Monday, February 15, 2010

One Year

I was working on President's Day 2009. I remember calling and checking on Zar and Charlotte at home. I remember Charlotte was sick, and I kept telling Zar to thump her back, giver her an albuterol spa treatment, get some fluid in her tummy. It wasn't busy at work, which was lucky, or maybe I should say a blessing, because at around 1 pm I suddenly announced I was going home. I said I just felt like I needed to be with Charlotte. I said she wasn't really sick, just a cold, but I needed to go be with her. I assured everyone she was fine, and I left.
At home I put Charlotte in her bucket bath, a bizarre blue tub shaped like a mop bucket I bought on sale at a baby store, which was perfect for a little girl who had trouble sitting on her own in a tub. I scrubbed her back and her hair and she smiled and looked relaxed. I kissed her face and rubbed lotion on her and put her in her piggy jammies and held her.
And then the fever hit, and the dropping oxygen sats.
And that was it. That night Charlotte was diagnosed with RSV which relieved me, because I was always, ALWAYS plagued by a fear of heart failure which I knew would be a long, difficult process for all of us.
That week went quickly, and Charlotte got better then worse again, and then I was driving to the hospital at 2 am after a call from her dad saying she was going to the PICU after all.
And I knew. This was it. I remember giving her a bed bath with the nurse, and she was so tired and so small, and I rubbed her back and thought frantically "Remember this!! This is the last bath." Her room was dim and cozy with blinking lights from vitals screens and from baby toys, tiny notes of music from a crib too often surrounded by high pitched alarms.
The night before was so dark. Her roommates were cleared out when we returned from dinner. In the PICU, parents must leave for an hour between 7 and 8, both am and pm, and during that time Charlotte had turned. Her room was huge and empty, and we sat in the corner clinging together on tall stools staring at Charlotte's swollen hand just visible between the working doctors. Those were the worst moments.
That night was hell.
And strangely, the dawn came with all the dawn implies. Charlotte was sedated, and receiving all the breathing assistance a child can receive, and still, her little body wasn't using the supplied oxygen and pressure. She didn't need it. Not because she was okay, or even improving, but because she was done with those sad awkward tubes and lines and needles and pumps. Charlotte was ready for wings.

I know I have written this post before, probably in very similar words, but that's okay. During this week I know I will be reliving those moments frequently. I cannot believe it's been a year.

Today I worked another President's Day, and again Zar was home with our daughter. I called and checked on them, and Ella was well, looking at books and tearing up magazines and eating like she had never seen a banana before. And I thought about Charlotte, Home, with her Father. And I stayed at work, because I knew Ella was well. And unlike last President's Day, Charlotte is well, too. And it's a comforting thought, finally knowing that All is Well.


Shannon said...

I love you Erin. I miss Charlotte. I miss her knowing smile and eyes, her crazy hair, and her love for violence. She was a once in a lifetime kind of girl- just like her mom. I have been so proud of you this year. You have faced Hell- head on- like a champ. You are in my prayers this week.

Heather said...


Lacey said...

What a beautiful post! I remember that day too because Jax was in the hospital with RSV, and I was wanting to take him home. Thats when I got a frantic call from Julie telling me not to take him home yet, that Charlotte had just passed away from RSV. I'll never forget it.
Your new header picture is so dang cute!

Kelly said...

((Hugs)) to you during this difficult anniversary time.

Anonymous said...

What a special remembrance of that darling girl. We all loved Charlotte and none of us will ever be the same because of her. She had the greatest parents in the world!

Much love, Carolyn H.

Becky said...

(crying) ERIN! That header picture is BEAUTIFUL - all the symbolism. Gives me chills. The beads, the lollipop, the picture in the frame - you're amazing...the way you capture thoughts, pictures, emotions, etc. Love you all the way from NH! xoxo

Allison said...

THinking about you and that week. I remember coming to see her that Wednesday. That poor lady had just been attacked by her chimpanzee and we talked about how all the huge pics of jungle animals around the room were a little scary. Charlotte was wearing her rainbow shirt and being so good and so patient. What a perfect little girl. I can't believe that was a year ago either. Wow. I'm happy that she still seems so close. LOVE YOU

S said...

Wow...that was a beautiful. Hugs.

Sunny said...

Here from LFCA to abide with you.

Saying a prayer for your angel.

K said...

Thinking of dear sweet Charlotte on this day with you.


Melody said...

Here from LFCA and just sending love. Your love and strength are beautiful to behold. Your daughters are so lucky to have a mom like you.

Marsha said...

You have such a way with words. It is amazing to read your thoughts. I love it!

tireegal68 said...

Your words brought tears to my eyes. The way you described your last week with her was beautiful and reverential. I felt like I was sitting there with you. Charlotte sounds like such a wonderful and lively spirit. I am sending up a prayer for Charlotte and also for you and Ella your husband. ((HUGS))

(another) karen said...

stumbled here (for the first time) from Stirrup Queen's Lost and Found. I have only had a chance to read part of Charlotte's beautiful story, and just wanted to say I am thinking of you. My heart breaks for your loss. My mind is inspired by your courage.

Wishing you peace,

B said...

Thinking of your beautiful first daughter today.

She really is beautiful.

I'm so sad you had to say goodbye to her. Returning home from work to hold a daughter in a bath is heartbreaking, but a little blessing indeed.

I'm glad Ella is eating bananas.

peace to you


{ Bethany } said...

Thank you for sharing your story...

Love you! *hug*

alliemich said...

Erin I saw your blog address today on an email fromyou to yahoo bt groups. I have always wondered about charlotte ever since I read your signature bit didn't want to intrude and ask about your loss: I am Allie who wrote you commending your valiant pro choice stand with your current pregnancy. I have beenreading your blog all night and SO admire your strength and faith to get pg again and most especially to decide to keep this new baby girl. I can't imagine for one second both how hard and how blessed your life has been the past 5 years. Charlotte looked so happy and most importantly so loved during her short precious life and I know you are forever changed since her arrival and rebirth into new life with our Father. I will pray most earnestly for this new baby and your adoption as well. I hope I cam have half the strength you have had for the rest of our ttc journey and beyond. May God bless you in a VERY SPECIAL way tonight, tomorrow, and always.