Friday, October 21, 2011

The Sound of His Life (Day 19)

Thursday, October 20, 2011
Day 19


I was in the middle of writing that last post when I heard the phone ring. It was a little after 8:00am, and we were getting ready to go, and getting the room ready because it was the RMH's cleaning day. The children were downstairs in the kitchen getting something for breakfast.
"Oh, no!" I said out loud as Jason answered, "Please don't be the NICU..."
"What's he doing?" I heard Jason say, "OK, we'll be right there..."
Fear welled up inside me as I scrambled around to get ready.
"They said his oxygen is up at 100% and their bagging him right now, but his sat's are still down in the 20's," Jason told me, "We need to get over there now." Then he called the children's phone to tell them to come back upstairs because we need to leave.
I grabbed Hazaiah's clothes and blanket, and everyone else got what was needed, and we headed out the door.
"Oh- I need to tell them in the office here that our room won't be ready for cleaning..."
"That's OK," the lady had said, "You just go..."


We got to the NICU and walked into his little room- his special room they had given him after only being there a few days "for more privacy". How glad we have been for that room...  There were so many people in there- the nurses and respiratory. They were fixing the monitors and trying to suction and bag him. I saw his oxygen saturation level at 20%. And I saw it drop down to 7%- all while they were doing everything that they normally do, but it just wasn't working the same...
"Let's get him in your arms," the NICU coordinator said.
I sat down then, anxiously wanting to hold him again. But...
"Oh Honey," I said to Jason, "I held him last night and you didn't get to. Do you want to hold him first?" I didn't realize this wasn't a "first"- there wouldn't be a "second" or a "next" this time...


We had our "plan" that we had worked out with the coordinator and the doctor: 
All the children would hold him throughout the day yesterday, then Daddy and Mama would hold him today. Then we would give him a little sponge bath together while Heaven took pictures. We would dress him in his first little outfit that the girls had bought for him while he was still in my tummy. Then they were supposed to bag him as we carried him to the private room down the hall. -And there, peacefully and quietly we would remove the tube. I had envisioned him breathing on his own and defying all the odds that were against him...


But instead, here we were...
Hazaiah was being bagged while still attached to this breathing machine, and he wasn't doing very well. He was not ready for any kind of bath or dressing... I just held him close to me and cried. Jason was right next to me, helping me hold him, and I could hear all of our family crying and knew they were all gathered right around us. I was talking to my baby, thanking him for holding on through the night, and telling him it's going to be OK...
"Oh baby... I wanted to bring you home with me... I tried so hard sweetie... I tried so hard... But it's Ok honey... It's Ok... You're going to be Ok now sweet baby... You're going to be Ok... I love you so much..." My tears fell on his little head as I tried to wipe them away...


The NICU coordinator kneeled down next to me then, and told me that everything they are doing now is not working; Is it Ok if they remove the tube?
I knew it wasn't working, and I didn't want him to die with that tube in his throat. I nodded to her...


They gave him something in his IV first- something that would take his pain away. And then they began to gently wipe away the sticky stuff on his cheeks that was holding the tube in place. I held him the entire time, and watched as they pulled his little tube out...


My sweet baby took a few breaths, and then a larger gasp... I could tell he couldn't get the oxygen he needed and I cried out for him, "Oh God he can't breath... Please help him God... Please help me..." 
My baby relaxed in my arms and we all cried together and I continued talking to him- pouring out all my words of love that I had for him, rocking him, rubbing him, holding him close... 


I got to hold him still as they led us to the private room they had prepared for us. Jason had his arm around me- placed firmly on my back as we walked... They had pulled in more chairs for everyone, and I immediately found the rocker and sat down. The nurse got a tiny stethoscope to listen for a heartbeat...
"He does still have a faint heartbeat," she told me, "Sometimes their little hearts are so strong..."
I had him laying on my chest now, without all the swaddling clothes and blankets. He still had his "big boy" tshirt on, and I covered him with a blanket, but he was against my chest, my heart, and I could feel his head next to my neck and sometimes my cheek. I had longed to hold him like that for so long now...


The doctor came to listen again... There was no heartbeat anymore. It was 9:15am.


I don't know how long I held him there- rocking and talking to him as I continuously wiped my tears off of his little face and head. I held him close to my neck for a while, and soon his hair was all wet from the tears that had fallen... I started murmuring the song I always sang to him, "God Will Take Care of You", and soon everyone was joining in...


