At 2am this morning Morgan woke up crying, like she has done so many nights before. I tried to calm her by laying in bed with her but she was acting hungry. I got up and took her downstairs to get her fed and a diaper like I normally do. She was fussing, making the same sounds as she usually does when she is acting “gassy”. I realize all the bottles are in the dish washer still and need two hands to get a bottle ready. So I lay a blanket on the living room floor and set her down. I walked back to the dishwasher, took out a bottle and poured the formula into it. On my way walking to the microwave she started to make this choking/crying/I’m-struggling-to-breathe noise.
Something isn’t right…
I place the bottle down in the microwave and hurry over to see what the problem is. She was lying where I set her, twisted into a half side lying position and sort of twitching. It looked like she was seizing. I rubbed her back and called her name “Morgan what’s wrong”. And then she stopped…
Oh God she stopped
She stopped moving, she was unresponsive. Oh dear God she is unresponsive! I scoop her up in a panic and RUN upstairs.
I am holding Morgan – she isn’t breathing.
“She’s not breathing!! She’s not breathing!!”
Jeff jumps to the side of the bed as I lay Morgan down. He rubs her chest and feels for a pulse. There’s none…
Oh my God…Oh my God….Oh my God…
He starts CPR. He is frantically trying desperately to save our precious baby. I’m calling 911… the phone is so damned slow! They pick up right away.
“My baby….I think she’s had a seizure… she isn’t breathing!”
The 911 operator gets our address. She asks a few questions about Morgan. I’m in a panic… I am waiting for her to just snap out of it like a child would in a seizure. But nothing is happening!
They transfer me to another operator. They asked a few more questions – I don’t know why. Probably just to keep me on the phone. I drop the phone and tell Jeff to talk to them as I pick up Morgan, place her on the floor and continue CPR again.
What seemed like forever I continued CPR. Jeff runs down the hall carrying the cell phone and sees the lights of the Ambulance. “They are here!”
I pick Morgan up and run downstairs. Jeff opens the door and I practically throw Morgan into the paramedic’s arms.
Jeff gives the brief version of Morgan’s condition and history as they place her on the gurney and start CPR on her.
“Can one of us ride with you?” Jeff asked. “In the front, one of you”.
Jeff told me to go. He hands me my cell and I jump in the passenger seat of the ambulance. I’m barefoot… who cares….
I squeeze my eyes shut and pray to God. Oh please God, heal her! Save my Morgan! I can’t lose her- she is my baby!! We love her so much, and she has been through so much. She needs to live. She has a purpose. You have a PLAN FOR HER GOD!!! THIS ISN’T IT- IT CAN’T BE!!
Half way down our street the sirens are switched on. The ambulance driver calls on the radio and indicates there is a serious case and they need someone to lead to clear any traffic. I keep trying to text Jeff or call him to let him know which hospital but my phone won’t let me because I had called 911. I had to wait just under 3 minutes to use my phone again. Has it not even been 3 minutes? That isn’t believable…..
It takes roughly 8 minutes to get to the hospital. I jump out of the ambulance and see they are still performing CPR. I stand outside waiting for them to roll her in. They aren’t. A man from the ER asks me to step into the unit. Crying uncontrollably I listen and follow. They take me to the nurses station and ask me a few questions (what happened? what is the baby’s name? what is your name?).
They weren’t bringing her in… she was still out in the ambulance…..
They move me into a waiting area and bring me a water and a warm blanket. Jeff arrives just as they were rolling her into the ER Unit.
One of the people from the ER comes in, tells us that we will be kept informed of what is going on. Jeff and I are a mess. Crying uncontrollably. What is happening? She had a great day! She was all smiles and just as sweet as ever! There was no warning. No reason. What did we miss???
The ER person (whatever you call them) came in to ask if we wanted to go back and see her. They are still administering CPR. It’s 3am. He started to “warn” us that she had a breathing tube and about what we were going to see and we waved him off “we’ve seen all that before”.. and rushed out of the room.
There were about 8 or so people in that room. All rushing around our little baby. They had cut her pajamas to get to her chest and were giving her CPR. They had her intubated and were breathing for her. Every 3-1/2 minutes they would administer a shot of epinephrine to stimulate her heart.
