It’s eating me up

The night before Lina got sick, I didn’t go to the hospital. It was Tuesday, January 8th. It was her due date. I had gone back to work the day before. That morning I went to the NICU, because I wanted to meet the doctor. Greenwich has 2 doctors who alternate weeks being “on”. I had met the other one the previous Friday when Lina got up there and over the weekend, and I wanted to touch base with the 2nd one.

I went in. I can’t even remember how long I stayed. I can’t remember if I held her that morning or if I just watched her and then spoke with the doc. The doctor and I had a long conversation. I asked him all my questions. The same ones that I’d asked the other doctor, and the same ones I’d asked before we left NY Presbyterian. It helped to keep hearing the answers over and over.

The doctor told me how well he thought she was doing. She was making such good progress, he thought she might even be ready to go home the next week, in the best case scenario. Well, I wasn’t so sure I was ready for that, but it was great news. One of the questions I asked him was that since she’d had the bout of NEC, whether there were complications we might have in the future. He said it was unlikely. Since she hadn’t needed surgery and seemed to be doing fine now, he didn’t think we’d have any issues (though of course he added the disclaimer that you can never be sure).

So I went to work feeling great. I told everyone how well she was doing. I was probably beaming. I had been planning to go over for her 9:00 feeding. But I was feeling really tired. I thought I might feel a tiny itch in my eyes and nose, and I thought the LAST thing I needed was to get run down and get sick, especially if she really was going to come home as soon as they thought she might. I’d just gotten over a cough I’d had for over a month (bronchitis and I don’t know what else), so I thought I’d play it safe. I called the nurse and told her I wasn’t coming in that night, but I would come in for her 9:00 am feeding and go to work late.

Well, that never happened because we got the call at 6:30 am the following morning. I rushed over, and she looked SO different. Just 24 hours earlier, she was a perfect, sweet little baby and now here she was, her belly HUGE, lying naked under the warmer on a ventilator. She looked so week and uncomfortable.

I keep reliving those moments. Why didn’t I go in that night? Would I have noticed something about her that might have hastened the diagnosis and treatment? Actually, I doubt it. I might have just said “oh, that’s just Lina’s belly”. And that early, it might not have even been noticeable. But the nurses did say she was irritable. At least I would have seen her before she got so, so sick.

I just can’t believe I wasn’t there.

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7 Responses to “It’s eating me up”


  1. 1 mkate January 31, 2008 at 12:58 am

    I am not sure exactly what to say to you since I have never personally experienced the loss that you have experienced. I also don’t know if you are looking for a response. Please delete this comment if you feel it is inappropriate.

    “What if”‘s are like a spider web. As soon as you begin to spin them, you surround yourself in them and quickly lose sight of the world.

    You need to know that you did all that you could for Lina (and for Cole). You did everything in your power to bring them into this world and you did everything in your power to keep them here. Going to the hospital that night would not have changed the outcome.

    It just would have changed some what if’s. Instead of wondering what would have happened if you had gone, you would have wondered if you somehow passed on your sickness to Lina. You would have wondered why you didn’t notice the change in her belly or why you didn’t say anything sooner.

    The doctor who specializes in preemie care felt confident enough to say that Lina would have been home in a week. NICU doctors don’t make those confident predictions unless they are really, really sure.

    I am so sorry for your loss and wish there was some way that I could ease your pain.

    Gretchen (grett_nj)

  2. 2 Linda(Chicago) January 31, 2008 at 1:33 am

    Sometimes bad things happen to us, for no reason, with no answers.
    You are good mother…a GREAT mother. Your daughter was COMING HOME! You could not have predicted this outcome. The doctors didn’t even predict this outcome.
    Hugs and love-
    Linda

  3. 3 Joyce January 31, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Patrice –

    When such a tragedy hits – it is human, and expected that you go over and over and over everything in your mind – and you second and third guess every action/inaction.

    After months and months of what ifs, I finally came to accept the fact that there was nothing that could have been done/said/not done to change the course of events…it was destiny – a bitter pill for a control freak like myself….

    What ifs won’t bring you peace – it will keep you in turmoil…please, please be good yourself – you are a great mom – to Cole, Lina and Annika….you love, you care, you nurture — and that is what makes a great mom –

    Hugs and love –

    Joyce

  4. 4 Elizabeth February 1, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    I am so sorry. I imagine that this must be making you crazy and nothing I write will change that. My son was in the NICU and there were nights that I was not there…it is hard.

  5. 5 Andy November 6, 2008 at 7:31 am

    I can’t imagine living with the what ifs.

    I’m so sorry for your losses.

  6. 6 Erin November 6, 2008 at 11:08 am

    I am so sorry for your losses.

  7. 7 Kami November 6, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    I am so sorry for your losses. I think I would feel the same way even if logic told me that I shouldn’t feel guilty. I see that you are in the midst of the one year anniversaries. I hope you are surviving.


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About Me

I'm a grieving mom. I have one beautiful daughter, Annika, who's 3 years old now (born 12/28/04). I also had twins, Lina and Cole, on 10/04/07, born at just 26 weeks. We lost Cole after just 23 days due to complications related to his prematurity. Fiesty little Lina overcame so much and just when she was getting ready to come home with us, suddenly had a complication unrelated to her prematurity and passed away on January 11, 2008. This blog is about getting through it. More...

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