It’s hard to see you as 3 and doing so much yourself. Last night I held your bear and it felt so light compared to how big your baby sister has grown. Logan you continue to make me so proud to be your mama.
How I wish I could give you a hug and tell you about all the people who love you so. It’s a day I thought I was prepared for and was still moved by the complex feelings it brings.
I look for signs from you everywhere, and long to be closer to you. You should be here with us at a park or pool or somewhere happy today. I will spend the rest of my life looking for moments filled with Logan. This is the long version of our short hello, until we meet again baby boy. #onedaycloser
It started at a normal 36 week check up. “This position doesn’t feel right!” Not words you want to hear from your midwife😟 “Let’s do an ultrasound. I’m pretty sure this baby is sideways!” Sure enough, baby was side ways. I was told try spinning babies, look into acupuncture. And if I went into labor come in immediately. Babies can come out with heads and butts but not backs, so I’d be having a guaranteed C-section! Another ultrasound in a week was scheduled and a consult for trying to flip baby if there wasn’t movement before then! Well a C-section just wasn’t what I wanted for my birth plan so I tried it all. Showed up on Friday 37 weeks hoping to not have to have them try to flip baby. Hoping the stretches and acupuncture helped baby move. I really have no idea if it’d worked, I felt kicks but how was I supposed to know a butt from a head in there🤷🏼♀️ The ultrasound tech told me, you’re baby is head down! You don’t need to see the doctor, everything looks good. The next Monday I showed up at work and hearing from people “I was sure this was the weekend you’d be in labor!” I was 38 weeks and felt ready for the pregnancy stage to be over, but my oldest went to 39+6 so I was pretty sure I’d still have another week at least with this pregnancy. I finished my day and headed home. We’d made lasagna and joked with my husbands brother that I’d had a few contractions that day. How he was on babysitting duty for the oldest until a grandma could come from across the state. I’d had 2 contractions in our mealtime, but still felt really good. They were really spaced apart and then stopped. So I went upstairs and got Allison bathed and ready for bed. Then I decided I felt the need to lay down and told hubby he was doing stories. I felt like something might be happening and I needed to rest. It was about 9 pm and I decided to try a bath. It was what helped me most in my 1st labor and maybe it’d help me relax. I finally got out and payed in bed while Kevin times my contractions. I still felt it was so early to time anything, but he wasn’t believing me.
By 10pm they were 7 minutes apart. We thought we’d give it a little more time to get to the 5 minute mark before coming into the hospital. Then laying in bed a contraction broke my water. It was a gush of water down my legs that had me questioning, did I just pee myself or was that my water😆I jumped out of bed and rushed to the toilet trying to wipe and checking for blood and meconium while Kevin called the midwife to let her know and that we were on our way. Contractions had already increased to 5 minutes apart.
In the few minutes it took to change and have our neighbor over to stay until Kevin’s brother got here the contractions just kept coming. The timer said by 10:30 they were already 2.5 minutes apart! We rushed into the car for the 25 minute drive to the hospital and called to have them meet us at the ER! I’m sure by this point I was in transition, but had adrenaline going and was still able to talk through my contractions. We pulled in and who knew there were 2 ER doors 🚪 we of course went to the one that they weren’t waiting at! We were met by the nurse who wheeled me upstairs while Kevin parked the car. My hair was down in front of my face and she grabbed a ponytail, whipped it in a bun and wheeled me upstairs. They skipped triage and I went straight to a labor room. They put me on a monitor and I thought thank goodness I didn’t have a baby on the side of the interstate! I heard lots of scrambling and then they had the ultrasound over. “I’ve got a pulse on ultrasound, but it’s breech. Call the OB and OR. We’re coming NOW! She’s complete!” Right then Kevin was finally back. They had me switch on a moving bed. I grabbed his hand and said “what is happening?” He looked at me, “It’s breech, it’s going to be a C-Section.” Because it was an emergency section and I was going under general anesthesia Kevin couldn’t come into the OR with me. He stood outside the doors with the nurse who had first wheeled me up to labor and delivery. He waited and called our moms unsure what to even say, he had no idea what was happening to either of us. I was trying to keep it together and now think of anything I could to stall labor, but my body doesn’t like to labor slowly. All I know is I start having contractions and then in a matter of minutes I seem to have a baby. It was a mess of noise in the OR, lots of moving and sounds while I closed my eyes and tried not to push. The OB asking my name, and what we were doing today. I remember saying we’re getting the baby out. Then I remember feeling the need to push and being told to stop. Then the nurse saying “she can’t help it she’s at a 10!” Then they counted down and I was out for surgery. I’ve had people and medical records to piece together the actual birth part at 12:02 when he entered the world 🌎 Logan was indeed breech and lodged his head was also stuck in my rib cage. He’d also swallowed meconium. Then when he was out he wasn’t responsive. The threading heartbeat from the ultrasound was gone. They worked for 15 minutes on him trying to revive him, then when they were about to call it when a nurse found a faint heartbeat 💗
