Seeing, Holding...loving your baby is important
Through the years, I have had medical caretakers, relatives and bereaved parents themselves ask me questions such as: How long should a parent hold their dead baby? or even... Should a parent hold their dead or dying baby? Wouldn't all of this be easier if we let the hospital "take care of the remains?" Is a funeral or a memorial service necessary? Maybe if we try to end our pain by not dealing with the aftermath of a loss, healing will happen faster... and so on...
Because of advocacy and awareness, today, many professionals and the general public know that memories of real happenings such as holding and seeing the baby, funerals or memorial services aide the healing process. But, I think, for some, there still remains a question of "how much or how deeply" the parent should be allowed to share with their baby.
Sharng how important and special these moments are for the parent.
In this section, I have lifted these tender and meaningful moments from the stories sent to our website. Over and over I am moved by how strongly the parents embraced this part of their experience. I remember how I will never forget those times with our Seth, and I have heard these same feelings within our group.
I also feel that many protect themselves from society by not exploring or sharing too deeply these times. Once again, we must give ourselves permission to have this experience with our baby. These memories are as dear and important as the ones we might have after the death of an older relative or friend. They, most likely, are stronger and deeper because they happened with our child.
A baby lost, through miscarriage, midterm, fullterm or newborn death, is a loss of a special loved one, and we need to feel safe in our decision to recognize his/her passing (or the last hours or moments) in whatever way we feel comfortable.
Seeing, Holding and Parenting our baby..These are special gifts...
It is also possible that these shared stories can help parents who may be in the midst of a loss and wonder what special gifts they can share with their baby who dies too soon. These moments can help to make future memories a little gentler. Today, as a result of our 4Bs Outreach where blankets, buntings, bonnets and booties are given to hospitals for bereaved families, the potential for these precious moments is greater. We hope these stories will touch newly bereaved parent's hearts and souls, and let them know they are not alone. Marcia McGinnis 1999- 2007
I was extremely sick from my epidural and was given phenergan which made me sleepy. For the next two hours my husband held our daughter while I slept. I would drift in and out of sleep and each time I awakened I was aware of how quiet and content the two of them were as he held her, studying her face, discovering similarities between the two. I had finally given the love of my life the most precious gift of all; his very own child."From God's Hand to Ours and back to His..."
At 3:00 PM on May 21st, I sat in a rocking chair as they turned off all the IV pumps, disconnected her IV's, turned off all the monitors, and finally, shut off the noisy, vibrating ventilator. They picked her up and placed her limp, blue body in my arms. My husband and I immediately held her close as I began singing softly in her ear all the songs I had sang to my son for the last eight years. I didn't stop singing or rocking until she took her last labored breath and God held out his arms to greet her. We then bathed our angel and dressed her in a hospital T-shirt, diaper, and pink knitted booties. We wrapped her in a blanket, held her close for a moment, kissed her good-bye and left our little girl behind.
For Alison's story ~ "From God's Hand to Ours and back to His..." by Bonnie (6/98)
I flew home 4 days later so empty. Empty arms, heart and home. Empty to the core We went to the church that night and I held my son. My husband took my glider rocker to the church and I rocked him for an hour and 20 minutes!
We buried our beautiful boy on his due date April 16,1997. He was wearing the sweater, hat & booties I had made for him. They are light blue with fluffy white lambs on them. Little lamb faces on the toes! My mom had always called babies "precious little lambs"...we buried him on top of my mom(and dad). And his marker will say "Our precious little lamb" on it. With his photo, and a lamb laying in a bed of flowers. Taylor was my every dream. He was everything I had prayed for! He looked so much like his daddy and brother Tim. How I'd wanted this last child. I miss him more than I could have ever imagined.
When I held him for the first time, he looked so perfect, apart from the fact that his eyelids were closed and sore. He has my nose, (poor soul), and my lips. The chaplain came to bless him and that was such a comfort, it was like our own naming for him, everything that he deserved.
I was very ill for a week in hospital, but was out in time for the funeral. I thought I couldn't go, but my husband told me that it was our duty to him. After the short service, I felt that the immense pain that stopped me from grieving fully lessened, and I could finally come to terms with what had happened.
We scattered Thomas' ashes on the top of a beautiful hill overlooking a loch in a wildlife sanctuary near where we live. Now I can walk there and remember him, we plan to go there on his birthday.
