Montana Rose Hulse
Born November 10,1998 ~ Heaven Bound January 26, 1999
My daughter Montana died of bacterial meningitis Jan. 1999, she was much younger then Ryan, Montana was only 2 1/2 months old. Montana was born Nov.10th 1998, she was 7 lbs 4 ounces and a very healthy baby, she was our second child, Rebecca Lynn my first child was 2 1/2 at the time. We have lots of memories of her and lots and lots of pictures, she spent her first Christmas with us and my whole family, ill never forget Christmas tree hunting that yr, we were dressed in shorts in Dec. in the middle of a Christmas tree field in NJ, how crazy is that. She was able to see snow though, that yr. just before Christmas we got about 4 inches of snow. The holidays were great soon we celebrated a new year 1999 and how little did i know it would soon turn to horror. On Sunday, Jan. 24th 1999 we had a going away party at my house for my mother in law, she was moving to Florida, it was a heck of a party, most of the kids had a stomach virus, I can remember my niece Emily throwing up all over my rug in my living room. Montana wasn't acting herself, I automatically thought she was getting the same thing the other kids had, she had a slight temperature, I called the dr. and let him know what was going on and he told me to call the office on Monday to make an appointment and i did just that. Monday at 7pm she had an appointment with her doctor she still wasn't acting right, her temperature had gone up and she was so cranky, at the doctors office all she did was cry, the dr. said she had the flu and sent her home with me, I trusted him like I was supposed to and took her home. Her fever didn't change, it was 102.6 and i called her doctor. back, he told me if it goes any higher to call him, the next morning, Tues. Jan. 26 it shot up to 103.6 I went into a panic cause she was unresponsive and I called 911, she was brought to the medical center about 2 minutes from me where the ER doc told me right away he thought it was bacterial meningitis, I didn't know anything about it my only question was will she be ok, is my baby gonna die. About 30 minutes had gone by, they did chest x-rays and had all kinds of lines running into her and then they told me she needed a tube down her throat to help her breathe and that i needed to leave the room, everything was just so hectic, I didn't know weather I was coming or going, I felt like no one was telling me anything. Once they placed the tube down her throat i was able to come back in the room, they told me a pediatric trauma team was on their way from Jersey Shore Medical Center, and they are gonna pick her up and transport her to that hospital, they are gonna help her there. It felt like forever for them to get there, the hospital was less then 30 minutes away, once they got there my first question was can I ride with her, they told me there wasn't enough room and that I couldn't, I just broke down, I didn't wanna leave her side. I was standing at the end of the bed when they were hooking her up to everything for the ride to the other hospital, it was still hectic, there was so many people and they were doing so many things to my baby. I remember one of the nurses from Jersey Shore checking her pupils and telling another nurse to come and look, I knew by the look on their faces it wasn't good and wondered why they did that in front of me or maybe they didn't realize I noticed but I knew from that point on things were very wrong. Around 245 she was ready to leave the hospital, I asked if I could just tell her I loved her and kiss her before she left, they said that was fine but i had to be quick, I put my finger in her little hand and J kissed her on the forehead and whispered I LOVE YOU SO MUCH SUNSHINE, with that she tightened her little hand around my finger so I knew she heard me, that was the last time I saw her alive. The other hospital was only about 25 minutes away but it felt like hours. We got there and Ive never been in that hospital, it took a long time for my husband and i to find her and finally when we did find her they put us in a room, all i wanted to do was be with my baby. It felt like hrs in that room, my parents were on their way, they to lived in the same town we did and they had my oldest daughter Rebecca, everything was so hectic all they knew was that she was being transported, they didnt know how bad she was. The pastor came in and talked with us most of the time we were there, a few nurses came in to ask questions about her medical history but i only had one question and that was "is she going to die". They couldnt tell me yes or no. The pastor had left to see how things were going, he came in and without saying a word i knew she was gone, within seconds the whole team of drs and nurses walked in, the head dr. looked at me and said 2 words "im sorry" and walked out, she had tears in her eyes, i can remember her face to this day, its something ill never forget, it was very hard for her to be professional. I broke down and all i wanted was to hold her, the nurse said i could do just that as soon as the room is cleaned up. They came and got us, they walked us in this room where she looked like she was sleeping, she was all bundled up in these hospital blankets just like she looked when she was born, my father walked in a few minutes later to be with me, it was the first time i had ever seen him cry and he looked at me and said Missy, i wish i could take this pain away with a Band-Aid or a kiss, but i cant, right now there is nothing i can do for my little girl and that is how i felt about Montana, he told me he felt helpless and that was the same exact feeling i felt about my daughter. I said good-bye to her for the last time, i promised her that she would live on through me, she would never be forgotten and she would always be loved. The next few days were crazy, i didnt wanna get out of bed but there was so much to be done, our good friends own the funeral home in town, they buried my grandparents and great grandparents, they did all the arrangement with no charge, and my fathers job donated money for her casket and her grave stone, these guys that worked with my father seen me grow up, there were all fathers to me, i remember Bobby, he was the first one i seen at the babies wake, he met me at the stairs and said Why this baby, why didnt god take me, three months later i was in the same room at the same funeral home for Bobbys funeral, i still hear his words and i know he found Montana right away in heaven to give her a giant hug for me. About 200 people were at her funeral, most had never met Montana or if they did it was for a short time, i needed the support and they did just that. At the cemetery my fathers friend that he worked with played amazing grace on the bag pipes, its a sound i will never forget. We all huddled around this tiny casket and prayed that god would show her the way and take care of her until i was able to be with her again.
I always said that 1999 would be the worst year of my life but Montana showed me a happy ending. On Dec. 31, 1999, Skylar Mackenzie was born, the 3rd daughter of our family. I was taking birth control pills and i got pregnant with her, it was a shock to all of us, i know Montana had a part in giving "Sky" to us, She is our gift from the sky. In 2002 my husband and i added another child to our family, a boy, Thomas John. When people ask how many children do you have, i always tell them 4, 3 girls and 1 boy, i promised her that she would never be forgotten, she is with us always, Rebecca, Sky and Thomas all know they have a sister in heaven and one day they will meet her, every holiday we go out to her grave and decorate, we plant flowers in the spring, we have a beach theme in the summer, we sing happy birthday to her in the fall, and hunt for the perfect christmas tree for her in the winter with a sign saying Santa Stop Here.
Bacterial Meningitis has changed our life, i share my loss with others, not to scare them but to make them aware, it can happen to anyone. Losing Montana was either gonna kill me or make me stronger, im stronger these days although i do have my weak spots, i did tear writing this to you.
Montana's Sisters and Brother
Rebecca 8, Thomas 2, and Sky 5