My name is Ramona Antillon, I'm a Christian woman and a mother of four whom at 23 weeks along in my pregnancy had to believe that everything that happens in life is meant for a reason. When doctors only gave my unborn baby 20% chance at life, the only thing I could do was place my trust in God! Sometimes we don't know why and we may never know why things happen but we just need to always trust God in everything. The unexpected birth of my daughter Ashleigh was the most difficult experience I've ever had to face. I wrote this book with God's help and I kept a journal about Ashleigh from beginning to end. I recorded details that happened while Ashleigh was in the hospital and I wrote them all down in the journal daily so that one day Ashleigh would always remember and never forget how special she is and how God healed her. It wasn't until 8 years later that the Lord impressed in my heart to share her story. I want Ashleigh's story to help others who may face a difficult birth of a child or for those who are sick to know that God is their healer! Medicine alone wasn't enough to heal Ashleigh, it was by the healing hand of God that Ashleigh was healed and is now living a normal life! I know that we serve an awesome God and that He is our healer. As you read this book I pray that you will be blessed and you too will know that He is your healer; He is the God of all flesh and nothing is too hard for Him with God all things are possible!!!!
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Ashleigh: God's Miracle BabyFor with God nothing shall be impossible Luke 1:37
By Ramona Antillon
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Ramona Antillon
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Early Morning Shock
I remember that the day was May 26, 2001, and the time was about 2:00 a.m. I started to feel really sick, and I was in so much pain. My stomach was in so much pain that it was unbearable. I remember thinking, It's too soon to be in labor; I'm only five months along. Since I wasn't allowed to take anything for pain, I decided to just lie down and get comfortable. That didn't work. I kept getting out of bed, having the urge to go to the bathroom. The pain continued. It wasn't until 4:00 a.m. that I called an ambulance to come and take me to the hospital. I had the ambulance take me so that my husband could stay home with our two children, Daniel and Abrianna, who were six and one. I agreed to call him to come get me later, once the kids had woken up. We both thought there was no way I was in labor. But we were so wrong.
The ambulance arrived right away and rushed me to the closest hospital. While inside the ambulance, I remember that the paramedic did everything necessary to treat me in case I was actually in labor. He put IVs in my arm and then used surgical scissors to cut my pants on one side of my leg. All this was so surreal to me; after all, I was only twenty-three weeks. I finally agreed to go to the hospital that he suggested. We finally arrived at Arlington Memorial Hospital in Arlington, Texas. As I was unloaded off the ambulance, I remember feeling scared all of a sudden. The paramedic must have noticed because he assured me that everything was going to be fine and that the hospital would take good care of me. I was rolled into the hospital and signed in at the nurse's station. I was then taken up to labor and deliver and put in an examination room. The nurse checked me, and I had already started to dilate. I was at two centimeters. She asked me if I wanted her to call anyone. I gave her the number to call my husband. I wanted more than anything at that moment to just have my husband by my side. The nurses made me as comfortable as possible as I waited for my husband to arrive. My husband later told me that he came to the hospital expecting to pick me up and take me home. Instead he arrived to hear a big shock: that I was already in labor and delivery and dilated two centimeters! (I guess the nurse who called him didn't go into details.) While I was in the room waiting to be with my husband, I was given medicine to stop the dilating. Later they found out that the medicine didn't help. I remember being scared and wanting my husband by my side. If that wasn't scary enough, then what happened next was. I was given another kind of medicine called Ampicillin, and it turned out that I was allergic to it. The medicine was supposed to help with an infection; instead I had a bad reaction to it. I began to have shortness of breath, and I could feel my chest tighten. I soon wasn't able to breathe. I broke out into a sweat. My monitor went off, and the nurses came over to me to help. They quickly gave me another medicine, which helped me get better. Soon after that my husband came in to be with me, and I felt a whole lot better.