For Thomas' story ~ "Our son Thomas Robert, was stillborn on June 17th 1997..." by Michele (4/98)
The day after they put me in labor, and I had Samantha 9 hours later. They put her in my arms, and I saw my little girl for the first time. She had black hair just like her daddy, her daddy's face, lips, and her big brother nose. My feet and hands and big ears .. But she was so pretty I couldn't take my eyes off her. They took her back .. But I asked for her back the next day. I just had to say hello to her before I could say GOODBYE to her.
On March 9,1998 Dave and I put our little girl to rest. She is at home now with God. She is waiting for her mommy and daddy to join her. But until then her Granpa will take care of her for us.
For Samantha's Story ~ "Hello, Samantha..." by Jacki and Dave & Shay (4/98)
Your lovely, you look just like Mommy, round cherub cheeks and brownish hair, the family button nose.
Small service with our families and a few friends. Daddy put some of your toys and our wedding pictures along with a picture of Samantha our cat in your little casket. Everyone's brought or sent you flowers and cards. Ironic that it's Valentines Day. I will never celebrate this day again without a new meaning and memory.
Casket is open and people are standing in the back...slowly they walk forward and say good-bye.
Funeral is lovely and you are being buried with your great-grandparents in the lovely spot. I know that your grandfather will plant flowers for you next week, he comes here often. Your beautiful name is being carved in the stone this year sometime in honor of your memory.
For Caitlin's story ~ "Caitlin Elizabeth Reany" by Lesley (5/98)
The midwives were wonderful. They treated us with such compassion, and Daniel with such love and dignity that I still draw great comfort from my my recollection of the day. Daniel was washed and wrapped in a blanket. Both Jon and I held him. The tears were streaming down my face as I cradled his tiny form. Jon held Daniel next and the look on his face, so tender and full of love, is another of my special memories.
Daniel is buried in Milton cemetery across the road from the hospital he and my girls were born in. The service was quiet and simple. He shares the plot with five other babies. So I know he's not lonely.
We were given pictures of Daniel, his hospital bands and a cot tag. All these things together with his scan pictures, rememberance and condolence cards are kept in a special box.
For Daniel's story ~ "For Daniel" by Joy (1/98)
When I got back to my room everyone was there. I just looked and touched her for about 2 hours. I remember thinking she was just like the other children. A bit of everyone. All the people at the birth were there to see her. She was just so beautiful...A real little princess. We named her Emily Shenae G. She was born on Monday 28th August at 3.00 PM and weighed 130 grams and was 20 cm long . I remember getting the high you get with a baby born alive and healthy. It was really strange, I wasn't really sad like I thought I would be, she was just so beautiful.Friday 1st September.
Today is Emily's funeral, and I feel all this emotion trapped inside just waiting to come out. My Doctor comes to see me once more before I go home, he has been just wonderful. Everything came out at the funeral. It was a lovely service, and somehow I feel she is safely in the arms of Dad, I know he is looking after her.
For Emily's story ~ "Emily's Story" by Michelle (2/98)
All we could do was to love him and try to give him a normal comfortable last few days. We loved him, sang to him, and took a lot of photos including family photos. Seth started having labored breathing on the 13th- Wednesday night, and basically slept the whole night as we rocked, sang and talked to him all night. In the morning he woke up for his brothers and sister to say goodbye. They all held him a last time and talked to him. As I rocked him during his last moments, he looked up at me, right in my eyes, smiled the most beautiful smile, closed his eyes and took his last breath. We all cried and held him spending a last moment with him. We took him to the funeral home ourselves.
On Sunday the 17th we had his viewing. I went before hand and dressed Seth, held him a last time, and layed him in his heavenly "crib". We held a memorial service on Monday the 18th and the graveside service followed at the cemetery. It had been raining for days, but at the cemetery, just before the service and all the way through, the sun came out, a sweet breeze blew and we all said goodbye.
So we have been through a little of everything in the past few years. I hope we will be able to help others through anyway we can.
For Seth's story ~"Our story-Tracy and Donna" by Donna (6/98)
After meeting with a genetic counselor on Monday, we went to see the perinatologist. A few moments after he started the ultrasound he turned to me and told me that our babys heart had stopped beating... I held my husband's hand and cried for our child.
..We chose to induce labor...Our son had been born by cessarian... At 9:30pm our baby was born. We had a girl. We both held her and felt her presence.