Finally, finally... I gave him to his daddy to hold... Jason cried and loved on his baby boy- there were no tubes in the way anymore and he could feel his little baby snuggled close to him now...


As the hours passed, the shock of everything slowly faded... Finally again, the children all got to hold their baby brother...


Soon the nurse came in and asked if we wanted to bathe him. He would go get a basin of water and supplies, and bring the overhead warmer in here, and we could all bathe him...
We did.
It was a joy to give him his little bath together, with the children all there and helping. We were so careful, and treated him so gently... Everyone wanted a chance to hold him wrapped in his little towel too... The childlife nurse came and let the children all help do his footprints and handprints, and she gave them a bear and a book... We put Hazaiah's diaper on him, and dressed our little boy in his clothes. Everyone wanted a chance to hold him in his little sleeper now, without the bulky blankets. He was so warm from being under the warmer- I liked that... Then I wrapped him up so cozily in his little blanket and snuggled him some more...


The hospital had arranged for a photographer from "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" to come and take pictures between 12:30 - 1:00, but we didn't know it was going to be like this; Did we still want him to come? We thought about it, and decided that yes, we would. So we had about an hour to wait.
I hadn't had anything to eat that morning, and everyone else was getting hungry, so some of the children went downstairs to get some food. Hazaiah's nurse came in while they were gone, just to check on us...
He sat down and talked with us a little, and we told him how grateful we were for all he had done. We thought it was special that our favorite night time nurse had him on his last night, and our favorite daytime nurse had him on his last day... He told us that he had stopped in yesterday, even though he wasn't working, and they told him what the plans were today, so it made it hard for him to begin work this morning- knowing what was going to happen... 
"I knew you were planning to remove the ventilator today," he said, "But it seems like Hazaiah even took that decision out of your hands..."
I realized then, that our baby's name was again, perfectly suited. God had decided... We didn't have to choose when he would be delivered- my water broke and there was no other option... And we didn't have to live with the painful question of whether or not it was right to take him off the ventilator, for even the ventilator wasn't helping him anymore- God had decided for us...


The children came back with some food, and Modesty gobbled hers down quickly so that she could offer to hold the baby while I ate, and then Skye had a turn too... I ate quickly, but I needed him back in my arms...
We were all cleaned up and ready when the photographer came. He did a good job- he was pleasant and quick and took whatever pictures we wanted. We are grateful for their service, and look forward to getting the CD...
After that was all finished, the NICU coordinator came back in, and we asked how long we have until the funeral home representative came to pick him up... 
"He should be here about 1:30," she told us.
I looked at the clock- it was moving too fast already... We gave each of the children another chance to hold the baby and say goodbye, and then Daddy held him again too... Heaven and Jasmin faithfully took all the pictures they could...

When I held him again, all the calmness that had come during the last few hours was escaping me- the clock was dangerously close to 1:30, and I wasn't ready to give him up yet... I snuggled him again, cried, and talked to him and sang to him some more. I kissed his hands over and over- those precious hands that I held every day; I could still wrap his fingers around mine, and it felt like he was holding on... I kissed his face- his sweet little mouth... I kissed his hair- his curly red hair that was all wet again from my tears... I tried to tell him everything I could think of that was in my heart- but how do you find words for that? There is no way I could fully express myself to him... 


The clock went from 1:30 to 2:00, and the man had still not come- Thank you God...


I started calming down, and, a little after 2pm, he was there... He talked with Jason about some of the details, and Hazaiah's nurse was there with us... After several minutes, there was nothing left to do except give my baby to this man...


"What will you put him in?" I asked.
"I'm just going to carry him out in these blankets," he told me as he unwrapped them and held his arms underneath...


As I laid my little baby Hazaiah into his arms I told him, "Be sure to keep his hands up under his chin- he always likes them like that. And keep his right hand on top of his left because he has an extra finger there you see- and we like that..."


The man nodded and said that he would, and then turned quickly and went out...


"Oh God! My baby! My baby!" I turned back to Jason and just cried out in pain as he held me close to him, "I just want my baby... I just want my baby..."
"I know you do honey, I know..." He told me as he held me tightly, "That's because you're a good mama; I know you want your baby... It's Ok to want him..."
We cried for a while there, and then sat down, exhausted.


