Part Three: The Delivery


This post is about the delivery. What happened and how Brielle did. There are some graphic elements I talk about. I don’t see a point in keeping them from you all, I haven’t kept anything else from you, why start now? This time, is what David and I struggle with the most. These moments we had with Brielle were beyond painful. No one should watch their child struggle and die. But, we also wouldn’t trade that experience with her, because it was her chance to show us what she felt and how strong she was. She was amazing.

“Dr. Bootstaylor let David come into the OR with us, Lauren and Jamie waited outside. Dr. Bootstaylor is so funny, technically the husband is not allowed until the anesthesiologist has given the okay, but he didn’t care. He just let us come in and waited to see if Dr. Phoenix was okay with it or not. Dr. Phoenix wasn’t there so David had to go back out and wait in the family room with Lauren and Jamie. David has some funny memories from that wait, which was like a 45 minute wait.

Robin had me step on a stool and get up on the operating table, which was extremely small and had me wondering how I was going to fit. Dr. Bootstaylor hung out with me for a bit until Dr. Phoenix arrived and we talked about things. He was really kind and encouraging. I can’t remember what we talked about, it wasn’t pivotal or anything, just pleasant conversation. I could tell he was trying to put us all at ease, everyone knew what a hard surgery this was going to be. He stepped away to scrub in when Dr. Phoenix arrived, I appreciated Dr. Bootstaylor keeping me company to comfort me until Dr. Phoenix arrived.

Nana, the midwife for my case came over and said something about if I was part of the faith. I told her that I was and she talked to me about how we don’t always understand why things happen, but that God has our best interest at heart. She is a minister’s wife. She stood with me the whole time and encouraged me. She put her hands on my shoulders and comforted me the whole time I waited for Dr. Phoenix and while he injected the needles into my back and put in the spinal block. Everyone said that would be a horrible experience, but it really wasn’t bad at all. When he asked me to bend over the chairs were too close together and I told them I’d have to spread my legs more if I was going to bend over. My belly was huge! Brielle had been moving around, but I forgot to remember her last movement in my tummy. When he injected the spinal block I began to feel a numbness, but I wasn’t as numb as I expected.

They had me get on my back and move my feet where they were touching each other, pad to pad. They began to put monitors on my arms. The man behind me was monitoring my vitals and pain levels. Nana came and stood to my left. I was pretty numb by this point. As they put up the curtain I began to cry and Nana asked what was wrong. I told her I’ll never feel Brielle move again. It had just hit me that I had forgotten that moment and to remember it. I then asked, in a very worried voice, where David was. Nana said they wouldn’t start until he was here. A few minutes later I felt Brielle move up near my stomach. It felt like she was flipping or doing some serious wiggles. It made me so happy. God and Brielle gave me that sweet moment and I’ll treasure it forever. At one point Nana came over and told me of a song that just kept coming to mind, it was a hymn and I can’t remember exactly what it was. But it was encouraging. God had a hand in bringing her into the OR.

David joined me after what felt like an eternity. I was so scared. Lauren stood behind David and David sat in a chair behind my left arm and shoulder. Nana stood near them. The OR was not that big. After they were settled, Dr. Bootstaylor began to cut me open. I wanted to cry with anxiety and worry. I couldn’t tell when my water broke, I couldn’t really hear what was going on at all. People told me that my water broke. They told me there was a lot of water. I then felt a huge amount of pain near my stomach and I was extremely nauseous. I felt Brielle trying to burrow into my stomach and I just kept feeling more and more sick and in more and more pain. I think David said something about how he saw a hand. I kept trying to look at the light above that was directed towards the operating field for Dr. Bootstaylor. I could see reflections of things and I just kept watching, waiting to see my little girl.

