Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pieces

Today was a strange day. I had to tell people what was going on. I talked and talked, and cried, and watched Baby 4 cry. A couple people from the county called to check in. The medical examiner submitted his official report and the investigations are closing.

It turns out Baby 7 did not die from SIDS. He had a hole in his stomach that allowed his abdomen to fill with formula and acid. Infection from that situation caused his death. He was very sick already when I saw him for the first time on Monday. The medical examiner said he had never seen this. The Pediatrician said that it happens in older people, but they are usually in a lot of pain and seek help before the situation becomes fatal.  There was nothing that could have prevented his death. It was a condition he was born with and it's symptoms can all be explained by normal baby stuff- He was lethargic, but some newborns sleep all the time. He was fussy at feeding time; could be gas or reflux. He was eating less and less for every bottle, so they switched his formula to a more gentle one.

Baby 8 is susceptible for this because his brother had it, so they have alerted the other foster family and he will be monitored closely by the Dr. His risk drops significantly if he remains healthy through his 7th day of life.

Our homefinding caseworker called to give me the, "This tragedy is not a reflection of you in anyway" speech, and in my hurt I really felt like saying, "So taking Baby 8... that was your way of offering condolences?". It's hard not to feel blamed for 7's death when the choice was made to remove the other baby so quickly. Everyone has so many flattering words about how great we are and how the agency thinks so highly of us, but when they had the opportunity to back us up and try to work with Bio-Mom they didn't even try. She's grieving and they wanted to make her feel better. OK, I really really do get that. Honestly though, how much better does she feel? Is her grief relieved because her baby is in yet another house without her? Probably not, but now we have lost 2 babies and are left with only the comfort of knowing no one thinks we killed them. Thank you foster care.

I believe in Divine planning and I really think everything happens for a reason. I don't know what possible reason can explain Baby 7 being born only to live for five days in pain while no one even knew. I do know that the foster Mom for Baby 8 was called about the twins before we were and she did not take them. I know that she has a prior connection to the family. It keeps coming to my mind that perhaps she was always supposed to have Baby 8, but she wouldn't have been able to have 7 die in her house the way he did here. Maybe that was my role all along. If I knew going into this that my role was to watch 7 die so this other Mom wouldn't have to, I think I still would have said yes. I just would have spent those 16 hrs I had with them differently and I would not have involved Baby 4.

I am obsessively looking at pictures of the boys. I have none of Baby 7 with his whole face showing because his hands were always up by his mouth and he was always wearing little baby hats. The best picture I have of his face was post-mortem in the hospital. I never took pictures of his little feet. I never even held both babies at the same time. We ran out of time too soon. They were both asleep by 9pm and I thought it was best to get them in their cribs and get some rest while I could, but I wish I had held them while they slept. I slept through almost half of the time I was given with them.

We are left to pick up the pieces of the whole ordeal. I ordered a memorial plaque and a personalized wooden block for Baby 7. I desperately want to share his picture, but can't. I just want to do what I need to do, to feel what I need to feel, so I can get through this. We were set to go on vacation tomorrow to visit a friend who lives in South Carolina. We cancelled that trip when we got the babies, but still have the child care arrangements for 4 and Baby Girl as well as our travel budget. Brandon and I are talking about maybe getting away this weekend somewhere not too far just to reset and recharge a bit.

We haven't decided what we are going to do with all the baby stuff we set up for the boys. I sent everything I bought for each of them as well as any blankets or clothes they used while they were here. I didn't know what else to do with it. It's not like I would ever put another baby in the clothes I bought for our baby who died. But all the newborn boy clothes that I pulled out of attic, but never used. Or the bassinet in our room or the pack'n'play in the living room. And the changing table with the infant tub on the second shelf. I haven't done anything with the infant car seats in the van. Putting them away to me means going back to normal- which doesn't feel right. Keeping them out makes me feel like we are anticipating another baby- which makes me feel like we are trying to replace Baby 8. At the same time, though, I really want another baby. Just last week I felt like maybe foster care was over for us and now I'm hoping they call us tomorrow. In my heart, though, I only want them to call if they have healthy newborn twin boys who aren't going to die on my living room throwrug. Soo... that doesn't seem like a healthy place to be bringing kids home to.

I've been rambling like this all day. I'll spare you any more of this. Thank you for all the prayers and kind words. They have really been helping. The support from other foster parents has been amazing. We are a great little community.

13 comments:

  1. Oh honey, I remember when my cousin died at 23 days old from SIDS, the utter animal type of pain that exuded from all of the adults the day we found out. I was in the 5th grade, and I can remember it so clearly. They say when you lose a little one to NOT pack up things right away, and that is exactly what my aunt and uncle did...they hhaven't been the same since. Make sure you and your husband find a way to grieve. Maybe include your little man, plant a bush or a flower and put the plaque by it. Read a book with him that explains death from a child's point of view. Do what you need to do to grieve this death, because even if baby 7wasn't your biological child, you still loved with your mommy heart as if that baby was truly yours, and 7 and 8 were...even if only for a very short time. sending you more prayers and thoughts, asking God to cover you with his love and comfort during this time.

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  2. Oh sweet girl I have no words for the loss you have experienced. I have been reading your blog for a few weeks and this one just caught me by surprise. We are just a few weeks away from being licensed as Foster Parents in TX. My mama heart just wants to reach thru the internet and give you a hug. I am grieving with you. I think you and your husband should go away for a few days and just be a couple and grieve together. Do you have a griefshare program at your church? Surround yourself with others that understand.

    Holding you in my prayers today.

    Cindy

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  3. Oh!! I am so so sorry!! Prayers for you today!

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  4. All your thoughts and grief is such a natural response - you will know what feels right for your family... your ideas for a plaque, memorial, and letting time do its work will all help you through this. I shared your name at our prayer circle at church last night so more people could add their thoughts to help you and your family. One hour at a time right now. Thinking of you.

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  5. i was bummed to hear earlier that they took the sib out of your home at the bio parent's request. while i "get it"...as a foster mom I am with you. i would feel very..i guess hurt...by that as well. i've been thinking of you and i hope comfort comes quickly.

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  6. I can't read this without my heart cracking wide open for you and suddenly I want to bring you a casserole, give you a hug and a shoulder to cry on, open a facebook site for donations... SOMETHING. Since I can't do any of that, I am sending up a very real prayer that you will sit in the eye of this hurricane and feel whispers of peace.

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  7. I've been thinking about you often during the past week.

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  8. I was just hunting for foster parent blogs because we are 2 signatures away from being approved and came across yours... I am SO sorry I just can't even imagine! My heart is breaking for you! We are praying for your family and for God to grant you peace through this time. So sorry!

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  10. I am just a blog reader that couldn't read this without responding. I can't imagine the heartbreak you are experiencing, and I am so sad you have to endure it. Since you may feel too unique for any group to deal with the grief, would meeting with a counselor be possible? I pray for peace.

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  11. Hi, I just discovered your blog and have loved reading your archives and learning your story. I am so sorry for your loss and so inspired by the love you and your husband have for all your kids. Praying for you.

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