*My story as posted on Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope*
March 10, 2010 will be a day forever burned into my memory. It was a day I said good bye to my sweet little girl. I just didn't know I would be saying goodbye. I didn't know that it was a day I should hold her for her last nap, I didn't know that my world would come crashing down in a matter of seconds. There are enough bad things in this world, that a nap shouldn't be one of them.
This is my story. Mostly for the new people that I see reading and having to go to the very beginning and try to figure out what is going on here.
Megan was a joy, a well thought out, well planned, very badly wanted little girl. She came into this world with a bang, with mom, dad, big sister Emily and so many family members to welcome her. She was born on September 2, 2008. Everything about her was perfect and always has been. She had perfect little toes, and fingers, just enough hair so that you could say she had hair. She squeaked when she breathed, she had that newborn smell that wonderful baby smell that you can just lose yourself in.
Life was so perfect, I had my two girls a wonderful husband and we were finally stationed at home. Hubby is in the army. Megan was a little slower to do things than Emily, slower to do things but as soon as I would really start to get worried, she would do something else that was right where she was supposed to be. I didn't let myself worry to much, all kids are different. Things were different though with Megan than they were with Emily. Being a second time parent I thought things would be so much easier, but they weren't. I was so scared of her not breathing, all parents have that fear when their children are little but it lets up after awhile. With Megan it never let up. I couldn't understand it, this was my second time around, I wasn't a brand new worry wart mom, but all I could think about was finding her face down not breathing. Its a fear that you tell yourself you are worrying over nothing, calm down. Its something you push to back of your mind, and go about your day and your life, but its always there.
Her entire life I worried about her, I felt like something was just not right but she was so happy, such a joy and was doing everything she was supposed to. This nagging feeling her whole life, I would stay up late studying diseases and metabolic disorders. I used to lick her because I had read that cystic fibrosis kids had salty skin and it was always her breathing that affected me so deeply. I kept my fears to myself because everytime I would mention anything, people always told me to stop worrying, shes fine.
Her daddy deployed in July 2009. Life went along pretty normally, we did as any other military family does and just kept plugging forward. Life seemed pretty good. Then in November of 09, Megan kept getting sick, over and over. She was 14 months old. She had never really been sick before this and now it was nonstop, fevers, colds, and green snot. The green snot is something I still so vividly remember, from November 09 to March 2010 she had green mucus. I took her to the doctor so many times, fevers after fevers, colds after colds, ear infections after ear infections and every time we were told... Its the flu season, its sister Emily bringing home germs, Its the gym daycare that Megan would go to when she wasn't to obviously sick. It made sense but that nagging in the back of my head would rear its face once in awhile and back to the studying I would go. I always felt like I had a voice in the back of my head telling me, its ok, stop what you are doing. She is more important, pick her up, love her, make time for her because she won't always be here. 90% of the time I followed that feeling, that at times so annoying voice but I did it because I had that fear and the last thing you ever want in this world, is regrets. Regrets that you didn't hold them enough, that you didnt' love them enough.
March 1st, Megan experienced what I thought maybe was some sort of seizure. I had been fighting a fever with her all night long, it would not go down. It was the only time in my life I have called my doctors after hours clinic. It was so high and tylenol and ibuprofen weren't touching it. She shook, and I sat there for a second thinking what in the world just happened and her little body did it again, just shook strangely for a couple of seconds. I immediately decided it was ER time even though it was midnite and off we went. It wasn't the best experience. They got her fever down, they took xrays and sent us on our way. I wasn't happy with what they said, which was nothing so a few hours later I called our doctor and got her in right away. Turns out she had double ear infections, funny that the er doctors said they looked just fine.. especially since they never looked in them. I was given a prescription for amoxicllin and sent on our way. Told us that she probably experienced a febrile seizure and that its pretty common and not to worry about it. On the way home, the radiologist from the hospital called and said she may have possible pneumonia. I recalled my doctor and asked their opinons and they said lets do a stronger antibotic. So we did. By March 5th, my baby girl did not have one sign of being sick, for the first time since November, 09 she did not have a runny nose whatsoever.
She had a well baby check up on March 9, 2010. She was given a dpat immunization (she should never have been given this shot so close to her sickness). Everything looked great, she looked great, she was doing so well. She was 18 months old and the light of my life. She gave kisses on demand, hugs, smiles, she was a good listener for that age. She was such a incredible joy that I can't even begin to describe her. She loved crayons, and pomegranate seeds, she hated socks and shoes and would rip them off in 2.2 seconds. Didn't matter what trick I tried, what shoes/socks I tried, she was a pro at getting them off. I was that mom. The one with a shoe less, sock less child in public. She loved her big sister, and our dog. She loved to eat, she was such a good eater, not picky at all like her sister was. She loved her baby dolls and would carry them around and feed them with a spoon.
March 10, 2010. I was aggravated that she was wanting me to hold her. See, daddy was scheduled to come home in 2 weeks. He had been gone for 8 months. He hadn't seen Megan since she was 10 months old. Had never seen her walk, never saw her teeth, never saw her talk, and interact and play. He never got the chance. I was so preoccupied with getting the house ready and taking care of things that I just wanted her to go to sleep, to have a nap because she was obviously not feeling very good. I nursed her to sleep and laid with her for a little while and then I walked away from her. She woke up for just a second but was back to sleep by the time I made it to the kitchen, at least thats what the baby monitor told me by her silence. I hurriedly did the things I wanted to do, and when I got this feeling that I should check on her, I ignored it because she was such a light sleeper, me walking into the room would wake her more than likely. I wanted her to sleep because her nap was already going to be cut short because we had to pick sister up from school.
When it was time, I walked in and saw her sleeping, I put my clothes away and I talked to her. I laughed because she was so sleepy today. I then kneeled on the floor and started putting her clothes away andI looked at her, and my heart stopped and I said to myself "is she breathing" and then I said oh stop being so paranoid and I put something away. That fear though, It grabbed hold and it woudln't let go and I grabbed her arm and I knew. I knew, that my fear had unfolded and that my baby girl was gone. I went through the motions, I did cpr, I called 911 but I knew there was no hope.
14 days before dad was supposed to come home, our little angel died. That morning we had bathed together and since she had become my little parrot, when I said " I love you" she said it back. I will always have that moment with her, and I try to concentrate on those moments rather than afterwards but the guilt and the what ifs are sometimes so hard to get over that sometimes those memories overwhelm me and it is hard. It is so undeniably hard to lose a toddler. She was diagnosed with SUDC, sudden unexplained death in childhood. Toddler SIDS most people call it because nobody has ever heard of SUDC. Its a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning they could find no reason whatsoever for your child to die. It is so hard, because there is nothing you can do to prevent SUDC. We don't get the, put your children on their back, don't cosleep, have a fan in the room, etc. Toddlers are adept at moving, they can rip blankets off, they can move if they are uncomfortable. There is no reason at all they should die. I did everything so right, she was still rearfacing, I was still breastfeeding and sometimes it seems like what is the point. My heart hurts every single day, the pain doesn't lessen. Megan also now has a sibling that joined her, as I miscarried 9-14-10. My rainbow baby was a blessing in disguise, a way to help lessen the grief of Megan's passing. When I was 11 weeks, the doctor was unable to hear the heartbeat. With my lack of symptoms I started bawling because I just knew that this baby was gone. A ultrasound let us know that this baby did indeed die, around 8 weeks and is now in heaven with big Sister Megan. Losing this baby was nothing like losing Megan but after seeing its little beating heart at 6 weeks, my heart still aches for the loss. The loss of what might have been, the loss of hope. Thats my story, thats a glimpse of my pain.