Baby On Your Six



Thursday, May 31, 2007

One Year

One whole year.

It's amazing that it's been a full year without you, Aaron. At 12:44, one year ago today, your tiny heart that struggled so much to beat under all the fluid you had retained since your surgery almost 2 weeks earlier, finally stopped. You were in your mother's arms at that moment. I was bent over you, sobbing, with so much of your family gathered around, sending you off.

I know it's probably hard to believe, but the morning you died contained both the single worst, and greatest moments of my life. We lost you, but when you squeezed my finger that morning, right after I told you I loved you, I was so elated. That squeeze had purpose, and meaning, and I don't care what anyone says - you were responding to me. I know in my heart that if you could have spoken in that moment you would have. But since you couldn't, you squeezed my finger twice to say "I love you too, Dad."

Since that day, your mother and I have struggled very hard with our grief - at times nearly losing ourselves to it, and in it. But your grandparents, aunts, uncles, great-grandparents, cousins, and others have never let us slip too far. You would have been such a lucky little boy if you'd made it, Aaron. So many people were ready to love you, and so many people still do.

Since that day, we've also struggled very hard to honor and remember you in ways that will let other people know about you. Your mother has spoken several times to groups about pre-eclampsia and premature birth. We've organized a very successful March of Dimes team. We've collected gifts for the children's ward at the hospital. Throughout the last year, everything we've done, everything we've said, and everything we've stood for has been done with one thought in the back of our minds - "How can we honor our son in this? How can we be an example, for him?"

I hope we've succeeded. I hope something, anything really, positive came out of our losing you.

I love you, Aaron. I love my son, and I'm very proud of you for the short time you were here. You fought so hard. Harder than I ever did for anything. I only hope I can make you proud of me.

Love,
Daddy

52 Weeks

At some point today, you will all be hearing from both Josh and I, Josh said he'd be posting later. But here is my take on what today is, in normal fashion I feel best writing a letter to Aaron...

Dear Aaron,

It's been a year now...a whole year. I am still not sure how I feel about today. Sometimes I am relieved...relieved we have made it through the "firsts" of everything. But sometimes my heart breaks that we have done the same. In counseling daddy and I were told that for some reason after that one year mark things don't hurt quite as much, but sometimes that hurt it the biggest reminder I have of you. I like to do happy things to remember you to, but I worry that now as one year passes memories will fade. The memories of today are so crisp in my mind, so are the memories of yesterday. Yesterday marks the one year anniversary of one of the best days we had with you...today the worst. I can see daddy and I walking into the hospital and having the conversation with the doctor. We had already told the doctors, that as long as they were supporting and treating you we were fine with whatever level of support they needed to give you, but the moment they were doing nothing but keeping you alive with the machines that would be enough. It sounds like there is not much of a difference, but believe me there is. That day we got there and I could even tell the "fight" was gone. You were my little fighter. Every day your eyes would open or you would wiggle around or something when you heard daddy or I come in. That day when I said good morning to you I got no response from you for the first time since you were born.

After our discussion with the doctor we waited. Grandma Pam practically flew out of the NICU to go make phone calls to people. We waited for Grammy Vicki and PopPop Jack to get there and Pastor Al. Everyone else was on their way to be there for daddy and I. So there we were...waiting, holding you and making sure you felt enough love for your lifetime. I never told many people this, because I never wanted them to think it was weird, but after the took you off the ventilator and put you in my arms it was my favorite time that I got to hold you. I didn't have to be careful of cords, wires, tubes etc. I could just hold you like a normal baby. Hold you, love you and kiss you. I love knowing that at least for a short time in your life you got to feel me hold you like that. Leaving the hospital was awful and weird, but nothing helped more than to be surrounded by some many people that loved us. The nurses promised us that they would not leave you alone until someone came to get you, a promise they absolutely kept to us. One nurse told us later that after we left, many of them took some time with you to say goodbye to you. Hearing that meant the world to me.

I have never had such mixed feelings about a day like I do today. Never. I miss you terribly. I hate how one year ago was the last time I saw you...touched you...kissed you, but my love for you is just as strong as it was and will always remain. It brings me joy to think of the things we have done in the past year to honor and remember you and make sure that more and more people know about you. As I have said before, I am and always will be the proudest mommy in the whole world and love to be known as Aaron's Mommy!

I love you baby boy. Happy one year heaven day! I hope even if were sad here you are celebrating in heaven. I know even on the sad days I still celebrate your life each and every day.

Love always and forever,
Mommy

XOXO

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

51 Weeks

Please forgive the missing 2 weeks of posts. I have been having issues logging in, which seem to have been fixed. I have the letters written but have opted to not post them...they are a little more private that normal and May has been a bit of a rough month. Anyway, I have chosen to share this weeks...

