Here we are. 3 years ago right now I was holding you while you slept where you loved to sleep. I remember that night like it was yesterday. I remember the weight of you as you breathed into the crook of my neck and you drooled down my collarbone. I remember we were sitting on the smaller of the two couches and I watched TV after a long day of work. You spent the day at Grandma and Grandpas and, even though you could probably use a bath, I was exhausted and didn’t give you one. In fact – you fell asleep in the sleep n’ play you wore that day but I figured they were like PJ’s.
I remember your daddy took Taylor to her first night at Girl Scouts. He was convinced that it was definitely something Taylor should do with me. I remember getting up off the couch, ever-so-gently so not to wake you. You were sleeping so well through the night now. Almost 3 months old! I was looking forward to a restful sleep before another long day at work the next day.
I remember you waking up. You would sleep in the mama-roo next to our bed every night. The only thing you liked to sleep in. I remember bringing you into bed thinking you just wanted to be held. But you were fussy. You were biting your fist like you normally did when you were hungry. I remember getting out of bed with you to get a bottle downstairs.
Like it was yesterday, I remember walking downstairs and holding you. I noticed you would outstretch your arm and it was shaky. It was an odd behavior. I remember thinking that. I remember brushing it off.
Oh Morgan…. I remember getting frustrated that all the bottles were in the dishwasher and I needed two hands to fix one for you. So I put you down. I put you down on your soft, pink blanket on the floor in the living room. It was next to your play mat, your favorite thing in the world. I remember you were so mad that I put you down, you cried so hard. So I tried to hurry. I grabbed a bottle and nipple then the pitcher of formula in the fridge. I poured the formula, measuring 6 ounces. You were really upset now – really upset. Then I walked to the microwave and opened the door. As I opened the door, you started to cough. It wasn’t a normal cough, almost a choking cough. I immediately felt something wasn’t right and rushed over to you, leaving the bottle in the microwave with the door open.
Three years later I remember this moment so vividly. It haunts me. In the darkness every night, in the silence of the house… it plagues me.
I remember you gasping frantically and you straightened out so stiff. Your head turned to the side and you were struggling. I rubbed your head and said your name. “Morgan. Morgan what’s wrong baby girl??”.
Then that sound. The sound of your last and final exhale. You made a moaning sound. Then you stopped. No more breathing. No more moving.
I remember I picked you up and rushed upstairs. To this day, whenever I walk up those stairs in the darkness of the night I flashback to this moment. The moment of pure, unadulterated panic. It consumes me every time I walk up those stairs at night. Especially holding Danielle.
I remember rushing to your dad. I remember the CPR. I remember desperately trying to remember my phone password so I could call 911 – completely forgetting you can do it without unlocking your phone.
I remember the agonal breaths. We thought you were breathing, but it wasn’t breathing. It was your reflex – you were already gone.
I remember the paramedics… rushing you downstairs when they arrived.
I remember jumping into the front seat of the ambulance and wondering why they were driving so slow.
I remember I didn’t have any shoes on.
I remember the paramedic said “ma’am, please put on your seatbelt”.
I tried to see you in the back but couldn’t. I remember that. I also remember praying to God, so desperately, bargaining with him… begging him to save you.
I remember getting to the ER. Jumping out. Standing outside, waiting for them to bring her out. A nurse asked me to come inside to help with checking her in.
I answered questions. There was a police officer there. He listened to the questions the nurse asked and my responses. He must have realized this was not due to foul play because I DON’T remember seeing him there after that.
I remember sitting in a waiting area, alone. And then Jeff came in. He asked “what the hell happened???”. I broke down. I have no idea. I described everything to him. Then the nurse came in to bring us back to the room.
I remember watching, in horror, as the medical team took turns performing CPR on Morgan. Watching them, all I could think was “oh my God, we didn’t press hard enough or fast enough!”. I panicked inside at this. I still do.
The shots. I remember the shots of epinephrine. And the respiratory therapist bagging my sweet baby. The sleep & play, that she wore the entire day before, was cut up so they could get to her chest. Her diaper was wet.
God – I remember thinking how could these people be so calm during this traumatic event?! It gave me a small glimmer of hope, like they see this all the time and they will be able to save her.
Oh my God…. I remember the question. “Be straight with us doc. It’s not looking good is it?”. Jeff asked. “We are doing everything we can, but it is not typical for someone to recover after such a long episode of CPR. We don’t know how long her brain has been deprived of oxygen.”
My heart was ripped out of my chest. At that moment. The lights in the room became white. All the sounds went mute. I looked at Morgan. She was gone. I knew she was gone. It had been 45 minutes with absolutely no signs of life. We gave the nod to doctor, it was ok to stop.
I remember the only thing I heard at that moment was “I’m sorry, but she has died” from the Doctor. Then Jeff’s moan. He collapsed to the floor. I was sitting, crying already. But completely numb. The medical team turned off the monitors and left the room. At the same time as Jeff’s mom and dad entered.
There are so many things, after 3 years, that I wish I knew that night. I wish I knew that it was ok to pick her up and hold her one. last. time. I wish we would have taken the lock of hair that was offered by one of the nurses. I wish we would have kept her little outfit – the one with the flowers and ruffled bottom.
Above all, I wish we were better prepared for this situation. Maybe, if we were better equipped with an AED at home – or better trained in infant CPR, she may still be here. We will never know. The only thing that I am absolutely certain of if that I miss her more than words on the page can express.
The trauma of that day haunts me so vividly still. I know, that when it is my time to go home to Jesus, I want to die the same way Morgan did. I want to know what she felt. I want to know if what she was feeling was painful. It is awful to think she suffered or was scared. I am forever grateful that I was with her, whispering her name and rubbing her head when she died. She had her mama there.
Memories are so bittersweet. So is time. Time passing rubs salt in the wounds because I realize I will never know what kind of 3 year old she would have been. But time is also a blessing, because it has given me the ability to remember her life, not JUST her death. When she first died, that was all consuming. It still can be a times (times like tonight). And that is ok. Because the pain I feel about losing Morgan is directly related to the love I carry for her. So I am ok with the pain. I welcome it. Because without it, how could I realize the love that is still there?
I love you. I miss you. My sweet munchkin. October 9th will forever be an awful day as long as I am on this earth.