Reality TV fans know Carlin Bates Stewart as one Gil and Kelly Jo Bates’ 19 children from the series “Bringing Up Bates,” but earlier this year, she and husband Evan Stewart welcomed a child of their own to the world.
And as the young mother revealed in an Instagram post over the weekend, life with their little baby, 15-week-old Layla, has been filled with “ups and downs” due to a series of frightening health woes.
“There have been many ups and downs since our precious Layla was born,” she wrote alongside a photo of the infant. “In some ways I feel like the hospital has become our 2nd home!”
As the post continued, Stewart opened up about exactly why she feels that way.
"Since Layla was born, she has had breathing problems and episodes of turning blue where she can't catch her breath,” the 22-year-old explained. “When these first started happening we thought, 'Well, maybe it's because she was premature, so that's what's causing her to struggle more.'”
But when Stewart was admitted to the hospital for meningitis shortly after giving birth, they learned Layla’s struggles were more severe than they’d realized.
“We got a call the next day explaining that she was having rapid breathing and turning blue, I panicked pretty hard,” the new mom wrote. “She was rushed to Children’s Hospital, and I was overcome with fear of the unknown, along with feeling guilty that I couldn't be there with her. Evan went back and forth from hospital to hospital, checking on us both. I felt so alone and struggled to put my faith and trust in God.”
They discovered that Layla had a small hole in her heart, which might have been responsible for the episodes, she said.
“The doctor encouraged us not to worry, because they will keep a close eye on it, and our prayer is that this small hole will close itself, as they often do,” she continued. “We then ordered Layla a special sock that monitors her heart rate and O2 levels, because this nervous mother couldn't sleep at night!”
But when that monitor revealed that the baby’s oxygen had dropped to 80 percent, Stewart said she felt like her “world was turned upside down.”
That incident prompted Carlin and husband Evan to call for an ambulance, but by the time EMTs arrived, Layla was breathing normally, and they recommended the family see a pediatrician rather than risk coronavirus exposure by returning to the hospital.
That doctor decided to put the baby on medication to treat acid reflux, since that could also be behind the breathing problems.
“Although we're still so nervous about the outcomes of everything, I know my God is in control and He's writing our little story,” Stewart wrote. “Becoming a mother has grown me in so many ways. I'm beyond blessed that God gave me this little girl.”
She closed by thanking the family’s followers for praying for little Layla.