[left935eb7de]http://www.cherubs-cdh.org/Album/new/Clark-Emily2.jpg[/left935eb7de]My husband and I were on our honeymoon in October of 2000, when we found out that I was pregnant. After our honeymoon was over, we flew back to Japan where we were both stationed. Upon arriving back in Japan, we went to the hospital to confirm that I was indeed pregnant. I had the normal morning sickness and nausea that is involved with being pregnant; other that that, everything was going well.

I had my first ultrasound done at 18 weeks in Feb of Ď01. My husband and I were looking forward to finding out what were we having; we were never expecting what we were going to be told that day. We found out that we were having a little girl, whom we decided to name Emily. The doctor told us that her stomach was enlarged, but that they didnít know why. I was told to come back in for a follow-up ultrasound in about 4 weeks. Three weeks later at 21 weeks, my husband and I were back in the hospital for another ultrasound and were told the same thing. Again they had seen that Emilyís stomach was enlarged, and they still didnít know why. The doctor called me at work that afternoon and told me that he was sending me to Okinawa, Japan, to see a Maternal Fetal Specialist at the Naval Hospital there.

I spent my first few days in Okinawa alone, due to the fact that my husband could not accompany me there because the military could not afford to send him with me. I went to the Naval Hospital for an ultrasound at 22 weeks, where the doctor said that she suspected that Emily had a diaphragmatic hernia. I called my husband, and the doctor explained to him what she suspected. She insisted that I get an amino done to rule out any other birth defects, and we agreed to it. Needless to say, my husband was on the next flight down to Okinawa to be with me. While we were there, we talked with the neonatalogist, and Emily was given a 30% chance of survival. At the time we were told that Emily had a left-sided hernia and that her heart was being pushed to the right. I was informed that I needed to be transferred back to the states ASAP.

Upon returning to my base, I continued to have my appointments every 4 weeks. I was told that I was going to be seen as a regular patient and not as a high-risk pregnancy. At one of my appointments around my 28th week, I was told that I measured big by three weeks. When I asked the doctor if that was bad, she replied that it meant that I was going to have a big baby. I had to fight with the doctors just to give me an ultrasound to check on Emily.

Finally in April of Ď01, my husband and I were going to be transferred to Texas. By this time I was 30 weeks pregnant, and we flew the 17 hours to the states and finally made it to Texas on April 21st. Upon arrival in TX, I was instructed to report to the hospital on the base. I was admitted to the hospital on April 22nd, where I was put on monitors to check on Emily. I had been having contractions the entire flight and even after arriving in the states.

My doctor released me from the hospital on my husbandís birthday, April 23rd. I was told that I was on bedrest until I delivered, which was supposed to be June 28, Ď01. We didnít have a place to live yet, so we were staying in temporary lodging on the base. My husband had to report to work that morning, so I was left there for the day. He came back around 0900 to get something; when I got up to help him find it, my water broke. I was rushed to the hospital, where I was admitted again. At this time, I was only 30 weeks pregnant. I was given magnesium to stop my contractions. It was at this time that they started running tests and checking to make sure that there was nothing else wrong. At this time, I found out that I had polyhydramnios, severe pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes. I was put on a special diet and kept on the monitors 24 hours a day. I was also given steroid shots to try to help her lung development.

On the 27th of April, early in the morning, I started to get very sick and was vomiting and shaking uncontrollably. The doctors finally got it under control for a little while. Around 10 pm, the doctors decided to induce my labor due to my severe pre-eclampsia. Finally at 11:38 p.m., Emily Nicole was born; this was the beginning of the longest 5 days of our lives. She was immediately taken by the peds for resuscitation and placed in the NICU. We were able to see Emily 6 hours after she was born. We were told that Emily had a right-sided diaphragmatic hernia, pulmonary hypoplasia, dysphasia of the lung, intraventricular hemorrhage, RDS, hypotension, grade IV bleed. She was given dopa/dobutamine, epinephrine, pavalon and many other meds. Emily was placed on a high frequency oscillator and a high-pressure ventilator.

Emily fought for her life for 5 long days. On the 2nd of May, the doctors called us and told us that she was not doing too well and that they would call back. They called us 10 minutes later and told us to get to the hospital. Her saturation levels were really low and her heart rate was so high. We were told that they had done everything that they could and had all of her vents as high as they could go. My husband and I decided to let Emily go. With our parents there, we had the doctors change out her vent, so that I could hold her. It would be the first and only time that I got to hold Emily. Emily passed away in my arms. She was 5 days old. Iíll never forget being next to her bed, having my finger in her hand, and she was squeezing it as hard as she could.

We had Emily flown home to Missouri, where she was buried next to my little sister. The Air Force paid all of her medical bills and for her funeral. It has been a year since Emily was born and since she has been gone. This has been so hard on me and my husband. I miss Emily so very much, but I know that she is in a better place.


Written by Emily's mom, Melissa Clark (Missouri)
2002