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Adeline and her village

Today marks 3 months since the worst day of my entire life. The day I lost my husband, my partner, my best friend and the kids lost their dad. You've all been with me throughout this journey these past 3 months so tonight instead of talking about the depths of my grief, I will share with you a story of literal life and love; the birth of our girl, Adeline Makai.

Brian and I found out we were expecting on Christmas Day 2017. We had been trying to conceive our much desired 3rd child for nearly a year, but suffered a devastating miscarriage in April 2017 at 9 weeks pregnant and then another in October 2017 around 6 weeks pregnant. On Christmas morning though, I felt this one was different. I came down with the flu on Christmas Eve - just as I had before finding out I was pregnant with Izzy and Hudson and by Christmas morning I was in full blown flu mode. After opening presents with the kids I went upstairs to lay down and shortly after decided to take a test just to see. It came back positive so I took another one to be sure. I was ecstatic. I knew in my heart of hearts we would see a baby out of this one. Brian came upstairs shortly after and I told him I had one more present for him. I grabbed the positive test and showed it to him and we hugged (I cried) and we laid there daydreaming about our future son or daughter until Izzy and Hudson found their way upstairs.

Neither Brian or I are big fans of surprises and we were too excited to know if we'd be having a son or a daughter, so when I hit the 9 week pregnant mark I submitted a vial of my blood to a lab and 2 days later we got an email saying, Congratulations, you're having a girl! We set to work the same day trying to come up with the perfect name. Brian always loved the names Charlotte and Claire (not my cup of tea) while I've loved the name Evelyn. We spent a couple of weeks talking, laughing and throwing names at each other before we saw the name Adeline. He asked if I liked it, I did. I asked if he liked it, he did. From there, we had a future daughter named Adeline. For her middle name we knew we wanted to pay tribute to her birthplace; Hawaii. With both Izzy and Hudson we picked middle names that were a part of our story as a couple; ISABEL BLAKELY after Blakely Harbor near Seattle - a place we sailed to and anchored out many nights during our first few years together and HUDSON BELMONT after the Belmont neighborhood of Portland where we met and spent many days and nights together in our early 20's. For Adeline we went back and forth on a few different middle names before we saw MAKAI; in Hawaiian meaning towards the sea. This was an embodiment of our passion and our lives and it was a perfect fit for our 3rd and final child.

Fast forward to June 28th, 2018. Brian has passed away, I have made the decision to move off the island even though it means not giving birth to Adeline Makai in the state of Hawaii and instead we depart Oahu and arrive as a family of 3.5 in Boise, Idaho to live with Brian's sister and her family. We touch down around midnight local time on Thursday evening and I have my first doctors appointment with my new OBGYN Friday at 10AM. Nikki comes with me to this appointment and we are waiting to be seen when the doctor walks in, already with tears in his eyes. He shakes my hand and tells me he has read my entire chart and is so unbelievably sorry and for the next 45 minutes he sits with Nikki and I as the three of us shed tears together. He doesn't check on Adeline, he doesn't do any invasive tests, etc.. he just sits with us, holding my hand, listening and sharing. It was unbelievable and a rare experience to share with a doctor who has 10 other patients waiting to be seen.

Within approximately 1 week of arriving in Idaho my body started to shut down. My blood pressure was starting to register in the 140/150's, my pulse was consistently clocking in around 110/115 and my emotional stability completely aside, I just wasn't feeling well. The grief I was/am experiencing has caused me to lose my appetite completely, I couldn't fall asleep without either melatonin or Unisom and even then my fitbit was registering between 45 minutes and 3 hours max of sleep a night. I knew I had to get Adeline to at least 35 weeks to give her a fighting chance at avoiding any NICU time, but I could feel my body telling me I was asking too much of it and I wouldn't be able to maintain this pregnancy for much longer. By 34 weeks pregnant my blood pressure was in the 150/160 ranges, my pulse consistently at 110/120 and I was having vision issues. I had preeclampsia and this was my body's way of saying it was done. I went into the hospital on a Sunday evening for a non stress test- thinking I'd be sent home to continue bed rest and we'd re-check on Tuesday when I reached 35 weeks pregnant. Instead, they found 1000mg of protein in my urine signifying my kidneys weren't functioning properly and when they saw my blood pressure at 169/109, they said you're not going home - you're checking in until you have this baby.

