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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I want to know why?

Our family has really been put through the ringer in the last few years. My granny died, Jenna was stillborn, my sister was arrested for meth. I thought that was the end of it. I thought things could only go up.

Yesterday, my little brother tried to commit suicide by hanging himself in the shed behind their house. His wife was going to be moving out in the next few days because they were going to get a divorce. When I talked to him on Friday, he seemed to be doing well. My mom works at Wal-Mart, and he called her earlier in the day to ask her if she would pick him up some sleep aids. She said she would.

I was eating supper when the phone call came in. My sister-in-law asked me to come to the house because my brother had tried to hang himself. I said Oh my God, no. I scared Tessa to death, and she knew instantly something was wrong. I guess part of it is because of how much has gone wrong in the past few years. She wanted to go with me, but I convinced her not to.

I called my sister in law while I was driving. She told me to go to the hospital. I did, but I was so scared. I alternated crying and talking to my granny, begging her to let him be Ok. I don't pray anymore, but I do talk to my granny. On the way to hospital, someone, not even sure now who, calls me to tell me he has a good pulse and heartbeat. I feel better. As I'm getting out of my van, my mom calls me back and says they are lifeflighting him to Vanderbilt. I get out of my van and run (and running is not something I do easily) into the hospital. I was too late. They already had him on the helicoptor.

My mom, aunt and cousin came in a bit later. They had been at water aerobics and were in the emergency room in their bathing suits. We decided to go home, let them get changed, and me say goodbye to the girls before going up there. We also had to take my nephew to Brian before we could go.

All the way to Nashville, I cried and talked to Granny again. Growing up, my brother and I were very close. My stepdad favored my half sister, and my mom didn't do anything to stop him really. It always felt like me and him against the world. He even lived with Brian and I for a few years after we got married.

We get to the hospital, and it's bad. He is on the ventilator and was non-responsive. He was posturing, which the nurse said was the final stage of brain damage. I got to go see him. He looked horrible, and it made me sob. I found out more about what happened. He gave his wife a kiss and told her goodbye. She wanted to know why goodbye, and he shook his head. He went out back and she walked to the house. As she was going up the stairs, she turned to look behind her and saw him kick the cooler he was standing on out from underneath him.

She went running, calling 911 as she went. She shut the door to the shed to keep their boys from seeing, but her seven year old and his friend peeked in the window and saw. I hate that my nephew saw his daddy like that. I hate that his friend had to see it. My sister in law kept holding him up, but as he weighs 180 pounds, she had trouble. By the time the police and the paramedics arrived, he was dead. They brought him back around, but he was without oxygen for a while. Our cousin was one of the police officers who responded.

I don't really know how he is today to be honest. They had him sedated because of the posturing from last night, and they tried to remove it. As he came back up from the sedation, he became agitated and had to be sedated again. Before being sedated again, he was breathing at 60 percent on his own, but the rest was the ventilator. The neurological team views the agitation as a good sign. They did say he could walk out without any problems, but he could also be like he is now forever. He is responding, but most of them are reflex responses, so we don't really know if he is or not. My mom seems to think he is.

I don't know what to think or what to do. I just know my heart is breaking for my brother, my partner against the world as a child. I don't want to lose him, but he would not want to be hooked to machines for the rest of his life. My sister in law said they had discussed it, and he would want to be removed from the machines. If my mom thought there was a chance for him at all, even if the doctors tell her otherwise, she will fight it tooth and nail. I don't know where to stand.

We will know more tomorrow after he has his brain wave activity scan done. My family prays. They are all Christians. I am not sure what I am, but I don't feel like a hypocrit asking for prayers since they all believe. I just want your positive thoughts.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

Tomorrow is Oct. 15, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. At 7 p.m., people all over the world will light candles in remembrance, creating a wave of light. I would love it if you could light one for Jenna.

I never realized how much losing a baby would change your life. I knew it would hurt, but I never thought it would make me a completely different person. I never knew I would think about it every single day. I never realized I would think about Jenna every day for the rest of my life.

I didn't think it was something you would get over, but I didn't think it would affect you like losing a child who has lived outside the womb. While I can never compare my loss to the loss of a living, breathing child, I think having a stillborn baby carries with it its own unique type of grief.

We have no memories. We never saw them smile. We only got to hold them for a few minutes. The only pictures we have are a few taken at the hospital. Those things make having a stillborn baby a unique type of grief. Someday, if I can get through school, I hope to help women and families going through that unique grief.

If you know someone who has lost a baby, either through miscarriage, stillbirth or infancy, please leave me a comment. I will remember them as I am lighting my candles tomorrow night.