It's been an exciting, weird, sad, and healing past two months. In late November I wrote about my fun lamp finds and their transformation - then I went to my company's annual meeting early December for 5 days, and that led me right up to my daughter's due date. Yep. I was gonna be a grandmother and I couldn't wait for the time to go by so we could get to Monday, December 16, 2013, the date she was scheduled to be induced. I was so excited!!!
I woke up that morning and got going like any other day - took my 9th grader to school, dropped him off saying "Your brother will pick you up after school and bring you to the hospital!! See you later, Uncle Robbie!!"
When I arrived it took me no time to find their labor room. Everything was going along smoothly. She had just received her epidural and was starting to feel better. Nurses checking her all the time. Baby heart rate perfect. Mama's heart rate perfect. All was perfect! Her labor was progressing perfectly.
I stayed with them (hubby and her) on and off all day. I went to the cafeteria and had lunch. I greeted her friends and then eventually my boys as they arrived in the waiting area. Then at some point I went back in the labor room. It was around 6:15 PM. She was pushing. "Things are happening in here, she's pushing!" - I texted to her best friend waiting outside.. I was totally calm, sitting on the side of the labor room, well out of anyone's way, just observing. Then, out of nowhere there were more nurses in the room. The doctor was grabbing the ultra-sound thingy trying to see the baby. Before I even knew what was going on she told a nurse to "get her to the OR, we're doing a C-section." And they quickly wheeled her away. Another nurse grabbed Adam (husband/daddy) and a blue paper jumpsuit and started running with him toward the OR.
At this point I still had no idea that there was anything wrong. I went back to the waiting room and told everyone that the doctor was doing a c-section. It just so happened that I knew one of the labor/delivery nurses that was working that day. She was not one of the nurses attending to my daughter, and she happened by right at that time and she asked about her. I told her she had been taken to the OR. She offered to go in and check on things. It was about 20 minutes later she came back out and that's when I knew something had gone wrong. Bless her heart, she was fighting back tears!
She said "your daughter is fine, she's going to be okay"... what about the baby? what about Malcolm?? "he had a little difficulty - they are working on him now" what difficulty? what happened? is he going to be okay?? "Kelli I can't tell you what you want to hear, just know that you and your family are in my prayers" and she turned and almost ran away. Bless her heart - I still feel bad for her to this day!
What we came to find out later that evening is when the baby started coming, when it was time to be born and my daughter started pushing, some how the umbilical cord got between baby and mom and was pinched, and his only life support was cut off. When they did deliver him by c-section he had a faint heartbeat, then nothing. The nurses worked on him for 10 minutes to get his heart beating again, but he was not breathing on his own.
That evening and the next day my daughter and her husband received the worst news of their life. Baby Malcolm would likely not survive. They made the decision to make whatever time they had with him, whether it be two days, two weeks, or however long, to make that time beautiful and positive.
As a mother, the hardest thing to do is sit and watch your child in pain and know there's nothing you can do to stop it. I didn't even know what to say! I had never, ever been through this! What the hell - how did it happen? It's not fair, it's bullshit, it's crazy and stupid and it's not supposed to happen! I asked everyone to pray for our little guy - to pray as hard as they could. Miracles do happen, right? We read about them all of the time. We needed a miracle. Right here. Right now. Pray people, just pray. And I know that they were praying. I know they were. But I think the damage to little Malcolm's brain had already taken him from us.
Late Tuesday evening they learned for certain that Malcolm would not survive. The test showed there was little to no brain activity. If they were to keep him on the ventilator he would never open his eyes, never move, speak, think or feel, let alone breathe on his own. They knew they had to let him go.
In a note on Facebook to friends and family this is what my daughter wrote:
"Late on Wednesday night and into the early hours of Thursday morning we said our goodbyes. With the help of the NICU nurses, we changed Malcolm’s diaper and gave him a bath (the picture above was taken right after his bath). We held and rocked him, hugged and kissed him, told him how much we loved him and how much we would miss him. We stayed with him and held him as all of his wires and leads and tubes were removed and for a couple minutes, I saw my little boy’s face. Just his face – no tubes or wires or gauze. At 2:40am, our Malcolm was gone, though we realized over the course of that night and the following days that his spirit had likely moved on only minutes after he was born, and has been watching over us ever since."
Y'all, I've seen heartbreak in my life, but nothing prepares you for something like this. I honestly do not think I would have managed if not for my daughter and son-in-law, and their courage. They have set an example of love and grace that is hard to comprehend. I wish I were a poet, that I could put into words what I have witnessed with them. I can't. Suffice it to say that they are my heroes. (I can't even write this! I type a line, start crying and have to walk away. I come back, start writing again and immediately start crying again - okay. deeeeppp breath!)
He passed away on December 19, 2013, two and a half short days after he arrived, and we have been trying to cope with that. We had Christmas and New Years. We keep waking up each day and going to sleep each night. We are all affected by this, each in our own way, but obviously no one more than my daughter and her husband.
Some things just don't seem that important to me anymore. Like home improvement projects, thrifting, and blogging. I'm trying to get back in the swing of things - I painted a couple more doors in my house and moved some pictures around to make a new gallery wall - but I think I'm not going to pressure myself. I'm still working through some stuff. I am going to attend a blogger's get together this weekend and I'm hoping it will crank up the desire to do some things in my house again. If anything it will just be good to be around all those talented people (maybe some of it will rub off on me).
I know this has been a long one - and if you're still with me I appreciate it! No matter what, I still became a grandmother on Dec. 16, 2013, and that will never change! I love it and look forward to having more grandkids for the rest of my life - and my daughter is looking forward to that too. :o)
Peace, love, and joy be with you all, now and always.