a journey into Wonderland
|Create a blog entry (or static item) telling about the saddest event of your life. (<1000 words)
Caleb was my nephew. He was Rachel's third child, She's always so cagey about due dates because she hates having to deal with people asking when the baby will be born, “you mean, it's not here yet?” and so it was an almost surprise when she called us and told us it was on its way. She had a boy and a girl already so she didn't let them tell her about gender. We picked up the older kids. Hayley was about five. Danny was about two. We were at a restaurant, waiting on hamburgers (hot dogs for the kids) when we got the call. Complications. He was stillborn. He was being taken to the hospital.
I took the kids home and we stayed there for hours with no news. I thought he was dead already. My parents went to the hospital. There were complications during the delivery and a clot had gotten into the umbilical cord. One in a million chance. They lost his heartbeat. It was a home birth, but they rushed to the hospital where he was revived. The doctors were worried about brain function, so his head was wrapped in a cooling treatment to minimize brain damage, and he would be on that therapy for 72 hours. I didn't know this. I was home with the children, not knowing what I could tell them.
For the next week, our lives functioned around that hospital room, that little bed in the NICU. He didn't move at all, but he had a heart rhythm. He breathed because of the ventilator. His body was functioning properly. He was a good size baby, biggest in the NICU.
It's difficult to know what to say. Or how to feel, when you don't know what will happen next. I was in school at the time and I had to tell my professor that I needed more time on my final paper and why. He told me that he understood that this came first and to take all the time that I needed. I think it helped that I was one of the top students in that class.
He was born on a Thursday. On Sunday, the cooling treatment ended. No brain activity. I helped his parents clean his head from the glue that they'd used to stick electrodes to read his brain. We held him for the first time, our little dead baby. We knew what to feel, finally. We all gathered in his room. His father told bad jokes about death. We laughed for the first time in forever, laughed as though our hearts were breaking.
They put him on the donor lists. No problems with his organs, just his brain. He was too big or too small or the recipients were too ill for him to live on in that way. At five days, his parents kicked us out of the room and they stopped the ventilator.
It seems so strange sometimes that this person who I never saw move, who was so tiny and unreal could worm his way into my heart so easily and thoroughly that his absence hurts so much.
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