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The Hardest Words I've Ever Had to Say, and How Saying Them Changed Me

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There are many things in life that no one can prepare you for. There are things that words alone can not explain. The day I took my baby off life support was one of those times.

So many different people in the small crowded hospital corner, and yet no one had the words to explain. The Doctor’s words still echo in my mind after all these years. When I became pregnant, no one told me mothers might be asked to make such horrifying, heart wrenching decisions.

No one can prepare you for the mix of emotions you will experience after loosing a child. No one can tell you the right way or the wrong way to grieve. Mainly because such ideas does not exist, everyone will grieve differently. Its almost impossible to go from making a life decision like taking your child off life support to jumping into grief mode. No one will understand the responsibility that comes along with such a decision, unless those words are spoken directly to you. Unless someone else has to answer a question that is every parent’s nightmare, no one could possibly begin to feel your pain. Loosing a child is one of those unimaginable things for a reason.

It took days after my child had died  before I could fully understand what had just happened. I was stuck in shock for days, my mind full of fog. Even though the doctors had told me his chances of survival the day he was born, no one told me about this. About how to be someone I had no intention of being.

I had just finished setting up the nursery, not knowing in a mater of days I would be taken to the hospital by ambulance, followed by watching my baby fight for his life and undergo brain surgery shortly after his birth. I only got to hold him twice in the month he was with me, the first time was about two weeks after his birth. He was 2.4 pounds and full of wires. It was hard to enjoy the moment with so many others people around. The cords only stretched so far and the machines kept beeping. I sat in the chair and held him while I thought to myself this had to be a bad dream, I couldn’t possibly be there.

The nurse took him from me after a few minutes and placed him back in his incubator to regulate his body temperature. I couldn’t help but feel cheated. Within the following days I got to change his diaper for the first time. I began to feel more like a mom. Unfortunately his health took a downward spiral which would lead me to the second time I would get to hold him. His body was not recovering from surgery and his organs were shutting down, his body was not accepting the ventilator to breath for him any more. The staff of nurses had been hand pumping air into his small little lungs for hours. All eyes were on me as I made the decision to stop his pain.

I remember there was so much noise, and machines were going off, conversations going back and forth between the hospital staff. Except for the moment I spoke. The moment I had to say the hardest words that ever came from my mouth. The room suddenly went quiet. At that moment I held my baby for the second and last time.

It was at that defining moment that the person I thought I was, would die along with him that day. As a part of me died, a part of me grew. I would forever look at the world through different eyes. I would have different dreams and desires. No one told me how much I would change, no one really could.

Because of that time in my life I would grow into a women with a better understand of myself. I will forever know the strength and courage that I hold within me. I will always know through tough times I can see it through, and I will always remember I have my very own angel watching over me.

A version of this post originally appeared on Special Parent1’s blog

Originally published: January 3, 2016
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