NOVEMBER 30, 2015
When you have a baby in the NICU for a long time, you see things… you hear things… you feel things that are sometimes indescribable. You can’t talk about it. You can’t mention it to anyone. And the mere thought of these things is just so painful… I have never discussed this with anyone and I never shared this story with anyone. It wasn’t something that you just open up and talk about. It happened… and I was there. Altogether, throughout our NICU stay, I was witness to more than a few babies that passed away. I have only opened up to my husband who has been with me through this entire thing. We have been through our own journey.
But even after our NICU stay, our son has taken residence in the PICU. In the year that he has been home from the NICU, we have had about 8 PICU stays. Ranging from three days to a month long stay. I have gotten accustomed to having a bag packed and ready for the hospital every single day. I know the ins and outs of our children’s hospital. I am such a part of that hospital that the cashier and cook in the cafeteria know me by name. lol… but that’s not a bad thing. lol
Aywho… during our time in the PICU, I have been present to one little boy that passed away. And although each baby in the NICU that passed away was difficult to swallow, this little boy’s memory ad the sound of his mother’s cry, will always be engraved in my heart.
Matthew was in isolation back in January 2015. He was fighting off a bad cold that doctors were afraid was RSV. Apparently, unbeknownst to me at the time, RSV (Respiratory syncytial virus) was going around. It was so bad that babies were dying from it. In our isolation section rooms, there were 3 small children fighting off this virus. Matthew was one of them, along with two other little boys three doors down.
I remember it was about 10pm at night. Matthew had been awake coughing all day. He was put on cannula because he just couldn’t get a break. He was having such a hard time breathing. His nurse had come in to do some vitals on Matthew, and when she left, she left both the outer and inner door open. Right outside the door is the nurses’s desk and then the other patient rooms follow down the hall. Altogether in isolation there are 4 rooms.
I remember throughout the day I would walk in and out when Matthew was resting just to take a break myself. Reception in Matthew’s room was sitting in a steel box. So I would often run into the hallway just to check emails or text messages. I would pass by Room 2 and there was a mother who was always standing at the bed of her child’s feet. I knew her child was a little boy because of the color of the name on the window. Each child has either a blue or pink name tag with their name on it. She was constantly sobbing quiet tears. I can tell her child was much sicker than Matthew. I remember the feeling of despair would always come back to me. I remember being in THAT position. I remember what it felt like to see your baby’s life slip away…. I remember.
But one thing I have never experienced… the scream of a mother whose baby is passing away right before her eyes. Her echo… It was a cry so loud. It pierced my ears and punctured my heart. It was a scream so significant that you automatically knew what was happening. Her son was dying. And there was no intervention possible. This mother was alone in this room watching the life of her son slip away from earth. My heart felt so heavy for her. The echo of her cry…. it was so loud…. it was so significant… so full of a pain that I could never imagine. Her son was gone.
All I could do was cry. I looked over at my son at that moment and held his hand. His itty bitty fingers wrapped around my two fingers and I squeezed. His little hand was so warm and so soft. I was so grateful for what I still had. I called out JESUS. In moments like that, there is no sweeter name than Jesus. I prayed He would comfort that mother and the rest of her family. I prayed for peace and strength for her. And I thanked God for keeping my son with me. I thanked God for all the He has done for us and all He will do for us. I praised Him for choosing ME to be his mother and choosing ME to witness these amazing miracles. I just thanked God.
After a while, a nurse and a chaplain escorted the mother out of isolation. They walked passed my room. My room was the last room on the side, so she lifted her head for just a moment as they walked into hallway. The double doors closed behind them. I saw her face. Defeat. Emptiness. She wasn’t crying anymore. Almost as if the staff had to hold her up and help her walk. Life had completely escaped her.
This was the last time that I had ever been present to a child passing. The NICU babies were all difficult. But this one… this little boy… this mother… her cries… her echo…