My own baby girl. We named her Juanita Isom E. after my husband's grandmother who died a year ago. I know that she is in Heaven looking out for our baby until we get there. We took her body to Utah and buried her near her ancestors, near her great-grandmother Juanita.
Many people ask me, How far along were you? I don't quite understand the question. Does it matter? I had a baby. She had a perfect little body and I know her spirit. Some day I will meet her again. It doesn't matter if I was 6 weeks or 40 weeks. This was my child and I miss her.
...I am thankful for an incredible midwife who helped make this experience a positive rather than a negative. I thank my Heavenly Father daily for the miracle of my son, our firstborn. I am most thankful for my husband. He has been by my side through this whole experience. He has held me and cried with me. I couldnt imagine doing it alone. And I am thankful for my daughter. Although she was only here for a short time, I will remember her forever.
For Juanita's storyMy daughter, Juanita by Amy 6/98
Grace Ann Baker
I chose to let her come into the world. When the amniotic sac broke labor was induced. I wasn't expecting the pain to be as intense as it was, but thankfully it didn't last for very long. My daughter was born at 5:39 pm on Thursday, October 3, 1996. She is my first and only child. I held her right after she was born- you hear people talk about how you foret about the labor pains once you hold the baby. It was true, I forgot about the pain immediately, but I wasn't prepared for the depth and breadth of the love that I would feel for this tiny little girl. The love I felt for this child was more intense that anything I have ever experienced. I felt a physical burning in my chest and thought that my heart would burst with love. Holding her in my arms was an affirmation of faith. I knew, without a doubt, that God exists and that he reaches us through the souls of our children. I knew that her name would be Grace, for she came to me through the grace of God.
I delivered my 1 lb. 2 oz. breech baby (stillborn at 23 weeks). Holding my beautiful baby was one of the most meaningful and memorable experiences of my life, the other being the birth of my son, Jacob. If I would not have held her and studied her every part, I would not have known how beautiful she is. She is a miniature version of Jacob with the same nose, mouth, forehead, hands, and feet.
We celebrated her life at a service in our church that was attended by many family and friends. Her life, no matter how short means everything to us, and we treasure our every memory of our baby girl.
A new nurse Jeanne came to help us. She was of great help. Thanks to the God, I went into labor already. It took me only 5-6 hours from then on, I gave birth to my first son. But I didn't give him life. He could not breathe, his heart could not beat. I was so sad and hopeless.
Jeanne washed Jonathan and brought him to me. I held him in my arms with tears in my eyes. I could not take my eyes of his face. He had headful shining black hair, just like mine. I had headful shining black hair when I was born. He had my nose and lips. He had John's hair line. His face looked exactly the same as we saw on the second ultrasound, except for his eyes were closed. He must have John's eyes, big and cute. I kept looking at his eyes, only afraid of missing the chance when they open, and smile at me. But he never opened his eyes. He looked so peaceful, like he was in a sweet dream. I told John not to wake him up. I unwrapped him. His body was pale and no color of blood. Jeanne put on a diaper and name tag on his wrist and his ankle, like she did for all other newborns. My heart was broken and tears rolling down my face. I was speechless and mind blank. When three of us were alone in the room, John finally burst into tears, saying he could be a good dad.
...We have prepared everything except for the loss, nobody would! We didn't know what to do.
It was the sadess morning when I woke up the second day. I cried the minute I saw John beside me. We still have each other, but Jonathan was lying somewhere lonely. We could not hold him, feed him, change him. We could not do anything for him. I felt so unsuccessful as a mother. We asked to see him again, I couldn't leave him without saying goodbye. John arranged a small goodbye service a week later. We got a lot of help from John's friend's church. The minister came the night Jonathan was born. He touched Jonathan's head for a long time, did not say a word. John told me that our Jonathan is in God's hand. We will reunion when we get to eternity.
For Jun's story "Unexpected when expecting" by Jun (7/11/98)
My doctor came in and said, "I'm so sorry." It was all that was necessary. I was hysterical! How could my baby have a fine, strong heartbeat 24 hours before and then nothing?? The ostetrician said it was a complete placental abruption.
Norm finally arrived and together we mourned the loss of our baby, not even yet born!
