Mom to Lathan Neal

September 20-October 6, 2010

Mom to Baby A Black, Babies D&E Black 

May 2005, September 2009

Jacksonville, Florida


My whole life I had wanted a baby girl. But I wanted a boy first to be the big brother to look over his little sister. The first time I was pregnant, I was young (18) and very excited; it was planned. After being told me my baby looked perfect on ultrasound, and I got my first picture of him (I didn’t know the sex I just had a feeling), I miscarried that night at home.


Two months later, I was pregnant again and later had a healthy baby boy named Jimmy. I still wanted my dream, my little princess. So we tried for a girl. 13 months apart from his big brother, healthy baby boy Kyle was born, thank goodness since I had preeclampsia with both of them. We definitely had our hands full with two boys so we decided to get the 5 -year IUD Mirena. A little over two years went by, and we were ready to have a baby sister. We were told after Mirena that we can try right away. Which we did, only to miscarry twins 2 months later. We later got pregnant again and were so happy when I made it all the way to 20 weeks with no problems! Excited to find out the sex of our baby (hoping for pink things), we found out I had complete placenta previa. And that we were having another boy. I was so sad, upset, disappointed and actually said the regretful words that I tear up when I think about it every single day… “But I don’t want another boy.”

I didn’t take the placenta previa thing seriously because I was given a pretty good chance of it moving and told I’d just have to have C-section. At the time, I didn’t know the seriousness of the situation. I wish I had. After five scary, serious bleeds, many hospital stays and weeks of bedrest later, I delivered my handsome baby boy by emergency C-section at 29 weeks, Lathan Neal.

He was beautiful. I loved him so much and was so over the whole wanting a girl thing and had accepted I was the mom of three boys. I was more than okay with that. After eventful days in the NICU, Lathan was doing awesome. He came off of his ventilator and was completely on my breastmilk feedings, no more IVs.

On the night of October 5, 2010 I went to visit him like normal and the doctor said he needed to talk to me and told me he thought Lathan had something called Necrotizing Enterocolitis. I had no idea what that was–he explained it as an infection, and he was going to start him on antibiotics and give him a blood transfusion that I couldn’t stay there for, so I was told to leave. I was thinking tomorrow October 6, 2010 I would get to bathe him for the first time by myself (they said 2 days prior)!

I called the NICU the next morning to let them know not to bathe him and that I would be there around 11:30 after picking up my other son, only to be told by my doctor (that had the last 2 days off) that he walked into a battlefield this morning and doesn’t know what went wrong–Lathan was doing so good and he came back and now this. He said my husband and I needed to be there right away. My husband somehow beat me there from work, as soon as we walked in the nurse put her arm around me and pulled me to his bedside said I didn’t need to scrub in (hhich was odd) and she said, “Just talk to him, let him hear your voice. Miracles happen, and the doctor will be in to talk with you soon.”

At this point I felt ambushed, didn’t know what was going on and was very confused. So I started telling him, “Mommy loves you; your brothers are so excited to meet you; you have to get better and be strong so you can come home with us and see them!” I kissed his tiny face. The monitors sounded and started going off. The nurses (about six of them were around us) started calling for the doctor. His heart stopped. They told us we had to go in the hallway for what seemed like forever. Twenty minutes later no one came and got us, so we went back in. They said they got him stable again and were transferring him to a different hospital. We couldn’t go in the ambulance with him, but we could meet them there.

As were walking up, the chaplain met us in the hallway (at the time I had no idea what a chaplain was) and sat us in a room in memory of another baby. We sat there for almost 2 hours waiting for the doctors to come talk to us, and we couldn’t see him until then. The doctors came in and said his heart stopped two times in the ambulance, and as soon as Lathan got to the hospital, they cut a small incision in the bottom right side of his belly and discovered his infected bowels had already burst and was throughout his bloodstream. So all they could do was surgery that could not be performed until he was stable again.

Again because of them saying he needed surgery I THOUGHT he would eventually be okay. We were allowed to see him but were warned his tiny body has been through a lot. (I thought okay? Huh?) I had no idea until I saw my baby boy how much his body was going through. The doctors told me he was in tremendous pain even though they had been giving him medicine.

After about an hour or so of me singing to him, I asked the doctor, “Do you think he is going to be okay, though?” She replied, “No, I’m very sorry.” At that point I lost it and felt like I had no knees. And literally just collapsed crying on the floor. The nurse told me miracles happen all the time–just let him hear your voice, and let him know you are here. So I did exactly that. I sang and sang and sang and didn’t stop singing or didn’t take my hands off of him for 8-9 hours straight until my throat hurt. “Twinkle Twinkle how time flies, slowly in the story skies, in my heart you’ll always stay to sleep and dream the night away.”

After seeing him suffer and his limbs and tiny fingers start to turn blue and being told all of his organs aren’t getting oxygen because his BP isn’t high enough to properly circulate blood and oxygen to all parts of his body, I thought about how long we were going to make him go through this. Then I asked–How long does this go on for is there anything else we can do what happens? The doctor replied, “As long as you wish, it is totally up to you. He has a machine breathing for him, he has a machine pumping his heart, his BP will not go up–we have given all the medicine we can to try and make it go up, so it is completely up to you guys.” I asked about the pain thing again, and she said, “Yes he is in a lot of pain.” And that just made my heart hurt. I didn’t want him suffering just to prolong his time here for my sake. So we made the very difficult decision to turn the machines off.

I cant help feel guilty for saying I didn’t want another boy. I feel like God heard me say that and took him from me, and I honestly hate myself for saying something so evil. I am thankful for all the time I had with Lathan, and I will take that over no time at all with him. I think of him everyday and night. We wish he were here with us, of course. NEVER GIVE UP HOPE!
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  1. It was not your fault! Your son was lucky to have you.

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