Faith Castellanos: My Daughter’s Story

Well, to start off, when I found out I was pregnant back at the end of July, I cried. I was scared. I had planned an appointment to have an abortion. When that day came, I couldn’t do it. I had decided to keep the baby. For some reason, I felt as if I was pregnant back in May. It was just this feeling in my heart. I started to really believe it in June. Right around father’s day to be a little more precise. Those were the beginning days that I knew I was having a baby. I positively knew it was to be a girl. I was right.On September 15, 2009 I had a usual doctor’s appointment checkup for the baby. I was almost 19 weeks pregnant. I would be by that Friday  Which meant that the due date was on February 12, 2010. Anyways, the appointment was to check the baby’s health, how it’s growing, how I’m doing, etc. Everything went well. There was nothing wrong with me. So, with them telling me that there was nothing wrong with me or the baby, I was incredibly happy. I heard the heartbeat, saw an ultrasound, and was great. That day continued fine.

The next day on September 16, 2009 I had a WIC appointment to start getting the right foods I should be eating to help the baby grow. That day continued normal again.

Everything went wrong on September 17, 2009. That whole day was going good. I was relaxed at home most of the day. I was waiting for Michael to get off of work to hang out with him. When he got off of work, we went to his house and relaxed there for a little bit before we were going to go to church in Redlands. I’m sitting on the couch and the next thing I know, I’m crying and doubled over in horrific pain. I was dizzy and my breathing was way off. Michael’s mom told me to relax and breathe. Maybe it was a cramp or I pulled a muscle. I knew it wasn’t. I didn’t know how I knew, but I started to get the feeling that something was wrong. After a while, the pain eased up a little bit. It was still there, though. No church on that day.

September 18th 2009, the pain was still there. I felt it throughout the entire day, but it wasn’t too bad to put me in tears. Until that same night. I’ve been texting my aunt, Maritssa, for some In N’ Out that night because I really wanted some. All was well. My mom, Jacqueline, and her fiance, Tommy, showed up with some food and his two youngest kids, Skye and Gage. Everything was still okay. I sat down at the kitchen table and my breathing changes completely. The horrific pain is coming back.

I go lay down on my mom’s bed hoping it will go away. It didn’t. I started to scream and cry. I couldn’t speak, let alone talk. Michael called at that time. I couldn’t really talk to him so he spoke to my mom instead and told her to take me to the hospital immediately. Just then, my aunt showed up with my food. My mom told her what was happening and that I was going to the hospital. After telling her, I was helped into the car and we took off down to the hospital. My crying didn’t stop during the whole car ride. It was horrible. Fifteen minutes later, we arrived at Riverside County Medical Regional Center Emergency Room off of Nason and Cactus in Moreno Valley, California at around 9:30 pm. I was seen within 30 minutes of being there. I registered my information and literally sat in the back, waiting and waiting. They finally ran tests of all sorts on me. Those tests lasted until after 3am. They had 2 or 3 different doctors look at me, then they had 2 of their surgeons examine me. They did an ultrasound to see if maybe it was appendicitis. They said everything was fine. It was probably just the baby growing and all of my organs were shifting around to make room for her. The pain was still putting me in tears. The doctors noticed but all they told me to do was wait it out and the pain would stop. So they sent me home with antibiotics. Nothing else. I could barely walk. But everything was fine, I guess. The only good thing about that night was that I found out that I was having a girl. I knew I would be having a girl the second I found out I was pregnant. I felt it.

Later that morning on September 19, 2009, I was still in pain. I could barely move from the bed. My aunt called me between 9 and 11am and told me she wanted to take me to another hospital for a second opinion on my situation because she heard the distinct pain in my voice. We were going to go to Loma Linda Hospital, but I told her since we were going out there, we should just go to St. Bernardine Medical Center or San Bernardino Community Hospital. She arrived at my house at around 1pm with her friend, Michelle. She is like an aunt to me. We ended up going to the San Bernardino Community Hospital Emergency Room.

