On this day, January 20, 11 years ago Jacob turned three weeks old. In the calendar journal we kept it simply says, “We are all very tired.” That sums it up. This three-week marathon in the NICU was preceded by 5 weeks of bedrest where we knew if he had been born any one of those days he wouldn’t have had a chance. I felt like I had crossed the finish line when we reached 24 weeks and knew he had a chance at survival, only that was only the beginning of the second marathon.
It was a Saturday. I don’t remember the doctor saying much at all that day. Looking back I think the doctors knew he wasn’t going to make it and they were just giving us a few days to process it, or at least giving me a few more days. I think my husband also had come to terms with the fact that this time there was nothing else that could be done. I wasn’t there yet. I still thought a miracle could save him. I thought as long as the doctors can continue to keep his heart pumping there was hope.
In his book, “Before Their Time: Lessons in Living from Those Born Too Soon” neonatal doctor Dr. Ron Hoekstra says, “Sometimes it’s best for the sake of the parents to continue treatment for a time even when the child cannot be saved. It gives them a chance to understand the situation and come to terms with it.” In his book it goes on to explain how the doctors offer end of life decisions for parents in these situations. “Rather than prolong the suffering of a baby who has no prospects for surviving, we will offer the parents the option of [stopping treatments].” It goes on to offer parents, like myself, the following “If God can perform miracles at any time, as of course he can, there is nothing about stopping treatment that will prevent miracles from happening.”
It was this Saturday that my hopes of bringing home my son began to change and my hopes of ending his suffering began to surface. If God wanted to save him he could. If it was his time than it was his time…(to be continued.)