I remember starting out the day with the hope of weaning him off of the ecmo. I remember the delight at how well he was doing at first only to begin tanking towards the end of the clamping off. I remember feeling the dread as they confirmed he had had a stroke, and that we were out of choices. I remember reading him Love You Forever, and wishing the doctors and nurses would just leave the room for a little bit so we could be alone. I remember tears flowing as I said the words, as I selfishly begged him to keep fighting. I remember seeing everyone's Facebook status change to "Praying for Charlie".
I remember the look on Dr. Su's face as she walked in to tell us he was crashing, and this time, his chances were minimal. I remember asking our families to leave the room, then breaking down knowing we couldn't keep putting our son through this. I remember telling them we had decided to stop.
I remember holding Noah tightly as we sat outside the nurse's station, waiting to be called in to his room. I remember alarms ringing and people running into his room. I remember being pulled into the room as they restarted his heart one last time so that we could say good-bye. I remember the surgeons frantically putting a plastic cover over his open chest so we could hold him. I remember putting on surgical blue gowns over our clothes so we wouldn't get blood on them.
I remember my heart hammering as I stepped towards the warmer, hesitating. I remember the nurse shooing away Dr. Sinha, picking up Charlie with one hand and pressing him into my chest. I remember the tears flowing as I stared blankly at the monitors, saying his heart rate was 100...then 70...then 50...then they were turned off. I remember staring at my cold, sweet baby, in the midst of his blood all over the table..the floor...my lap.
I remember family coming in to say goodbye. I remember them making his hand mold. I remember wondering how I could ever get the strength to leave the hospital without Charlie with me. I remember staring blankly at three bags full of small bottles of frozen breastmilk and wondering what the hell I'd ever do with them.
I remember wondering how I could ever go on after losing so much.
Could this have really have happened an entire year ago?? Feels like yesterday, the way the memories keep coming back.
I miss you, Charlie. I'm sorry your life was filled with pain. I'm sorry you aren't here now.
I love you...and I'll always remember you.
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Location:Chincoteague Island, VA