I was so full of hope and worry at the same time. David said he saw both hands come out and then I heard that she was born. Dr. Bootstaylor held Brielle up for me to see. And I knew. I knew that she was dying. I could tell she had very little brain. Brielle was blue, her eyes weren’t moving or blinking, she wasn’t crying, and she wasn’t breathing. I remember I said, “Brielle.” In agonized worry. David cut the cord quickly and Brielle was rushed to my chest. The cord wasn’t milked, she wasn’t pulled out in a breech position because she fought Dr. B, she didn’t want to come out. Things did not go according to plan.

I immediately began to love on Brielle. I kissed her and she twitched. I felt a huge bit of relief because I was afraid she was already dead. I kissed her more, told her I love her, told her how beautiful she is, and sang her “I’ll Love You Forever.” She twitched as much as she could. Blood and fluid came out of her nose and mouth and onto my chest, it was so hard to see. She held on and fought so hard. David recorded it all and I am so thankful, it was so hard to remember exactly what happened. I picked her up at one point and laid her in a better position on my chest, I wrapped her arms around my neck. Kissed her little hands, told her how amazing she was. I didn’t stop, David didn’t stop telling her how loved she was and how special she was. And she loved it, and she did her best to communicate back to us how much she loved what we were saying and how much she loved us too. I asked Lauren if I should try breastfeeding and she said no. That’s when I knew that there was no hope. I am kicking myself now for not praying for a miracle, I was too caught up in the moment and my sweet girl to focus on prayer. I just have to trust that others were praying for me. Dr. Armand came over at one point and basically told me that we didn’t have much time, I was confused by everything he was saying. I couldn’t process and I just wanted to soak up what I had. I asked him how much time and he said within the hour. It broke my heart, but I turned my attention back to Brielle and continued telling Brielle that I loved her. David was rubbing on her back and telling her the same.

Nurses would come and change out towels for warmer ones. Everyone was doing their best to keep her comfortable in her last moments. David later said that everyone in the room looked really upset, they had all been hoping for a better outcome. Nana was humming a hymn to herself and trying to keep herself together.

As Dr. Bootstaylor was closing me up I began to have extreme pain. I tried to keep it from Brielle, but it was agonizing. The man behind me (I don’t remember his name, I later found out he was also a minister) offered me more pain medication, but I refused because it would make me drowsy. The pain kept getting worse, and he kept offering, but I kept refusing, I didn’t want to fall asleep on Brielle. She needed me to be strong. He eventually began to beg me to let him give me medication, at that point I was crying out in pain. I finally agreed, mad at myself that I had let Brielle see me in pain and crying. He gave me medication and I had to constantly fight to stay conscious. I just kept telling Brielle how special she was. I would nod off for a couple of minutes and Lauren or David would wake me up and I’d go back to loving on Brielle. At one point I began apologizing to her and telling her I was doing my best and I was sorry we were in this situation. David later told me that when I would nod off he would comfort and love on Brielle. That made me feel a lot better because I kept beating myself up for letting Brielle down. But when I was weak, David stepped in and loved her for me. It’s not all up to me. Brielle would twitch in response to our words of love and comfort. And when she would twitch I’d say, “Oh there’s my baby! There’s my sweet girl!” I’d get so excited and it would make her excited. She understood, she understood what was going on and that we loved her. And she was fighting for us so that we could know how much she loved us too. I never would have guessed how much that meant to me. At one point Brielle gripped David’s finger as hard as she could. This meant so much to David because it was something he had dreamed of. He’d always wanted his little girl to hold his big finger. She did that for him.

Robin came and checked Brielle’s heartbeat and said she couldn’t hear anything, but that she wasn’t sure it was gone, just very faint. Brielle was in a very awkward position and it made getting her vitals difficult. So David and I tried even harder to love on her and let her know how special she was. She wasn’t twitching anymore and as we told her how special she was David and I saw one tear come out of her left eye. It broke my heart.

Later, Linda came and checked on Brielle and said she didn’t hear a heartbeat. She said that she was just a nurse and Dr. Armand would have to confirm. I didn’t lose it. I think I already knew and that’s why I was okay. I of course wasn’t okay, but I didn’t go into hysterics. When Brielle was on my chest I could feel her heartbeat beating so hard, by the time Linda came over I could no longer feel it and it had been a while since I had. I knew she had been slipping away. By this time she was solid blue, her hands looked like blue chalk.