I was induced and thankfully labour progressed quickly. My mother and my husband stayed with me throughout. I had a wonderful nurse, Roz, without whom, the whole ordeal would have been a thousand times worse and my doctor saw me through the three long hours that I pushed.
Our daughter Madeleine Victoria was born at 7:21am on May 22, 1998. She weighed 7lbs 9oz and measured 22 1/2 inches. She was perfect in every way except she had no heartbeat and her eyes were permanently closed.
We all held her and then I watched my mother dress her first grandchild in the handknit white hat and small purple sleeper we had brought along. Both fit her perfectly. We had her with us for almost four hours. It seems now like such a short time.
We had her cremated. We have only a few pictures and footprints as proof of her existence but she lives forever in the memories of those who loved her.
Everything seemed fine until I went in for my first sonogram. We wanted to know what we were having. After a long while, the tech told us the baby had died. Not what we were expecting. It all seemed like a bad dream. My doctor then informs me that they have to induce labor. Friday was the sonogram day, and Monday they induced. Upon delivery, they discover the cord was badly twisted.
We got to hold Zachary for as long as desired, and he weighed 5 oz and about 6 inches long. He looked just like the big brother who wanted him so badly. My heart & arms ache for Zachary. I love & miss him terribly.
Words cannot describe how much I will forever cherish the six days that were spent with you.
You were such a fighter, Having to go through so much at such a tender age.
And for that, How proud I will always be.
I cherish in my heart the times you looked at us with those beautiful brown eyes,
and the times you would gently sqeeze my fingers,
and the countless hours just spent stroking your delicate, soft skin.
I will always yearn to cradle you in my arms,
like I did for the first and last times.
To feel you next to me, to hold you so close for eight hours.
I will never forget the incredible pain of seeing Daddy hold you as you took your last breath,
Nor will I forget holding you for so long after you passed on to a world
where I know you will be held for eternity.
I knew then that you had become our little angel,
And though some people can only dream of angels,
We were holding one in our arms.
To experience the joy of bringing you into our world,
and then so suddenly having our dream shattered
is a pain that no human being should have to endure.
That pain will always remain unbearable,
But I would relive that joy, and that sorrow, a 1000 times over,
For yet another moment with you.
"SHARE Atlanta's Keepsake Album" - Newborn Death
We went home and called family and friends. We had expected to announce the birth of our son with great joy, and we did, but that joy came mixed with sadness and grief...
My labour began at 7:30 Friday morning, Canyon was born at 5:40 that afternoon. There were no cries, no apgar score, no scurrying nurses. Just a quiet, calm room. The nurses gave Canyon a bath and brought him to us. He was absolutely perfect. We held him, rocked him and prayed. We prayed that God would watch over our son and that He would give us the strength to get through our grief. We took lots of pictures. We knew that we would have very little time with him and that memories fade. We also wanted something tangible for our family, they would not be able to meet Canyon in person. We called our church and the funeral home, not the usual numbers you keep in a baby bag. Both were very helpful....
The days after his birth/death were filled with quiet, not what you expect in a house with a new baby. Timothy and I spent time crying together and remembering the time we had spent with Canyon. We sat in his nursery and held his blanket. We looked at pictures and dreamed of what might have been. They were days that strengthened our marriage and brought us closer to God and each other. We had asked for a baby and had been given an angel, and what a precious gift he was.
"Canyon Taylor" by Lorin (9/23/98)
It was then that we were able to hold John for the very first time. Still hooked up to all the machines and tubes he laid in my arms and his father at his side and we cried for we knew that it was asking too much of such a precious boy to fight any longer. They removed the ventilator and all the tubes and brought John to us in a private room so we could be alone with him. Before they had brought him in I asked my husband, "Do you want to hold him or do you want me to?" He said to me very sweetly, "A baby boy should die in his mother's arms." So it was in my arms that John took his very last breath.
It is our belief that with this suffering comes strength and wisdom. We hope someday we will be able to help someone like so many people have helped us. We take a moment each day to remember all the things that we are grateful for and John is always at the top of our list. I have said it so many times - Our John made more of an impact in four days than some people make in a lifetime. For this we are truly grateful and proud!
