling me how much he liked to do multiple birth deliveries. He seemed excited at ease with no worries which made me more excited and I released all the fears I had. I just knew all would be OK now. I hugged my ever growing belly and thanked them for making me a mommy. I told my husband and I think this was the first time ever since he heard the words I am pregnant that he even relaxed at all. We were having two boys and a girl!
Monday January 25th I felt odd and could not sit in certain positions. I had woken up to a feeling like I had been kicked extremely hard between the legs. I called the Dr's office both of them my old and new one and was told all is fine. I went to work but only for a short time. Later that evening after my husband had went to bed I started not feeling good and having some strange pains. They began to get more and more intense so I thought it was a false labor Braxton Hicks. I called the Dr's on call was instructed to go to the hospital immediately. I was not fearful because I had let all the fears go and knew all we be all right. I woke my husband and told him to get ready. We needed to go to the hospital because the Dr said so even though I did not feel it was necessary. A few minutes later I was in the worst pain of my life and I felt like I just needed to go to the bathroom. My husband drove us to the hospital and I simply could not wait to go to the bathroom. Upon arrival all was calm as I undressed to put the gown on a nurse hooked me up to some machines and then I hear lay down your in labor lay down now. I am confused but do what I am told and now fear sets in. How could this be all is fine I have been told all is fine I am suppose to possibly even go full term. A few mins later another nurse appears and says she is going to check my dilation. She begins and immediately stops says I feel feet and hits and emergency button. Quickly my room is filled with staff. I am being strapped to the bed and being turned upside down while needles in both arms are going in and people are shouting all kinds of things. Most of this was a blur and all I can remember thinking is all will be fine I know it will be fine. I know it I can feel it, all will be fine.
Jemma was breach her sac was not broken but she was in the birth canal. It was her that had been kicking me all day I was in premature labor and she was wedged. Had she not have been I would have lost them all at home. The plan was to have her simply slide back into me. The Dr came (my new Dr because of insurance changes) and went over all possibilities with us and advised us that we had decisions to make. None of these decisions would be easy and no one should ever be placed in this situation. I spent the next 2 days upside down on medication twice the toxic dose you're suppose to. My lungs were filling with fluid and we (myself and all three children) were becoming septic since her sac was exposed to the outside elements. Time had run out the Dr said we had to make a decision or he would because he had to think of my safety over all else. So we then made the best decision we could at the time (one I still question today).
We were going deliver our sweet girl and then try and stop labor and have a cerclage put in place and try to remain pregnant with the two boys. They did not know if this would work and they had not done it before but were willing to try. So there we have it, the decision is made at 0800 the next morning if nothing had changed I would be delivering our Angel. I had to call and see what arrangements could be made for services for her since she was not far enough along for them to even try to save her. This hospital did not help until 25 1/2 weeks. There was one other Hospital that helped early at 23.4 or 23.5 weeks but no one at 22 weeks and 4 days that my sweet angel would be delivered on. I was able to make arrangements for the plot next to my mom so at least I knew she would not be alone and would be placed beside her grandma.
I made the few calls to family that I could force myself to and then spent the rest of the night thinking it would all work out she is going to be fine she just has to. We will all be fine just give me more time. The next morning nothing had changed; we had to go through with the decision. They were ready for me and wanted to wheel me in. I asked for a few minutes alone (they said one nurse had to remain with me) I cried for a few minutes, held my tummy and told my little girl how sorry I was. I asked the nurse how long I would have with her before she passed. I was told not long. I asked how long and was told 15 mins would be a long time.
0753 am Thursday January 28, 2010 our beautiful baby girl Jemma Jayleen Lester at 1 lbs and 11 inches long was born an "Angel to her Brothers, Princess to her Parents,and forever loved by mommy and daddy.. She was the most beautiful thing I did ever see. She was licking her lips and curling up her body. They wrapped her in a blanket and placed her in my arms while they continued to operate on me to save her brothers. While in the room I asked if my husband to hold her and he said not yet she needs to be with you right now. A short time later I was wheeled from surgery back into my room where her adopted grandma was waiting with open arms. I looked at my little girl quickly offering her to Grandma hoping she would get to see her while she still had breaths in her. After a few mins she was given back to me and my husband sat back and held her telling her how much we loved her and always would. 1 hour went by and she was still with us I asked really was there nothing they could do for her and was told no. More family came (a few we allowed) and we spent some more time with her. We took a few pictures and had the hospital come in and take a few pictures. Hour two she was still with us.
