Seven years ago, my first son was born with no complications, just as the entire pregnancy had gone. The birth was definitely not without drama though. Every OBGYN will normally tell a pregnant woman that when contractions are five minutes apart, that is the time to go the hospital. The night before the birth, I had started contractions and they slowly went from ten minutes to nine minutes, and so forth. Then, my contractions jumped from seven minutes apart to three minutes apart. As my husband raced me to the hospital, I thought at one point I was sure to have my baby in the car. Luckily we made it to the hospital in time, but as soon as I walked in, a nurse got me to a birthing room, on a bed, and told me to push. I was delirious from the pain and asked for something to make it stop. They said we were way past that point because the baby’s head was already crowning. And so, literally within five minutes of arriving at the hospital, I was holding my precious son in my arms. As his eyes looked into mine for the first time, I knew at that instant that my purpose in life was to be an amazing mother and raise my children to add to the collective good in this world. I named him Hayden and he was my everything, without ever having done anything. Little did I know, I would be ripped of his presence far too soon, leaving a gaping hole in my heart.
On the third day of his life, we took Hayden home from the hospital. And then that evening, Hayden suddenly stopped breathing. My husband and I called 911 and performed CPR on him, until the fire department and an ambulance came to help. I still remember lying on the floor, screaming to God, begging him to save our son. The pain of that moment, was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to live through and the thought of it brings tears to my eyes and a longing in my soul. The paramedics were able to start his heart again, and I was put into the ambulance with him, as we went to the hospital. In that moment, I felt hope because I thought that my son would be fine, I mean, if his heart was beating again, he was still alive. After arriving at the hospital and talking with the doctors, I realized that I was wrong to think we still had a chance at Hayden going on to live a normal life. Although Hayden’s heart was beating again, his brain had no activity anymore. Seeing my newborn child, attached to a million machines and unresponsive, was the most unbearable thing any parent could every go through. We spent three days at the hospital, while the doctors did everything they could, but nothing changed in Hayden’s condition. And at the end of those three days, I held Hayden in my arms and sang to him, as he drew his last breath. In total, he was only in my life for six days. Three days of amazing bliss and three days of indescribable pain. Later, my husband and I had to choose a place where Hayden would be laid to rest. I did not realize that most cemeteries have a small section where children may be laid to rest. I found the sections very depressing because all the headstones were packed together, and I knew I would not feel happy visiting Hayden in one of those spots, where there wasn’t even enough room to sit down where I could talk to him. My husband and I ended up deciding to go ahead and buy a family burial plot where Hayden, myself, and my husband will one day all be buried together. Knowing that one day Hayden and I will be laying side by side, together for eternity, fills me with a sense of peace. The headstone rests on a little hill, beneath a beautiful tree. I go there often, laying on the ground and staring up at the tree, watching the wind sway the leaves back and forth. I feel Hayden’s spirit come close to reassume me that he is in peace.
It took me years to pull myself out of the depression that I experienced afterwards, and anyone that has ever lost a child will tell you, you never really get over it. I spent endless hours telling myself that I was somehow responsible or if I had just called 911 a little bit earlier, Hayden would still be here. Even a coroner ruling that the cause of death was from SIDS, it didn’t take away the guilt a mother feels that she somehow could have saved her baby. After all, that’s what mothers are there for. Therapy and also turning to God and the Angels for help and strength, is what helped get me though those years. I always feel Hayden’s spirit close to me, which gives me comfort. And knowing the universe will reunite us one day, gives me a reason to keep living in love and faith.
No matter how many years have gone by, the pain of not having Hayden with me, stays constant. Holidays and birthdays are especially hard, and I often think of how my second son, Tristan, would have appreciated having an older brother to play with him and guide him. Tristan often out of nowhere will get sad and say, “I miss Hayden”. And although Tristan wasn’t born when Hayden was here, I want Tristan to grow up and know how much of an impact Hayden’s life made on our family.
I’ve also spent countless hours volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House, because when Hayden was in the hospital those last three days, the RMH made a horrible situation, a tiny bit better. Just providing a bed where we could get a couple hours sleep, and not need to leave the hospital to do it, was a God send. And knowing that I can help other families that are going through what I went though, is very therapeutic.
Though its been seven years since Hayden’s birth and passing, I still pray to God that I would give anything to hold Hayden in my arms, if only for one more time. Alas, some things are never meant to be, at least not on this earth plane, no matter how badly it breaks our heart.
(If you have lost a child, I know the unbearable pain you feel and I send you all the love and support in the world. It is the pain that no parent should ever have to go through and there are no answers as to why something like this has to happen. But if for nothing else, the memory of the one we have lost, must push us to not give up on life. We can honor their memory in every act we do. We can find a way to take the pain we have experienced, and help others in a similar situation).