After this everything became very fuzzy. David said that Linda lifted Brielle off my chest for a moment and wrapped her in towels and then sat her back on my chest. He says I didn’t want her to leave me, which sounds like something I’d say. I was transferred from one bed to another before that. I can’t remember any of this, David is telling me. I just remember holding Brielle.”

Brielle’s Birthday Pictures (Before Delivery)

This is a VERY picture heavy post (about 50 pictures).

Final Chalkboard Picture
Starting the day with our last chalkboard picture.
The room Lynda brought me to.
Lauren made this sign for Brielle’s door. It also went on the door of the room I was transferred to later.
Getting all of his cameras ready for the day.
He loves me.
Sweet Jamie! Let me know if you want me to take any of these down.
The three of us.
Everyone is here (except my friend Emily and her mom who arrived later).
Left to right: Jamie, Mom, Grandma, Ari (cousin), Tessa (sister), Bernice (mother-in-law), and David.
I was filling Grandma in on what was going on.
Poor Ari seriously needed that Monster (Dad did too!). Her flight was delayed and didn’t arrive until 4 in the morning and she had to get up a couple of hours later. And Dad went and got her and got up early that morning too. It was a rough night. I’m so thankful and glad she could make it, she flew in from Chicago to meet little Brielle. As a family the Wolford’s are all over the country, but we still travel long distances to see each other.




Zach (brother-in-law), Tessa, Grandma (Dad’s mother), Ari, and Mom.



This is when Mom stepped in and read the book for me.



Dad took a lot of pictures so there are very few of him.
Froggy’s First Kiss! This was one of Tessa’s favorite books when she was little and it was one of Brielle’s favorites too.
I think Tessa is laughing at Froggy. Mom always does the “Frooogy!!” part really well.
Grandma (who is in her 70s) wanted to come meet Brielle, but we weren’t sure how to get her to Atlanta from the middle of no where in Arkansas. So without telling anyone she packed up her truck and drove all the way to Atlanta, she called when she was close to Nashville to tell us she was on the way. She’s so funny. We had a good laugh when we found out she was coming. She doesn’t let anything stop her from doing what she wants, it’s admirable. Don’t let that go to your head Grandma.


Lovely Lauren!
He is a proud new Daddy!



Starting to read Brielle her favorite book, “It Will Be Okay.”
David loving on Brielle as I read.


The wonderful Dr. Bootstaylor signing papers.


Look at David with his cute blue hair net.
Videoing me reading to Brielle.





Lauren and David taking a selfie.
The three of us taking our last pictures together as a family.



David was having trouble with his mask.
So I shoved it on his face, being delicate takes too long.



Part Two: Brielle’s Birthday Continued


I think this may be the best and easiest way to share my memories from the day Brielle was born. I’m including my memories I wrote down for that day from my diary. I’ll post about the OR part tomorrow. This was such a long day and I’m not sure how to properly present it to you all.

“Lynda told me that she was going to put two IV’s in just in case I had a lot of bleeding (postpartum hemorrhaging). She asked me where I wanted them and even though my veins were incredibly difficult, she did her best and put the IV’s where I wanted them.

The anesthesiologist, Dr. Phoenix, came in and talked to me about how the spinal block would work, answered my questions, and asked me some. He was very nice, very young, but very nice. We also met Robin, the something nurse, I can’t remember her title, but she was wonderful.

Jamie came in, it was so good to see her! She saw that I did not have a pillow and was not happy about that. She checked with David to make sure that he had been eating and taking care of himself. He hadn’t been eating, so she and Lauren made sure he would get something. She went off to get him coffee and find me a pillow. Lynda told her that they were short on pillows and ordering more and said maybe she could borrow from triage, but Jamie said she had a secret place and would go there first. She came back pretty quickly, so I’m guessing the secret place had the pillow she needed. Jamie watched over me and kept an eye on me the whole time. She is really a Godsend.

