When Hello Means Goodbye

Submitted into Contest #44 in response to: Write a story that starts with two characters saying goodbye.... view prompt

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I will never forget this day. I held his tiny little body in my arms, his shallow breathing saying there isn’t much time left. A tear landing on his cheek, as his father leaned in to kiss him “Goodbye little man” and he crumbled into the chair bedside my hospital bed. I whispered to him “Not yet please, hold on just a little longer” A nurse came over and put a stethoscope on his chest. “Just checking” she said gently “Not yet” I choked, she smiled caringly, she too had tears in her eyes. I looked at the clock again, two hours had gone by since he was born. My mind wandered back to the day of the ultrasound, when they discovered he had Potter’s Syndrome. Their explanation that it was when a child never fully develops kidneys or no kidneys at all, it happens about one in ten thousand pregnancies and the longest a child has ever survived after birth, was five hours. I looked at the clock again and then back down at his perfect little face that looked so much like his older brother. Actually, his appearance was a miracle, the doctor had warned us that Potters babies are usually deformed due to the lack of amniotic fluid, but he came out so perfect, they thought they had misdiagnosed him. The moment he was born, I could see the confusion on the doctors and nurses, yes more than a few staff for his special birth. They gathered around him quietly discussing, then turned to us and explained their confusion and asked if they could take him for an ultrasound to see if he had kidneys. If he did they would come back and tell us a new plan, if he didn’t they would bring him back to us to be with until the end. The whole procedure would be about 15 minutes. It felt like hours and for a moment had hope, we heard the door open and the nurse walked in carrying him, both my husband and I cried as we took him. Taking turns holding him and telling him how much we loved him, talking to him, telling him his name was Timmy, trying to say everything we needed him to hear before he was gone. I even teased him a little, saying what a little monkey he was for the way he came into the world, which had started with me waking up at home, to what I thought was his head coming out, as we headed to the hospital and finding out it was his other end, a little breech baby, definitely making his birth an eventful memory. That part was a good memory, the delivery was not, since he was already on his way out, there was no time for pain relief, which was the least of my worries anyhow, but what shocked me most was the doctor who would be doing the delivery was a stranger. My doctor couldn’t make it to the hospital in time and this stranger looked at me and said “Well Mrs Andrews, normally with a breech birth we turn them around and bring them out head first, but since he is going to die anyways we will just do it this way” I heard a nurse gasp in shock at him, then he pushed my son back in, grabbed his ankles and pulled him out. Although I heard his cruel words, I was concentrating more now on hearing my son cry, which he did faintly, then the rest that I have already told you, took place. Back to the clock, two and a half hours, he laid still in my arms, he took one final breathe and was gone. Silent tears streamed down my face, I looked at my husband, with out words he understood. Together we cried and hugged him. The nurse came into the room, looked at us, walked over with her stethoscope to check. “Is he gone?” I choked, she nodded yes, cleared her throat putting her hand on my shoulder and said “There is no rush, you can hold him as long as you want, call me when you are ready.” We kept him with us for another half hour, etching his face into our memories. We looked at his tiny hands and feet, weighing only 2lbs 13 oz at full term, was normal for a potters baby. The nurse came in and gently took him, and said “You have to stay overnight, but you have a choice about which ward you would like to be in, the geriatric or the new moms.” Without even a second thought I answered “New moms, I do not want to see anymore sadness” she smiled huge and said “I knew you would say that.” The news of my son must have already reached the ward before I got there, nurses had very comforting, sad smiles on their faces and a few of the moms holding babies turned away from me, I am sure out of compassion, but I was happy for them and would

have been okay seeing their precious babies. I settled into a private room and then my husband came in “How are you?” he asked “I’m okay, you ?” with his head down “I don’t know.” It was breaking my already broken heart more, to see the man I loved hurt so bad. “Are you okay to drive home?” “I am, but don’t you need me here” “I will be okay, I would feel better if you were at home with Kyle, he is not use to being with out us.” “Okay, I really need to see him too.” “Hug him for me, and call me when you get home, so I know you are safe” with that we hugged, and he left. The rest of the night was a mixture of sleep and tears. In the month that followed, I noticed how friends were different, not wanting to speak about him as if they were afraid to remind me, haha. One friend in particular was amazing, she showed up with a stuffed rabbit similar in size and color to the stuffed bear she had given Kyle when he was born. With her warm hugs and smile, she handed the bunny to Kyle and said “Take care of this for your little brother Timmy okay.” Being only 14 month old, Kyle just smiled took the bunny as if it was for him, said “Timmy bunny” and sat on the floor to play with it. We spent the afternoon talking about how people were reacting, and she told me the hardest part of dealing with people will be in the future. She had been through this herself, people are great at talking about older people who have passed, but afraid to mention children of any age, she figured it was because it was their worst fear, that it happen to them. In her bereavement group they would say “When you lose a parent, you’ve lost your past, When you lose a child, you’ve lost your future.” I asked her what she found hardest to talk about, her reply was when people asked her “How many children do you have?” After she left, I thought about this question, I would have to face it myself for the rest of my life. So I decided some situations my response would be “I have two sons I love so dear, One is in heaven and One is here.”

June 01, 2020 16:30

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2 comments

Rhonda Allen
22:51 Jun 13, 2020

Thank you Sarah, I am sorry we share this pain.

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Sarah Rosenvall
20:32 Jun 12, 2020

This is so sad, something similar happened to me, my little sister died of Trisomy 18, so this brings back lots of memories, happy and sad, thank you, it really helps me remember her.

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