I waited there a little while longer before being seen by the doctor. He finally came to see me and told me that I had an infection called Group B Strep, which had brought on premature labor. I was treated with more antibiotics to help treat this type of infection so that it wouldn't pass to the baby. I was also given two doses of steroids to help with the baby's lungs in case I had the baby early. It was now noon, and the doctor had raised the amount of medicine given to me in the hopes that it would stop an early delivery. When they checked me again, I had dilated to four centimeters, so clearly the medicine was not working. The nurse told my husband that they were going to try to keep me stable. They wanted to do whatever it took to keep me from having this baby, even if that meant staying bedridden for the next two to four weeks. I was not happy at all! At that moment all I could think about was how uncomfortable I was and how much pain I was in. For one, I had to go to the bathroom in my bed (in a bedpan, of course), and if that's not uncomfortable, I don't know what is. Second, they kept taking blood from the same arm because my veins were too small in my other arm. The tape they used messed up my arm, and I had red marks that looked like carpet burns. I also had big lumps and bruises all over that one arm. I was miserable! That day started out very painful and scary for my husband and me, yet through it all I felt that I was going to deliver my baby very soon.
Chapter TwoThe Horrible News
Sometime later the doctor finally came back in the room with us. My husband's mother and father were also in the room visiting and comforting us. Suddenly the doctor began to go over with us everything that was happening. The infection I had could still be passed to the baby, and if I gave birth now the baby only had a 20 percent chance of living. This also meant that if she lived she would possibly be mentally challenged. He then asked my husband if he wanted him and the hospital to do everything they could to help our baby or if he wanted them to do nothing and the baby would die due to the conditions. My heart sank, and I began to cry out loud. My husband then looked at the doctor and very firmly said, "I want you to do everything you can to save her!" The doctor said okay and walked away. My husband walked over to me and began to cry and pray with me. We prayed that it would not be time to have the baby and that the Lord would watch over us and give us strength. I don't know how my husband felt, but it must have been really bad because he even blamed himself for what was happening. Clearly he was not to blame; God had a plan.
Soon I felt peace, even though I didn't understand why this was happening. I knew that God placed me there for a reason and that he would be alongside me every step of the way. God was in control of the situation, and I put all my trust in him. As the hours passed, I lay there in so much pain and discomfort. I was completely bedridden with a band wrapped around my belly that was hooked up to a monitor that let the nurses know if I had a contraction. I hadn't had anything to eat, and I wasn't allowed to eat anything because of everything going on. So I was very hungry. Food started to be on my mind, and I begged to have food brought to me. The nurses never allowed it, but they made sure I was as comfortable as possible. I was getting my nutrients through my IV, and I would doze off and on. My husband was great; he never left my side. He made sure to get me anything needed to get me through this difficult time.
Chapter ThreeThe Delivery
The very next morning it was time. I went into labor! I woke up with a really strong pain, and I was crying out. The nurse came to check on me, and then they started to prepare me for delivery. My husband was asleep in the chair next to me when suddenly he was awoken by my cry and the noise. It was about 6:00 a.m., and everything was happening so fast. He really didn't know what was going on because he was half asleep. But he woke up quickly. The nurses handed him some scrubs and told him to hurry and dress for delivery. He put them on quickly, and we were off to the delivery room. The delivery room was very cold and bright. I remember the pain growing stronger and stronger, and I was not able to have anything for the pain. I was having a normal birth, so no pain medicine was allowed because it was too late. The doctor told me to push, so I did. I started to push and push, and soon after a baby girl was born weighing 1lb. 5oz. Everything happened rather quickly. I remember my husband wanted to see the baby right away, but I was afraid. I told him not to look at her because I didn't know what to expect. We finally saw her briefly, and she was so beautiful. Even though she was born so early, her body was in perfect condition. I never got to hold her because the doctor and nurses all rushed her out of the room and into the neonatal intensive care unit. I wasn't allowed to see her again until that night.