Dr. Armand came in and talked to us about what would happen. He told me that the neurosurgeons at CHOA refused to care for Brielle or cover her head. They had dropped Brielle as a patient and never notified us. He said they might be talked into it if she lived for a while. I told him that if she needed a covering there were surgeons in St. Louis who had experience with this and I was willing to go there. He seemed fine with that idea, we both were of the mindset that we would make the best call for that if the situation called for it. He said they wouldn’t use dura, but would use wet surgical gauze and this warmer for preemies. I’m not sure what he was saying, I was so disoriented focusing and worrying about Brielle. But I trust Dr. Armand.

His assistant Linda came in and introduced herself. She was very kind, she is also a minister’s wife. As she was talking, Jamie and her boss came in and Jamie introduced her. I felt bad because Linda was excusing herself so that I could speak to Jamie’s boss. And I couldn’t focus on both. But the other woman was incredibly kind. She had been following my story as well and was moved by our faith and journey with Brielle. Her, Jamie, Lauren, and David circled around me and Brielle and prayed over us. It was very comforting and she was very kind. She loved on me and told me how much our story meant to her and then she left.

We then met Saan, Dr. Bootstaylor’s assistant. She was kind, the meeting was short. I was surprised at how busy the morning was. I had been started on IV fluids and would make my way to the bathroom and have alone time with Brielle. I would pray hard and tell Brielle what was going on. I’d love on her, cry, and tell her this was the time she needed to be strong. I’d sing to her and love on her. I was so scared, but she was such a good girl all morning and moved around happily.

My family arrived around 11. Ari, Grandma, Bernice, Tessa, Zach, Dad, and Mom all arrived and really filled up the room. They came over and loved on Brielle and asked how she was doing. I tried reading Brielle “On the Night You Were Born” but couldn’t make it past the first page. So Mom read it to her for me. She also read Brielle “Silver Slippers” and “Froggy’s First Kiss.” Brielle had fun listening to her books and it made me feel so much better to know she was hearing some of her favorites before she was born.

I went to the bathroom again and talked to Brielle. I rubbed on my belly and told her how much I loved her. I told her how scared I was and that this was the big scary thing that she needed to be strong for. I prayed so hard, so very hard and cried my eyes out. Mom knocked on my door and asked if I needed help. I told her I was fine. She couldn’t hear me, but I had been in there for a long time. I cried some more with Brielle and felt her wiggle around. My sweet, sweet girl. I remember wiping my eyes and making sure I looked presentable and then opening my door. Mom asked if I was having some alone time with Brielle and I told her yes.

I sat in my bed for a while and just listened and zoned out thinking of Brielle. Everyone was talking excitedly and was very happy. I was a ball of nerves, things just felt like they weren’t going to be okay. I rubbed on Brielle and did my best to be strong, keep it together, and be happy for her. And I did, I pulled myself together.

At one point I saw my Mom go and hold hands with Dr. Bootstaylor and say something to him, he said something back and I wondered what was said there. I asked Mom days later and she told me that she had thanked him for taking care of me and respecting me and Brielle. She said that he said, “Of course.” He is always so humble.

David and Lauren were given gowns, booties, and hair nets to put on. Of course David’s feet were too big for the booties, so Jamie had to search for an alternative. She came back with boot booties and David was able to use those to cover his feet, but it took a bit of work (David wears a size 13).

I started reading her “It Will Be Okay” and was staying positive and upbeat for her. I wanted her to hear it right. Everyone stopped talking and started listening to me, I didn’t anticipate that. Brielle wiggled and danced, she was very happy. Dr. Bootstaylor came in and I stopped reading. We went over a piece of paper, he signed it and then asked if I was ready. I asked him if I could finish reading to her and he said yes.

