I imagine long, lonely hospital days, week after week, as Megan experienced, could be awfully dismal. The Littles chose Hope. Literally. This sweet little angel Little carries this as her middle name, as well as the confidence that they will be together again as a family. As Megan, Cleve, and little Kaylee ran for Peyton Hope on Saturday, and as they continue their journey through life, I believe their little angel will be right there beside them.
Here is their story:
In October 2014 we found out we were expecting baby #2. We were beyond thrilled. We had been anxiously awaiting this opportunity and we were ecstatic for our 2 year old daughter to have a sibling. Things were going well with the pregnancy, I was feeling great and the baby was growing like it should.
It was a quiet Sunday, a few days after Christmas, while taking a nap that I realized something was wrong. I woke up feeling like I was leaking something. I wasn't sure if this was a normal pregnancy symptom or something to be concerned about. We monitored it for a hour or so until I was overwhelmed with the feeling something just wasn't right. We jumped in the car and rushed to the ER. After lots of tests and hours of waiting our fears were confirmed. The doctor came in and told us that I was leaking amniotic fluid. My heart stopped. How was this possible? We asked the doctor what that meant for our baby. He told us that at 16 weeks, in most cases the pregnancy would result in a miscarriage within a week. He explained that there was nothing they could do. The baby wasn't viable yet and we had to just let "nature take its course".
We were heartbroken and terrified. How could there be nothing they could do? We left the hospital that night feeling lost and confused. We set up an appointment with our regular OB the following morning. He did some more tests and confirmed what the ER doctor had told us. Later we met with Maternal Fetal Medicine and they explained that if the pregnancy didn't result in a miscarriage that there were other significant concerns to consider. They explained the high risk of infection that would threaten my life and they explained the health and development issues it could cause for the baby. They basically told us the odds were against us and that we may want to consider ending the pregnancy. Without hesitation we chose love. We didn't want to give up on our baby and wanted to give it a fighting chance. They told us again that only time would tell and that nature would take it course.
We felt hopeful as each day passed. We hit 20 weeks and went in for a regular scheduled ultrasound. The MFM doctor was very optimistic. He said the amniotic fluid was at a good level and my sac probably healed itself. Which he said is very rare, but can happen. He also told us we were going to have another little girl!!! We knew instantly that her name would be Peyton. We couldn't wait to share the news with our family and friends.
Two weeks later, at 22 weeks, our life once again got flipped upside down. I was leaking again... but this time it was a lot. We once again rushed to the hospital and this time were able to be taken to labor and delivery because we were further along. They did tests and told us that my water had completely ruptured. The nurses and doctors were frantic. Our OB informed us that we needed to be transferred via ambulance to UVRMC since they had an advanced NICU. They felt this was necessary because there was a good chance our little girl was coming that night.
The ambulance crew came in and started getting me ready for transport. It was a quick ride to UVRMC. There they monitored Peyton's heartbeat and my contractions all night. The NICU doctor came in and tried to make a "game plan". He told us they would try to do what they could for her but until she was 24 weeks she didn't have much of a chance for survival. As you can imagine this was a very emotional situation to handle. We were trying our best to wrap our heads around what was happening and tried to take things minute by minute. Much to everybody's surprise we made it through the night.
Each day that passed the doctors were amazed and told us how each minute was a blessing. At the 24 week mark it felt as though a huge burden was lifted. We knew things still weren't great and we still had a long road ahead, but at least we knew, if she were to be born at this stage she would at least have a fighting chance. I would have some contractions off but luckily nothing ever came of them. The long days spent alone in the hospital gave a lot of opportunity for deciding Peyton's middle name. The name that kept coming to our minds was Hope. Everything about this situation screamed hope.
I knew my nurses well and was starting to feel "at home" there. I missed my family terribly but felt grateful for each day I had feeling our sweet baby girl kick and wiggle inside of me. At this point I had been in the hospital for 6 weeks. It was late one evening when once again I felt that something was very wrong. I called my nurse and she discovered that I had a prolapsed cord. Within seconds there were multiple nurses in my room and before I knew it they were rushing me down the hallway. As they were wheeling my hospital bed down the hall I quickly called my husband who was at home with our daughter.
They quickly put me under anesthesia and performed an emergency c-section. Our sweet Peyton was born at 27 weeks, weighing only 2 lbs 4 oz and measuring 14 inches long. Because of the lack of fluid throughout the pregnancy, her lungs didn't have the chance to develop as they should. Peyton struggled with her under developed body for three days before returning to her Father in Heaven. She passed away after having the opportunity to meet her big sister and after spending some snuggle time with her Mom and Dad.
Although we didn't get a lot of time with Peyton we all felt like we knew her so well. There had been such a deep and lasting bond created through this difficult circumstance. Peyton has left such a lasting memory and continues to be a very real part of our lives. Peyton's big sister talks about her constantly. Peyton is forever immortalized in the sweet memories, images, and mementoes throughout our home. We look forward to the day our little family will be whole again. Until that time we are so grateful for our guardian angel, Peyton Hope Little.
The quote on her gravestone says it perfectly, "Such a big miracle in such a little girl."