The ER doctor explained they would continue to try resuscitation, but it wasn’t looking good.
She received 11 shots of epinephrine in total and an hour of CPR.
“I’m so sorry…but she has died…”
There are no words. I cannot begin to describe the feeling of seeing your child pass away. The raw emotional feeling of complete helplessness. The mind numbing chaos that penetrates deep into the depths of your soul. A piece of me died this morning. A big piece. I will never get it back. It left this physical world to be with my sweet angel in heaven.
As I look at her sweet angelic face, it’s as if she is sleeping. She looks peaceful. She doesn’t look as if her life has ended. It is a strange yet surreal feeling. I go to her. I kiss her forehead. I hold her hand. She is still warm. I watch her. I wait for her to breathe. To prove everyone wrong.
But it doesn’t happen…
Jim and Susan arrived just as the medical team starts to leave the room. They see her there and realize they just lost their precious grand baby.
“Do you want us to call the Chaplain?”
Yes – we do. We need a prayer. We need some perspective. We need something. We need our daughter to wake up!!
We stay with Morgan and wait until the Chaplain arrives. He, too, lost a baby girl many years ago. He has a concept of what we are feeling – and what we are going through. He prays with us and gives us some helpful words of how to break it to the kids.
Oh my God – the kids. How are we going to explain why Morgan isn’t coming home? Gavin must be a wreck right now. He knows we left in a hurry to go to the hospital with her. He doesn’t know that she is gone.
Once the Chaplain left we reluctantly decide it is time to leave – we need to get home and tell Gavin. It’s almost 5am. I can’t leave her in this cold, sterile room. It isn’t right! It’s not supposed to happen… THIS WASN’T SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN!!!
She has grown cold to the touch. It is chilling. The horror of the situation fills me and I’m spinning. She is gone….she is gone…
Shaking, we push past the curtain that separated Morgan’s little ER room from the rest of the ER. Every set of eyes were on us. It is silent. Completely silent. No one knows what to say. What do you say to parents who just witnessed the death of their infant? Nothing…. nothing can provide any peace, comfort, and for the life of GOD do not express understanding!! NO ONE understands this – unless they have physically felt this pain before. There is NOTHING like it on this earth. NOTHING.
We exit the hospital and get to the car. As we pull away I lose it. I’m yelling… I’m screaming WHY?! She was FINE!! THIS WASN’T SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN!!! THEY FIXED HER!!
But it wasn’t enough. We learned that this morning. No matter how hard you try, no matter how amazing the medical team caring for your child, there is always the agony of the unexpected.
We pull into the driveway. We need to tell Gavin. He is awake.
“Is she ok?”
No. She is not ok. She passed away. She isn’t coming home. she is never coming home…
He is upset – but he won’t cry. We tell him how it is ok to feel sad, anger, disbelief…. it’s ok to share these feelings with us. This is a safe place.
It turns out he was awake from beginning. He told me he woke up to me telling Jeff “She’s not breathing”.
He heard everything… the desperate attempts at CPR…. the 911 call…. the crying… us running by his room with a lifeless infant, his sister whom he loved so much. What a horrible thing for a 14 year old to witness. My first baby just grew up over the last few hours… he will never get that innocence back.
It was determined later today that Morgan passed away from sudden cardiac arrest – arrhythmia. She did not have an arrhythmia prior to this and, from my understanding, it is a complication of congenital heart disease (even repaired heart abnormalities). Apparently it is not very common to develop an arrhythmia so far after recovery from a repair, but our sweet Morgan loved to defy all odds in everything she did – even in death.
I kick myself. I know now that she passed almost instantly when the arrhythmia hit that there was absolutely nothing that we could have done. But I had put her down. If I had waited – if it was just a few seconds later that I had walked downstairs I would have been holding her as she passed. But I wasn’t. She was alone…on the floor….
This will haunt me for the rest of my life. The sounds she made… the fact mommy put her down in her big moment….the desperate pleas to God to save her in vain.
Our sweet gift has left us. But only for a short life time, as we will be together again in heaven. Fly high sweet girl, and bask in the glory of Jesus’ love for you in heaven.