12 Days – That Is All I Got
(By no means am I trying to discredit miscarriages or stillbirths.)
My loss matters too.
My son was not a miscarriage.
My son was not a stillbirth.
My son was a neonatal death.
My son lived for 12 days.
My son died in my arms.
My son should be here.
My son is gone due to medical error. I can’t believe I finally said it and wrote it.
Here is his story. Here is how my son became a statistic for neonatal death.
The year – 2010.
The emotions/ feelings – joy, happiness, love.
We were expecting our first child. A boy. A son we named Drake.
We did everything first time parents do; we enjoyed every moment of the pregnancy, we imagined which one of us he would look like, we had baby showers, we painted his room, we decorated his room, we went to every appointment together with our group of doctors, we told the doctors any concerns we had (such as my high pain tolerance and the chance of having fast labor – family history), we looked forward to seeing our son, holding our son, loving our son.
At 38 weeks pregnant that all that changed. At 38 weeks, I went in for my normal weekly appointment. At 38 weeks, we found out our son was in the Frank Breech position. At 38 weeks, I was scheduled for my C-section for 4 days before my due date. At 38 weeks I still trusted my group of doctors.
At 39 weeks, 2 days – I went into labor at home in the early morning hours. We timed my contractions for 20 minutes and upon realizing they were less than 5 minutes apart, we called the doctor’s office and spoke with the nurse who said she would have the doctor call me (the same doctor on-call was the one who was to be doing my C-section in 2 days’ time).
My biggest mistake.
The doctor called, listened to what we said and decided that we should continue to monitor my contractions for another hour. Well as new parents, we listened. The biggest mistake ever because you see – 45 minutes into that hour my water broke and my son’s feet came out. (During this time, we called the nurse to have the doctor call us and we never got a return call until several hours later.)
Naturally once his feet came out, our next call was to 911, by the time they arrived my contractions (with no help from me) had pushed him out to his ribcage. The EMTs decided to try and help us finish delivering him on our bathroom floor – so we got the rest of his chest and his shoulders out. We could not get my son’s head out, so we were loaded on a gurney with his head still inside and taken to the hospital where with the ER doctor we finally got my son’s head out – but by now he was no longer breathing.
One of the EMTs was able to resuscitate him long enough to be placed on a ventilator.
Within a couple of hours, he was transported to another hospital where there was a NICU. I had to stay at the hospital I was at, they finally released me after 15 hours and we made the 45-minute trip to see him.
You know your son is truly hurt when you walk into your son’s NICU room, surrounded by other babies, and the night head nurse tells you:
“Out of all the babies here in the NICU, your son is the worst one.”
Drake spent the next 12 days in that room. I could go on about the tests he had, the meetings with doctors we had, the talks with the nurses, the meeting with a local organ donation company (my husband and I are organ donations and we wanted information in case Drake did not make it).
No matter the tests, the meetings, the discussion – the tears, the anger, the silent screams; the end result would never change.
You see our son was
The lack of oxygen he endured while he was stuck inside me caused brain damage, he would never breathe on his own, the doctors gave us 2 options:
- Allow him to stay on the ventilator and allow his body to deteriorate and die.
- Pull him off life support and allow him to die in our arms surrounded by love.
My husband and I talked for many hours – we made our decision out of love. Love for our son. We had no idea what pain he may have been experiencing.
We chose to say goodbye, to allow him to go, to relieve him of pain.
At 12 days, 12 hours old, we pulled Drake from life support. He lived another 4 hours before he finally passed away in my arms.
This was 7 years ago and I think about him every day.
Thank you to Marisa of Life by the Dreams for sharing Drake’s story.