Thursday, January 8, 2009

Her Story - a prolouge

When I was a teenager, I babysat for a family with two lovely girls and one little boy. The boy had the most unusual nickname "Buzzy". When I was in their home, I noticed the photo of one baby girl on the mother's nightstand.

Interesting, I thought. Which baby would rank the right to be there alone?

I asked the girls who that baby was. "Oh, that is Sarah."

Sarah? None of them are named Sarah. Who is she?

Sarah was their sister. She died of SIDS when she was only a few months old. Buzzy was born after Sarah, and he was put on a monitor to watch his breathing. He stopped breathing so many times that they nicknamed him "Buzzy" after the monitor's buzz which woke them so often.

Several years later, in nursing school, I picked the topic of SIDS for a pediatrics presentation. Besides the few basic facts and research into preventing SIDS, there was little to present from a nursing standpoint. When babies come in after SIDS, they are dead. There is little we can do.

I decided I would make this report more personal, and I phoned up this mother and asked if I might interview her about their experiences during and after Sarah's death. She very graciously agreed and I learned much of the suffering and accusations that families can go through after an infant suddenly dies. I did well on the presentation.

My only one thought through that was, "wow! I could never live through the death of one of my babies." If I had one prayer going into motherhood, it was that - don't let me have to live through this.

God does not always answer prayers the way we would like. I learned that the hard way. I also learned that in the times we think we will not survive, He will step in and carry us through it in ways we never thought.

Today, when I look back at the death of my daughter, I look back to a time of immense pain, but also to a time of immense comfort.

(no this is not a photo of her - we never got one)


Karis said...

I have never gone through this experience, but I ache with you anyway.

Becky Aguirre said...

I can relate that fear...seems like it would be a nightmare! And yet I do know that strength and comfort would be given me if/when that happens...So sorry that you have experienced that pain in your life...

Anonymous said...

It happened to my sister's first child. At their wedding they had received a voucher from an aunt for babysitting. It happened while they had gone out and the aunt was alone with the baby. What a nightmare to all involved.

Ellie said...

malianta - oh, how sad and awful! My daughter died before I saw her, but that would be tough to go through that!

My friend was in church nursery one Sunday, and because of her experience of her Sarah dying, she always scanned sleeping children. That one Sunday, another baby stopped breathing and was already blue and needing CPR. She was there, and she knew how to respond, and the baby was saved. It was a comfort to her in a small way to be able to save another even when she was unable to save her daughter.

A few years ago, I was in ER late at night with some scary complications to a drug, and while we were there, a family came in whose baby had been found not breathing in the crib.

From two curtains away, we listened to the whole events play out from the resuscitation attempts to the arrival of the organ donor cart. The worst was when the cart went away, wheels squeaking in the silence of the late night ER.

Only then did the mother break down into sobs.

I lay there on my cot listening to her sobbing. Nurses tried to come in and deal with me, but their eyes were red, too. (My husband worked in the hospital, so we knew these nurses.)

Finally, I said, "unless I am dying right now, let me out - I need to go home and hug my babies. I need to do that right now." I got permission, and my husband just wrapped me up in the hospital sheets and carried me home. We just needed to go home and see our kids.

Those sobs still play in my head at times, along with the sounds of the night, and the sniffles of the nurses trying hard to go on and cope.