Mia's Story, Part 3, The Aftermath

See Part 1 and Part 2 for the backstory.

After losing one's child, the you have two choices. First, you can decide that this is not worth continuing and take on the final solution. Second, you can keep going and try to heal from the loss. Since you're reading this you can probably figure out which choice I made. It was not easy. There were times on the drive back to Flagstaff that I thought about jerking the wheel sending us sailing over a cliff Thelma and Louise style, but didn't. We had left Mia in Phoenix, the final arrangements worked out and completed. A second time we had to make that long, lonely drive up the mountain realizing we had left someone very special behind. Like the first it was not easy. I felt empty. The only solace I had was that my wife was OK. Her BP was finally under control, kind of, but at least enough for them to send us home. It was a very quiet drive home, neither of us said much, just sat in silence, overwhelmed by the last 10 days.

Back at home there were reminders of her everywhere. The day before everything had gone south was her baby shower. The gifts were out as was the stroller her aunt had brought back from Norway. The dirty dishes were still in the sink, our cats frantically waiting at the door. I ran in to move the gifts and stroller into the other room so as not to be completely obvious, but it didn't matter. The moment my wife walked through the door we both lost it, The finality of the situation was so complete now, She wasn't ever going to ride in the stroller, wear the clothes she had been given or hear her father read Dr. Seuss to her again. It was over. Life felt like it was over.

Having given our notice to both our jobs and our apartment in anticipation of moving to the NW, we had to pack up and get out of town. Soon. We had been planning to move to the NW, to move back home before this all happened. The last check-up was the day my wife was flown to Phoenix. We would have left 2 days after Mia passed away. Now everything was changing. So we packed our life (what was left of it) into a Penske truck, hooked the VW onto the trailer and left Flagstaff for good.

Luckily we both have supportive folks. Her's had spent days with us in Phoenix, her Mom being there at the end. My folks flew down from Seattle to help. Between us and her stepfather we got loaded up. My Mom flew back to Seattle with my wife leaving my Dad and I to drive up. As I stood in the now-empty apartment where we had lived for 3 years and had endured such heartache twice I wondered if it all had been worth it. My faith in the medical profession, the one I had spent 3 years trying to get into, my chosen career, was gone. I didn't know if I would ever be able to care, for myself much less for anyone else. The emptiness in the apartment was not just physical, but the memories,the emotional and psychological emptiness pervaded the space.

We learned about a week after Mia died that it had been Pseudomonas that had caused the sepsis that took her life. While I know that as a 26 weeker her chances were not good. The odds were stacked against her. But having something else on top of it made it even worse. My wife and I got thinking though. Several other babies in the unit had the same bug including the one in the room next to us, who routinely shared a nurse with Mia. Then we both remembered the night Mia's nurse swiped her fingers across her nose, like after a sneeze then went on without washing to play with her umbilical lines. We thought we couldn't be right? Had that really happened? As quickly as she had done, she looked up and realized she had done it in front of us. And we did nothing. I don't know why. I don't know why we didn't file a report with her boss, or did more than just sit there and stare. I kick myself to this day that I did nothing. And to this day I blame that nurse. Even if it wasn't her fault, I still can lay the blame, it at least makes me feel better as it provides a reason why this happened. We had lawyer look at the case. Not that I'm big on lawsuits, but I wanted to know if they saw anything negligent. Unfortunately, they said we didn't have a case. Mia's prematurity was the factor that swayed the case, she was too early. And the case with the nose wiping? It would be our word against theirs with no substantial proof. We dropped the idea. Let it go.

Since then our lives have been one challenge after another. I passed the NCLEX, but couldn't find work. I found work, but it was not even close to what I wanted to do, just took the job out of sheer desperation. Nearly lost our apartment once or twice. Had the cable and power shut off a couple of times. And medical bills? I think the cost is well near $250,000 for both of them, thankfully my wife had incredible insurance. We haven't seen much of that. But I remind myself that we're still alive. Now when people ask if I have children I can tell the story. They always say, "I'm sorry" or "It must be hard." I say, "Yes, it sucks. But we had her for 8 wonderful days." Would I have taken more? You better believe it. In a way, I'm glad it happened this way instead of having a year of more before losing her. But I wish it had never happened.

My relating the story came about by near cosmic chance. Ambulance Driver wrote a post that touched me and in a way made sense of all of this, or at least put it in perspective. In "Welcome to Holland" he quotes from a book(?) that relates having a baby to taking a trip to Italy. You plan and plan. Get the guidebooks, the travel guides, make plans. Everyone you know also is going and telling you how great it is, but your flight ends up in Holland. Just a little change in destination right? I figures our flight was diverted then canceled. I don't know why, but this analogy made sense to me. I can never understand why this happened. I can come to grips with it, accept it, celebrate her life and continue mine. In many ways while writing about Mia has brought up a lot of emotion, it is a good thing to get it out, maybe let go a little. Let go, but never forget.

As for me and the wife, we're doing OK now. She's been sick since the pre-eclampsia and the bed rest did her back in something fierce, but we seem to finally getting answers to both her health and her back. We have our good days and our bad, usually more good than bad. I have a job that I love, regardless of how it sounds in my usual posts. While we're not anywhere near even thinking about trying again, we know that we can. Mia will always be our little girl, even though she's gone. We will never forget.

Thanks for reading. Peace and love...

23 Comments:

  1. Ian said...
    Hi

    Just come overfrom "ambulance driver".

    My heart goes out to you both for your lose of both of your children.

    may jesus grant you the desires of your heart.

    god vbless
    ian
    lainy said...
    Ambulance Driver sent me.

    My prayers for you and your wonderful wife is happiness in some form, and I wish you all the best.

    Angels in Heaven, they are.

