Monday, March 31, 2008

David's Story

With all that's been going on lately and all the plans we've been making, I've been thinking about the day David was born. I have so many thoughts and memories about everything that happened, but I realized that I never shared the story of that day as I said I would. Plus, I thought it might be a good idea to link all the different posts about our experience with him together in one place. Just know that this an attempt to record some of the details, so it can be pretty vivid.

We Have Someone for You to Meet

A Little Insight

The Countdown

Almost There

Saying Goodbye

David's Photo Announcement

Reflections on an Open Wound

Why do simple things turn out to be so hard sometimes?

Happy Birthday David

That Day- the long version

At an early hour on Monday, February 19 we awoke because we were sleeping at my parents' house. We had made the trip--first to Chapel Hill for pre-op stuff on Sunday--and then to their house to spend the night since it was closer, and they could keep Jonathan. We were supposed to be at the hospital by 8:00 am. Then there was the anticipation. There were so many fears in my mind about what would happen once David was born, but also just the idea of having the c-section, although it wasn't all new to me.

When we arrived at labor and delivery, they sent us to a room and gave me the lovely gown to change into. This was a period of much anxiety as nurses asked questions and attempted to start IVs. It was an unusual experience since there were so many people around--those learning on many different levels.

Somewhere in all of this, I met the doctors who would be doing my surgery as well as people from the NICU. We discussed the fact that we wanted to give David a chance, but we didn't want to go to great lengths to simply sustain him for a little while. I met the anesthesiologist and talked about my previous experience and concerns with her. She was great about answering questions.

When I went back to the operating room, it was crazy how many people were there. It was a little bit overwhelming to see a place prepared for them to do my surgery. Things seemed to go smoothly, and when they were ready, Justin was allowed in. Having the spinal was a very strange feeling, but it wasn't so bad.

Things moved along, and David was born around 9:45. He never cried. I knew he most likely wouldn't be able to cry because of the under-development of his lungs. He was intubated and had a swarm of people taking care of him in the corner of the room. I was trying to get a look, but he was surrounded. They came over at some point (things from the surgery on are fuzzy because of the medication) and said that things weren't looking good. He wasn't really getting air in at all that they could hear--or something of that nature. Then they told me he was stable, so they moved him to the NICU.

It seemed to take a while for them to finish up the surgery. I wish someone had taken more time with the staples since it took forever for the wound to heal because the outer layer of skin wasn't pulled together. I also kept feeling dizzy because my blood pressure had dropped so low.

When I went back out to recovery, there seemed to be lots of checking things off, recording numbers and generally recording how I was doing. Justin came back in to wait with me. I was getting all sorts of antibiotics through the IV. Apparently, I was bleeding moderately, and they kept checking things since my blood pressure was staying so low. Finally, they drew blood for a test to see if I might need a blood transfusion, but then my BP started improving before they got the results.

At some point in all of this, someone came back from the NICU to let us know David had made it and he was stable. At that point it seemed to me that we could have a waiting game, although we still didn't have much information. We hear that when David was brought out to go to the NICU, Jonathan was able to see him, and he knew it was David.

After a while, I was feeling my body again--even my toes. I was taken to a room on the maternity floor to get settled in. I can't really remember who was with me at that point, and there was all sorts of buzz with the nurses getting things switched over. It seemed like I had been in the room maybe 30 minutes or so, and Justin was with me when the NICU doctor, Dr. South, came in to give us an update. I think this is where we learned that David had been examined by a cardiologist and that his AVSD was very severe. We also learned that he may not have been able to see.

While we were talking about what to expect, Dr. South got a page and left the room. When he came back, he told us that the vents had caused a pneumothorax or a hole in David's lung. He suggested we come down to the NICU to spend time with him and talk about how to proceed.

I was wheeled down when I should have been lying in bed. We learned that, pretty much, we had to decide how things would end. A tube could be placed in David's chest to help remove the air that was escaping from his lung. That would give him maybe 12 more hours. We knew we didn't want to draw things out needlessly and put David through any unnecessary pain. At this point, I just kept looking at him and getting frustrated because I just couldn't think clearly due to the medication and blood loss. I couldn't seem to put anything into words. I was angry because I had left my camera in the car, and I knew I wanted to have the photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep I had spoken with to come and do photos for us. I just wasn't able to discuss rationally how to get that done.

In the end, we decided to call Aimee, the photographer, and have them bring David up to my room. Someone would come by to see if we wanted him to be removed from the ventilator before they brought him to us or if we wanted him to be on a manual ventilator.

Someone was called to wheel me back to my room, and then Justin took anyone who wanted to visit David into the NICU. I wish I had been able to spend more time with him there--to share that with him.

I guess the lady who wheeled me back to my room wasn't a nurse. I don't know who she was, but I'll never forget that. She wheeled in and stopped a few feet from the bed fully expecting me to get up and walk to the bed. I told her I couldn't walk over and asked if she could push me closer. I couldn't seem to explain to her why I couldn't walk. I mean I still had an IV and catheter and all. When I finally stood up unassisted, she just said, "You're bleeding. You need to go to the bathroom." I told her I couldn't. When I asked her if she could get a nurse to help me, she looked at me like I was crazy and left.