The triage nurse there was rude and not helpful at all. Despite how much pain I was in and the fact that I was doubled over crying, didn’t mean anything because I had to wait in line due to the people ahead of me. My aunt bought me food again. And once again, I couldn’t eat simply because of the same reason that happened the day prior. At that time, I went to the restroom to cry in there. I wanted to be alone. I ended up calling Michael’s mom, Avelinda because she worked at the Ob/Gyn office, Woman to Woman. She knew which doctors were on call. I described my pain to her, leading her to call the Hospital so I could hurry and be seen. After speaking to her I left the restroom with tears flowing down my face. I went to sit with my two aunts. They saw I was shaking, crying, groaning in pain, and holding my stomach like it was the end of the world. It sure did feel like it. They also noticed that I couldn’t walk properly and that by breathing was far off what it should be. The went up to that triage nurse and yelled at him to get me a bed almost now.

With Avelinda calling them, and both of my aunts on his case, I had a bed 10 minutes later. Then the tests began. It was blood tests after blood tests, urine tests after urine tests, etc. They didn’t know either. We told them what the doctors at RCMRC told us. So they did another ultrasound. At this time I was in so much pain, it was unbearable. Yet, I was too focused on the baby. I wanted to make sure it really was a girl. She said it was. I was so happy. She told me how far along I was, too. I was actually 20 weeks exact that day. It was a Saturday. So she told me my actual due date would be February 6, 2010. I was ecstatic, despite the pain. She continued to check my abdomen through the TransAbdominal Ultrasound. The baby was moving all around and was great. Then came the EndoVaginal Ultrasound to check the placenta. She didn’t tell me anything more after that. She went to get a doctor for a second opinion. Something wasn’t right. From what I’m told, when she left the room I was in, she bumped into my two aunts. They said her face was horror-struck. Oh no. She came back still smiling at me. I asked her to print out a couple of ultrasounds of the baby for me. She gladly did. Afterwards, I was escorted back to the room I was in previously.

15 minutes later, the nurse that did my ultrasound and a doctor came in. They told me the bad news. I had an Abdominal Ectopic Pregnancy and a UTI. The baby was where it shouldn’t be. It was outside of the uterus. They told me that the baby was fully healthy and growing great, but that I would have to have a C-section at 35 weeks. So, that was only 15 weeks away. Literally. I was happy that I would still have my baby. They discharged me from the E.R. and sent me up to Labor and Delivery. They looked at me for about 30 minutes and told me they were deciding to send me home. My two aunts refused to let me be discharged. So I was admitted into the hospital for overnight observation. My aunts were there. My mom and Tommy showed up a little bit later. By 11pm, they were all gone and they told me they would see me in the morning at 10am.

A little bit after they left, the pain became excruciating  They had me on an IV line, and they were monitoring the baby’s heartbeat and movement also. I could barely hear the baby’s heartbeat and movement. I was starting to freak out. The nurse there was incredibly nice and was there for me the whole time. I was drugged up off of their strongest pain medicines. It was bad. One minute I was laying in the bed crying, the next minute I was drowsy and numb. I asked the nurse if I was okay. Before she could answer, I was asleep.

It was now September 20, 2009. They woke me early morning at like 4am because they moved up my MRI from 8am to now. Something was wrong. I couldn’t move. My stomach was killing me. The nurse helped me get out of bed and escorted me on a wheelchair to where the MRI machine was. She left afterwards and the nurse there took over. She set me on the machine and told me not to move. I didn’t. When it was over, she came to help me get up and back into my wheelchair. I couldn’t do it. I didn’t have the strength. I fell to the floor. She called for my nurse to come help me. Before my nurse showed up, I worked up any strength I had and got on that wheelchair. My nurse wheeled me back up to my room. I laid back in bed, took the strong pain medications, and fell asleep. The nurse woke me up less than 2 hours later. She explained to me that the MRI confirmed my dilemma. I cried myself to sleep this time.

