Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bittersweet Arrival

This is Melissa Carleton. She's a family therapist and her husband, Brian, is a sheriff's deputy. The couple married a few years ago and a short while later Melissa found out she was pregnant and due in June.
Melissa started having terrible headaches in her second trimester and doctors discovered a large tumor in her brain. Since it was a benign tumor Melissa opted to wait until after her baby was born to undergo surgery to remove it. However, her health started to deteriorate quickly. She started feeling so poorly that she decided to go to the emergency room. She was so weak that she could barely make it from the parking lot into the hospital and had to take frequent breaks to rest.

The next morning (March 11) Melissa had a seizure that damaged part of her brain. The doctors performed emergency surgery to remove the tumor, and although the surgery went well the seizure left her unable to fully wake up. Melissa had told Brian that she was terrified she would miss the birth of their baby and that something would happen where she wouldn't get to meet her son and participate in the joys of being a mother.

Melissa had already chosen a name prior to the seizure, and 5 lbs. 9 oz. West Nathaniel Lande was born via c-section last Thursday, May 22. Although Melissa wasn't coherent, the baby was immediately placed on her chest for that skin-to-skin warmth and so he could smell her scent. Brian said this on the GoFundMe page that has been set up to raise funds for Melissa's medical expenses:

"With West's arrival so much of what has become familiar [Melissa's health scare] has disappeared. The world looks brand new again. When Melissa slipped into her coma, I felt like I had lost everything important to me—my wife, our home, even our dogs, Henry and Padget. West's arrival is the beginning of a fresh start for Melissa and I."
Even though Melissa is currently in a comatose state, she still opens her eyes and squeezes her family members' hands. On the morning of the c-section she even reached up and stroked Brian's cheek. I'm sure that's a touch he will never forget! Melissa will be moved to a rehabilitation facility after she recovers from her c-section and her doctors are optimistic that she will make a full recovery. I really hope so; I'm praying for a happy ending to this bittersweet story!


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