Mom to Savanna Dawn
Born March 28th, 2010
Passed Away November 12th, 2010
Wichita Falls, Texas
It was a Friday like any other Friday. J woke up and got ready for work. As he got out of the shower, I woke up and jumped in the shower. J left for work, and I finished getting ready. This was our routine for the last 4 months. Once I got dressed, hair done, makeup done I made a cup of coffee and got S’ breakfast ready. Fruit and milk. I could hear her little gibberish over the speaker of the baby monitor. I peeked in on her and she was slowly starting to stir. I turned on her mobile and closed the door, knowing this would keep her attention for awhile bit longer as I continued to get prepared for the day.
I was so excited for this particular Friday. You see, I had been a temp at my current employer and the boss man had finally offered me a full time position. That day, I was to take more steps to initiate my spot as a real person! Then that Sunday, we were to take our family holiday photos. I was determined to send out holiday cards. I had just gotten her dress and we were ready to have some real family photos of the Bogue Family.
Back to my day.. I finished getting her breakfast, set it on the table prepared her little highchair, then headed into her room. I walked in and turned on the light. As I looked down at her, she scrunched up her little face, hands over eyes, shielding herself from the instantaneous lightness that took over the room. She did this every morning when I turned the lights on, all the while with a smile on her face. She rolled over and looked up at me I picked her up and brought her to the closet. She would help me pick her outfits out for the days. The first thing she would touch, that’s what she would wear. This day, it was a green and white striped long sleeve shirt, grey sweatpants with heart shaped buttons, and a little white winter hat. She was just getting over an ear infection and upper respiratory infection, so I needed to keep her warm! Plus, she just looked too darn adorable in those little hats to not put one on her!
Well we proceeded with our morning. I changed her, got her dressed, socks, shoes, hat–check. Grabbed a bib for breakfast, extra clothes for the diaper bag and headed to the kitchen. I sat her down in her little chair, and fed her, then it was time to go. As she sat and digested, I finished packing her diaper bag for the sitter, making sure I had enough bottles and food, clothes and bibs. Gathered up her toys and put her in the car seat. I grabbed my purse, her diaper bag, my lunch and her carrier and out the door we went.
We headed to the sitters and I turned the radio on, she talked to me as we drove. I could see her little face in the reflection of my mirror (she had a mirror for her too) and she was just smiling away. Carefree and as happy could be. We pulled up to the sitters and she was in a rush. Her daughter (who she drove) was late for school, so she grabbed S, asked me to put her bag in the house. So I did, and when I walked back out, she was strapping her in. I said goodbye to the sitter, sneaked a peak at my little munchkin, got in my car and drove away. If only I had known that was the last time I would have seen her alive, if only I had known that was the last smile I would see glowing from her face, if only I had known… I would have kissed her goodbye and told her how much I loved her. If only I would have known I would have stayed just a moment longer. But I didn’t know. And the moments of the rest of the days events would begin to spiral out of control slowly but surely.
I went to work as I usually do and carried on as I usually do. I had to take a pee test that day, all to substantiate my spot as a full time employee. So I took a late lunch and headed downtown to do that. I got back to work at around 2:00 in the afternoon. As I carried on my merry way, I was counting down the minutes. It was Friday after all and I was always excited to come home to J and S. Then a single text, a phone call, and my life as I knew it would shatter into a billion pieces right before me. It was 2:43 and I checked my phone, I had a new message from the sitter. “Come quick its an emergency” I also had 2 missed calls from her. I told my colleague, there’s an emergency with Savanna and I have to go, I’ll let you know what’s going on. I grabbed my stuff and left. As I walked to the car, in that 3 minute walk, a million and one scenarios ran through my head. I called the sitter, and she was hysterical.. I couldn’t make out a word she was saying, the only word I could make out was ‘ambulance.’ I ran to my car, those scenarios I had whipped up only began to play faster and harder. My hands were shaking, knees were weak, the world was spinning around me. I sped to her house, about ten minutes from my job. I called J and told him to get there now. I remember running red lights, driving through parking lots to get past people, I’m sure I made some people very angry, I can remember praying the whole way there. “God please let her be OK, let her be OK, just please let her be OK.” But there was that instinctual mother feeling that something was not OK. As I pulled into the complex, my breath was sucked from my lungs as I saw a hoard of people outside, a fire truck and an ambulance. I ran to the house, the sitter standing in the hallway hysterical, the medic standing there. I’m asking for my baby, where is my baby. The medic pulls me aside.