I was taken back to my room to rest. My husband was by my side when I woke up, along with the nurses who quickly began to tend to me. They came in and examined me, checked my IV, and made sure I was comfortable. They even let me place my dinner order. My husband and I were left alone in the room once the nurses had finished tending to me. He was so sweet. He gave me a big hug, and we both began to thank God. We thanked God for a fast and good delivery. We had no complications, and it was really quick. We thanked him for his protection and for our baby girl. This time somehow brought us closer to each other, and we were feeling very blessed to have one another. If I needed anything at all, my husband was there. He helped me in and out of bed and with medications; he even brought me some popsicles that the hospital had for the patients. He helped me with dinner, and we began to talk about our baby girl. We realized that we hadn't even named her! Everything had happened so quickly and unexpectedly that we didn't even have a name picked out yet!
Chapter FourFirst Visit with Our Baby
My husband carefully wheeled me down to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) area in a wheelchair because I was still in too much pain to walk around. When we arrived, the nurse had us sign in and then buzzed us in through the door into the area where our baby was. She then went over all the hospital's guidelines and had us wash and scrub up to our elbows with surgical soap for two to three minutes under warm water. This was expected every time we came to visit our baby. When I saw her for the first time, I couldn't believe my eyes! She was so tiny and perfect; her fingers and toes were so little. Her eyes were covered with a little mask to keep them protected from the light. She was in a small baby bed with tubes and wires all over her feet, hands, and chest. The wires were connected to machines next to her. The machines monitored her pulse, heart rate, and breathing. Another machine helped her breathe; it had a tube that went down into her mouth and lungs. The last tube was a small one inserted into her belly button to help with feeding. It broke my heart to see her that way. How I wished I could just hold her and make her all better. I began to cry and blame myself, thinking maybe if I had taken better care of myself this wouldn't have happened. All kinds of thoughts flooded my mind. I felt so guilty because I had worked while I was pregnant. I told my husband how I was feeling, and he comforted me. He assured me that it wasn't my fault; after all, I couldn't help that I had gotten that infection, but I still wished I could have held my baby. My husband very sweetly told me that God was holding our baby, and I knew he was.
The nurse came to tell us that it was time to do tests on our baby, so it was time for us to leave for now. She handed us a picture of our baby that was taken in the NICU with a Polaroid camera. It was so cute! My husband and I then left the NICU and headed back to my room to rest. I got into my hospital bed and turned on the television to keep my mind from wandering. Suddenly my husband came to me and showed me the picture of our baby and said, "So what should we name her"? I smiled as I looked at the picture and thought, That's right, we have to name her. But what would be a good name? I looked at my baby in the picture. She was tiny, perfect in color, and a fighter. Suddenly, it came to me, and I asked my husband, "What do you think about the name Ashleigh?" He smiled and said, "It's perfect!" He immediately called down to the NICU and told the nurse that we had named our baby. My husband had thought of her name spelled differently than the tradition way, and he helped the nurse spell it. He was very happy that he thought of the spelling all by himself. If it were up to me, I would have spelled it the traditional way. I was just happy with the name Ashleigh. What a beautiful name for a beautiful baby girl!
Chapter FiveAshleigh's Stay in the NICU
After I had given birth to Ashleigh, I stayed in the hospital for two more days before I had to leave her. When it was time to actually leave, it was very hard for me. It was as if a part of me was missing, and I cried and cried. What made it more difficult was that my husband and I weren't able to visit Ashleigh before we left. It seemed like the NICU nurses always had to take tests and perform blood transfusions on Ashleigh.
We were allowed to see Ashleigh as much as possible, or as much as the doctor and nurses allowed us. Every time we wanted to see Ashleigh, we had to call the NICU before heading out because if a new baby was being admitted or if tests we're being done then we couldn't visit. At first I understood, but then as the days passed I began to feel upset. Ashleigh was my baby; shouldn't I have the right to see her when I wanted? I was an emotional wreck. It seemed like the doctor and nurses were always working on Ashleigh or admitting a new baby when I wanted to see her. I knew that they were only doing what was best for Ashleigh, but it was still very difficult.
