I don't know if I have the words to express how I feel. Sadness, horror,guilt. I think they all apply here.
Last month, by best friend's brother and his wife had their first child. A beautiful baby girl. Yes, she was tiny. She was born two months early. We all felt optimistic. After all, premature girls seem to have a better chance of survival than boys. ( See right from birth, we are tougher).
My twins were two months early. They thrived( unless I give in to that primal urge to strangle them that all parents of teenagers have).Baby Stella was at the same hospital my girls were. She would not get better care anywhere else in the world.
Things were proceeding well. For me, the hardest part was not being able to touch my girls while they were in the hospital. The rules are very strict on that. You may hold them to feed them and that is it. I was thrilled when I was allowed to be the one to carry them to the scale to weigh them. I tried to make those moments last as long as I could. However, a person can only walk 30 feet so slowly. We all rejoiced when the parents were finally able to hold Stella. To me, that meant the worst was over.
Then things went wrong rapidly. Stella's parents live over an hour away from the hospital. They got a call in the middle of the night. Baby Stella had developed an infection. The hospital told the parents they must come now. They were told that Baby Stella probably had less than 24 hours to live.
We prayed the hospital was wrong. Hospitals have been wrong before. People have been told they have 6 weeks to live and have gone on to live 20 more years. Sadly, this time the hospital was right.
Baby Stella passed away before she reached the age of one month.
My heart breaks for her family. I cannot imagine the horror they must be living in. I have heard the stories of how maybe it was for the best. I can't accept that. I think living with a child with a disability beats losing your child completely.
However, I can imagine a tiny tiny white casket. I wish I could get rid of that picture in my mind but it is stuck there.
To top it off, I feel guilty. Is it unreasonable? Yes. Does it matter? No. I still feel an immense amount of guilt. I had preemies. Mine survived. I already had a healthy child. They had none. I had TWO babies. They had one. My two babies survived. Their one precious child did not. Do I realize how lucky I am? Oh, yes.I wish this story had a happy ending. Sadly it does not. I pray that the family finds comfort and peace. Me? I will try to remember how lucky I really am... even when living with three teenagers makes me wonder.
RIP little Stella.
Little Stella's funeral is today. On my friend's 40th birthday. I am sure no one wants to spend their 40th birthday burying their infant niece.