"Our Precious Son, John" by Lynette (9/24/98)
After the surgery, I couldn't stop crying for my baby that would not be here. I asked to see him, which I did and I cried as I held the plastic container he was in. I kissed his container and told him that I loved him very much. Then, in the recovery room, I told my husband that I saw our son and he wanted to see him too. They took us into the nursery, but put us in a separate room away from the mommies and their newborns(Thank God). There, they brought us our baby wrapped in a pink and blue wash cloth. Our David Jason only weighed at 4.9ozs and he fit in the palms of our hands. We held him and kissed his tiny fingers and toes and cried. My husband kept holding him close to his body and rubbing his checks, hoping to warm him up(his body was cold) so he could open his eyes and be okay. But unfortunately, that never happened so all we could do was sing and kiss and rock our beautiful baby boy that was now an angel in Heaven. Our children were also able to told and kiss their brother and say their goodbyes to him. We all cried and cried and held each other. Our priest came to the hospital and baptized our son which we were glad that he was baptized. After about almost two hours with our baby, they had to take him away, which was one of the hardest thing to do--let go of your baby.
We had a service for our son which included the rosary for him. I have his ashes in a beautiful Angel Urn and his pictures with lighted candles every day! I need to have his Urn with us because when I miss him terribly (which is every minute of every day), I hold his Urn and rock him.
"My Love for David Jason" by Olga (10/12/98)
At 6, we were told that Grady would not be fighting much longer. So, I was able to shower and prepare myself to send my son to Heaven. The chapel was cleared and Paul and I were taken there. They dressed our beloved Grady in a little blue outfit with bears on it, a small cap and a cuddly blanket. They removed him from all the machines and brought him in to us. Paul and I both held him and kissed him and told him how very proud we were of him. He was everything we wanted and more. At 7:05 p.m., I was holding him, with Paul's arms wrapped around both of us when he entered God's kingdom. It was the most peaceful and special moment of my life.
Afterwards, all of our families were able to hold Grady and tell him how much they loved him. This was very important to us. The social worker prepared a memory box for us. In it was the outfit, cap and blanket Grady had used, his thermometer, some locks of the little hair he had, foorprint pictures and Polaroids that had been taken of us with Grady and Grady by himself.
I went home the next day and cleaned out Grady's nursery the day after. All of the clothes that we had received for Grady went to the neonatal ICU of St. Joseph's hospital, as I hoped that other parents would get to hold their sick babies in something special and darling.
"Grady, Paul and Me" and "Grady Joseph Mulrenin's Memorial Mass"
A priest came to baptize him...
We cried so hard. Everything had happened so fast and now we had to make the hardest decision anyone could ever possibly face. We decided to remove the life support and hold Kyle for however long he could hold on. His tiny body had already been through so much and we couldn't let him go through any more. The nurses removed the IV's and tubes and handed him to me right away. He took 3-4 labored breaths on his own as they wheeled me back to my room. He took his last breath just as we got to my bedside. My husband and I held him close, kissed him, and told him we loved him. I hope he was able to feel our warmth and our love. We didn't want him to go alone on those cold machines. Our entire family was there and they each held Kyle and said there hello's and their goodbye's.
The nurses took several pictures and gave us a keepsake box for his things. We bathed him and dressed him and I combed his hair for the first and last time. We clipped a little bit of his hair and they took his footprints for us. He was so perfect and beautiful.
GOD BLESSED US WITH 9 MONTHS OF A BEAUTIFUL GROWING BABY. ON THAT MONDAY I DIDN'T FEEL WELL, I TOLD MY MOM THERE WAS A STRANGE FEELING ALMOST LIKE THE BABY COULDN'T BREATH. WHEN I WENT TO BED WE WOULD TALK TO OUR BABY, SING & PLAY MOZART. OUR BABY WOULDN'T WAKE UP, I KNEW. WHEN WE GOT TO THE HOSPITAL 10 MIN. LATER IT WAS ALL QUIET, HE WAS GONE. 48 HOURS LATER I DELIVERED A 8LB BABY,SO BEAUTIFUL, HE LOOKED JUST LIKE ME. OUR WHOLE FAMILY WAS THERE. WE ALL HELD HIM, FELT EVERY PART OF HIM. WE TOOK LOTS & LOTS OF PICTURES, SOME OF HIS HAIR,& PUT HIM IN HIS SPECIAL CLOTHES. WE HAD HIM CREMATED & RIGHT NOW HE IS IN HIS ROOM IN HIS BASSINET, WHERE HE WOULD ,SHOULD HAVE BEEN. SOON I WILL PUT HIM IN HIS CRIB & GOD WILLING ON HIS LITTLE BROTHER OR SISTERS DRESSER WHEN THE TIME COMES. GOD TOUCHED ALL OF MY FAMILY & FRIENDS WITH HIS SHORT "LIFE", WE HAVE TRUELY BEEN BLESSED...ALEXZANDER & JENENNE BURNS
I still can't believe that little baby who kicked and squirmed so activly for months was not born alive. There were no warning signs and no one expected that this could happen. It was all so quick.
