I got married right out of high school, to a boy that I believed was THE ONE. Money was tight, and time for nursing school was out of the question. So, I decided that I would go to be a Medical Assistant. In 4 short months, I learned the BASICS of a doctor's office and finally got my foot in the door of the healthcare world. I loved the work, but I was discouraged by the low pay, and heavy workload. In the back of my mind, Nursing was still there. My goal that I believed that I would never reach, and at the time, there was no support and no one to push me. It was almost one of those thoughts "would've been nice." I had no faith that I would ever make the dream a reality.
I was working hard for the next couple of years, and barely being able to pay the bills still. One day, as I was working in a GYN office, I realized that I had not started my period this month. I thought, "what the heck, probably a long shot, but I will take a test." To my surprise, 2 straight lines popped up almost immediately. Tears rolled and I yelled for a fellow co-worker to lend her pair of eyes in case I was dreaming. Yep, I was pregnant alright. This was not planned but turned out to be such a blessing. I vividly remember this day 5 years ago as if it was yesterday.
Pregnancy was wonderful, and not a problem in sight. I carried to full-term and on April 6, 2005, my angel was born. He was the most beautiful baby I had ever laid eyes on. Blonde hair and blue eyes and had the complexion of a china doll. I finally knew what unconditional love was at that moment. The first night in the hospital, I had fed and burped my sweet son and laid him in his bassinet to try to get some much-needed rest. A couple hours later, he awoke, with an almost blue face, and I heard him choking, eventually, we learned this was acid reflux. I was scared to death but relieved with the nurses' confidence that he was completely healthy and would be just fine.
I videotaped every moment that I could and took pictures of everything he did. He was the sweetest baby. Hardly ever cried, and loved to cuddle. Before I knew it, time for his vaccinations rolled around. We drove to the health dept. and as his name was called, we were quickly greeted by a nurse we knew, who was to give him his vaccinations. She consoled him as he barely whimpered when she struck him. He took the pain like such a big boy. I was so proud of him. We arrived home afterward and spent the rest of the day holding him in my arms.
Soon, it was bedtime, and we had our nighttime rituals, bathtime, bottle, and lots of kisses while I was rocking him in my arms. Soon, he was off to dream. Never in my worst nightmares, would I have imagined that this would be the last time I would see those gorgeous blue eyes that would look deep into mine? I laid him into his bassinet beside my bed and set my alarm for 3 1/2 hours when I would wake up to feed him, even though he woke up like clockwork always before my alarm went off. I soon fell asleep, and before I knew it, my alarm was sounding. My first thought was that he must have been very tired because he didn't wake me up first. I lean over my bed to lift him out of the bassinet and he was limp and lifeless. My precious boy had never made a sound. I woke his father with my screaming and we started administering CPR immediately. We called 911 and it took them 45 minutes to drive less than 10 miles and passed our house when they finally arrived. At this point, I was in shock and a state of disbelief. The paramedic took my son out of my arms, and all the way to the hospital, I remember saying "he will be ok, he is just fine". "We will get there and get to bring him right home."
After about 20 minutes, and what seemed like an eternity, the doctor came out and my heart sank, and then and there he stomped on it. He told us he was gone and asked if we would like to donate his organs. I was mad at the world and was appalled that this would be the second sentence out of his mouth to grieving parents. Now, though, I do realize that he had to ask. It was probably another 2 hours before I mustered up the nerve to go even 50 feet towards the room he was lying in. I sit in the room beside it with the nicest nurse who was trying to console my aching heart. Finally, I went to see my precious angel. He was wrapped in a warm blanket, and I held him and kissed him until I could no longer keep the tears from falling on his soft, white skin. I laid him in my father's arms and left the hospital and felt like I should die myself. No one can ever explain the pain and suffering of losing a child that you gave birth to, nurtured and loved.
I couldn't walk into my home for about 2 weeks. I smelt him, I saw his things, and his bottles laying on the counter. At this point, I might as well have been a zombie. Weeks went by, and I was in a state of deep depression, and just trying to thrive. Thank God for my family and friends because without them who knows where I would be. A couple of days after the funeral, I received a call from the nurse that gave my son his vaccinations that day. She was crying and hurting so bad for us, and I will never forget her kindness.
The autopsy that was ordered finally came back and SIDS was ruled out by the examiner. It turns out that his acid reflux, for which he took Zantac twice a day, was so bad that he aspirated down into his lungs. The doctor told us that he did not suffer, which did not ease the pain for me, but it at least was something that helped my mind.
I still see the nurse from time to time that gave him vaccinations that day and has talked to her on the phone several times. She will never understand how grateful I am to her for her concern and caring and for the books on grieving and helping me deal with my pain.
Now, 5 years later, and lots of soul searching, I am starting nursing school this month. My dream is finally coming true. I have a beautiful, healthy 3-year-old daughter, who I believe was sent for a reason and I am happily married to a very supportive husband and have gained a 5-year-old stepdaughter. I still go to the graveyard all the time, decorate for holidays, birthdays, and sit and talk to my son every day. I think about him every day, and the hurt never gets better, just easier to deal with. I have his pictures all over my house and his little sister knows all about him. It has always helped me to talk about him, even though tears roll down my eyes each time. He has given me the strength to get through and I know that every day he is right beside me, and every night is giving me kisses on the cheek. I will succeed. And I know that I have that very special nurse with her words of encouragement, and my son (my angel) to thank for the will I need to accomplish my dreams.