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Monday, February 27, 2012

He Died in His Daddy's Arms...

We stayed up the night before holding him in our arms for just one last time. We loved him for every second we could. We took pictures. We played music -- the same song that we played as he slipped away. He moved his foot when I sang to him. We cried and prayed for a miracle. We could have sat there with him forever if time wasn't against us. The inevitable was going to happen in a few short hours, and somehow we had to figure out a way to accept that.

I remember that night well...

The NICU arranged for us to sleep in the hospital just in case Ethan decided to leave us sooner than anticipated. We woke up, got ready, and tried our best to keep ourselves together. Today was the day we were going to say goodbye to our baby. How do you prepare for that?

We were on the brink of falling apart.

A friend of mine (who took Ethan's xrays when he was first admitted) came by to visit with us in the NICU. She was the first visit of that morning. Then slowly but surely, family and friends poured in to support us. We met with our social worker and Ethan's doctors. They talked to us about what would happen as he slipped away. He would be given morphine to make him comfortable. It could take minutes or hours before he left us. They advised us that he may appear to gasp as he slipped away, but that it was not him struggling to breathe. It scared me. I was numb.

I couldn't believe this was happening.

The staff arranged for us to have a private room on the 7th floor in Pedatrics. I remember walking up there and passing the nurses station. There was a group of student nurses there in their tell-tale scrubs. I met their eyes and I immediately knew that they knew...

We were the family that was losing their baby today.

We were in the room talking with family, friends, and the social worker making sure that everything in order. We brought his quilt from home and my brother-in-law Jason gave us Ethan's song to play.

Then suddenly he was there.

We thought we were supposed to call to have him brought up so it took us by surprise. We weren't ready to say goodbye, but there Ethan was, being bagged by a nurse. His doctor and social worker were there, too. My brother-in-law Chris later told us that our social worker was tearing. Everything went quickly from there because all I could do was stare at him. I couldn't believe it. He looked so tiny in his bed. The people in the room left. And then it was just us and the NICU team.

The NICU nurse stopped bagging Ethan at 10:06am.

They snapped a picture of him and then placed Ethan in our arms and they left. I was just the three of us in that room together. The last time we were alone with him was the day he was born. It seemed horridly unfair.

It's impossible to describe those last moments with Ethan....

To say what went on in my head as I said goodbye to my baby...
To express the immense pain and fear that John and I were experiencing...
To describe the internal battle I was having with my faith in God for allowing this to happen to Ethan...

There are no words, just emotions.

John is the only other person in the world who knows what it felt like.

Gut-wrenching sobs painfully tore through our bodies until I thought we couldn't take it anymore. We laid in bed with him, trying our best to soothe Ethan as he slipped away. He didn't gasp. If I didn't know any better, I would have fooled myself into thinking he was just sleeping. But I knew better.
The energy in the room shifted, and Ethan died peacefully in his Daddy's arms at 11:00am.

We haven't been the same since. If you're reading this, hug your children tighter than you've ever hugged them before. I will hug mine. And I will pray to God that he gives us the strength to survive another year of this lifetime without our baby. I will miss him until the day I die.

Mommy loves you, my Little Lion in the sky...

1 comment:

  1. I know no words are enough to comfort you and your husband for the loss of Baby Ethan. I can only pray for you and send you hugs from the other side of the globe.