Tuesday, September 15, 2015

INSPIRING WOMEN {Stacy Hellqvist}

As I sat down and read Stacy's story I was immediately brought to tears. Being pregnant is supposed to be filled with excitement, nausea, wonder, and joy. You aren't supposed to constantly worry for your life and your unborn child's life. To go through something as devastating as that and to do it with such grace is so inspiring. Stacy has taught me a great deal about eternal families and eternal love.

While we took these photos of Stacy we sat and talked and she told me about her sweet Cece. After we left I immediately told my husband that there was a special spirit I felt while being with her. There was this peaceful feeling I felt while being around Stacy. I'm positive that spirit was Cece. I'm sure anyone that goes around Stacy feels the same thing. Cece may not be here physically but she is here spiritually, always watching and looking over her sweet mama.

Here's her story....

Super human senses had begun to set in. I knew I was pregnant before the little white stick told me so. Everything was so perfect… We heard the heartbeat at 8 weeks. We announced to our families around Thanksgiving time. A June birthday, what fun parties we would have! I was going to be a mommy.
12 weeks in, after going to the bathroom there was blood in the toilet. Strange… I made an appointment with my midwife and we figured it was probably just a bladder infection, because baby, cervix, and uterus were fine. After the antibiotics I was still seeing blood. 14 weeks we discovered that the bleeding was vaginal, not urinary. An ultrasound revealed a 10 cm blood clot in my uterus. That’s right I said CENTI-meters, which equals about 4 inches. They said it would probably just break apart and I would pass it and all would be well. Over the next few weeks, pieces of the blood clot came out, but the bleeding persisted.
A blood test revealed my HCG levels were double what they should be at 16 weeks gestation, so I was referred to the High Risk OB. After the ultrasound, the Doctor had to call one of his colleagues in Salt Lake City to get a second opinion on his findings. I was grinning at the little hands, feet, and face that would appear on the screen during the ultrasound. I could see what in their words looked like “honeycombing” of the uterus. The doctor rubbed his eyebrows a lot; he had bad news to tell me. A ‘mole’ (molar pregnancy) had formed alongside a normal fetus. It was an extremely rare condition, in the doctors 20+ years he had only seen this 2 other times. Statistics, numbers, probabilities, and so on were printed off and read to me. All we had to go on were other studies that were done on women who had the same condition over the past 20 years. All that stood out to me was the 50% chance of the baby’s survival. Those were still decent odds, right? I didn’t cry until I called David, who was out of town working at the time. Things in my life always seemed to work out, so why would this time be any different?

The goal was to make it to 32 weeks gestation. Pre-term delivery was probable, so we’d be lucky to make it that far. The doctor said he was surprised I wasn’t “sicker than a dog” in his words. So I thought since I was feeling so well, I’m sure to make it to 32 weeks! Pre-eclampsia was something we were to watch for. So I tested my blood pressure every day. I went into the doctor every week to check on my health and the baby’s growth.
18 weeks; David was still out of town working, and we wanted to find out the gender of our baby together, so the ultrasound tech wrote it down on a piece of paper and put it in an envelope. David was right the whole time; he knew it was a girl. She was growing well and was right on track. David started calling her his ‘little Honey Bee’ because the tumor that she was growing alongside looked like honeycomb.

24 weeks; the bleeding had persisted week after week but it wasn’t a lot so they weren’t too worried. I was doing great and she was growing perfectly. It was just a small space for her in there since the tumor was also growing along with her.

Wednesday, February 25th, David and I enjoyed some chocolate lava cakes and ice cream just before going to bed. Pregnant mommy was very appreciative. Around 3 am I was slowly coming out of a deep sleep with an intense feeling of needing to urinate. Suddenly there was gushing, I knew it wasn’t urine, I’d had this kind of gush before. Except instead of the gush being watery like it was the first time, it was very bloody. Blood soaked me and the bathroom floor. I wasn’t contracting so I knew I wasn’t miscarrying. Not knowing what to do, not wanting to call 911, and not wanting to go to the hospital, I called my Doctor (He took my case very personally and gave me his cell number in case anything like this was to happen) and he told me I needed to come in. Even though I could tell he was asleep when I called, he arrived at the hospital shortly after we did. My baby girl’s heartbeat was still going strong, but my blood pressure was at about 195/125. Pre-eclampsia had set in, and I was staying at the hospital till I delivered. We were hoping it would be another 4 weeks before I had to deliver, putting me at 28 weeks. The only reason they would deliver her before that was if they felt like they were going to lose me. I was given steroids for her lungs, and magnesium sulfate to prevent me from going in to labor. The heart monitor tied to my tummy lulled me to sleep every night. “I’m here, momma, I’m still alive, and I’m fine in here.”

