This was my baby, I gave birth to him-only 13 short days ago he had to stay on this earth with me. This was not fair, this was not how things were suppose to happen! I was devastated. Tina told me that she had spoken this morning with Dr. Jenkins about letting me hold Carter and he had agreed. Mike called our families to let them know the news and then to have our moms come as soon as possible. I got to hold Carter, for the first time in 4 days or so. I loved it and ate it up, I also couldn't control myself and was gasping for air in between sobbing. Mike was crying and my mom was not able to control herself as well. We even saw the nurses crying. I held him for as long as he would let me, which was about 5 minutes and then his body couldn't handle it anymore and he started d'Estating again and we had to place him back in his bed. Both of our families came and sat with us the whole day long. There was not a dry eye in the house, even Dr. Jenkins and the staff were having a hard time.
Dr. Jenkins came over many times talking to us about Carters digression. We knew that the end was coming, and that we were going to need to make the call on when it was time. I prayed and prayed and prayed that God would not make me have to say when I was done, because I wouldn't do that! This was my child and I would and could NEVER give up on him! We sat there through that night mare of a day and cried our eyes out and prayed our hearts out! This was not fair! This was our first baby, we are only 22/23-how could this be happening to us! Nothing had gone wrong my whole pregnancy and now my baby was dieing...WHY???!!!! I was never mad or upset with God, for I knew that he was not doing this to us out of spite or anger. This was Carters mission, I was his vessel to get him to this earth so that he could fulfill his eternal purpose, to gain a body and return to heaven to live with our Father in Heaven. As much as I didn't want to talk or think about it, this little boy was so completely perfect that he didn't need to go through this earthly life, he didn't need to struggle through all the mess the world has like the rest of us, he was perfect and his trial was coming to an end. He was successful!
We walked back into the NICU and talked quietly with our baby for a few minutes. Dr. Jenkins then came over and we told him we were as ready as we would ever be, that we didn't want him to go through any of this any longer. We made the plan on how it was going to happen. All of us would go into room 109, the room we had been staying in the past few nights, we would leave him on life support for as long as I wanted and Mike and I would get to hold him. Then when I was ready the machine would be turned off and I would hold my baby until he was gone, and then for as long as I wanted/needed after.
Alyce Clegg was called to come and take pictures as a service she provides as part of a wonderful foundation called, "And Now I Lay Thee Down to Sleep". An amazing Labor and Delivery nurse named Sue had sewn a burial outfit that morning for Carter, which turned out to be to small due to all the swelling so she went home and made him another one, and let us keep the first one. All the cords and monitors were taken off and Mike and I washed and prepared our baby for his last moments on this earth.
Carter was given another round of sedation medication so that he would not feel anything in his last moments. After preparing him and having Alyce take a few pictures we all moved into the room. That room will forever be imprinted in my mind. I sat and held my baby and cried, everyone cried. The nurses stood and kept him breathing for a long time, I looked up at nurse Lesli and told her that I couldn't be the bad guy, I couldn't say when I was done because I would never be done. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and stated that the oxygen tank didn't have a lot of air left so we would let the tank be the bad guy and just run out. I agreed to this, fully knowing that she was lying, that they would never come into a situation like that without a full tank, but I didn't care and didn't think about it, I didn't have to be the one to make that decision. She was an answer to alot of prayers.
I held him for a few more minutes and just looked at my baby, crying but peaceful. I then caught a glimpse out of the side of my eye of Lesli looking at Tina, who then turned the tank slowly off and a minute later Lesli removed the tube out of Carters mouth. I have never cried harder in my whole life! We all cried, including the nurses and Alyce. I held onto Carter as tight as I could, and Mike and I kept telling him how much we loved him and how proud we were of him. I cried for a long time tonight. About 15 minutes later Wendy and Tina came in to check his heart beat, we knew that he wasn't breathing but the heart continues to beat for awhile after everything else is gone. His heart was barely going, but he was still there-although he was going really cold. I continued to hold him as tight as I could and we started taking the pictures. I was in a numbness, almost like an outer body experience, but I was so peaceful. Carter was letting me know that I would be ok, that we would be ok, that our family would be together again.
At 6:45 Dr. Jenkins came in to check again, Carter was gone-although we had already known that and the peace was comforting all of us. We continued to take pictures through all the tears and break downs, for about an hour and then Alyce said goodbye. Our families left the room so that Mike and I could have some family time, I will eternally be thankful for that time the three of us had together to talk and cry and be comforted. I am also so thankful for the husband that I have, he truly is my rock and I don't know what I would have done without him today.
I held Carter for a long time, then nurses Wendy and Dedree came in to do Carters hand and foot molds for us to keep. I then gave Carter a bath and we placed the sports outfit the NICU had let us have back on him. His little body was hard and cold at this point, all the fluid was rushing down to the lower half of his body, and the blood was starting to settle. All of these things were making him not look like our baby but he was, and he was still adorable to us! After preparing him Coltrin Mortuary was called, and again I sat there with Mike and our moms holding onto our baby, not wanting to ever let go. I told Mike and I just wanted to leave, run away, us and Carter and never come back! Although I knew this was not possible that's all I wanted, our family-the three of us-to be together forever physically here on this earth. I knew that we would all be together one day, and it is comforting to know but that still doesn't heal the pain right now.
About close to 11:00pm Doug from Coltrin mortuary came and it was time to say goodbye. We talked for a few minutes and then as much as we could all tell Doug didn't want to take our child we all knew it had to be done. I handed Carter over to him, I didn't cry the peace and numbness were to strong. I think God knew that I would need to be numb by this point or else I wouldn't have given Carter up. I was grateful. We set up a meeting for the next morning to start all the dreaded funeral arrangements-I wanted to throw up thinking about what this week would hold!
Doug left, with Carter wrapped in his arms and we all got ready to leave too. It was a weird feeling leaving the hospital that night, part of me just kept thinking that it was like any other night-Carter was in the NICU and we would be back in the morning. The other half of me knew the truth, our baby had just passed away and we weren't coming back to this place. I am so thankful to our families for dropping whatever they were doing to come and be with us during this hard time, and for both of our moms for never leaving our sides.We got home and I felt sick. The whole day had happened so slow yet so fast, and I couldn't remember what all had gone on. All I knew was that I wouldn't get to bring Carter home with me, and there was a hole in my stomach growing larger and larger by the minute.
We know that we have an angel baby in heaven. We know that if we do what we are suppose to on this earth then we will get to be with our baby once again, and that is comforting. While we prayed that night all I could think about was all the people Carter was meeting and the people that would be taking care of him for me for a while. What joy that brings. Then thanks to some medication both Mike and I were given we drifted off to a peaceful sleep.
We love you angel baby and thank you for all you have done and still do for us. Having you here, even just for 13 days has changed so many things not only in our lives but in others, and we are all truly grateful!
Miss you always and love you forever!