Now we face the empty nursery and long for the dreams and expectations we had for our daughter. If only we had heard her cry. I held her for 18 hours before we said goodbye and the memory of that time is precious but I would give anything to have heard her cry.
Amy Louise Touched our Hearts Forever" by Lynda (2/3/99)
Twenty-three hours after Ryan was born, I finally held him. He was so beautiful, so perfect. I bathed him; rocked him; sang to him; and took pictures. I so badly wanted him baptized by the Catholic priest, but because he never lived he refused. A Lutherin Priest was more than willing to baptize my son, so we went ahead and baptized him Lutherin. My entire family was there for me from beginning to end.
It was time to say good-bye to my sweet baby, I couldn't do it. The nurse had to pull him from my arms.I could hear the other babies crying,oh what I would give to hear my Ryan cry! The nurses gave me a baby book and gathered as many momentos of my son as they could. These were the most caring people I have ever met!
I went shopping with my mom to get Ryan an outfit to be buried in(a very difficult task, he only weighed 2lbs. 2 oz.). We found a beautiful premie outfit, but we had a hard time finding a hat to fit him. When we asked the store clerk for help he said "give the little guy some time to grow." My mom told him that we couldn't, he was dead, we were shopping for his burial. We were leaving the store with what we had found, when I felt an arm reach around me. It was the store clerk, he placed something in my bag and said "god bless you," he turned and walked away. As we drove away I looked in the bag, and there was a Beautiful white silk hat. I don't know who this man was, but I will never forget his Kindness.
I dressed Ryan for his funeral, he was so cold I can still remember trying so hard to warm him up, but my efforts failed! The funeral home was going to put him in a Styrofoam casket. NOT MY BABY! he deserved better than that. We went to another funeral home, and we purchased a "normal" casket. Ryan wasn't allowed in the Catholic church because he never lived so the priest came to the funeral home and said the mass there. Ryan was buried on top of my grandmother, and when it is my time to go he will be placed with me.
"Ryan Scott Peter" by Tammy (2/15/99)
On New Years Day, my 28th week, I delivered my only daughter Sarah. The grief that we felt seemed even more compounded because we had been given what we had prayed desperately for, a baby girl. She was beautiful, the nurse took her away and cleaned her up, and brought her back to us, exclaiming what a beautiful and big baby she was. She looked so much like my two boys, same nose, long, long legs like my oldest, and huge feet and hands. We had a special blessing for her that day, just the two of us, having no other family nearby to help us say good-bye. We named her Sarah.
"Sarah's Journey" by Jennifer (3/27/99)
>They induced labour at 5pm, labour started at 5.30pm, and she was born at 8.20pm. ...The perfect labour for my baby who had already gone...
We spent the next 4 hours with her, we bathed her, and dressed her in the clothes we had to take her home. We had many cuddles and photo's. She was so perfect it was unbearable to think that she was never going to breathe.
...We gave Megan to the undertaker, I didn't want to let her go.
On the sunday we went to the funeral home to see her again and give her some presents, and also wrap her up in a blanket, she was still so beautiful. We spent a long time cuddling her again.
We had a graveside service on Monday and that was so nice, but heartbreaking at the same time. We let go 4 balloons, one for each of us in the family. 4 red ballons carried off in the wind, it was special.
"Wee Megan" by Sara (3/30/99)
He was so beautiful. My eyes filled with tears because I knew that this was possibly the last time that I would get to see my baby alive. As I was leaning down to kiss his soft downy head he opened his eyes. The nurses were shocked. Up until this point he had shown absolutely no signs of life. His heartrate was accelerating and his arms and legs were moving slightly. I know that he knew who I was and was happy to hear me.
For the next 10 hours I was almost constantly at his side, holding his hand, kissing his head and just smelling my sweet baby boy's sweet baby scent.
