At 9 weeks I was gushing blood and they swore up and down I was loosing the baby….. I didn’t. We breezed through the next few weeks easily until 18 weeks. I had been spotting. Went in for an ultrasound. Calypso’s amniotic fluid was at 1.5 (4.5 is critical) the ultrasound lady kept asking me if I had been leaking. I told her no, no I hadn’t. They scheduled me for a recheck in 2 weeks saying she probably just needed to pee.

At 20 weeks I saw them again. The ultrasound tech was very quiet and told me that the baby still had no fluid and that my placenta looked ‘funny’. She went to get my Dr. He came in crying and told me I was at very high risk for intrauterine fetal demise and having a stillborn baby. They referred me to a high risk Dr. who I saw the following Monday.

I saw the High Risk Dr. at 21 weeks 2 days. He told me the baby looked ok and we were in a wait and see stage and I’d have every 2 week ultrasounds. I never made it to my next appointment. On May 2nd at 23 weeks 5 days I woke up in a pool of blood. I called 911 and they took me away to our local hospital. They found Calypso’s heartbeat and transferred my up to IU Hospital in Indianapolis.

There they diagnosed me as a placental abruption case. We had to sign papers telling them that if Calypso was born super early we wanted aggressive treatments to save her. This was after lots of discussion about Pulmonary Hypoplasia which is where the lungs don’t develop well because of little to no fluid.

I spent 6 weeks in the hospital bleeding heavily off and on. When I hit 29 weeks I was so excited, if I had my baby she would live! I was so freaking happy.

On June 14th at 1:30 am I was 6 cm and they gave me an epidural. At 3 am I called my friend. At 3:15 I was feeling weird and the Dr’s. came in to check me. I told her I’d call her back. Calypso was born 5 minutes later in one push. She came out sunny side up and had her eyes open (I wish so badly I had seen her eyes, I never got to see them) she even tried to cry. She sounded like a tiny bleating lamb. She was 3 lbs 1.9 oz and 13 inches long.

I got up about an hour later to go pee and started hemorrhaging. The Dr. started my iv with pitocin (I got 2 bags) and they put cyotec up my bum and he MANUALLY yanked clots out of my uterus while shoving on my stomach. Finally they got everything under control

At 5:30 am they had Calypso stable enough to transfer her to Riley and I got to meet her briefly before they whisked her away. I reached in and touched her. She was so tiny and fuzzy, lots of hair all over. I was in love with her.

Calypso was doing good, she had some small problems but was doing great. Then it happened, the unthinkable and most dreaded word that any preemie parent will ever hear NEC (Necrotizing Enterocolitis) it’s a severe intestinal infection in preemies. It causes all kinds of problems, including renal failure. I was still so freaking hopeful! Everyone kept promising me she’d come home. Here’s 2 of my journal entries leading up to her death.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 04, 2007 02:12 AM, CDT

A letter to God I wrote today

Dear God,

I know everything you do is for a purpose. And I KNOW it in my head but I can’t for the life of me understand in my heart WHY my baby girl has to go through this stuff. She’s so small but has already had stuff done to her that most adults haven’t had done to them.

I realize that I may not be able to see her grow to adult hood but I beg you with EVERYTHING in me to let her come home. Even if it’s just for a while. I want her to come home and be with her sisters and with me.

I want to hold her and rock her and actually be able to kiss her head. I want to sing to her and know she hears me. I want to see her eyes. I haven’t even been able to do that. I want to be able to put her in clothes that WE bought her. And take her on a car ride and a walk through the park.

I want her to go to MOPS with me and the girls and smile at me. I want her to sleep in her own crib and use the diapers we have for her.

Please Lord I don’t care if she’s on oxygen or a vent or has been trached. I don’t care if she’s on a feeding tube or what. I just want her home. I want to hold her in my arms and tell her how much I love her. Please God you’ve done things so much more complicated then this surely it’s not an unreasonable request?

In Jesus Name



And the day before she died


FRIDAY, JULY 06, 2007 06:11 PM, CDT

Whoever says compassion and is dead and humanity is selfish needs to step back and re-evaluate their lives. The amount of support we’ve have for our baby girl is so staggering it brings tears to my eyes.

The fact that these people online who’ve never met me or my daughter are supporting her and praying for her without ceasing. My family members and friends who’ve never met her. It makes my heart swell with gratitude and love to know so many people are so involved with my angels life story.

We sat down and met with a team of Dr.’s today. They told us her kidneys still aren’t working BUT that her NEC is almost GONE!!!! They injected die into her stomach and watched it move through her body!!! Now we are simply waiting to see if her Kidney’s kick in. Dr Engles said that he’s seen babies in Kidney Failure up to 4 weeks and then BOOM one day they start peeing and don’t stop again. He also said the fact that she had a few days of pee and then nothing also could mean that they are Starting to function because sometimes they do that start and stop.

