September 8, 2010
I lost my baby boy, Toby, on August 21st, 2010. The week before I had been diagnosed with PTSD due to the traumatic events that surrounded his birth. I had mils preeclampsia, placental abruption that lead to hemorrhaging, and had to have a blood transfusion, He was 4 weeks early.
After being born, however, he was perfect. He weighed 6 pounds and although the NICU kept him overnight because of some “grunting noises” he was doing, I was still allowed to hold him a few hours later. I promised him that things would get better.
Toby was nothing but a joy. He slept well, smiled a lot, cooed, and like to be held and rocked. He slept in a bassinette by the bed that I had moved into our office upstairs.
My husband, mother, and I had a routine with him. I would stay up all night with him and do the night feedings, Mom would take over in the morning so that I could go to sleep, and my husband would take him in the evenings. Basically, we all shared him in the evenings anyway. On the weekends, my husband stayed up all night with him so that I could sleep.
SIDS was my biggest fear. I was overly paranoid about it. After two weeks, Toby started grunting all night and it was difficult. He wasn’t getting good sleep and couldn’t sleep for more than an hour or so at a time. Eventually, the grunting woke him up. We took him to the doctor who said it might be acid reflux. He prescribed him Zantac. Still, you could tell that the little guy wasn’t getting any quality sleep. Sometimes, when the grunting stopped, I got up and checked on him and he would immediately start the loud breathing again.
Sometimes, I laid down on the couch with him and watched TV. I rarely snoozed because I was afraid of falling asleep and not being there for him should something happen. I begged my husband not to sleep when he had him because my husband could sleep through a hurricane. In fact, some mornings when I was downstairs I could hear Toby crying at the top of his lungs while my husband slept in the bed next to the bassinette. Falling asleep, he had forgotten a feeding and no matter how hard he cried, my husband just couldn’t wake up. So I begged him not to sleep.
They couldn’t get my meds right with the PTSD and when they finally gave me Klonopin it made me sleepy. I couldn’t take it until someone came home and I could nap. The night that Toby died I took 2 and went to bed. We were going to a book signing the next morning. I awoke around 9:00 am and the house felt really quiet. I took a quick shower and then poked my head in on my husband and Toby. I saw my husband in the bed, on his side. Toby was not in his cradle. I thought that was odd but figured that he had taken him down to Mom so that I could get some more rest.
I then got dressed, woke up our 3 year old, and went downstairs. I turned on some cartoons for him then I went in Mom’s room to check on her. Toby was not there. A feeling of dread began building in my stomach. I reached back up the stairs and ran to the bed. Toby was behind my husband, asleep. Only he was blue. I screamed and for once my husband woke up.
Although in my heart I knew it was too late I turned Toby flat on his back and began administering CPR. My mom called the ambulance. My husband took our 3 year old and ran out in the yard to watch for the ambulance. I could see him screaming. Toby did not respond to our efforts.
The paramedics came and gently took him to the ambulance. They strapped me in and encouraged me to talk to him. I asked them if there was any hope and one guy replied, “There’s always hope.” Later, when I asked him if he was getting any reaction he said no.
We got to the hospital and within minutes the doctor came out and told me that he was gone. A nurse came into a waiting room with me and sat and cried with me. Eventually, my mom and husband showed up. Mom knew by the look on my face that he was gone.
They allowed us to sit in the ER room with Toby for hours. I talked to him, brushed his hair back, and wiped the blood off his cheek from where they had inserted the tube down his throat. Our friends Ashley and Karen had come to the hospital and stayed with us in the room.
Everything was a blue after that. I kissed his hands and his cheeks and went between sobbing and moaning. Karen stayed with me for awhile so that I could try to get some valium but it was taking so long that we eventually went home.
There were already people gathered at our house. They immediately put me to bed. Someone, I think my husband’s boss, made me some tomato soup. Someone else gave me a pill to help me sleep. When I awoke, someone was in the kitchen making lasagna. They said that they were going to clean out our refrigerator.
Over the course of the next few days, other people showed up. They scrubbed our bathrooms, brought food, and generally sat and talked to me. I did not get dressed. I was unable to pick out the casket although I did pick out the three songs that I wanted my friend to sing as well as the burial plot, next to my grandmother.
It was a nightmare.
The visitation went well but it didn’t look like him. He looked bigger. They’d had to use a lot of makeup because of the levividty and it made it him look different. I kept holding his hand and talking to him.
I could watch then put the dirt on the grave because it was too much. My friend sat on the grass with me and sang me Pam Tillis songs so that I couldn’t hear the dirt hitting thee coffin. I was glad that I had brought flowers from home so that we could toss them into the grave. I had planted them when I was pregnant with him so they felt like ours.
I still miss him everyday. It has been two weeks to the day that we buried him and the pain is more acute now than it was before. I had a panic attack all day yesterday because I kept seeing his face when I found him. I had also convinced myself that the cover that my husband was using had somehow gotten over Toby’s head and suffocated him.
I am being a terrible parent to my three year old but I can’t help it. We took him to the circus last week to try to do something fun and my husband takes him to the playpark when he can but basically my mom has been taking care of him. I am entering a deep depression and have such anxiety that I don’t know what to do with myself.
One of my thoughts was that at least I didn’t go through with the hysterectomy. That would have been awful. I want another baby because my arms feel useless and I feel useless and I feel like I was robbed. My husband goes back and forth on it. We will see. Some people say have one eight away because it will make you feel better. Others say that you should wait a year or so. I guess it’s up to us. There were so many things that I was looking forward to in having two boys, or two children. I want those things back.