It’s 8am of September 20, 2009. I woke up to having 3 nurses in my room, and 2 doctors standing over me. They were taking me off the IV. Then one of the doctors told me that I was getting ready to be escorted by the ambulance to Loma Linda Hospital for surgery. I have never been so scared in my life. Before I left, the nurses and doctors gathered around and prayed with me. Then the paramedics showed up and lifted me from the hospital bed onto the gurney. I was loaded into the ambulance and rushed to the hospital. I was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center instead, because the surgeons were there. This meant that the surgery couldn’t wait any longer.I was “High Risk”.

I was put into a room and immediately surrounded by surgeons, doctors, scrubs, and nurses. There were at least 10 to 15 surgeons from all specialties that were going to be in the surgery in case anything went wrong. They told me I had a liter or more of blood in my abdomen. Thus, began the prepping for surgery. My aunt and Michelle came in to see me. My aunt told me they couldn’t save my baby girl. I started to cry even harder. I asked the surgeons if it was true. They told me it was. My crying grew harder. The only thing that mattered to me was the life of the child that grew within me. The surgeons told me I was more important to save. I was too far into my pregnancy and the surgery had to be done now. That’s all I remember. I don’t remember going into the Operation room. I don’t remember the anesthesia or counting down from 100. I remember nothing after the surgery preparation.

I woke up in the recovery room and asked the nurse who was attending me what happened to my baby. She told me that the baby had passed away. I cried so hard, I started to shake. I left the Recovery room with 30 staples on my incision, and was being escorted down the hall. That’s where I saw so many family members. It was blurry, but I knew whop they were. After I was set into my room, my family flowed in two by twos. I saw Michael for a split second. Then my mom, aunts, uncles, grandma, dad, sisters, step-mom, brother, Michael’s family, etc. I don’t remember who all was really there. Everyone was a big blur to me. Not long after my family left. Except for my mom, aunt, Michael, and his mom. I think. I laid there motionless with my eyes closed. Everyone thought I was asleep. Then I heard Michael burst into tears. I’ve never heard him cry so hard in the 10 years I’ve known him. Still laying there silently, eyes still closed, tears began to flow down my face. Hearing him cry like that broke my heart even more than it was.

A little bit after, the surgeons came in. They explained everything. What they saw, and what happened. It turns out that I had two uteruses due to a birth defect that was never found on record. They explained that they have never seen this kind of case before. All the doctors said that throughout their whole medical careers, this was the rarest case they’ve ever come across. They said that going into the surgery, they had no idea where the placenta was, and what it was attached to. If the placenta would have been attached to any major organs, my high risk or death would’ve been higher. Apparently, the placenta was attached to the right uterus. The right uterus had ruptured. That meant that I had another half of a liter of blood in my abdomen. That was the cause of all my terrible pain. They were able to dispose of the blood, and remove the placenta that held my baby girl without any complications. However, during the surgery, the surgeons told us that I was literally near death. I made it out alive.

Sadly, my daughter didn’t.

My case was 1 in 6. I was the 6th case, setting me into medical history. The doctors and surgeons explained to me that I have to come back in 6 months for another surgery. It’s called a hysterectomy. They will be removing my right uterus that is ruptured  my right Fallopian tube and ovary. But, I will still be left with my left uterus, left Fallopian tube and ovary.

On September 22, 2009, A social worker spoke to me, asking if I wanted to see the baby. I took Michael’s and my family’s opinion into consideration. My decision was not to see her. Michael’s was the same. I allowed my aunt and his mom to see her. I wasn’t mentally, emotionally, or physically stable to do so. The viewing was set for 3:30pm that day. When that time came, the two left to see her. They came back with tears in their eyes, and a soft smile on their faces. They explained how beautiful she was. She had mommy’s lips and daddy’s nose. She was 7 and a half ounces and fit into the palm of their hands. She was tiny.