For the first week her condition was what doctors called the honeymoon stage. This meant that Ashleigh would appear fine for a week then go downhill soon after. That's when we first got the bad news. The doctor was so cold and heartless when he called. He called to tell us that Ashleigh's lungs were deteriorating and she might not make it through the night. My heart sank, and I began to cry. What made it worse was that my husband and I couldn't see Ashleigh at the time. We had to wait until the nurses were ready for us. They would call us once all the tests and procedures were done. When we were finally allowed to see Ashleigh, the doctor explained her treatment to us. She was given steroids to help with her lungs and breathing. Ashleigh had made it through the night, and we were so thankful. She still got infection after infection along with several blood transfusions, but she was well taken care of. The nurses treated the infections without knowing where they came from, but soon they found out that the infections were coming from a tube they called the central line. That tube was inserted in Ashleigh's mouth and went down into her stomach. An X-ray was taken to make sure that it was in the right place and would help feed Ashleigh. Although it helped with her feeding, it had to be removed. An incision was made on the right side of her rib cage, and the tube was now inserted there so she could get her food and medicines. The doctors thought it would be best if Ashleigh was on breast milk, and she was for a while, until I ran out of milk. The doctor now decided he would have to put Ashleigh on store milk. Now finding the right one was another story. Since her stomach was so delicate, the doctor tried four different kinds of milk before he found the one that wouldn't make her spit up or give her an infection. The nurses actually showed my husband and me a green fluid that was drawn out of the tube from her stomach. The green fluid indicated to the doctor and nurses that there was an infection due to the milk that was being used. Ashleigh would gain weight but then lose it every time they stopped her feeding tube. Soon after, thanks to God and much prayer, the doctor discovered the right kind of milk, called Similac Neosure. She began to gain weight and keep it on with no more infections.
The next three months were still very hard, and we faced many different obstacles. The worst one of all was when she had head bleeds. The doctor called us and told us that she had a head bleed on her right side. It was called a grade A head bleed, which usually resolves itself. It did, but then she got another head bleed on the left side. This time it was called a grade 2, which is a lot more dangerous than the first one. It could either get better or get worse; there was no way to treat it. If it got worse, she would be mentally challenged. However, thanks to God and much prayer, the head bleed was gone, and the bleeding caused no brain damage. Then there was the time I called the NICU to see if I could visit Ashleigh, and the nurse said that it wasn't a good time. She went on to explain that when changing the tubes another nurse on duty hadn't use adhesive remover when taking off the tape around Ashleigh's mouth causing a big tear on the right side of her ear. I was furious. I immediately had my husband take me to the hospital. When we arrived, we had to wait to see Ashleigh. Finally we were allowed to see her, and the tear was covered with four little strips. The tear soon got better, but it left a good-size scar next to her ear. Soon after, things began to get better with Ashleigh. She began to grow bigger and stronger with each passing day.
Excerpted from Ashleigh: God's Miracle Baby by Ramona Antillon Copyright © 2011 by Ramona Antillon. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Early Morning Shock....................5
Chapter 2 The Horrible News....................9
Chapter 3 The Delivery....................11
Chapter 4 First Visit with Our Baby....................13
Chapter 5 Ashleigh's Stay in the NICU....................15
Chapter 6 The First Time I Held Ashleigh....................23
Chapter 7 Ashleigh's Last Month in the NICU....................27
Chapter 8 Ashleigh Comes Home....................29
Chapter 9 Challenges Caring for Ashleigh....................31
Chapter 10 Visits to the Specialty Doctors....................35
Chapter 11 Therapy for Ashleigh....................37
Chapter 12 No More Medicines for Ashleigh....................41
Chapter 13 Speech Class for Ashleigh....................43
Chapter 14 Normal Everyday Life with Ashleigh....................47
Chapter 15 Glasses for Ashleigh....................55
Chapter 16 Ashleigh Now....................59
Chapter 17 With God All Things Are Possible....................69
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Hi im Ashleigh too!!!!!! I had a hard time when i was little because i would ober heat and had to take cold baths. Any way loved book wish i could meet you twin. :)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Great inspirational book.