I’m not really sure how much time passes in surgery until I woke up in recovery I remember being fuzzy and seeing Kevin. Kevin told me the midwife came and said there wasn’t a heartbeat. He wasn’t sure if she meant me or the baby. Then she told him it was a boy and that they weren’t getting him to be able to take a breath. I think the first thing I asked when I woke was “where’s the baby?” Then hearing that he’s in the NICU. They were wanting to transfer him to a higher level nicu, but they were going to wheel him by my room before transferring. I learned we’d had a boy, and that the gender was no longer the biggest surprise of our night. They told me it’d be 15 minutes without a pulse. I’d just refreshed on CPR and remembered after 7 it’s pretty much brain dead. And just kept thinking 15 minutes is too long. They told Kevin he could go to the NICU to see him and that our doula would stay with me. The pains of surgery were starting to set in and my legs were shaking uncontrollably and I was trying not to vomit 🤢 all over everything! I remember thinking I’m high on morphine and going to have to make the hardest choices of my life.
I can remember Kevin calling and asking if Logan Michael was ok for his name. We’d been on the fence for days about a middle name and he needed a name to be transferred. Then when they were getting close to the transfer our photographer came back to capture us and baby meeting before transfer. Then Kevin walked back in with the neonatologist. Kevin said he just kept having seizures and then the extent of the brain damage was explained. The doctor explained all his risks of a transfer and the amount of brain damage she was seeing. Then she carefully explained our 2 options for Logan.
Let him die with us and make him as comfortable as we could with us or try to continue treatments transferring him to a higher level NICU. Our seemingly normal labor 3 short hours earlier these were not the options I was thinking of making for my baby. I knew that I couldn’t bear the thought of him dying away from me. I knew that it was a huge risk that he’d even survive the drive across town. I couldn’t let him be in someone else’s arms in that moment before I’d even met him. I couldn’t bear to put him through treatment that would still likely never allow him to come home. We looked at each other and just felt the weight of what we were having to decide. Are we taking away his chance at life to be selfish and keep him near us? Was it selfish to try to continue treatment? I kept thinking about how long he’d be without oxygen and how much he’d already been through. Kevin had seen first hand how frail he really was and the beginning promises of transferring and getting me recovered to be discharged to be with him were a forgotten memory.
We knew that he needed to be with us. We wanted to hold him and have his death be a peaceful place not filled with machines and strangers. They told us they’d get me set up in my recovery room and then bring him in. Then they asked us about who to call. Would our 2 1/2 year old be ready to meet her brother who was going to die? I remember thinking how am I going to explain this to her. She knew a new baby was coming, how do I explain death to her? My friend who was our photographer came to sit by me and asked will it be any easier to explain it if she doesn’t get to meet her brother? I really think she should be here. It was the push I needed to think about what her grief needs would be and we woke up Kevin’s brother and said get down her. Around this same time my mom arrived, making the 3 hour midnight drive from Arkansas. I felt relief knowing she’d made it before he’d died. We sat in post op calling Kevin’s parents, and trying to reach our pastor to see if he could baptize Logan for us. We didn’t have his number, so we tried Facebook, and calling all our friends to try to reach him. We finally found someone who had his number, but he wasn’t answering. So he ended up driving at 4am to his house to knock on the door to wake him up! We finally got wheeled into recovery after what felt like days since I still hadn’t seen my baby boy. I remember wheeling me to a corner, and asking for more morphine as I was jostled around and felt like my stomach was going to split open again. Then when I was finally settled, they wheeled in the bassinet with all the cords and machine noises and our little boy in the middle.