After every hour I would question my decision because how could this be how could she still be with us. At 5 hours and 7 Min's her last breath turned to perfect wings meaning my life forever changed at 1pm. I held her in my arms as she took her last breath and gave her a small kiss while holding her hand thanking her for coming into my life as well as giving her brothers a chance. My husband and I kept her with us making sure she knew how much we loved her and thanked her for making us parents and saving her brothers. The hospital made a remembrance kit for her and I remember thinking where is her diaper she needs a diaper. There was no diaper for my little one and this saddened me but was grateful for what they were able to do for us. NILMDTS Now I Lay Me Down to sleep also came and took some beautiful pictures of her and our whole family My husband, me and my pregnant belly with her brothers. I did not want her to go and I did want her to leave my room but I had to now think of my boys and her brothers. After all if it were not for her (being wedged) I would have lost them all at home days ago. 10 pm that evening I asked my husband to give her to the nurses knowing this would be the last time I would ever see her. I needed him to take her for I would not willing giver her up. My sweet Jemma... my baby girl had sacrificed her life to save her brothers and that is the way I see it and why she will always be their angel.
The next day (Friday) we had another ultrasound done and met with the Dr's all was looking well but would remain in the hospital on bed rest. Now because Jemma's placenta was fused with one of Jemma's brothers placenta's they delivered her and not the placenta which meant they did not know what this would do. Not sure how sick I would get, or what impact this would have to her brother she was fused with. They could no longer do anything to stop labor and would not be providing any pain medicines or medicines to stop labor for this would hide infection if any. I was to stick it out on my own trying to keep my contractions at 8 or less an hour. I knew I could do it I had to my Jemma just gave the ultimate sacrifice for them her life. The following day (Saturday) my husband had to go to the cemetery with out me and make arrangements for Jemma. I can not even imagine what he was going through at that time I can not even comprehend it. I was in the hospital doing better I was now able to sit and walk to the bathroom (only) with help. Sunday things went a turn for the worst I was leaking amniotic fluid and they were concerned a sac from one of the boys had burst. I went back on bed rest and had an ultrasound scheduled for Monday morning. Monday morning my husband was with my for the ultrasound but then had to go to our little girls services at graveside. They did not see anything wrong and believed the fluid to be coming from Jemma's remaining sac. The Dr's said more decisions had to be made but not until after Jemma's services. They would return to us later that afternoon. That afternoon after talking with the Dr's it was decided that I should go to the other hospital better suited to help with their Micro Prematurity. They were now just over 23 weeks and felt this would be the best option for them. I was then transferred to the other hospital.
Once at the other hospital I discovered that if I were there to begin with they would not have even stopped labor and tried saving the boys they would have delivered all three and we would have lost all three. We spent the next several days fighting many battles. Only relief I had was that because of my sweet little girl Jemma Jayleen her brothers were going to have a chance. At exactly 24 weeks her brothers were born. I did not feel the tragedy I did after her birth but acceptance happy to know that at least because of her they had a chance. I just kept thanking her for her sacrifice and wishing for her to be there. The boys ultimately survived because of her and I am so thankful. Her brothers have their own story but because of her they were given a chance.
Today almost 3 years later there is not a day that goes by that I do not think of Jemma and am thankful for her. However it is hard to look at the faces of my two liitle boys wondering if they will ever know how special she was and is. Will they ever truly know what her life and death means to them. Occasionally when I see the boys play I imagine Jemma next to them. I sometimes imagine that I see her shoving a doll in the back of a dump truck or another car seat while looking in the rear view mirror. Who knew such a small individual would have such an impact on so many. She truly is an Angel to her brothers. I know my life has forever changed because of Jemma and no longer take any day with her brothers for granted. I still dream of her and picture Jemma with bright green eyes looking directly into me.
I love you, my daughter, sweet Jemma Jayleen..." ~Karleen, Jemma's mommy
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