So I picked the book back up and began reading to her again. I started crying at the part where Little Seed says, “Oh no, please no! I don’t want to go!” And Dr. Bootstaylor came and sat beside me and wrapped his arm around me. I cried through a couple of pages and then pulled myself together while Little Fox looked for Little Seed. Dr. Bootstaylor was very nice and rubbed and patted my shoulder, like a consoling father. Brielle did little kicks and little wiggles and I laughed to myself as I read to her. I finished the book as strong as I could and rubbed on her the whole time I read. I closed the book, nodded my head, and said I was ready. Dr. Bootstaylor gave me a squeeze and got up. Then everyone came to me, like a receiving line, gave me a hug and told me it’d be okay. Some of them would rub on Brielle and hug me. I’m sure my face was etched with worry.

I got out of bed and helped David get his gopro and hair net situated. I also put a cap on my head. That was a funny situation. I was joking with everyone and getting us all laughing. We were all comfortable with each other, but we all knew and understood what was about to happen and there was a bit of anxiety. Once we were all ready, we all circled around near the door and looked to Dr. Bootstaylor. He rocked back and forth on the heels of his feet and seemed to just take things slow. Later I’ve come to appreciate that, he was in no rush to end my pregnancy. He nodded his head and said alright, let’s walk to the OR. I said that I was happy to enjoy walking before the surgery. I wouldn’t be doing too much painless walking after Brielle was born.

As we left the room, my family was waiting in the waiting room next to my recovery room (they had small alcoves on the labor and delivery floor where family could wait). They came back and Mom hugged me, as did everyone else. They all looked a bit worried, but optimistic. I made a joke about our “blue hair” and Mom said we looked like smurfs, I told her I’d always wanted to look like a smurf. Smiling and laughing we left each other and began to walk towards the OR.

I was happy, laughing and joking for most of the morning. I don’t want to forget that Brielle had a good morning, she was loved on, snuggled, talked to, read to, sung to. She had a great morning. She was very blessed and surrounded with love and prayer, she really was her whole life.”

Today is the Day


Today is the day. It’s hard to believe that in five hours we will be holding sweet Brielle. David and I are doing our best, but we’re a nervous wreck. Thank you for the prayers and love during this time, we can’t tell you how much it means to us. Here’s a picture of Brielle with the Coke bear. We had a lot of fun with her this week and made a lot of good memories with her and my family.

Brielle’s Last Ultrasound


We had our scan today and the technician was really nice. She knew this was probably our last scan and took extra time and let us watch Brielle move around. I cried my eyes out. I pretty much cried my eyes out the whole appointment. My fluid is in the mid 40’s, so it’s holding steady, which is really good. Now the bad news. Brielle isn’t growing. Since last months measurements she has not put on weight, in fact these measurements had her smaller. Dr. B said that probably wasn‘t right and she was probably around the same size as last time. Her length and bones have grown, but her weight has not. Until Dr. B saw that he was fine with us waiting another 2-3 weeks to have her, with weekly ultrasounds to make sure she was okay, of course. When he saw that her weight had not changed, he made it very clear we needed to deliver either tomorrow, Monday, or Tuesday. We’re leaning towards Monday, and I’ll call tomorrow and schedule the c-section. Then I can give everyone a time and stuff.

Another bit of good news, he is very optimistic about her brain being highly functional. She is very responsive and active still and she’s showing only good signs (weight being the only bad one). So he is optimistic. He’s doing his best to give Brielle her best chance at living and I am incredibly grateful. If her brain matter is strong enough then she has a pretty good chance. But if it’s not, the vessels in her brain may burst after birth and she may bleed out quickly or slowly, depending on the bleed.

I’m terrified and heartbroken. I do not want my sweet Brielle to leave me. But either her brain is causing a nutritional problem or my placenta isn’t giving her what she needs. I don’t want her to go and this is the moment I’ve dreaded for the past twenty weeks. I’m going to make a list of specific prayer requests that David and I have, and I’ll post that later.

David and I are going to give Brielle the best weekend we can. Right now David is making one of her favorite meals, pineapple, red pepper, chicken stir fry. She’ll be a very happy baby tonight. I’d appreciate any suggestions you may have on things we should do this weekend.