Monday, April 20, 2009


In one hour it will be the 21st, and it will have been 2 months since Charlotte passed away.
Two months ago I was sitting in the corner of PICU room 31/32 with Zar and trying to see Charlotte. She was surrounded by doctors in blue, bright lights and wires. Occasionally I could see her foot, gleaming white. Or her hair. Or her hand.
I already knew Charlotte was not much longer for this world. I had known earlier when the nurse had sent us away so she could be intubated. I had asked the respiratory therapist to take a picture of me kissing her. As we walked away from her room, I ran back and took one last look. I tried to tell myself I was being silly and over-dramatic.
The intubation went well, her best ever, actually. I let myself be relieved. But at dinner, during the hour they kick you out of the PICU, Zar had said we should call and check on her. I didn't want to. I knew this was the...last...moment of normalcy. Relative normalcy.
And then we were sitting in the corner watching the doctors work. And try to place an arterial line. And a PICC line. And hook her up to 8 different syringe pumps. And then a ventilator.
Our family came that night. They were encouraged but I stood shaking my head. Why do I have to be so negative?
I went to the sleep room and lay down for awhile. I thought of her birth, I thought of her early sleepy days, I thought of the first time she looked me in the eye and the first time she smiled, and laughed. I remembered the therapist saying early on that a goal for her would be "to hold a toy at midline" and even that, even just that, made me think "She will never do that. "
But she did. She held a toy at midline. She sat up and looked at books and kicked over drinks within her reach just to be funny. She was amazing. I said her name into the dark.

Zar came to get me.

She just couldn't keep her oxygen up. Suddenly she was dropping like a rock. Her oxygen sats dropped to the 30s, and Zar and I were on either side of the bed, holding her hands, saying goodbye. The doctor said "Let's try one more thing" and I reluctantly let her hand go.
Out in the hall I made that horrible sound that mothers make. My knees buckled and I went limp in my husbands arms and wailed, and wailed, and wailed, and I hate to think of the other mothers that had to hear me that night.
When it was over Charlotte was on a new ventilator, and satting higher, and I thought "Why did we pull her back again? She just wants to go!"
I sat at her bedside til dawn and Zar went to the dark sleep room. At 7 am, when the nurses have to send you away for an hour, our nurse said I could stay, but that I really should get some sleep as it could be a long, long day. Charlotte wasn't coming back. We all knew it. But the last hours can be the longest.
I went to the sleep room. I woke up Zar. We talked.
We decided.
We called our family.
Maybe, soon, I'll talk more about what happened after that. When the night was over.
But not tonight.

14 comments:

survivingbaby said...

I don't know what to say. I know it's hard for you to talk about. I know it's hard for you to share how bad this hurts you. Thank you for being brave. You are an amazing mom. I'm so sorry.

Amanda said...

You amaze me. Every. Single. Day. I think about Boofus every single day. Her smile, her laugh, her beautiful face. I can't imagine how badly you miss her. I can't imagine how bad you ache for her. I can't imagine how you function. But you do. And you amaze me. You are the best friend I have ever had and I love you dearly. I don't know what else to say. I am here.

Lacey said...

Thanks for sharing your private stories, it does help some of us. You are stronger than anyone I know and I just hope I can be as strong.

Our Family said...

Erin you are so strong, I have found so much streghten from reading yiour posts, thanks so much for posting your thoughts. Shirlene

The Mom said...

I'm new to your blog (from ICLW). I only had time to read some of your posts - I can relate to your having a mix of sadness from losing your child and happiness from your surviving child. I feel like some days I ride some sort of evil roller coaster - sad that I lost my SleepingAngel and then cracking up from my TinyDancer and then sad, happy, repeat.
Thanks for sharing your story!
kate

Barefoot said...

I'm new to your blog via ICLW and am amazed by your strength. Your daughters are beautiful!

Beautiful Mess said...

Thank you, Erin, for your comment on my blog. I can't imagine your pain or your path. But please know my thoughts are with you and your beautiful family.
Hugs,
*ICLW*

Michelle said...

Erin-

I just saw Charlotte's name on Christian's Beach (and the great photo of it on your blog). I'm so glad you were able to do this. As soon as I saw the web site I thought of you and your sweet baby girl. So beautiful.

Shannon said...

Erin- I love you- more than you know. There are no words that I could say that are adequate enough. Just know that I am here for you- whevever and for whatever, and I am so grateful that I got to be a part of Charlotte's life.

Becky said...

Erin...my heart aches for you. I was just thinking about this very story, and the ending as well - it still brings me to tears. I cried for you yesterday as I sat and held my RSV infected child. Know that you are in my thoughts.

Rach said...

I am so sorry that your little Charlotte is no longer with you. Thank you for sharing her with us.

Rach
www.warmestwhispers.blogspot.com

April said...

My heart is so tender for you as you miss your sweet girl. Thanks for sharing her with us.

We have Angel Wings said...

Thinking of you. Wishing I could wrap my arms around you, squeeze you tight and cry with you.

I'm so very sorry. You are brave and beautiful and an amazing mom.

Terry Family said...

You are so brave and strong, Erin. Thank you for sharing your experiences, as I'm sure it's so very difficult. Thank you for being so amazing.