Saturday, December 20 , 2008, is the day my world changed forever.
The day before was like any typical Friday. Alexander feasted on his morning waffle while I prepared to make sugar cookies for our playdate that afternoon. It was raining pretty hard by I thought I’d make the cookies anyway just in case. Alexander quickly finished his waffle and wanted to help with the cookies. So, I lifted him up on the counter so he could help press the cookie cutters into the dough. Once we’d made our cookies, we played a while and I gave him lunch before putting him down for his nap.
I was late with getting Christmas cards out this year so I busied myself with that while Alexander napped. Dad (my husband Dan) happened to be home that day so I asked him to watch Alexander for a while when he woke from his nap so I could finish the Christmas cards.
Our friends, Phoebe and Burgess came over for a playdate and we decorated sugar cookies. The kids had a wonderful time and Dan helped, too.
It was a great day.
Later, Dan took him up for his usual bedtime routine of bath, brushing teeth, and bedtime reading and like most nights, Alexander protested when it was time for bed. After a while, I went in to sit with him. He just wanted to be held so I picked him up and rocked him for a while. It was nice to have him curled in my arms and listen to his soft breaths as he went to sleep. I gently laid him in his crib and walked out of his room.
I came back a while later to get something and he peeked up at me. I thought if he cries, then I’ll take him upstairs to sleep with us. Otherwise, he’ll fall back to sleep and I’ll see him in the morning. Little did I know that would be the last time I would see my precious child move.
When Dan and I went to bed for the evening, I reminded him that I had to leave early in the morning for a volunteer gig and he would need to watch Alexander until I got home. I also told him to keep an eye on Alexander because he looked like he might be coming down with a cold and we’d have to start using the nebulizer if he started coughing.
Fast forward to 11am December 20.
Dan called to say that he had to take Alexander to the ER and that I should get to the hospital right away. I knew it was bad because Dan wouldn’t take Alexander to the hospital unless it was serious. I quickly grabbed my stuff and on the way out the door told someone where I was headed.
As I raced to the hospital, I kept trying to call Dan to get more answers. You don’t call a mother and say her child is in ER and not tell her why. I was imagining all sorts of things but not the ultimate.
As soon as I saw Dan, I knew. I couldn’t believe my baby was gone. What happened? He was fine the night before. How could this be happening to us? It took Dan and the nurses quite some time to calm me down before I was able to go see Alexander and still I couldn’t believe what was in front of me. Here was my beautiful child covered in a blanket and dressed in a hospital gown lying perfectly still.
I held onto my baby and cried for the longest time before Dan and I began to make phone calls. My life had completely fallen apart and I didn’t know where to begin to pick up the pieces.