“It appears that she may have aspirated. She was covered in vomit, wasn’t breathing, but she was still warm to the touch.. now I know this is going to be difficult but I just need to get some information.” What? Not breathing? Vomited? Did she choke? Where is she? I want to see her!! Can I see her? And now you want information? I just want to see her! He walked me to the ambulance and opened the back doors, stated the mother was here, there were 5 men in there, but I couldn’t see her. As quickly as he opened the doors he closed them. At this point, I just thought she had choked, stopped breathing.. I didn’t realize the severity, or I just didn’t want to admit the severity. I called J, it seemed like it was taking him forever, it was cold, I was waiting, I was scared and confused. I just wanted him to be there. He kept asking me if she was breathing, I kept telling him I think so, they said she was warm I don’t remember. So I got off the phone, and I asked him, is she breathing. No. The walls of the world seemed to implode around me the sky seemed to disappear, noises and sounds emerged from the center of my being. The ambulance left, sirens blaring and I shuddered at that sound. You always hear the sirens, you never think it’s going to be for someone you love, someone whose life is so precious.
I stood there and waited for J, I called my mom in a panic not knowing what to do. She had as many questions as I did, and was completely terrified. In that moment, I felt horrible for calling her out of the blue while she was at work, and all I could tell her is that her granddaughter is not breathing and that’s all I know. I continued to sit there, and finally, I saw J’s truck. I ran to him in the parking lot, got in and we proceeded to follow the fire truck to the hospital. It seemed an eternity to get there. J was making phone calls and I called SB and told her what was going on, she tried to calm me, to tell me it was going to be OK, to tell me to pray. And I did, prayed so hard, harder than I ever have. But somehow I knew it was not going to be OK.
We finally arrived at the hospital. Walked into the ER. They immediately knew what we were there for. They walked us into this room off to the side. The charge nurse walked in followed behind her was the chaplain. J said, honey it’s just a precaution.. Precaution my ass! I remember just saying “no, no, no” over and over again. The nurse had these eyes, and this look.. eyes and a look that I see in every person that comes to know our story. Eyes and a look that are forever burned into my memories. She took my hand and began to talk. I know she was speaking in clear and concise sentences all I could hear were snippets. ‘She was warm’ ‘Aspirated’ ’30-45 minutes w/o a pulse’ ‘Trauma team waiting’ Somewhere within those sentences, those words forever changed my life, my legs gave out and I was on the floor. I was sobbing, I felt so sick to my stomach I wanted to throw up. I was sweating and shaking, inconceivable thoughts running through my head, my heart feeling ripped from my chest leaving it open for the world to kick at. “Do you want to see her?”
Slowly they picked me up, the chaplain started muttering words to us, I couldn’t understand him, it was all a jumble a maze of words escaping his mouth. I’m sure he was praying, praying with us, and for us. We walked what seemed the forbidden road, the path to a life I didn’t want any part of. As we walked, I could feel those eyes and those looks, they knew we were the parents of the tiny infant baby girl. We were the ones who were dealt these cards. They walked us into a room and there she was. A team of people surrounding her. Tubes in her mouth, her nose, patches all over her of where they were monitoring her vitals. They pulled a chair up right next to her and I sat with J standing at my side. I imagined it like you see in the movies or the miraculous stories you read in the paper. She would feel my touch and hear my voice, and open her eyes and it would be a medical mystery and we would be out of the hospital and back at home. But it didn’t happen like that. Her color had changed, her body lifeless. I reached for her hand hoping it would grab me back, but nothing. I caressed her hair and started talking to her, wishing her life back into her body, praying for a miracle, closing my eyes and opening them in hopes I would open my eyes and be at work. This was just a terrible terrible dream. But it wasn’t it was real. There was no response from her, they continued to do CPR, machines all around, medicine being injected into her IV. No response. I can remember just crying, telling her to come back to me, whispering in her ear, caressing her curls, holding her hand, looking up at the doctor and nurses willing them to bring her back. Somewhere in that time frame, the doctor reached across the gurney, across her body and placed his hand on mine. I peered up into his eyes, those eyes and that look as he spoke the words. “I’m so sorry honey, but the prognosis is not good.” I crumbled, up to that point I still had a smidgen of hope, a prayer left in me that she could come back to us. But the reality of it all was that she had gone too long without oxygen and it had been, as far as they knew, at least an hour without a pulse. J leaned down and whispered in my ear, tears in his eyes, pain in his voice, baby she’s gone.