...It was our choice, but she felt that we should take him off of the life support. We agreed.
They dressed him in a white Christening gown and wrapped him in a soft quilt. They said that they would take the ventilator out of his mouth only when we were ready. I held him first.
I can't even begin to explain all of the feeling that were going on inside me. This was the first time I had held my baby and probably the last. He was so perfect. I was just staring down, whispering that mommy loved him very much when his eyes opened. He looked straight into my eyes and his mouth sort of turned into a smile. I knew that my baby knew who his mommy was.
As my husband was holding him we decided to take the ventilator out. I remember thinking that if God wanted Cole to live he would make him breath when we took the ventilator out. The nurses came back into the room and took out the ventilator.
I held my breath waiting to see what would happen. He took a big gasp and nothing. About 10 seconds later he gasped again. My heart soared. I knew that my baby would live! He gasped a couple of more times and then nothing. I remember shaking him and yelling at him to breath. But nothing happened.
My baby had died and was now with God in Heaven.
"My Little Angel Who Went to Heaven" by Michelle (4/9/99)
I have my minster there praying over the Dr & nurses hands and he prayed over the neonatal intensive care team as they tried to save David. But it wan't meant to be. I thank God I had the knowledge to ask for my baby during my stay at the hospital. I had David with me for 2 hours after he was born. They took him away for his foot/hand prints. I called the nurse and asked for him back. I had him until 9:30pm. All of my family had time to get to the hospital to hold David and see that we did have our third son.
The next day, before I went home, I had the nurse bring my baby back to me to say good bye. I was able to have him for another hour and a half before I went home. Had I not know to ask for him back, I would not have seen him after he was born.
At the mortuary, I advised the director that I wanted to dress him. The day of his grave side service my family went to the mortuary, and I was able to dress him and spend another hour and a half with him loving him, kissing him, looking at him. I was very blessed to have those 3 days with him. I held him every chance I could because I knew it would have to last a life time.
My baby was buried between my grandma and papa. It is some comfort knowing my grandparents can hold him now.
"David" by Lucy (5/3/99)
When we removed the ventilator and the IVs, Kapono was still breathing. The nurse handed him over to me and for the first time since his birth I got to carry my son! We dressed him in a hospital shirt and wrapped him snuggly and put a hat and booties on him and I held him close to me, He was weak and he did not open his eyes but I loved him all I could. I talked to him and rocked him. It felt so good!
He got passed around to our family members to hold him and when I got him back, the nurse checked for his heart beat and he still was with us. We took pictures and I kissed him. He was with us for 45 minutes before his heart stopped. The day he went home to be with the Lord was October 28, 1999.
After Kapono passed away, we made his arrangements and we had a funeral service for him. Attached is the poem my 8 year old daughter wrote and read during the service.
At the service over 200 people attended, my pastor did an altar call for people who did not know Jesus to accept him in their hearts. Praise the Lord, some relatives I have that did not know Jesus got born again. Kapono was such a blessing to those who allowed him to be.
My husband has a few relatives that act as if Kapono never existed! That hurts so much, they never called us and they did not come to the funeral, they speak highly of my sister in-laws 6 month old daughter in front of us and act like we never went through what we did.
If anything at all, I'd just like people to realize how special these babies are. I just don't like it when people assume to just forget, when instead the best thing to do is distinctively remember!!! For memories are all some of us families have.
"11 Days with Kapono" by Shelby (12/99)
"Kapono's Poem by: Big sister Kaori, eight years old" by Kaori (12/24/99)
On September 18, 1999 at 4:00 a.m. I woke up and had a strange feeling to call the neonatal unit. When I did I discovered that Benjamin was doing very bad and was instructed to come immediately to neonatal. I woke Stuart up (he spent the night with me in the hospital) and we went down to neonatal. The doctors had been trying all night to improve Benjamin's condition, but not only was he not responding to anything, the severity of his lung condition was causing a strain on his heart and he was losing oxygen to his brain. The final procedure was a dose of epinefrine. This didn't work and Benjamin's heart monitor started flat lining. All Stuart and I could do was watch helplessly. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a woman who was standing over her baby's crib watching the doctors work on Benjamin and watching us. I wanted to die! Then the doctor came over and told us that Benjamin lost a significant amount of oxygen to his brain and had suffered severe brain damage!