Baby girl is still in Critical Condition of course but there is hope. He said if she starts acting like things are getting to hard on her they can try a medicine or try dialysis. This could be risky since her stomach and intestines ARE still healing BUT if she starts going down hill we’ll do anything possible to help her.

Right now they are monitoring her fluid, electrolytes, and all that stuff. As well as her blood pressure and blood gasses. All those at the moment are stable.

Over all we’re playing the waiting game. Wait and see if she can do this or wait till God takes her home to be with him.

So Kind of the same news we already had with the one exception about the NEC being gone.

I know the news will spread quickly and wanted to remind you all of this. Humanity and Compassion are NEVER NEVER gone. Sometimes there is just so much junk to wade through that the compassion and caring gets over looked. Please take a moment out of your day to smile at someone and give them a bit of hope in the world. And Thank you All for giving us and our earthly angel this hope that the world hasn’t gone to hell in a hand basket


The morning of the 7th the Nicu called me at noon and told me she was hurting bad and fighting the vents and her bp and oxygen levels weren’t doing well. and we needed to get up there asap. I started bawling. I knew what was happening. The day before we’d gone to see Calypso and then I’d had a drs appointment and then my middle child had an appointment too and I was tired and DH went up to say Goodbye to Calypso and I didn’t. On the way home I freaked out and told him if something happened I would hate myself for not telling her goodbye. Oh God I never told her goodbye and the next day she died.

We were 10 minutes out of Indianapolis nearing Riley when the NICU Dr. called again, you could tell from his voice things were bad. He said to get the whole family up there. I practically ran to the NICU and there was THE sign, that horrible horrible sign ‘The NICU is Temporarily Closed’ For any NICU mom they KNEW what this meant. A baby was passing or had passed away. I went in to see my princess as we waited for DH to get up there. I sang to her OUR lullaby. JUST ours Hine, E Hine.

Dh got there and we talked to the Dr’s. They told us her oxygen sats had been below 60 for too long. There was too much fluid on her lungs and while they could TRY another procedure there was almost no chance of it working. So we made the decision and we took her off the vent.

Here’s my journal entry from that day


SATURDAY, JULY 07, 2007 06:18 PM, CDT

Calypso Paikea Rhyder got her angel wings today 7/7/07.

People say 777 is heaven’s number and today I truly believe that.

As we were on our way to the NICU this morning about 10 minutes outside of Indy the dr called and told us that her oxygen sats had been under 60 for 4 hours and we needed to hurry because we were loosing her.

When we got there I called my parents and we went in to see her and talked to the doctors. I could tell just by looking at her it was obvious she was already almost gone. The drs said they could try another procedure that had little chance of working or take her off the vent. We chose to let her go. The hardest thing we’ve ever done in our life.

But doing the right thing is not always easy. As I held my angel today they baptized her and my girls got to come in and to see her. And my mom and my mil held her. Then we went to the other room and they were taking her off the vent and were going to bring her to us.

Oh Lord she fought! Even without the ventilator in my arms I could hear her gurgling and trying to breathe and I wanted to DIE. I was killing my baby and letting her die. My angel went to heaven in a room surrounded by my family and dh’s family. We don’t have an exact time of death because she died in our arms.

They dressed her in an outfit and wrapped her in a blanket and brought her back to us again to love on her. Before we left they gave us the clothes and the blanket she had been wearing as well as a lot of mementos. They did foot prints and hand prints and casts of her hands and feet which they will mail to us. We got a baptism certificate as well as a large teddy bear with a card that reads

“I know that this little teddy bear could never heal your broken heart or replace your child but, it will give you something to hold on to.

These teddy bears were given in memory of children that were called back to Heaven far too soon.

This teddy bear was given in memory of Scottie Michael Mullenix with love from his family”

And it has a picture of an angel on it. We also got every blanket and hat and anything that Calypso had used in the NICU.

My soul is half missing and it will never be whole until the day I am reunited with my princess.


My precious baby love. My last child spent 23 short days on this Earth but they will forever be the most memorable days in my life.

Calypso’s ashes were split. Half were buried in our family Cemetery on her second birthday June 14, 2009 the other half were scattered into the ocean off of Waiheke Island in New Zealand on April 15, 2011.

She truly is at the Heart of the Ocean now.

We are coming upon her 7th birthday and I’ve changed a lot. Spiritually and Emotionally I’m older than I once was. The pain doesn’t really go away, we change how we react to it. I tell people I love her more today than yesterday and less than I will love her tomorrow. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. I’ve become freer in my religious beliefs and have been on a long journey to find myself.  What I am and what I believe doesn’t fit in a perfect box that you can label.

I’ve become myself, I’ve found myself. I’m a Child Loss Mom. My baby died, but I didn’t and each day is a new adventure waiting to be lived and experienced. And I will do all this living and experiencing with a spirit child by my side.

Calypso Paikea Rhyder, My Ocean Baby, My Water Baby, My heart

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