I remember everyone holding him. My mom. My dad, rocking back and forth with Kaden in his arms. Sam looking down at him and crying. He had just taken his last breaths in my arms as I whispered over and over to him how much he was loved, oh how sorry I was that his little life was so painful.
His little head laid right where Preston took his last breaths on me.
All three of my sons died with my hands around them.
Then it was time to make decisions. I signed papers for an autopsy. Bella showed me drawings she’d done with the people from Child Life who came to help her. I remember thinking how freakishly normal it all was in the midst of Kaden dying.
What do you want to do – my dad asked.
I sat on the couch in his room and just rocked him back and forth. I knew I couldn’t do it forever but oh, how long I’d waited just to do it at all. 8 months. 8 months and so many ultrasounds and so many prayers and so many milestones and so many assurances and so many pictures and he was still dead.
I don’t understand.
He was so perfect. I did everything right.
We stood to leave and he was in my arms. A little blanket wrapped over him with tiny footprints. A hat on his head. He was cold and I wanted him to be warm. I didn’t want anyone to hurt him. Be gentle.
It didn’t matter now.
A nurse waited with open arms to take him. I placed him in hers and for a moment I thought – I can’t do this. I’m literally going to die, my heart is going to stop beating because it hurts so bad right now. I’m going to die. I uttered out this sound of pure agony as I bent to kiss his little face one last time.
Soon he’d be ashes. I’d never, ever hold him again. Never see his little eyes look into mine. Never see his face turn towards my voice. Never see him run and play with Bella. Never see Sam hold him or teach him to play ball. He’d never be in our home, not once. All the things we had waiting – we waited so long to buy them and we shouldn’t have because he wasn’t ever going to see them.
And I looked at the nurse as tears poured down my face and I sobbed because I was his mama and I was going to walk away. She said with tears in her eyes – thank you for letting me be a part of this.
So I reached out one last time and whispered, “Oh God, I wanted you so much, I’m so sorry, I love you so much sweet boy.”
And we turned and walked away.