The social worker came in a few minutes after with 2 memory boxes. One for Michael and one for me. The contained the clothes the baby wore, and the blankets she was wrapped in. It also consisted of her footprints and 4 pictures of the baby. I asked my aunt to hold on to my copy until I was ready to see them. She did.

September 23, 2009 was here. The day started normal. Vital checks, etc. My family was there to visit me in the hospital. They visited everyday since I arrived. Michael was there of course. He spent the night with me every night until I was finally discharged. I decided to see the baby pictures that day. She was beautiful. I didn’t cry. I was looking at them with fascination at how much she resembled her mommy and daddy. She looked the way I imagined her. Gorgeous.

I was released the morning of September 24, 2009. My 19th birthday. The surgeons and doctors surrounded me once again. They said I was healing and regaining strength exceptionally well. I was walking 6 hours after my surgery. Something they didn’t expect me to be doing so soon. I was able to use the restroom on my own, etc. But, my blood count was incredibly low. Normal blood count ranges from 12 to 14. Mine was at a 6. Alarmingly low. They kept me on an IV until September 23, 2009. Not only that, but my breathing and oxygen level was very low, leading me to stay on an oxygen machine. I left the hospital on with 4 different medications, and severe anemia. The anemia should be recovering soon due to the iron pills I’ve been taking.

I am now out of the hospital and regaining my strength exceptionally fast. I am able to walk normally, go down stairs, and get back to my normal life. Yet, I still need plenty of rest to help my strength. I do cry everyday from the loss of my daughter, Faith Castellanos. I named her Faith because that’s all I had to keep me strong. She gives me courage and the will to continue in life and be all that I can be. Her name, Faith, means “The belief in things not seen.”

We will be holding Faith’s memorial services on October 6, 2009. It will be a cremation. This date was chosen with good reason. On September 28, 2006, my grandfather passed away. I was very close to him. He was my best friend, my mentor, and my favorite person in the world. We had his memorial service on October 6, 2006. My daughter, Faith Castellanos, passed away on September 20, 2009. Four days before my birthday. My grandfather, Alfredo “Ito” Bustos, passed away four days after my birthday. 3 years apart. This will be a good memorial, honoring these two amazing souls.

One thing that astonishes me is the phone call my aunt received on September 18, 2009 at 9:45am. This phone call was from the RCMRC Emergency room. I wasn’t admitted into that hospital until September 18, 2009 at 9:45pm that night. We interpret it as a warning for Ito that something was wrong. I thank God for that warning. If not, my fate would’ve been along with Faith. I believe in a way that she had something to do with it, too. She wanted to protect her mommy. Just like Ito wanted to protect his little muñeca. They are both now my Guardian Angels that will watch over me and keep me safe. All I do remember during my surgery was Ito hold my hand, and me hugging my daughter. That’s what I envisioned before I woke up. That was the warmest I have ever felt in my whole being. I love you, Faith, so much. Mommy will see you soon to kiss you and never let you go. Thank you, Ito. I love you so much and can’t wait to hold your hand and dance with you again soon. Thank you, Jesus Christ. I love you with all my heart. You give me the strength that all will be okay.

I love you, Michael. Thank you for never leaving my side. I can’t wait to marry you on November 11, 2011. It will be a uniting of both our souls and hearts into one. I love you so much, my love. I always will.

Finally, thank you to all of my family and friends who never left my side. You all hold a dear place in my hearts. I love you all so very much.

Thank you, God.

2 Corinthians 5:7″We Walk By Faith, Not By Sight.”

Rest in Peace, my daughter, my angel, my love, my baby. Faith Castellanos. September 20, 2009. 7 1/2 ounces. ♥ Jennifer Mercedes Castellanos ♥ Mommy loves you.

…An Angel in the book of life wrote down our baby’s birth and whispered as she closed the book ~ “Too Beautiful for Earth.”…

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