Sunday, June 2, 2013
An unfair choice
One of the saddest things for me to come to peace with is Caroline, Jackson and Ryan having never met their brother. He lived for 4 days, we just didn't know he wouldn't get to Friday, 2 days further. For Friday was the day they were to come to the hospital, being a state away, with my parents to meet Ethan. It was a lot of work to have someone bring a 4-year-old, 2-year-old and 11-month-old to Boston. Physically and emotionally...that was a lot to coordinate and ask of my parents. Who were already pulling crazy amounts of weight during those days.
Saturday Ethan was born and was the most traumatic day of my life. It was evident that it wasn't appropriate for Ethan's siblings to come down then. As we weren't even allowed into the NICU for hours at a time that day. Sunday came around, and we were still shell-shocked that he had almost died, yet miraculously survived the night. Monday morning things actually looked promising. That was when his nurse Maureen pointed to another NICU mom doing kangaroo care with her baby, and said "that will be you in a few days." Well, that never happened. If I had known what was to come we would have had everyone come and meet him, but nobody had the crystal ball. Three hours later the shit hit the fan and we were all in survival mode again, literally. So it didn't seem appropriate for siblings to come in at that point - as we didn't want to scare them and again, listened to the care team saying that things were hopeful.
Tuesday was more of the same. Wednesday morning came along and Ethan was severely sick, but they all remained hopeful that medicines and interventions would start to do their 2 steps forward, 1 step back NICU thing. I was being discharged that day as well, so having the kids come into Boston when Josh and I were coming home didn't make much sense.
And then 3:00pm came and things went south. The doctors and nurses left Josh and I in that large conference room for privacy, as we discussed it was time to let him go. Ethan's body was failing him, quickly. The choice before us was unfair. A choice no parent should have before them.
Do you hold your son, who you has never been held before and you will never be able to hold again, while his eyes are open? To look into each others eyes with no isolette in the way. Or do you call your parents a state away, crush their hearts and ask them to pile your children into the minivan and drive across the state border, into Boston at rush hour without scaring them or driving unsafely given their trauma and grief? Knowing that by the time they arrive, there is a chance that Ethan would have died anyway, and if he did survive to meet his siblings, when we held him he most certainly wouldn't have had his eyes open.
That's a shit choice to have to make. I don't regret our decisions in the moments. I just regret the way it all played out.