Ireland Leigh Ann Hendrickson

Born March 16th, 2005 Heaven Bound April 6, 2005


After being blessed with two awesome boys, Tayler, in 1993, and Hoton, 2002. Dave and I were given our gift from God. A beautiful little girl. The daughter I've always wanted. My dreams, and everything I have ever wished for came true on March 16th, 2005, at exactly 7:53a.m., Ireland Leigh Ann, 7lbs, 20 1/2 inches long. She was born at 38 weeks, a scheduled C-section, due to a tubal that we had previously planned. She was perfect. Little did I know, too perfect. She was beautiful, healthy, alert and ready to come home on March 19th. I was too. The weather even cooperated with us. Up until our drive home it was snowing. Just before we left the hospital it stopped. We pulled into a freshly shoveled driveway. A great big thanks to our neighbor. Just one of the many big hearted earth angel's we've met.

    It was great to be home, spring break time, too. So Tayler could share some time at home helping out, and getting to know his new sister. The boys were already protective of her, right from the hospital. Spring break meant other visitors as well. Grandma, Aunt April, Aunt Laura, Aunt Lori, and cousins, too. In that first week I had a lot of help. The second week, visitors started slowing down. So when I wasn't showing her off, Dave, I, Tayler and Holton worked on getting to know her better. Ireland is so perfect, so beautiful, so alert, so tiny. These are just a few of the wonderful words used to describe her every day. Everyone who met her said these words over and over. During her second week, March 29th, was her two-week check-up. Everything was fine, she was everything she was expected to be, and did everything she was expected to do. No complaints.
    We started  working on a routine. Dave went back to work and when he would come home at night he would put Ireland on his knees and stare and talk to her, while I got a moment to myself. I would lie in the hot bath and recall the wonderful day I shared with Ireland, Holton, and the after school hours I shared with Tayler. It was challenging, but I'm a mom, it's suppose to be that way. I love it. After my bath, I would feed Ireland, lie down with my husband, and get up every three hours. She latched on perfectly, and ate very well. Good thing because it was my first time breast feeding, and I was a bit nervous.
    April 5th, it was Tuesday. Ireland woke up at 6:00, and at 9:00 a.m., just like any other day. Dave's day off, he took Tayler to school, off to get his morning paper, and coffee, and sit a bit in the park. He came home at about 10:30 to a crying baby, and his wife unable to calm her. Dave tried to calm her. I tried to feed her. She wasn't feeding very well, and I couldn't calm her down. I rocked her, danced with her, sang to her , rubbed her little tummy, her head, and gave her so many kisses. Dave did the same. He sat with her and rocked her in the glider. He sang; "Old Mac Donald, " and he had every animal on his farm. Even one's that didn't belong on a farm. Giraffee's, elephants, monkeys, and more. Ireland would calm down a little, but start crying again. I even took her for a ride in the car. She would love car rides. This time was different. Ireland never felt warm, so I didn't think it was necessary to check her temperature. Neither of us knew what to do. Dave mentioned that I could call nurse direct. I said; "Why??, to ask why my baby is crying, I'm the mommy, I'm suppose to figure it out." She finally fell asleep at around 12:30. Dave, I and Holton were playing in the back yard. Dave was telling me his plans for turning the shed into a playhouse. He pictured her running around outside with her dress blowing in the breeze. Smiling and dancing in our yard. I was staring through the patio door watching and waiting for any little movement from Ireland. I wanted to pick her up and hold her. It was one of my favorite things to do. Dave kept saying. "let her rest, she needs it." I didn't disagree. At about 3:30, Dave had to leave, he had some errands to run. Tayler was going to be home from school any minute, I had my chance. Besides, I thought she hasn't fed very well, she has to getting hungry. I gently picked her up and tried to wake her. I took her in her nursery to change her. She started waking up, she started crying, but just little whimpering cries. While I was changing her she pooped all over and got pretty messy. I made her her first bath in her bath tub. While I bathed her I noticed her eyes rolling around. Babies do that, it's probably normal. I didn't know at the time that my little girl was having a seizure. She didn't feel warm, but she had been crying, as long as she is naked, I thought I'd take her temp. It was 103.9 I immediately called her Dr. He was with his last patient, the nurse advised me to take her to the walk-in. I called my husband, and my sister. Dave was here in minutes and we were ready to go. As Dave put her in the car, he noticed that she was spitting from the mouth, and her eyes were rolling in the back of her head. It felt like it was taking April a long time to get here, even though she was here in minutes. Dave made the decision that we were going to the ER, she was too sick for a walk-in clinic. We got to the ER and the doctors and nurses moved quickly, doing every test and giving her antibiotics. They told us that they treat her first, and then figure out what is wrong. The doctor told us she was very sick, and that she would have to go to The Children's Hospital. They continued to do the tests they needed including a spinal tap. We were unable to be in the room when they did the spinal. We waited outside the door. Then we seen nurses running around, fast. One nurse came out and said they couldn't do the spinal, her breathing slowed down, too much. I was so scared. She explained that they stuck a tube down her throat to help her breath. The ambulance got there and I rode with them. The driver keep telling me that she was doing very well. I kept looking back and the nurses and paramedic weren't messing with her. So I felt pretty hopeful. We got there quickly and they brought her into the isolation room, I met the doctor, and got out of her way. I waited in the family room. I was pumping some milk, and Dave got there. We called all our family members, friends and work. Everyone was praying for her. This was a highly rated hospital, one of the top 5 in the country. I kept thinking they can take unfinished babies and make them grow. My little girl is just sick, they can fix her. I put so much faith into the doctor, that death never entered my mind. My mom and my brother came to the hospital. Shortly after they showed up the nurse came into the family room and said we could see her. Dave and I went into the isolation room and talked to the doctor. Although Ireland had more tubes, more IV's, her color was looking better. At that time Dr. Katie told us the spinal tap was a success, and they knew it was meningitis. Later lab tests showed Strep B. She told us we may have caught it in time. We stayed with Ireland for awhile, kissed her little forehead and told her over and over that she could beat this. We went back to the family room and shared the news with mom and Tim. At  about 11:00 p.m. Ireland had been breathing about 75% on her own, and her color was so improved. There really wasn't a place for us to sleep comfortably, so we went home. The doctor even went home. At about 3:12 a.m. I got up to pump, debating whether I would check on my little girl via phone, or go and see her, I had the phone in my hand. It rang, it was the doctor calling from her home. Ireland's health has worsened. Mom came over to stay with the boys, and we met the doctor at the hospital. Ireland's heart rate was changing drastically. Her brain was swollen, the doctor said it would be damaged. We talked to Ireland more and more watching all the monitors, the doctor and the nurses. We had her baptized. Dr. Katie started pumping her little chest, like she was pumping Ireland's heart by hand. I wrapped my little girl's hand around my finger, noticed a teardrop fall. It wasn't mine. I saw Dr. Katie shake her head, she said; "she doesn't have a heartbeat." They were unhooking her tubes, when my parents arrived. We held her and cried. I did not want to give her back. My little girl, my angel.



Meningitis Information

Heaven Bound Angels