Baby William's Story of Love and Loss
Today is William's 9th angelversary, so I thought I'd share a blog post I wrote back in August 2012. This is only a part of his story.
William James was born on May 8th, 2012 - along with his twin brother Robby - at 26 weeks weighing 1lb 13oz. He passed away 20 days later. He was a true fighter. He upgraded from the ventilator to the CPAP just a few days after he was born. We were all so proud of him. He made us smile with his big poopy diapers. I perfectly remember the day he peed on me while I was changing him. He loved to squeeze Mommy & Daddy’s fingers. One of my favorite milestones is when he started getting fed and was tolerating it with no problems. My heart was filled with pride and joy. The NICU visits were extra special whenever I got to hold him during the weigh-ins. He was the smallest, strongest little fighter I’ve ever known. He changed my life in ways I could never explain.
The day it all changed
On the afternoon of May 28th, 2012, my mom and I went to the NICU to see my boys. I was told that the blood culture they had done on William 2 days earlier came out positive for MRSA, and that he was put on antibiotics right away. The nurse also told me that he “was a mess” that morning, but that he was okay, so I felt a little relieved. His heart rate & everything were fine. I did not know what MRSA was like, and nobody at the hospital told me at that moment so I did not worry as much as I would have if I had been told what was really going on. I told myself that he would be fine since he was on antibiotics. I later remembered that he didn’t look too happy the night before and he had gotten a blood transfusion. But whenever he needed one, they always said he was fine and how common it was so I didn’t feel this time was any different. I had no idea how sick he really was, I was so naïve. And I blame myself for this now.
So I went home because I was feeling nauseous, and 3 hours later, I received a call from the NICU. The words said were “William is really sick”, “He’s taken a turn for the worst”, “His lungs are bad”. I was asked to come in as soon as possible. I immediately called my husband, but he didn’t answer the first 3 or 4 times – he was at work and his phone was dead. Then I called my mom so she could come pick me up and take me to see him. While I waited for her, I was finally able to reach my husband. I was crying so hard, begging God not to take him, and telling myself that He couldn’t take him from us. When I got to the NICU, I saw my baby boy being worked on by the doctor and nurses. I will never forget the moment I walked in there, seeing him surrounded by medical staff. Why is this happening? Why did he have to be sick? Will they save him? What can I do?… They were giving him chest compressions and Epi Pens. He had been put on the oscillator, and was put back on the ventilator shortly after I got there. My husband arrived about 30 minutes later. I couldn’t believe this was happening. He was fine just a few hours earlier. It didn’t make any sense. It was not fair.
They let me stand by him and hold his hand for a little bit while they worked on him. I looked into his eyes and begged God to save him. They worked on him for about 2 more hours until he was no longer responding. The doctor turned to me and said that it was time to stop the chest compressions and my heart dropped. I repeated this to my husband, and then said “okay” to the doctor while trying to hold my tears, and they turned everything off. I just stared at my baby and let it all out. I bawled my eyes out, as they wrapped him in the blanket he was laying on and put him in my arms. I cried so hard. My heart ached like never before. I couldn’t believe he was gone. I kept looking at his chest hoping for a miracle, wishing it would start moving and see his eyes open. But it didn’t happen. I couldn’t stop crying, asking why this was happening, and asking him to come back to us. I let my husband hold him; I hugged him and we cried together. We begged for him to come back and open his eyes. I got to hold him in my arms again and didn’t want to let go of him. I wanted to keep him with me forever. The nurse took pictures of us holding him. That was our first time holding him in our arms. But it wasn’t supposed to be like that. He was supposed to be alive and well. We wanted so badly for it all to be a nightmare, for us to wake up and realize that none of it was real. It was a nightmare, but we didn’t wake up and it didn’t go away.
After I calmed down a bit, I handed him over to the nurse who was going to bathe him and dress him. I brushed his hair all nice and stared at his beautiful face. He was so perfect. His little nose, eyes, mouth, arms, hands, legs, and feet, even his big forehead that he got from me (it runs in the family) made him completely perfect to me. After she was done cleaning him up, I took one last photo that night with my cellphone camera. He looked so peaceful, like a true angel. I couldn’t believe that he was really gone. I was devastated, heartbroken. I wanted to go with him so badly, but knew I had to be there for Robby. I didn’t understand why God blessed us with two babies, only to take one of them away. I still don’t quite understand why this happened… and I sometimes still blame myself and wish I had done some things differently.
The last time we saw our baby boy was at the Funeral Home & Cremation Center. We were given the option to view his body for identification. We decided to cremate him so he could finally come home with us. We felt that it was best for us to see him one last time to help us somehow cope with the awful reality that he is truly gone. It did bring me a little bit of peace that day - to be able to see him again without any tubes and wires... Like all those who have lost a child, I have good days and bad days. I'll be forever thankful for the time I got with my sweet angel. We will always love and miss him with every fiber of our beings.
Originally written on August 27, 2012