They slowly unhooked him from the beeping machines and moved his swaddled body over to my bed. I held Kevin’s hand and held my breath. I knew these would be the precious few moments we’d have together.
Then his doctor placed him in my arms and I felt my heart break over seeing his perfect face. And I heard his struggle of a squeak as he tried to breathe.
We held him and cried over knowing we’d be giving him back. We cried knowing that he would never know life outside of this hospital. We would never see him take a first step, or smile at the sound of our voices. We knew these small hours were his only with us.
Shortly after he was taken off of life support and in my arms big sister came with Uncle Justin. All she did was look with pride that her baby brother was here. I can’t even remember how we tried to explain death to her. I think she understand mommy had an owie from the baby coming out and that he couldn’t come home. I remember her saying he’s not opening his eyes. It’s probably the part that stuck with her the most. My whole pregnancy with Joanna she kept saying “mommy, do you really hope this baby will open her eyes?” And when Joanna was born she was worried that her first picture she saw her eyes were closed.
She was the face of joy celebrating that he was born, reminding us that even though our hearts were being shredded into pieces that the moment of meeting him was still so amazing! We had our photographer take our picture as a family of 4. I kept thinking I hadn’t showered, my hair is still in the sweaty bun the nurse helped me with as I was wheeled in. I’m a crying mess on morphine and this is my only picture as the 4 of us! How messed up is this right now?
We made footprint and handprints trying to remember every moment. We held him and just told him how much we loved him. Around 8 our pastors came and prayed over him and baptized him. We texted what we could manage to a few friends letting them know he wouldn’t be able to come home, not yet ready for phone calls. We called our bosses and told the short story that something went wrong, we were ok, but we’d be planning a funeral and wouldn’t be at work for a while.
Our nurse asked me if I had thought about my milk coming in. I surprisingly had, I knew I was going to pump and donate. I’d donated before and knew it was my one gift I could give from this mess onto someone else. We never put him down his whole 14 1/2 hours of life. He was held in the arms of love for those short seconds of life. By the afternoon his breathing had weakened and his first bright rosy cheeks were becoming more ashen. We knew he only had minutes left.
We asked everyone to leave and Kevin kneeled on the floor as we both held Logan and cried. Have you ever cried so much that you ran out of tears? ? Your swollen eyes just give out and dry up while a current of unrest still gushes through your soul. And you look up toward heaven in utter frustration. That was us! I felt the Holy Spirit in those moments more than any place I have been. I felt an anger at God that these were my only moments and that I was forgotten. I felt cheated. I thought of all my friends with babies that were in their arms and here I was giving my son back to God at less than 1 day old.
We asked our pastor came and prayed and sat with us as we said our goodbye saying we will see you one day again. We then let the rest of our family in and held hands and prayed and sung “Jesus loves the little children.” After a while the nurse had asked if they could take him and we could get sleep. At this point we’d been up for about 36 hours straight. They assured me that if I wanted him back during the night they would bring him back. I reluctantly let him go, and tried to think of him going to the nursery rather than the morgue.
Our hospital didn’t have a cuddle cot which would’ve given him more time in our room. Now I’ve learned about these amazing devices that help keep the babies body cool and allows for less time saying repeated goodbyes as the baby goes to the morgue. My nurse tried to help me finally move out of bed and I felt like my stomach was being ripped open again now realizing I’d still have recovery from the c section to get through.
My midwife asked if I wanted something to help me sleep. I said, sure I guess I’ll take anything you’re giving at this point and finally drifted to sleep. I still had to be waken up for vitals and the fun massaging of the uterus. Just another reminder my stomach was empty and this was an awful reality. The next morning I asked for Logan back as soon as I woke up. I’d asked my mom to try to pick up some more clay for footprints. I remember her getting to the hospital and saying, the clerk said “have a nice day, I just thought what is wrong with the world for still going on? This is not a nice day.” We called our friend and photographer and asked if she could come back and do pictures of us as a family with him before the funeral home had to come to get him.
We took more pictures and then after it was becoming more evident that his skin needed to go back into a cooler we reluctantly tucked him back into his crib with his blanket and teddy bear as the nurse wheeled him away. Later that evening we made a call to the funeral home our pastor recommended and they came to pick up Logan and take him back to the funeral home. I spent the next days reading blogs and Pinterest finds about planning a funeral for a baby, looking for someone who had walked this path and was still functioning.