On October 21, 2012 at 8:38pm my baby boy was officially pronounced dead. I sit here typing and I am still in complete shock. I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to write about, but tonight as I sit here I realize that baby boy needs me to tell his story – our story. It is a tragic story. It is a story about a guardian angel and his mama. It is a story about the day I lost my little angel, my soul, and my reason to keep living.
8:30am Friday October 19th:
Baby boy had been running a fever and the night before his fever had spiked again causing another seizure. I called the ambulance, per usual, and again was told that baby boy was fine and that Febrile Seizure are benign and that I should just take him into the doctors in the morning.
We arrived at the doctor’s office before it opened. Baby boy was an eager beaver and loved opening doors and pressing buttons. Even though he woke up with a low grade fever, he was bouncing around and ready to see who was going to be behind the door. In true baby boy fashion, he beamed with a huge smile when the door opened and continued to bounce into the office and start playing with the toys.
During the exam, I told the doctor about the febrile seizure that had occurred the night before and noted that I wanted them to check and make sure he was ok. Part of me wondered if they would think I was over paranoid as it was clear that baby boy was healthy and had completely forgotten about being sick. I told the doctor that baby boy’s father had a court ordered visit the next day and asked him if I should cancel the visit until I am sure he is past the fever. The next thing the doctor said, I will never forget:
“Febrile seizures are a benign condition. They don’t kill people. Are you just looking for an excuse to cancel the visit with his father? Because his father should be able to handle the fever just like you can…”
6:30pm Friday night:
Baby boy spikes another fever, we medicate, and no seizure occurs. I started to text the supervisor of the exchanges to tell her that I worried he was not over what he had that was causing the fevers. I asked her if we could reschedule. She told me that I would need doctors proof to cancel the visit (which I didn’t have as the doctor blew off my concerns) and that if I didn’t agree to her terms for another date she would have to tell Luc that I had refused to comply with the order. This was a clear threat that she would give Luc the ammunition he needed to fight me in court. After all of the threats and the fears, I collapsed under the pressure and told her that I would send him on the visit if he woke up without a fever.
Saturday October 20th: Morning
Baby boy slept in and woke up with a huge smile on his face and ready for his morning routine. He threw blocks at the dogs, hugged me, hugged grandma, and ate his yo baby yogurt. He didn’t have a fever, so I made the decision to take him to the visit. I decided that after the confrontation my mom had with the supervisor after the last visit, that I would take him to the visit this time. (It was the first time I ever dropped him off for a visit with his father)
Just before the visit, I took baby boy into Harris Teeter grocery store. I wanted to see if they had some more snacks I could pack for him and I wanted to give him a chance to run around and play for a bit before the visit. Baby boy loved to be independent. He hit the ground running and wanted to talk to everyone in the store (though nobody understood his special language). He ran for the balloons and pointed at all the lights. I chased for a bit and watched him laugh as we played tag.
When it was time for the visit, me and a friend took him to the police station. We were a bit early so I changed his diaper and let him play with the steering wheel of the car. He wanted to press all the buttons in the car and talked his head off as if he wanted us to know something. At that moment, I felt him a little warm and started to panic. I thought, ‘oh no…another fever…what if he has a seizure there.’ Then, I remembered the doctors words. I ran back to the Harris Teeter to get him some fever medication just so that I could be sure he wasn’t going to spike a fever. I then told the supervisor that I had created a log with medical information and noted the time I administered medication and told her it would be important for Luc to watch him to make sure he didn’t get another fever.
The next moment was surreal. I looked at baby boy, lifted him out of the car, and hugged him close. I said, “It’s going to be ok baby. Mama loves you SO much. Have a good day baby and mama will see you tonight.” When I put him in the car, baby boy looked as if he was in shock and appeared worried. I kissed his forehead and told him how much I loved him. ”I love you GeGe Bean”, I said to him. (That was one of his many nicknames)
(Note: This was the last time I saw my son alive)
Saturday October 20th: Evening
I was nervous all day and anxiously awaiting the time when I could return to the Police Station and pick up baby boy. I thought about how he would smile and reach for me and how I would breath a sigh of relief knowing that we had gotten through another week. I was at work making up some hours when I got a phone call from my mother telling me that baby boy was at the hospital again and that I needed to call the supervisor. I dropped everything and ran out of the office and jumped into my car.
Initially, I tried to remain calm. I said to myself, “ok so baby boy must have had another seizure and he must have just been taken to the hospital and he is fine just like last time.” Then, a police officer called me. He didn’t give me any medical information other than that baby boy was being flown to a different hospital. It was weird that nobody was talking to me while I was driving. Why weren’t they telling me what happened? Why did a police officer call me?