Sunday, March 1st, 3 am, another gush of blood woke me. Throughout the day nurses and doctors kept a close watch on me. I could hear the lady next door easily delivering her baby. Actually, all I could hear was her nurse counting and telling her to push. I thought to myself “March 1st… that’d be a nice birthday…” David gave me a blessing that day just before we had the sacrament brought to us. A couple of the nurses joined us in partaking. I kept having little thoughts and feelings… I said to David, who was sitting on the couch next to my hospital bed, “I think it’s all going to go down today.” He asked what made me say that. And I replied “I don’t know, I just feel like it is.”
It was about 4:45 pm and I was in the middle of my second blood transfusion, from all my blood loss, when suddenly I felt a huge gush, and a large blood clot come out. The doctor came in and watched to see if it would stop or slow down. The blood just kept coming. Nurses began swarming. It was time, I was starting to bleed out. I was handed a strange fruity concoction to drink. The NICU doctor, the anesthesiologist, and the High Risk OB were all on stand by because they knew this C-section would probably be an emergency one. Within 5 minutes I was on the operating table with a nurse holding a mask over my face telling me to take deep breaths. “Breathe deep for baby” she’d say. This is when the panic and the fear hit me. I was crying; it was strange how calm I’d been up to this point. “What if I don’t wake up?” I’d never been put under before and I was scared for my life and my daughter’s. Only oxygen flowed through the mask, but the second the NICU doctor stepped foot into the room, I was put out.

Celestial Elsie Hellqvist was born March 1st, 2015 at 4:56 pm, weighing 1 lb 9 oz and measuring 11.9 inches. Every body wanted to be there to watch the delivery, even the security guards stood by and watched. When the tumor was removed, I’m told it was quite the spectacle to behold. Scooped out of me and put into a bucket, were what looked like large tapioca balls.
Celestial was very active for a 24 week baby. The doctor said she even let out a little cry. Her first night in the NICU she did marvelously. The first time I saw her I was breathless… I didn’t know what to say... she was beautiful.. she was perfect… her hands and feet were just like her daddy’s, her nose was a miniature of mine. I’ve never experience a love like this before.
Her second day she got really sick and David wasn’t sure she would make it, but she fought her hardest and steadily got better. After a few days, I was finally able to hold her for the first time, skin to skin… Heaven was in room 6 at the NICU.
As days passed, she endured much. She had air outside her lungs that the doctor had to suck out with a needle, severe brain bleeds on both sides of her brain which made cerebral palsy a likely outcome, and she wasn’t pooping.
My HCG levels were monitored closely. Before I delivered they were at a staggering 740,000. At 24 weeks they should be down around 1200. It was the tumor that caused my hormones to skyrocket. Once I delivered and the tumor was scraped out of my uterus, my hormone levels tested at 40,000. They were headed in the right direction, until another test showed that they had doubled. I had large ovarian cysts I didn’t know about until after I delivered. Large ovarian cysts + elevated HCG levels = Cancer. Malignant Neoplasm of the Placenta to be exact.
While discussing with the Oncologist when to begin Chemo treatments, my heart dropped when I saw that it was the NICU that lit up on my phone. The nurse told me to come to the NICU as soon as possible. Celestial was sick, very sick. She was doing so well the day before then her health just turned a corner and took a dive. An infection had gotten into her bloodstream, her kidneys had shut down, and the fluids they were giving her were building up. “I don’t think she is going to make it.” The Doctor said. Never have I cried harder in my entire life. Racked with sobs, my heart was on fire.
After much thought, prayer, and discussion, we made the decision that it was her time to go and to remove support and hold her one last time as she passed. Doctors and nurses carefully removed all her IV’s, feeding tube, breathing tube and monitors, and placed her gently into her daddy’s arms while I sat on his lap. In that moment, she was so alive. We loved on her, kissed her, sang to her, and cried. She was beautiful and perfect. We kissed her sweet face, and she passed in our arms at 1:46 pm on Friday March 20th, 2015. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my entire life, was hold my precious baby girl as she passed away. And yet, it was the most spiritual and peaceful, love filled moment. Heaven was once again in room 6 at the NICU.

“As we wait with those who are dying… we brush against the veil, as good-byes and greetings are said almost within earshot of each other” – Elder Neal A. Maxwell

David and his dad built a Viking ship for Celestial to lay in that would fit inside the casket the mortuary provided, which David painted to look like outer space. My sister in law made a tiny little dress for CeCe out of the wedding dress we both wore when we were married. She looked like a tiny princess laying there with lace draped over her. The funeral service was beautiful. 100 balloons that we had people write messages to Celestial on were released. The aunts and grandma’s of Celestial sang this rendition of “I am a Child of God”

I am a child of God, and He has called me home.
My earthly journey’s through but still, I do not walk alone.
He leads me, guides me, walks beside me helps me find the way.
He welcomed me with open arms, I live with Him today.

I am a child of God and I have gone ahead.
My earthly life was brief but oh, such peace and love you gave.
You loved me, held me, stood beside me and though I can not stay.
You gave me so much to help me and I live with Him today.

I am a child of God and I will wait for you.
Celestial glory shall be ours, if you can but endure.
I’ll lead you, guide you, walk beside you, help you find the way.
I’ll welcome you with open arms, one bright Celestial day.

Her name is in that song twice. It’s perfect. She’s perfect. My sweet baby girl. Our little Honey Bee. 

Stacy Hellqvist was nominated by multiple people to be featured in my "Inspiring Women" series. 

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