It was a seemingly perfect pregnancy. I awaited the birth of my baby, like any expectant mother. His nursery was prepared for his arrival, with clothing, diapers, blankets and treasured gifts. Not until his birth did we learn that he would die.
A mostly normal newborn, eating, breathing, and interacting on a newborn level, he soon became an oxygen dependent, tube fed, and comatose baby. We were in the NICU for 6 months, followed by 3 weeks at home, and then another hospital stay, from which Logan did not return home.
One day I went to the waiting room to cry. The man who monitored the NICU waiting room asked what was wrong. With tears pouring down my face I said, “The doctors tell me that there is no hope. I want to give up.” He replied, “You’ve crossed the ocean and climbed a mountain. And now you’re going to give up? When your back is against a wall, what have you got to do?” I replied, “Come out swinging.” And that’s what I did.
I was by Logan’s bedside every day. When introduced to doctors, I replied, “Melly, and you’re not going to get rid of me.” When Logan had to be ventilated, I did everything short of crawling into his tiny square bed with him. I held his hand, stroked his head, sang, and read books. Even when the child next to me was in a crisis and fighting for life, I would stay and pretend like the chaos around us did not exist–as if we were the only two people in the world and no outsider could come in.Not knowing when the end would arrive, I feared what was to come.
It took being discharged to see that death should not be feared. It became clear that my mission was to stand strong for my child, to love my child, even if that meant he needed to go. I’m so thankful that I was able to express that love and acceptance to him.On the day that he died, I held him close, as if it were any other day. I rocked him, talked to him, and did not cry over him. For me, I had shed enough tears. It was time to celebrate the life that he was, is, and would continue to be.
In seeing death, I came to expect so much more from life.Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be right; life is 90% attitude and 10% circumstance. All is not lost, and even though my son died, his impression lingers so strongly in my life. Had it not been for him, I wouldn’t have met my husband; I wouldn’t have my other two beautiful children. I wouldn’t have known how to love this deeply–to enjoy the messes and even give thanks for the crying. Life is full of hope; however, sometimes you have to set aside hope and start loving. You have to set aside the expectations of what you thought life would be, and simply love. In letting go of all pre-conceived notions, I was able to cherish every moment. That is what gave me hope once more. Love will conquer all. Therefore hope will always exist.
Less stress, more peace.
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