He asked us if we wanted him to keep trying everything possible. Without hesitation we said no. Benjamin died at 4:30 a.m.
We were sent to a room where they brought Benjamin to us dressed in a white gown wrapped in a crocheted blanket. For the first time I got to hold my son. He layed so lifeless in my arms. I still can't believe he's gone.
Stuart has been my rock through all of this and without him I couldn't have gotten through it. I was finally able to get my doctor to give me a 4 hour pass to leave the hospital to attend a memorial service for my son. They turned off my IV during this time. As painful as it was to put my son's memory to rest it was also very healing to finally have closure. It was bittersweet.
We will never forget Benjamin, nor will we ever stop loving him. I wear a little silver angel with his birthstone, a sapphire. It makes me feel like he's always with me and when people ask about it his memory stays alive.
In spite of my illness and all the terrible medicines, etc. I endured for those 7 weeks I wouldn't change a thing. I would not have missed the opportunity to meet my son."Bittersweet" by Caroline (12/28/99)
I was crushed. I called my parents and told them to get right up to the hospital. I have never cried so much in my life it seemed like.
We didn't know the sexes of our babies until they were born. We had two beautiful baby boys on the 19th. They were born by c-section. After the surgery was over they brought my boys in the room with us and we got to hold them. They were too perfect.
I couldn't understand why they were taken away from us. The cause is known as Twin to Twin Transfusion now. Its just so heartbreaking that they left us too soon. We have pictures of them and the clothes they were wearing in the hospital.
I never thought we would be planning a funeral, I imagined bringing our babies home and having a welcome home party for them. But our families helped us out alot and we couldn't have done it without them.
There was about 150 friends and family there supporting us in this difficult time of our lives. We dressed them in blue matching outfits that read "Thank Heaven for Little Boys" I also put a note in there with them and told them how much we loved them. They will always be a special part of our lives. They are our little angel babies. I know they are in God's hands now and he is taking good care of them.
"Cameron John and Christopher Stephen Jr." by Sherri (1/10/00)
After just 9 hours of labor, I delivered a perfect little boy. We had not known the sex prior to this, and the look on my husband's face when told that he had a son was one I will never forget. It was such a pained look--the little boy that he had wanted so badly was not meant to be.
The hospital staff was wonderful. We were given time to hold Gage and be with him, and our family had the opportunity to do the same. It was the best thing that I could have done in those circumstances. I would feel more lost today if I had not taken advantage of that opportunity.
We chose to have funeral for Gage, and this too was the right decision. We invited friends and family and had him baptized and blessed. He was buried in a blanket that I had bought when I first found out I was pregnant, in a tiny blue casket. We buried him in a peaceful section of the cemetary secluded in the back. I get such a sense of peace when I go to visit him. I take comfort in the idea that I have a place to go to be with him at any time. I feel sorry for people who are not given this vital opportunity. I have found that this is essential in my healing process.
I have put together a memory box of everything that reminds me of Gage---sympathy cards, his baptismal candle, my preganancy tests, his obituary, flowers, pictures, etc. This helps trememdously.
The other phenomenally helpful thing that I have found is writing. I keep a journal in which I write letters to Gage and talk to him on paper when I go visit him at the cemetary. Some days are tolerable, and others are unbearable, but I know that I need to go on. My son wouldn't want it any other way.
"The Story of My Miracle" by Stephanie (9/18/00)
Makenzie Jane Smith my sweetest angel.
Makenzie had stopped breathing. My heart fell to the floor, and I was crushed. This was at about 7:30 p.m.
My family and I were down there till almost 11 o'clock saying our goodbyes. I washed her, changed her diaper, and dressed her, since this would be my only chance. I said my goodbyes to her in private.
This has been the hardest thing I have ever had to go through and I definitely won't ever take anything for granted ever again. This has completely opened my eyes to a whole knew world.
With her being so small they offered free cremation, but I would not have been able to live and think that my baby was burned. So my mom and stepmom both put in $250 and the Dr. from where my mom works donated $300 and her co-workers came up with another $200. I would have a proper burial for my angel and a place to go and visit her. We bought a porcelin doll and used her dress shoes and little knickers for the funeral which fit perfect an her. The funeral was the second saddest thing I would have to go through. I never thought my first funeral would be my 1 day old daughters.
"Makenzie Jane Smith my sweetest angel." by Jessica (9/10/01)
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