Slowly the room dissipated, leaving a couple nurses, J, me and the chaplain in the room. Later I found out that the doctor looked to him once he told us the news. Looked at J to make the decision to stop. I couldn’t imagine being the one to give the OK to the doctor to let his baby girl go, to just stop. My heart kept breaking over and over as I sat there and stared at her. They asked me if I wanted to hold her, and I did. The green and white striped sweatshirt had been cut from her, her sweatpants in tatters beneath her. Only one sock she had left on. I remember J in and out of the room, I remember talking to people, telling the horrific story that my daughter is dead over and over. It was a sick and twisted game. It felt like mean joke. I held her, J held her. We cried, we cried together, we comforted each other, we held each other, we held her. We stared at her. A detective came in, told us, with those eyes, how sorry he was. And as protocol with any infant death there would be an investigation. There would be questioning, an autopsy, toxicology tests ran, that room was now a crime scene, her clothes were part of evidence, the tubes would have to stay, the wires would remain. I remember just nodding, I wanted to know what happened. She was so healthy, so perfect, reaching all her milestones, so happy… but here she was dead. And they had no clue why.
They would have to take pictures, take evidence, they were questioning the baby sitter and would question each of us individually, they questioned us as the ‘victims’ parents. We walked out of the room, I needed air, I needed to breathe something other than the walls of that hospital. We walked into the family room to be overwhelmed by the people that had to come to support us. We don’t have much out here, we just moved. But all of J’s buddies and supervisors from work came and they hugged us, some prayed with us. We went outside to breathe some air, to try to make some realistic sense out of everything. The pain was thriving inside me and I was numb one minute, angry the next. J’s cousin and wife came. And hugged us, talked with us. All the while the whole movie of the day replaying itself in my mind. We went back in to her room several times, after they cleaned up the area and had wrapped her up in the little sheet. I held her, her skin starting to grow cold and my heart and body giving in to the pain. I sat there with her, and I rocked her, the mommy rock. And I just talked to her. I touched her toes and her fingers, trying to take in every detail, every wrinkle, every roll. Stroked her hair and her eyes, never wanting to forget. I tried to smell her, only remnants of the hospital air left on her precious little body. J held her too, a daddy so broken holding and looking at his daughter in his arms. A picture that should only bring joy to my heart, instead it was pain and heartache. It was anger and hatred. It just wasn’t right. So the night continued on, we were each questioned individually, the events that had transpired from that Monday up until that day. We each got through that. They went in took pictures of her, took foot prints, hand prints, and took a lock of her hair. They placed all of these things into a little purple box.
The night was coming to an end. The moment of the goodbye slowly creeping closer. I dreaded this moment.. even though I didn’t spend every moment with her in that room, I knew she was close and I could go in and see her at any moment. In some twisted way, that made it a little OK. But leaving and going home, home to a house with no baby laughs, no crying, no bottles or dirty diapers, that was a nasty reality I didn’t want to face. That moment came though, and we had to say goodbye. I held her so close and so tight. I squeezed her and kissed her, rubbed her feet and her toes, twisted her fingers in mine, smoothed out her hair. I handed her to J, he than handed her to his cousin. It was like time froze in these moments. The reality of it all so far reached.. how could this be us? How could this be me? What did I do to get dealt these cards? It’s not fair, and it’s not right. She was only 7 1/2 months old. Well, I finally got to hold her one last time. I rocked her for the last time, hugged her for the last time, and kissed her for the last time. I told her I loved her and laid her on the bed. And than we walked out the doors with her to our backs, J and I hand in hand, and a little purple box. A little box, memories, pictures and videos, that’s all we have left our little Savanna.
Tabatha blogs at http://savannaswings.blogspot.com
You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org