When I arrived at the hospital, I waited a torturous three hours. I met with a social worker and a police officer all before I even know what had happened to my baby and why we were all there. As the hours passed, I felt myself dying inside because I knew it couldn’t be good – we were in the pediatric ICU. Baby boy had never gone there before.
After hours of waiting and pacing the hallway of the pediatric ICU (just a few halls from where I gave birth to baby boy just 15 months prior), I was finally led back to see him. As I looked through the glass to the room, my heart broke in two. I saw my baby laying on the bed unconscious and full of tubes. I went to touch his head and he felt as cold as ice. I will never forget how cold his hair felt. I didn’t know hair could get cold like that.
As soon as the doctor saw me going to touch baby boy, she grabbed my arm and told me she needed to talk to me. She said, “Baby boy suffered cardiac arrest. We don’t know at this time what happened, but when he arrived at the hospital his heart wasn’t beating and they were administering CPR. He is not responsive to the medication, he is on a ventilator, and the prognosis is poor. He will likely die. He will likely die soon. If he doesn’t die, he will have significant neurological deficits.”
I was in shock. As I stood there with my father, I couldn’t even cry. I just stood in shock hoping to wake up from this nightmare. I walked over to baby boy and held his hand. Before I knew it, a nurse was shoving a chair under me as I fell to the ground. My word was slipping away. My baby boy was gone and I was staring at his body. His soul had already passed on.
The next few hours seemed like a blur. They let me hold baby boy and my entire family (about 12 people) crowded into the room and prayed with me. I sung to him and cried. I said, “please don’t leave me baby – mama loves you SO much.” He didn’t respond to my voice. He didn’t move. We just prayed and cried.
Moments later, the nurses shuffled everyone out and told me that they needed to speak with me alone. As soon as everyone was out of the room, they said that “the father” had arrived and they had to let him see baby boy. I started to scream at them and tell them I had sole legal custody and that I didn’t want my baby to have to be with his murderer. They told me that they didn’t care about custody and that I needed to understand that it was best for baby boy to allow his father to see him. I held onto baby boy and shielded him with my body while I cried.
Luc came into the room twice and made a huge scene. (He is a good actor) The hospital staff was getting ready to have “visitation hours” ordered where we would have to take shifts, when I decided it was time to finally put my foot down. I said, “I know my rights! Give us some peace!” I called my attorney and told him to talk to the staff and explain how they were breaking the law. After hours of distress, they finally backed off and I made Luc leave the hospital.
I sat with baby boy for 48 hours as his body shut down. Since we were informed that it was a criminal investigation, I was advised that if I could wait out the 48 hours for them to confirm brain death…we would be able to get a more accurate read on cause of death without legal distractions. So we waited. As my son’s body shut down, the smell was indescribably awful. His body looked less and less his own with each hour that passed.
Finally, he was pronounced dead. The nurses handed me his lifeless body, took off the collar on his neck, and unplugged life support. He died in my arms bleeding all over. I felt as if I was dying along side of him. As I felt his heart stopping, I sang, “You are my sunshine….my only sunshine…you make me happy when skies are grey…you’ll never know dear…how much I love you…please don’t take my sunshine away.”
There are no words to describe the horrible feeling I feel every moment of every hour. I am a zombie moving through life without my heart. I can’t eat because my son will never eat again. I can’t sleep because I have nightmares of what he looked like dying in front of me. I want to go with him. I want to hold him. I want to see his smile just one more time.
I have fought so hard to save him from Luc. I hate myself for deciding to send him over to that devil. If I had violated the court order, he would be sleeping beside me right now. I should have run. I should have left. I have spent the last 15 months fighting to keep my baby away from a monster. The justice system failed. My son will never walk again – never smile again – never call for his mama again – never fly in an airplane – learn to swim and learn to read.
I don’t know who I am if I am not baby boy’s mama. I have fought long and hard for 15 months. I fought but I couldn’t protect my baby when he needed me. There are no words…
Mama loves you SO much. I chose you. You are my guardian angel. I wanted to spend the rest of my with you. I wanted to protect you from this evil world. I wanted to show you all the happiness I could give you. I don’t know how to live without your smiles, your hugs, and everything you are. Life will never be the same without you. I will see you in heaven son. Please know how hard I tried and how much I would everything to be back with you.
His name was Prince. He is my angel and I want you all to know our story.