Dear Aaron,

Hi baby boy! 51 weeks...it seems so surreal. In a way I am relieved. Relieved to have survived this first year. I am not relieved however that it will soon be almost a year since daddy and I have touched you, held you and seen you in real life rather than pictures. We still have the little lamb you were holding the day that you died and a blanket that we had wrapped around you. I have kept the lamb in a baggie and they are both in the box they gave us at the hospital. They have kept you scent. On your birthday daddy and I took them out again and the scent has faded very little. It brought both of us to tears. Something about that always gets me. I love to smell it, but it just gets to me (in a good way I think). May has been a tough month for me...just knowing that one year ago at this moment you were still alive. Every day I can almost always recall what was going on that day last year. Last year at this time we were just desperately trying to get you to recover from surgery...and this week also would mark the "life threatening phlegm wad". That for some reason still makes me giggle, I guess because they didn't tell me too much about what was going on until after it had happened and we knew you were fine. I still say OUR child would do something like that.

The one thing I will never forget is how caring people were in the NICU. I know I have said it before, but those doctors and nurses meant the world to your daddy and I. Everyone did. Here we are approaching Memorial Day weekend. Last year I would say that weekend was great and terrible at the same time. Things were so touch and go with you...the days (or hours) were either really good or really bad. We had many different people visiting at different points over the weekend. You had a lot of cheerleaders...especially on memorial day. I will never forget that day for as long as I live. The laughter, tears, hugs, stories...it will live on always in my memory and it was one of the first times I got to show you off a little to people who did not meet you before. I was one proud Momma. I know I've said this before, but I truly believe you may have been ready to leave us on Memorial Day, but you pulled through and allowed us to have the best days we had the whole time you were alive the day after. I still can never thank you enough for that day.

I love you Aaron! More than there are stars in the sky!

XOXO,

Mommy

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In the News...

So...this story popped up back in January about a then-18-year-old student at Drexel University in Philadelphia who was suspected of killing her newborn child, and placing the body of her baby boy in the trunk of her car. Yesterday, the girl was arraigned, after a coroner determined that the boy was indeed born alive, and lived for about 2 minutes before dying of asphyxiation.

The suspicion now, as I understand it, is that the girl's mother may have assisted her in...ending the baby's short life. And not knowing what to do at that point, contacted her daughter's father, who then contacted a lawyer.

Which brings us to now: the girl is facing a whole litany of charges in relation to the death of her son, and I suspect her mother will be facing some charges as well. Situations like this always drive me crazy - how do people this sick, and this twisted get to snuff out the life of their child, or throw their baby into a dumpster? Especially when there are families out there who can't have a child, or who lose a child through no fault of their own? How many times does a news anchor need to remind us that Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey (among other states) ALL have a Safe Haven law - if you don't want your baby, take it to a hospital, police station, or firehouse inside it's first 28 days of life, and you can leave your child with no questions asked and walk away. If you're too screwed up to raise the child you brought into the world through your own irresponsibility, then at least be responsible enough to give that child to someone who WILL care for it. You know, instead of suffocating your baby, and throwing them in the back of your VW bug.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

48 Weeks

Note: DrummerWife tried to post this last week, but couldn't get logged into Blogger. She's continued to have difficulty, so I'm posting this in her stead, only 5 days late. Better late than never, eh?

Dear Aaron,

Hi peanut! Happy 48 week Heaven Day! One year ago on this date you were baptized. It was also probably the second saddest day of my life. I thought it may be the saddest, but the day you went to heaven topped this day. We had you baptized on this day because it was the day that I had to leave the hospital…just daddy and I without you. No mother ever wants to have to leave her baby at the hospital, especially one as tiny and as fragile as you. I was scared to death. So scared in fact that I would not even get dressed for your baptism. I went down to the NICU in my pajamas and my robe. I didn't remember that, but whenever I look at the picture of daddy, Pastor Al and I during your baptism I asked Daddy and Grandma Pam why they "let" me go in my robe. They told me that I would not get dressed. They asked me if I wanted to and I said no, because I was afraid the nurses would make me go home then.

I think I cried harder than I ever have that day. I think I cried harder that day than on the day you died. The day you died was very so surreal I definitely cried a lot, but eventually I just kind of got cried out. That day I cried the whole way home…there was nothing daddy could say or do. There were a lot of days leaving the hospital where daddy had to get me to leave while I was crying. Leaving you was a terrible part of the day. I would have taken up residence if the hospital had let me.

Aside from all of that you baptism was still very nice. Pastor Al did such a nice job and even though it was only the three of us I will never forget it. That day we even talked about how once we brought you home we would kind of do some sort of dedication and basically be able to share that moment with family and friends. Anyway, peanut, I thought about you much of the day today and spent some time remembering your baptism. I love you…more than there are stars in the sky.

Hugs and kisses,
Mommy

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