Our story began on May 5th, 2007. When we were 25 weeks pregnant, we had a fetal MRI and were told that our unborn daughter had a condition called hydranencephaly. Somewhere between the 20th and 25th week, the two main arteries to Carina’s brain failed to carry adequate blood supply to the cortex, inhibiting this portion of the brain from developing. They were told that most babies with this condition typically do not live more than a few days to a month after birth. Joe and Ann were advised by a care team that their primary goal would be to keep their baby comfortable, and not to implement aggressive medical treatment. At that point, they turned to Hospice Services for guidance and supportive counseling. Carina was due to be born on July 9th, and the doctor advised taking her to full term.The next few months were worrisome, stressful, and challenging to say the least. Joe and Ann relied on the support of their family and friends to continue with the pregnancy and prepare for her arrival. Because she was so active in utero, they were told their safest option was to deliver Carina by C-section.
This procedure was performed on June 25th, 2007 and Carina Ruth Ann arrived at 8:23 am with a full head of black hair and a strong set of lungs! She came in at 6lbs, 18″ long, and absolutely beautiful! Carina was monitored over the next 5 days by loving nurses, friends and family. On June 30th, Joe and Ann received the great news that Carina was able to come home. She received a grand welcome by her dog Shultz, and a 10 ft. Stork in the front yard! Though initially unprepared, Joe and Ann’s friends and family gathered all the necessary items to ensure Carina was safe and comfortable. Anyone who was fortunate enough to have met Carina grew to love her squeaky noises, pudgy cheeks, and precious cooing when she sucked down her bottles.
On a regular basis, Carina participated in physical therapy with Miss Regina, received monthly visits from Nurse Anna, and became part of the “Help Me Grow” program through Medina County. Due to her poor prognosis Ann and Joe turned to the team of physicians, nurses, and social workers from Akron Children’s Palliative Care Center, along with pediatric Hospice services. The Akron Children’s Palliative Care team provided Carina with comfort medications, oxygen, and a nurse on call 24 hours to address Ann and Joe’s questions and calm any fears. With the help of The Akron Children’s Palliative Care team, Joe and Ann made sure Carina had a life filled with hope, peace and comfort.
Carina took her last breath at 21 months on, March 31, 2009, in the arms of her Daddy. Through this experience, the desire to give back was quickly instilled in the hearts of Carina’s family and friends and the Carina Gift Card Fund was created.