‘I’m sorry. There’s no brain activity.’ My baby was turning orange. ‘Turn off the machines.’: Baby ‘brain dead’ after contracting Common Cold Sore, ‘hold your babies a little tighter tonight’

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“This is the raw and heartbreaking story that is now my every day life.

On September 12, 2017  took a pregnancy test in our local 7/11 gas station bathroom and waited very impatiently for the results. It didn’t take very long for it to come back positive. I was so excited that I was going to be a mom, but so scared because at that time. I was in an extremely abusive relationship with her biological father who never even bothered to see her.

Courtesy of Abigail Friend

My fiance has been with me since I was about 3-4 months pregnant and he is her daddy, and always will be. I was 10 weeks and 2 days along when I went to my very first OBGYN appointment. Her biological father went to jail on October 11, 2017 and I felt a small weight lift off my chest. I realized this was my chance to save mine and my unborn baby’s life. I slowly started to stop all contact with Tyler Hensley’s (my fiance).

Courtesy of Abigail Friend

On December 12, 2017, I found out I was having a little girl. I cried. I was so extremely happy. I decided on the name Aliza Rose (Aliza I got from an old cartoon I watched as a child called The Wild Thornberrys, but changed the E to and A). Rose is my middle name. December 16, 2017, Tyler and I officially started dating. My pregnancy was extremely hard. At 27 weeks, I went to the doctor because I hadn’t felt her move in a few hours and I was worried. They found I was having contractions and was dilated to a 2. They gave me a shot, I’m not sure what it was called, but it stopped my labor and they sent me home.

Courtesy of Abigail Friend

At 30 weeks, I started having horrible contractions and I had dilated to a 3 and a half. At this point, Garrett Regional Medical Center felt the best option was to have me transported to Ruby Memorial Hospital in West Virginia. They had me on magnesium to try and stop the labor, but it wasn’t working so they gave me the first shot in my hip to help her lungs develop in case she was born early. She had a better chance of survival this way.

Courtesy of Abigail Friend

After two days in the hospital, I was released and my pregnancy was considered high risk now. I was on moderated bed rest and continued to have contractions that took my breath away and were extremely painful up until the day I had her at 39 weeks and 3 days. On the morning of May 12, 2018, Tyler and I were headed to the hospital to meet our sweet baby girl. I got the epidural and everything was going smoothly for the first time the entire pregnancy. Then, she got stuck.

She was too big for my birth canal and wouldn’t come out even after the doctor used forceps for 3 minutes. At this point in time, I’m in so much pain I’m screaming bloody murder. My doctor told me in all his 15 years of medicine, he’d never seen an epidural pull itself out of someone’s spine the way it did with mine. They had to give me a complete spinal block, numbing me from the neck down, for an emergency c-section.

At 11:52 p.m., on May 12, 2018, Aliza Rose Friend made her appearance. She was perfectly healthy at 8 pounds 5 ounces, 20 1/2 inches long, with a chest length of 14 inches. She was and is absolutely perfect.

Courtesy of Abigail Friend
Courtesy of Abigail Friend

The night of May 14, 2018 she started to get sick and wasn’t getting any better despite Garrett’s best efforts. She stopped eating, didn’t want to wake up from naps, and she started to turn orange. Around 8 p.m. that night, they rushed her to Ruby Memorial because their NICU was better equipped to treat her. I wasn’t able to go with her because I was still recovering from my c-section. My doctor told me that when I could ‘get up and walk across the room and back to my bed’ he would discharge me.

Courtesy of Abigail Friend

The next day, that’s exactly what I did. I was going to be with my baby one way or another. She was being treated for meningitis because they didn’t know what it was, and meningitis is so common in newborns. They had her hooked up to every machine you can think of. There were tubes pulling the pooling fluid out of her lungs. She was on oxygen as high as they could have it. They had her hooked to an EEG machine because the medicine for meningitis caused her to have seizures.

Courtesy of Abigail Friend

On May 18, 2018, her doctors told us her numbers were getting better and there was hope.

I looked her team in the eyes and asked if it was real hope that we had, or if they were just trying to make us feel better. They said there was real hope that she would get better and survive.

On May 20, 2018, at 9 a.m., her team called for a meeting. They sat me and Tyler, my mom, my two sisters, and my brother and brother in laws down. They told us that just because her numbers were getting better didn’t mean that she was. They told us the numbers getting better looked good on paper but she wasn’t going to survive. At this point, they were only keeping her comfortable because she no longer showed any brain activity.

The virus had spread to her brain and she went medically brain dead. I had to make the hardest most excruciating decision that any parent that has a fatally ill child ever has to make if it comes down to it. I had to tell them to turn off the machines because she had fought long and hard enough, and it wasn’t fair to keep her here selfishly. She would never leave the hospital as long as the machines were on.

Courtesy of Abigail Friend

Before they turned them off, all immediate family got to hold her one last time and say their farewell wishes. Then it was time for Tyler and myself to hold her for the last time as they turned off all love-sustaining machines and medications. She was only on a medicine that kept her from feeling pain during everything. Tyler held her first and then it was my turn. I had to say goodbye to my first and only child. I watched as she struggled to breathe and turn blue in my arms. All I could do was hold her tightly and cry.

Courtesy of Abigail Friend
Courtesy of Abigail Friend

At 4:19 p.m. on May 20, 2018, Aliza Rose Friend took her last breath in my arms. The only thing I could do was scream and pray that she would hear me and come back to us. My soul shattered and I won’t be whole until I’m with her once again. I died with her that day.

My daughter passed from the HSV1 virus or better known as the common cold sore virus.

Courtesy of Abigail Friend

Please don’t kiss babies and small children. Even if you don’t think you’re sick or only have a sniffle. You could take that child’s life from them. You do NOT have to be having an active cold sore outbreak to spread he virus. If the virus is present on your skin and you touch a small child or infant, that child could die. So, ALWAYS always always always wash your hands before touching any child. Parents can spread this virus just as easily as anyone else so be cautious.

Hold your babies a little tighter tonight. ”

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Courtesy of Abigail Friend

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Abigail Friend. You can follow her journey on Facebook. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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