It was quiet for a long time, and then I asked him, "What do we do now?"
I didn't know that Hazaiah's nurse had still been in there, and the NICU coordinator was there...
There presence was a blessing to us. They had the perfect balance of being able to give direction when we didn't know what to do, and yet staying back and being quiet to give us our own family time. It was nice to know they were "there".
We talked to the coordinator for a while, she was not rushing us. She gave us some papers she thought may be of use to us, and she gave us all of Hazaiah's things that had been with him during in stay in the NICU. They smelled like him, and I love to snuggle up to his little t-shirt and blanket and Zaky pillow...
We left that room, we left the hospital, we went to the RMH and packed up and cleaned our room... They were very nice when we checked out, and gave us a little gift and told us to lean on each other and we'll get through this... 
When we pulled up to the house, I couldn't get out of the car for a while... The last time I was here, I was pregnant with my baby. Now my belly is empty, and my arms are empty...
When I finally walked inside, everything looked so homey, so comfortable. Friends had brought food- that was so kind and thoughtful... There were pretty flowers and plants- that was so nice to see... Someone had written an encouraging message on our marker board- that was a blessing...


But something was wrong...


I realized then... There was nothing of Hazaiah's here. The smells were different, his pictures weren't up, I didn't have my "pumping station" set up, and he wasn't down the hall in his isolette...
Quickly I told everyone that I needed to get his stuff out- where was it? I got his box of things from the hospital, I got out his picture board, found my pump and set it up, and got his blankets together...
 But I kept wandering around- there was something else. I couldn't think of it, but I knew there was something else that I had "up there" that I hadn't found since I'd been home- What was it??


I kept unpacking and putting our things away. Everyone was helping... When it was finished, I took a shower and got ready for bed, then went out to the living room to pump a little and visit with everyone before we went to sleep. I looked at the pictures on Heaven's camera and felt a little better... 


But it wasn't until Jason and I were laying in bed that night, and I was snuggled up with Hazaiah's t-shirt, blanket, and zaky pillow, that I realized what I was missing...


What I had "up there" that I hadn't found since I'd been home was him...
 I was missing my baby...








9 comments:

unkl said...

Dear God, Please be very near to Jason, Amber and their beautiful family, comfort them in the way only You can, wrap Your arms around each one of them and hold them close to Yourself, tell them how You were with Hazaiah all the time in the hospital, tell them how You were there those times he struggled to get enough air, how you comforted him through it all, tell them how You were there in the room with them while they were holding him close as his fleshly heart beat the last time, show them how 10,000 years ago You already knew all about this and had it all planned out, and that You had angels waiting to carry Hazaiah into Your presence, Jesus, can you tell them how you are holding Hazaiah on your lap and are stroking his beautiful curly hair and how perfectly happy and content Hazaiah is right now, and Jesus, remind them how that someday they will all be with him in heaven worshiping You, and to never again feel anymore pain and discomfort or separation, Jesus show them the very essence of Yourself which is LOVE. Amen

Anonymous said...

Jason & Amber, Our hearts are crying with you. Only 3 years ago we were, where you are. We had a little girl with heart defects. She only lived a total of 3 hours and 18 minutes. I know no words could show enough how we ache with you but we are praying for y'all. May you be comforted through this deep valley you are going through. Remember there is One who can comfort above all else and see you through. Lean on Him. Praying friends, Conrad & Barb Horst

Anonymous said...

My loves - how very much I love you all. Wish I was there right now with you...
The only comfort I have right now is knowing that God is with you - holding you.

Anonymous said...

Crying with you.... Praying for you...

kbmclaren said...

We are so sorry Amber...and we take hope in this, that God has subjected the creation in hope...you will see your Haziah as surely as we will see our Jessie. Take care of yourself, exercise, keep eating...Jesus will hold Hazaiah safe until you get there.
Caleb McLaren and family.

Heather Lynn said...

My prayers are being lifted for you and your family. I lost my son Brody Michael May 28, 2005. Our loss is not the same as my son was stillborn, but I understand the aching arms. The longing...the missing. Maye God comfort you in this grief. (((hugs)))

Trisch said...

HUGS and prayers to you all.

~Trisch Richardson

Anonymous said...

As you go through this difficult time of grief after losing little Hazaiah, hold onto the knowledge that there is a great celebration going on in heaven as Hazaiah enters that beautiful pearl gate with his new body, content, peaceful, happy. And he is wrapped securely in the love of the Father. Don't we have an awesome God?! With many tears and prayers for you, J. Whaley

ruthann d. said...

you are in my prayers! -ruthann doutrich