In these photo’s, I was holding my little boy, for the first time. My parents were by my side, this is my Dad in the picture with us.
On the morning of May 21, 2001 my heart was shattered. Like I said in the previous post, the Docs wanted us to make a tough decision, a decision that would forever change my life, I was only 18 making a very adult decision.
The Doctor took Austins Dad and myself into a conference type room with a round table, along with us came my parents of course, Austins Dad’s parents, my sister, and Grandmother, I may be forgetting some people that came in with us, and for that I apologize. I was a wreck at this point because I knew what the Doctors were gonna say.
He ran some test on My Austin, including an ultrasound on Austins head, and brain. The results came in, and they were not good, he continued to explain with an xray picture, showing us a brain hemorage, his tiny little brain was bleeding and there was nothing they could do about it. He continued to talk about Austin’s quality of life if he made it threw, which was at this time, less than what it was before, after both lungs continuing to collapse and the brain hemorage. He explained “if Austin lives past 7 days at this point, he will grow up in a wheel chair, feeding tube, blind, deaf, wouldn’t be able to comunicate in any way, Austin would be a vegetable.” He continued to say that “rite now, you are just prolonging the inevitable, his death…” Everyone in the room is asking questions, “is there anything else you can do? What can we do?” There was so much talking going on around me, and I heard nothing, it was all so muffled, everyone sounded so far away, with my head down on the table, crying, hurting, exhausted. It felt like my heart was torn, it felt like it was being ripped out of me with a jagged, very dull knife. The Doctor asked the question, and we had to make the hardest decision we would ever have to make. Do we let our son live, and continue to suffer until he dies, or do we set our selfishness aside, and let him go?
I dont quite remember what happened after that, all I knew is that Austins father and I had talked it over, I didnt do much talking, I cried, asking God why he was doing this to me! Why me? Why now? I’m only 18, this can’t be happening to me, its all just a horrible nightmare and I’m gonna wake up, anytime, with my precious baby, still in my tummy, growing healthy. But it was all reality, this was really happening to me, to us, to my family. My parents and his parents first Grandchild, first Great Grandchild, first nephew, it was happening to myself and my family.
I was 18, his father was 21. And we had to make the decision. We let go of ourselves, our selfishness and we thought about our baby boy, how could we put him threw this Hell? How could we let him be a vegetable? How could we give him the best life that he so deserved knowing what we knew? Ultimately, we would be prolonging his death, we need to put a stop to his suffering, even though he couldnt feel anything, there was no brain activity, we could not let him live like this. We have to let him go. We CHOSE to let him go.
We had went back up to my room, and the Doctors and nurses were preparing a room for our family, a room where we could spend our last moments with our son. When we got to the room, it was small, it felt so enclosed, my head was down when I walked in and when I looked up, there was my tiny baby boy, in his incubator. I wanted to go and snatch him up and run, and just be alone with him, but I knew I had to be strong, and I couldn’t be selfish, after all, it wasn’t just MY baby, he was His dads too, Austin was also a Grandson, great grandson, nephew. I remember the first time the Doctor put my baby in my arms, tubes everywhere, getting tangled up, I was so scared, but I just held him, kissed his little nose, told him how much I love him and how strong he was. I thanked him for showing me what it was like to love someone so much more than myself. Austin’s Dad held him and talked to him for a little bit and then the hard part came… Letting family come in, one by one. First my parents, they have been there threw it all, hardly left my side, they had to have some time with their first born Grandchild, tell him good bye. I remember the feeling I felt as I sit here and type this. The hurt I felt losing my baby, combined with the hurt I felt seeing my parents hurting, they were losing their 2 day old Grandchild, their daughter was in so much pain, and there was nothing they could do. On this day, they may not have known quite yet, but they had also lost their daughter as well. Not physically, but I would never be the same.
After my parents, came Austin’s Dad’s parents, they had their time with him, and after that, one by one, our grandparents, sisters, Aunts and uncles, and cousins got to hold Austin.
When they were done, there we sat again, alone with our baby. We said our final goodbyes, we held him, I sang “you are my sunshine” and it was time. I gave him another kiss on his tiny little forehead, then I gave the Doctor the look, the look that told him, We were ready. He shut the machines off…. Austin slowly slipped away, and so did I…
When we walked out of the room, there stood all my, and Austin’s Dad’s family, I looked up at them, some were leaning with their head against the wall, some were sitting on the ground, they looked at me in silence, but they were there, waiting, they all stood outside that door for a long time, waiting for us to come out, to support us, to love us. I couldn’t do anything but put my head back down, cry and walk back to my hospital room, I felt so week, so empty. I walk into my room and there are all the “congrats” balloons, flowers and cards. I didn’t want them anymore! I didn’t want anything but my child. I knelt down by my bed, put my head on my arms and just cried.
An hour later, I tried eating for the first time since giving birth, and as I was trying, the nurse comes in and sends us all into the hallway, she says “a tornado just touched down in Grand Rapids, we all have to get our patients into the hallway!” At that moment, I, for a second felt slight relief, Austin made it to Heaven and that was his sign, telling me He was ok. I’ve always loved severe storms, and tornado’s are fascinating, and he used that as a way to let me know he made it.
My parents and Austins dads parents had went into another room with a social worker where we made a few arrangments for my baby’s memorial, again, I was 18, I didn’t know how to do this! With my parents help, we had gotten threw it…
We packed up all my belongings, and the nurse brought a wheelchair, I sat down in it, and she wheeled me, with Austins dad walking by me, down to the lobby where we would load our stuff up, and go home. As I was sitting in the lobby, waiting for the car, I felt empty and alone, I was missing something, I was missing my baby. Leaving the hospital without my baby I gave birth to a couple days ago.
As we pulled out onto the road, I was leaving part of me at that hospital. My heart hurt, my soul was slipping away, and from this day, May 21st 2001, I would never be the same again. I just want to feel numb, I don’t wanna feel anything anymore.
– This post was extremely hard for me, one thing that I truly wish I would have done, that a lot of people, including my Mom, had urged me to do was go to a support group, talk to people who have gone threw the loss of a child. A loss is a loss weather it was a miscarriage, your baby lived for 2 days, 2 months, or years! Its tough and I wish this upon no one! Please, if you have suffered a loss of a child, you are not alone, you need support. I thought I could deal with this on my own, but I was wrong, I turned to something much worse. So here are some groups I have found doing some research:
Www.firstcandle.org/grieving-family grief resources
Facebook page: West MI families of pregnancy and infant loss.
I hope this helps…
Next post I will be writing about the first night home, Austin’s memorial, and my first experience with numbing my pain…
Austin John 5-19-2001 – 5-21-2001
There is not a day that goes by that I dont think about you my little Guardian Angel… Mommy loves you!!