Three years ago. I remember waking up around 6 this morning. A little surprised I slept for what seemed like way too long. My sister walked in the room, maybe that's why I woke up, I don't remember exactly. And she told us. She gave us the news. We were waiting/praying/wishing/hoping for Chase to pee. It seemed almost elementary. That's all we needed. Well, at the time, that's what we really needed to have happen for things to improve. If he didn't pee, it meant things were not getting better and most likely were getting worse...way worse. With the eminent end eluding us.
I knew. Right then. I knew we'd be saying good-bye to him. That the end was near. But I was still in a state of shock from the beginning of the whole thing. For the last three days I'd been in shock. So I cried, but quickly pulled myself together. I took a shower, and cried some more. Quickly got dressed and dried my hair. And got ready to walk over to the NICU. Crying intermittently and then shutting the tears off. I have asked myself so many times, how could I do that? Just shut it off so quickly. Not cry like a mess the entire time. The pain was so great. Surely it was great enough to sustain a constant flow of tears. For the rest of my life. Wasn't it? My milk was coming in that morning. Perfect timing, I thought. My boobs were getting fuller and fuller. As soon as I got up to the NICU, I had to ask the nurse for nursing pads. And I also put another tshirt on. Maybe I was crying from my heart--that's what it felt like.
The kids were coming over from the hotel after eating breakfast and spending some time with grandma, who had just arrived the night before. We didn't know exactly all that was happening that day. Just that the kids would come visit their brother again at some point. We'd probably be in meetings with the doctors and staff during the day listening to what was being done to our son, likely prognoses, answering questions we had. A procedure was being done on Chase in the morning to determine if his brain was still okay and checking his kidneys, too, I think. I'm not sure, but we didn't want to be there during the procedure so we waited outside his room while the equipment was brought in to evaluate him.
Finally it was over. And the prognosis was not good. He was having the beginnings of seizures indicating brain damage. And of course the kidneys were failing because he was not peeing. That's the simplest way I can explain it, anyway. It's all a blur really. I knew it was time to get the kids in to see him, though. Something told me we needed them to be there now. So mom brought them over and it was around lunch time or after that they got there. Reese was not feeling well. He was warm and sleepy. He knew, too. Three years old. His brother was protecting him. Reese fell asleep for the rest of Chase's life. I didn't know what to do. I was out of sorts. Do we wake him up? The kids are going to hold Chase and Reese should get the chance to hold him, too. But he was three. I knew if we woke him up, he would be crabby, like any three year old who so dearly needed a nap. But this was a very important moment. I wanted someone to tell me what to do. We let him sleep. We took a picture with all of us, Patric holding Reese as he slept. The girls held Chase. Karly first, as she had asked as soon as we had announced the pregnancy to the kids that she be the first to hold him. We granted her wish. She was the first out of all of us to hold him. She was so happy to hold him, too. The tubes, the bloody marks from medical leads and tape, the faint blue vessels showing on his arms and cheeks. None of it seemed to matter because she was finally holding him. That was all she wanted. And she got it. For a brief moment. Then Emma held him. Looking so proud and so worried all at the same time. Trying/wanting/wishing she could protect her baby brother and take away all the hurt. Then I held him. For the first time. I still can feel the weight of his body in my arms. All bundled up in the blanket, stiff, motionless, bloated, full of so much fluid. It didn't feel like him. I wanted to hold him but didn't want to all at the same time. Like the balloon in my print.....Reaching for him and letting go simultaneously. I knew he wasn't in this body, he was more like above us. But this was the only chance I was going to get to hold him. E.V.E.R. I had to. I wanted to. I was so scared. My heart was just mutilated. I was so sad. I was in disbelief and shock. Composed. How could I be composed?
They took out more tubes as I was holding him. I was so confused. I had no idea what was going on. Was I supposed to know? He made some gurgling sounds. I let Patric hold him. I wanted Patric to hold him. I was too scared. I didn't know what was happening. I didn't want to know. I left his room and cried. I sat down at a nurse's desk and I cried and cried and cried. I wanted time to stop. I wanted it to go on forever. I wanted Chase. I wanted to be alone. I wanted this all to never have happened. I wanted him to get better and go home. I was in conflict. A conflict I would live in for the rest of my life. Until that moment. When I see my son again. When I get to hold him. When I get to feel him, hear him, smell him. And I tell him how I feel about him. How much, how deeply, how intensely I love him. With all my heart. With the heart of a mother who knows what it is like to have to let her son go. Because that's the only thing she knew to do.
Oh god I miss you Chase. I miss you so much. I want to see you so badly it hurts. And it will hurt forever. Especially on this day, April 17th. The day I said goodbye.
I have to write this too......I finished this post and clicked something. Owen was grabbing at me as I typed the last half of this post. I needed to type. So I got up, tended to him, and came back and typed. I had words on my mind at my fingertips that I had never had before. Ever. Some of this I have never written down anywhere. Finally, I got it done. I finished the last word and clicked as OWen was pulling at my arm. And it was gone. The whole post was gone. I cried. I cried the cry I was feeling each time I sat down to add to this post. The cathartic cry. I lost the post I lost my boy. My rainbow is here with me. It's all okay. But it's so sad. I still lost in the end. But I wasn't mad. Just sad. I can hold Owen. I can't Chase.
There was no place I could find what I had written on my computer. Then I remembered blogger saves your unpublished drafts. So it was all okay. But I thought it was gone. And it was okay. I probably wouldn't rewrite it. But would if I really needed to. Because I have what I need. My baby is here. And he needs me. So I must go to him now. Because my angel is here, too. And I need him.