Last summer, everything was going perfectly. I was newly married to an amazing man, had a job a liked, lived in a cute little apartment, and I was so excited to start a family. I had absolutely nothing to complain about. It only took two months before we were pregnant with our first child and we were over the moon! My pregnancy progressed smoothly without any complications. I never thought anything could go wrong. I went into labour on my due date but baby was taking his sweet time getting here. He was posterior so he was having a hard time getting out. I was in labour for 48 hours and pushed for about 5 hours before Ezra arrived.
When he was delivered, he was covered in meconium and wasn’t breathing. The nurses took him to another room and suctioned out his airways. At this point I was pretty delirious. I was exhausted from the labour and lack of sleep. The doctor came in and told me that they were taking Ezra to Sick Kids. I’d heard of this happening before. Babies breathe in meconium all the time right? My baby would be alright. We’d be home from the hospital in no time.
A few hours after I delivered, I was told I could leave. My husband and I drove down to Toronto and were surprised at what we found. When we walked into the NICU, there was our baby covered in dozens of wires, monitors, and tubes. The situation looked much more serious that I’d imagined.
The doctors told us that Ezra had experienced brain damage from lack of oxygen after birth and that they would be cooling him for the next three days to prevent any more damage from happening. We wouldn’t know anything until after his MRI. The next few days were extremely difficult. Even though I was mentally and physically exhausted, I wanted to spend every minute with my baby. He was absolutely perfect; a combination of both his mommy and daddy. He had such soft hair, such perfect little feet, such sweet brown eyes. It was hard to think that there was anything wrong with him.
While we were there, he’d open his eyes, look at us, and kick his feet. Brain damage? I didn’t believe it. My baby would be fine. I kept telling my husband, “I can’t wait to go home with Ezra.” Little did I know, this wouldn’t be the case.
Day by day, Ezra kept getting worse. The doctors told us that he continued to have seizures despite being on anti-seizure medication. Every day he moved a little less, and by the time he had his MRI, he wasn’t moving at all. I was still in denial. I told myself that Ezra was just sleeping. The doctors told us to brace ourselves for the news. We wouldn’t find out the results until the morning. When we woke up, I felt sick. I would have to face reality today, whatever that may be. I was still clinging onto hope that he’d be fine. Maybe he’d just have a slight learning disability. I couldn’t imagine my baby being paralyzed or blind or worse. The doctors brought us into a room filled with people. I was terrified. A few minutes later, they gave us the news: Ezra would not be able to survive; he was completely brain dead. The doctor’s words hit me like a ton of bricks.
They took us into another room to process the information. The next 8 hours were the worst kind of torture. We had to decide when to take our baby off of life support. How can a parent even make that kind of decision? We didn’t know if Ezra would live for seconds, minutes, or hours. When we finally did, we were so full of fear. We watched his little chest rise and fall, thinking every breath could be his last. Ezra was a strong baby. He held out for 28 hours, breathing strongly through most of it. Towards the end of his journey, there would be minutes where he wouldn’t breathe. We’d think that he’d left us, but then take a huge gasp of air and continue fighting. It was absolute agony watching my baby ‘die’ over and over again. When he took his last breathe, we were at peace. We knew our baby was with Jesus and wasn’t suffering anymore.
It has been almost 3 months since Ezra has died and every day is a struggle. I never know what each day will bring. Some days it seems like it is getting better, but the next I’ll spiral downwards and I’ll be back at square one again. I know that time heals all but some days it feels as though this pain will never get better. Never once have we thought that the medical team were negligent as sometimes they are unable to see stuff like this happening and there was nothing that could be done. I do know that some parents would be looking into finding a lawyer for brain injuries if their child suffered from brain damage after birth. If you think that is the right decision for you, then is anyone to stop you. But we decided against doing that and we are at peace with this decision. Through the hard times, I can still see some good in all of it. I thank God for blessing us with such a beautiful little baby and getting to know him for 5 short days. I know that God has a plan in all of this and that I just can’t understand it right now. I’m praying for peace and healing as I continue on in this journey of grief and loss.