Then I climbed into the bed the best I could and pressed the nurse call button. I melted into tears and no one came. I tried to call several times, but something was wrong. I could hear them, but they couldn't hear me. I just lay there crying, angry, and waiting for someone--anyone--to come.

It may have been 10 minutes or it may have been 2, but finally Justin's mom came by and was able to get a nurse. They helped me to clean up and get back into bed. I don't remember much at that point. I guess family came in, but I'm not sure just who. The photographer arrived and someone from the NICU came by. We decided we wanted them to bring David to us on a manual vent. I was afraid he would slip away before I had a chance to hold him.

They did bring him with various people taking turns helping him to breathe. Everyone who wanted to hold him was able to while Aimee snapped away. Then everyone left and Justin and I were able to spend time with David. Jonathan visited for a little while, but he was so worn out, confused, and uninterested. After a while, we had the doctor remove the vent, and we snuggled David and talked to him. Dr. South left, and he said he'd come back to check David's heartbeat. Aimee finished up with the photos and we thanked her. Justin and I talked to David, held him, and prayed for him.

After a while, we let our family come back in and some chose to hold him one last time. He hung on for quite a while after he was removed from the vent, and finally Dr. South was unable to find a heartbeat. David passed away in his daddy's arms. He was with us for about 6 hours, and I prayed that he would feel enough love in that time for a lifetime. I prayed for his little soul. I like to think of him in heaven beholding the face of our savior and look forward to the day when we will praise Him together.


  1. I'm sorry that at this difficult time there were not caring, qualified, sensitive staff surrounding you. I hope the survey you filled out for the hospital recounted the treatment you received from the nurses.

  2. Oh {{Crystal}},
    Thank you so much for sharing this story. David and you and Justin were a huge part of my healing about Joseph...and I just wanted you to know that.

  3. It is pretty amazing to hear your side of the story... It would be interesting to hear the view of everyone that was there. Because the fact that what you saw, heard, felt, and experienced was such a different view for myself who was there. It's crazy when you sit back and think it all over again because there obviously was so much that happened that day. I was where you weren't and you were where I wasn't and then there were times that we were together. It's nice to gain insight to all that happened that day. We all miss David and I too hope that he felt all the love we had to give. Love you guys...

  4. Thanks to everyone for bearing with me and my posts. When I realized I had never gotten it out there, I really felt like I should fill in some of the gaps about how everything happened. I have to say that we did feel blessed because the decisions we had to make weren't as difficult as they could have been. Also, I should say that overall, the staff at the hospital were wonderful to us. I just happened to get caught in the whirlwind with an orderly who didn't know the situation and a defective call button. I promise to come back with some happy thoughts very soon.

  5. You did a great job of telling the story of David's birth. I never quite could understand how you handled it all so well. My heart was breaking for you and Justin and you were at peace with it all. I am so thankful that we got to hold little David and kiss him. I told him that Nana loves him and he smiled. That is when Aimee took a picture. I emailed her later letting her know that I would always cherish that photo. That is a memory that nothing can take from me. I could have held him the whole time but I felt for you and Justin because I knew you wanted and needed to hold him as long as was possible.
    From my end of the day the staff really was wonderful. Of course I did not know about the circumstances of your getting back to the room until it was over. From my end the hospital staff was wonderful and kept us as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. We moved around a lot and the day seemed to last forever but now it seems like only minutes.They kept snacks and drinks close by for us as we took over their snack room and made us feel welcomed instead of a bother that you normally feel like.
    They did let us look at David as he was being wheeled to be checked out. Jonathan got to see his little brother. He was so beautiful and peaceful looking. Even though our crowd was blocking halls they were all patient with us. Dr. South was so patient and sensitive to all of our feeling at that time. He came out in the hall one of the times after he had checked David and told us that it was great to see a family stand by you at a time like this. I told him that I appreciated the way he was being so caring to you all and that I didn't know how he could do a job like his, knowing that there is nothing he could do to help. He told me that the way he did was he had two kids at home and he gave them an extra hug each night when he got home. To me that was one of the most wonderful days of my life but also one of the most heartbreaking days of my life but knowing that one day I will be able to hold David again makes it all bearable. Things like this makes you appreciate life and the family you have left even more. I love you all and always will. Nana

  6. For me it started off stressed because we got lost and were late. My day was much like nana's, but I did spend more time in the room with you while they were all in NICU. I was the person that you couldn't remember who came in to be with you. I too remember the waiting and moving from room to room but I kept most of my time busy playing spiderman memory with the little J. I'll never forget Jonathan's comment in the hall when they wheeled David out, "That's David, he came out of my mommy's tummy and he tooks his shoes off!" I also remember waiting in NICU when Justin came in to tell us about the hole in his lungs and that we didn't have much time. I then made the trekk to the parking deck to retrieve your camera, helped you put on makeup to cover the redness,finally got Jody to touch David (We all know that he was very uncomfortable) and taking little J to the giftshop to pick out a gift for David, the bright green and purple dinosaur. He was so soft. Most of all I got to hold and love a very special little guy that will forever be in my heart and certainly changed my life. Just thought I'd share a few thoughts. Love you!

  7. What an amazing story. Thanks for sharing. God Bless you all.


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