Saturday, October 4, 2008

Saying Goodbye

On Saturday, Chris and I spent much of our time over in the NICU holding and loving Bailey. Normally Parents are not allowed to hold their NICU babies. However, due to the circumstances, we were allowed to hold our sweet Bailey. We spent time together as well as time separate - one on one - with our darling little girl. As the evening neared, we became more and more anxious. Mary and the NICU nurses had arranged to have Bailey moved to a private room around 4 PM so that we could have some privacy when family came to see her as well as for us to give her her blessing. The plan was for the boys to come around 4 PM so that we could tell them the news before the rest of our friends and family arrived around 6 PM. As I have told many of you - the hardest thing I have ever done in my life so far was to tell my sweet, big-hearted 8 year old that his little Sister - the one he had waited for for so long and was SO proud of - was going to die. I had no idea how I was going to do this. However, I made it through and, after tears from all of us, we were ready for everyone else to join us.

So many people came to say their Goodbyes to Bailey. Many of our close friends and family members came and got a chance to hold her while she was still alive. Bailey's nurse and respiratory therapist were so patient and so helpful in assisting us in moving her from person to person with all of her tubes, etc. It took close to 2 hours for everyone to have their turn. It was long - but so worth it. We then proceeded to gather for her blessing. Her Uncle Rick gave it to her with our close friends and family members participating. It was beautiful!

It was then time to remove her tubes. We asked everyone to leave but Chris and I. My Sister and her Husband were staying with the boys outside so that they wouldn't be present when she passed away but would still be able to come back to have their pictures taken with her (we had made arrangements for "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" to come back that evening). We were told that it was unknown how long she would make it once the tubes were removed but, most likely, it wouldn't be more than a 1/2 hour. Little did we know that Bailey would continue to be the fighter she had been throughout her entire journey. Bailey lived just over 2 1/2 hours after removing all of her tubes. Chris and I both got to hold her. We would see her stop breathing, her little hands would turn blue and she would begin to get cold. We would tell the nurse that we thought she was gone and she would check her little heart ... still going strong. After an hour her heart was still beating at 88 beats per minute. She did not want to leave. She would take a deep breath and gasp for air and that would give her just enough to continue on. After about an hour we decided to let the boys come back in. They were able to come in and hold their Sister while she was still living, breathing without her respirator. We got some wonderful pictures taken and then sent the boys home to bed. Chris and I then continued to hold and love our little Bailey. We saw her struggling so hard to continue breathing. We got to the point where we were begging her to "let go". We wanted her to "go home" where she could be in peace. We didn't want her to struggle. We didn't want her to hurt anymore.
Finally, while I was holding my darling baby in my arms, I felt her take one last big breath and I knew that was the final one. I looked at the nurse and said "She's gone". They checked her statistics and determined the same thing. My sweet baby had gone home to heaven to wait for us.

As silly as this may sound to some, Chris and I are confident that Bailey waited just a little longer to pass away because she needed to know that her Mommy and Daddy were ok. We were really struggling with her passing away right after we removed her tubes. However, after saying our goodbyes and watching her struggle we realized that it was best for her. It was only then that Bailey felt that she could pass away knowing that Mommy and Daddy would be comforted and knew that we would see her again someday.

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