Nikki and I got moved into a room down the hall, hooked up on monitors and settled in for the evening - still not sure of what the plan was or when I'd be having the baby. They gave me medicine to help bring my blood pressure down and let me know it was going to be a waiting game and that it would more than likely happen very quickly - going from being ok-ish to not being ok any more and needing to get the baby out. About 12 hours later the slight headache I'd been having started to get worse and Tylenol wasn't helping. It continued to get worse throughout the day and I started to get nauseous as well. Around 6 o'clock I closed my eyes and took some deep breaths, trying to determine if I was overreacting because I was scared or if it was really serious and something was wrong. I opened my eyes and my vision was blurred, one eye could focus but the other couldn't. This was enough to confirm I wasn't ok, so I called the nurse who came in and said I looked terrible, my blood pressure was back up in the 160's despite being on medication and she was going to call the doctor right away. She was back in our room within 3 minutes and said this was it, they were going to induce me.

They wheeled my big belly and I into another room down the hall and Nikki and I did our best to get comfy. I asked Nikki to send a text out to our families to let everyone know it was go-time and we settled in for what was to come. I was given magnesium through my IV to help bring my blood pressure down (If you've never experienced 45 minutes of liquid magnesium through an IV in your hand before, all I can say is OUCH - SO painful) as well as Pitocin to start the induction and with that there was no turning back. I slept on and off throughout the night while Nikki rested (snored) next to me on the exact same type of bed Brian had during my labor and deliver with Izzy and Hudson. Having Nikki next to me throughout all of this is something I will forever cherish and will be as impactful on me as Brian's absence. I'm so thankful. By early morning my contractions were pretty steady and I was dilated 2 centimeters. The hospital offered complimentary acupuncture during labor so I thought 'what the heck' but quickly regretted this decision as the two strangest/perkiest/smiliest ladies I've ever met bounded into the room, singing "Helllo Ashley!!" I sat through an hour of them sticking needles into my hands and feet and felt no different at the end of it, but it did give Nikki and I a good laugh so I suppose it was worth it for that alone. Upon completion of that, I was dilated to 4 centimeters and ready for my epidural. My nurse told me all about the anesthesiologist, 'V' and how great she was and how I'd love her. I'll save the pleasantries here - V was not great and I didn't love her. She stuck a needle into my spine, missed her mark and flushed my back with adrenaline which caused my ears and my head to feel like they were about to burst and I slumped over, quickly and nearly losing consciousness. When I came to she told me she was sorry, she had missed but had to do that test with adrenaline to verify and she would try again. I broke down. I quite literally thought she had really messed me up and I was dying and that was the end of it for me. Through tears and gasping for breath I asked my nurse to tell her I had two kids at home and I was all they had, that no matter what I had to be ok so she couldn't do that to me. Within 2 minutes, she had done the exact same thing again. My ears started ringing, my head felt on the verge of explosion and I slumped over again nearly unconscious. I kid you not, she tried a 3rd time, missed again and said she was done - that she'd be calling in someone else. She called in a co-worker who moved down my spine a couple of vertebrae and got it on his first try.

I laid back down, emotionally and physically exhausted. The nurse brought in a pillow and had me lay on my side. 20 minutes later I said to the nurse, the baby is coming. Not right this minute, but I can feel her moving down and she's coming. She said ok. She set up her table and called the doctor who came in to check me. Sure enough I was 10 centimeters dilated and Adeline was ready to be born. I held a photo of Brian in my hand, concentrating on his image and the love we had shared together as I was about to bring his daughter into the world. Through excruciating tears I looked up at one point to see every single person in the room (my doctor, 2 nurses and Nikki) all in tears with me as they helped me through this delivery. The tears and emotional toil helped distract me from the pain and before I knew it, my doctor told me to reach down and grab my daughter. I opened my eyes and there she was so I grabbed her and brought her to my chest. A moment later I held the scissors in my hand and cut her umbilical cord as we both wept. She hasn't left my side since.

Adeline Makai Bugge was born 5 weeks early on July 31st, 2018. She weighed 6 pounds 15 ounces and is perfectly healthy. She's been a very mellow baby so far and I have a feeling she will continue to exude this personality trait well into the coming years. She's loved by so many of you and for that I am so thankful.



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Lessons of turning tragedy into triumph 

from a military widow

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