    God bless you both.
    MedicMatthew said...
    As with the others AD sent me over here. While I'm familiar with the nightmare of prematurity and the tension and uncertainty that the NICU brings I cannot even begin to fathom the heartbreak that you have suffered. May your two little guardian angels always look over you and may you and your wife find peace and comfort some day.
    God Bless
    Stephanie said...
    HI,
    I found your blog through AD. Im so sorry for your loss. While I can't relate to losing a child I can relate to going through Pre-E and a premature birth. My Pre-E came on very suddenly at 27 weeks. We are in Boston so needless to say some GREAT hospitals. Dr's were able to hold me off a week and my son was delivered at 28 weeks weighing 1lb 14oz. The ensuing 3 mths was much more of a white water rafting ride than a roller coaster but we survived and he is now turning 4 next month. You are a gifted writer (you brought me right back into the NICU with you). I hope you and your wife find some solace in your angel Mia watching over you.
    Best,
    Stephanie
    Stephanie said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Ivanna said...
    Hi,
    Just wanted to drop in and wish you some peace.
    I can't pretend to even know how awful it is to lose a child. My twins were born at just short of 28 weeks in 2004, and spent 3 months in the NICU. To this day, I remember the fear of what I would find/hear/see behind the NICU doors every morning. I couldn't go in by myself for the first 3 weeks: I wasn't strong enough mentally to deal with this alone. I was lucky, my story has a happy ending.

    Wishing you and your wife more and more goods days rather than bad.
    _Jon said...
    I lost my fiancee to cancer.
    Writing on her blog (before I lost it to a server crash) did a lot to help me.

    More importantly, it helped others.
    That helped me too.
    Epijunky said...
    I found you through AD's blog...

    All I can say is I wish you and your wife peace. I wish I had something more profound and comforting to say, but I don't think those words exist.
    Ereshkigal said...
    When my younger brother, who I had raised for many years, died, my life was turned upside down. There's a lot that you wrote of that resonates with my feelings over the past few years. I have finally reached a point where I can talk about it and him somewhat and have healed enough, I think, to start living myself again.

    For you and your wife, I wish you find peace and the ability to laugh from the same deep place that you could before your children moved on.
    Jerry said...
    I am so sorry this happened. Hope you will hang in there. There are many sweet thing in life for those who keep looking.
    Wanderer said...
    Thank you all so very much. Your thoughts and prayers are very appreciated. My wife hasn't read the story yet (she lived it), but I know that she will be touched with all the love and support out there.
    Peace and love...
    codeblog said...
    Mia Rose is a beautiful name for a beautiful soul. So sorry for your loss.
    Georeg said...
    Wanderer and your wife;

    I can't begin to feel what you two have gone through. I am glad, though, that AD led me to your blog. The losses that you two have suffered have been lessened somewhat by the eloquence of your writing. You must know that we all send our love, support and whatever comfort we can to both of you.

    Each night, prayers from us will now be said for all four of you and I will give a portion of my love for my own two daughters.

    Having angels is a terrible price to pay, perhaps, but they will guard you forever.

    George
    phlegmfatale said...
    Blessings to you, Mr & Mrs Wanderer. My heart goes out to you, and I'm glad you had those 8 days of hope and anticipation with little Mia Rose. I'm glad you had a little time to be near her and to let your soft, familiar voices give her comfort and ease. Thank you for sharing your story.
    Jean said...
    also from AD's blog...

    So very, very sorry.
    Wishing you both peace and healing hearts.
    Kellie said...
    Ambulance driver linked you and I' so glad he did. I cannot express over the computer my feelings over your loss of Mia. I hope you and your wife are supported by each other and your families during this anniversary period just as you were last year at this time. Mia wasa beautiful little girl. Thank you for sharing pictures with all of us.

    As a mother to two premature boys(30wkr and 25wkr), the roller-coaster and those late night and early morning phone calls still strike fear in my heart and ice water in my veins. The early births of my children lead me to go back to school and get my BSN to become a NICU nurse. I can only hope all of our heartache, triumphs, tears, and celebrations will help me be a better advocate and caregivers for babies like your precious daughter Mia and loving parents like you and your wife.

    I'm sorry for the great loss of your beautiful Mia Rose
    night lightning woman said...
    My parents lost a girl and a boy. It took such courage for them to have me...and ended up giving them such joy. They were great parents. Whatever your decisions, blessings on you every day. AD links so many of us to meaningful posts like yours. I will be stepping by again.
    Ali said...
    I was also pointed here by Ambulance Driver. I have nothing more to say than I am sorry, and Mia was a beautiful little girl.
    Judy said...
    I got here by way of Ambulance Driver, too.

    I hope that sharing your story helps you to heal. I believe that it will help others. Hard as it was for me to read, it is filled with hope.
    Mama Mia said...
    I know that by now you will have heard all there is to say, but I want to add my voice to those of consolation and support. Thank you for being so courageous and sharing your story. Your entire family is in my thoughts
    Squeaky Wheel said...
    This has been sitting in my Firefox tabs for several days, and I just started going through and "getting rid" of them this morning.

    I'm bookmarking this one.

    I came here from AD's blog, and I'm so glad he posted that link. You may not see yourself as strong, but just writing about something like this takes a lot out of you, and I appreciate you sharing this story. For you to even have tried again after the loss of one child shows more hope than many people with no misfortunes to speak of have.

    I wish you and your wife the best, and I hope you can finally find peace. I hope this helped you along that end.
    Brandon said...
    Thanks for reading.

    Thanks for sharing your little girl's story. Peace and blessings to you and your wife.
    ArkieRN said...
    Came from AD's blog.

    Know that prayers are being said for you and your wife to find peace.

    Blessings,
    Stacie

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