Dekar arrived via c-section at 10:46 a.m., June 27, 2008. He was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 and hypo-plastic left heart syndrome and not expected to live long. He was not born kicking and screaming. In fact he was quite quiet with poor color. Dr. Mann checked his heart rate and it was approximately 100 bpm. His heart rate kept decreasing and he wasn’t making good breathing attempts so he was quickly handed to Cortney. (We had stated in the birth plan that if his condition was deteriorating that we would like to be the ones to hold him when we was taking his last breaths.)
When I first saw Dekar, it was clear that he was not doing well. His color was grayish blue. He was silent, but looked like he wanted to cry, or do something. I looked at Cortney and I believed at that time that Dekar would not make it out of the room alive to meet his siblings. I am not sure all that happened in the surgical room. One of my initial concerns going into the c-section was that I would not be able to hold it together during the surgery. Although I did get a bit emotional, I still was in control and awake, and that’s the best I could hope for. I did become quite light headed and woozy though. The time was passing quickly, but so slowly. Dekar just didn’t look like he had much life in him at all and it tore me apart. But I tried to soak up as much time with Dekar that I could.
Cortney held him most of the time as I was strapped, with one arm free and not at a good angle. We both cried and prayed. Dr. Mann checked his heart rate again and it was holding at about 60–still very low.
We both talked to him and I saw one of his little eyes open and he started making some sounds. It was like he wanted to breathe, but couldn’t. I requested the nurse to suction him more, as I could see he had drainage around his nose and he most likely had more in there that he couldn’t get out.
After he suctioned him more they also gave him extra oxygen. He made more small noises, but never a big cry. He continued to make his little “complaining” noises. His heart rate increased to about 150 and his color got a little better.
At this point, Dekar was now more stable and I was ready to go to a regular room. Cortney carried Dekar. At the end of the hall we saw that Hali arrived with all of the kids and they were entering their waiting room.
During the next few hours Dekar continued to hold his own. He opened his eyes, showed his unique character through facial expressions and even smiled a little.
He still hadn’t cried hard; just made little crying noises. He was passed around from person to person–meeting each of his siblings and being lavished with love and kisses, told how cute he was. He opened his eyes, a couple times very wide. He most often had a “popeye” look with his right eye opened and left eye shut.
I had desired to give Dekar his bath, but I knew that even with all the pain control I wouldn’t be able to do it. I requested our nurse to bathe him, as he was really covered thickly in vernix. I smelled the freshness of new birth one last time and handed him to Kathy for his bath. Cortney gave her the outfit I had picked out for him. She asked if I wanted her to do the bath by me, and I declined because I felt so weak. She asked if any of the kids or Cortney wanted to participate. I think Rachel and Hali both watched for a while.
At this time he was also weighed and measured. He was 4 lbs 14 oz and 18″ long–this was after a couple good poops and pees. I thought he was heavier; he really did look bigger to me. Head, 13″ and chest 11″.
Bathing him actually improved his condition a bit. His color was better and he got bundled up to retain more heat. His cheeks even got some pink color and almost looked like a healthy newborn.
After a couple hours the kids went home, with plans to return later. The hospital was very accommodating to us and had a huge snack spread, and offered pizza for later on. They planned on coming by around 5 pm.
When the kids left Cortney and I settled down to nap. I snuggled up with Dekar, knowing he might not be “with” us after the rest. But I cherished every moment I was able to hold him. I didn’t sleep. I was so exhausted, but I think I just wanted to be awake and aware for Dekar. I heard him make his little noises and would soak it all in. Cortney said I was snoring, so if I did rest, I honestly wasn’t aware of it.
The kids showed up again around 5 pm. They all took turns eating pizza and holding Dekar again. Dekar again was lavished in love by his eight siblings. At times he looked very alert and had his eyes wide open. Hali captured a beautiful picture of him smiling which we are enclosing with this letter. Dekar was talked to, rocked, swayed, and loved up.
Cortney brought him to me with a concerned look. Dekar was not as responsive–his eyes were more fixed and glazed and he wasn’t making his crying noises. I told him to have the nurse look at him. The heart rate was much lower–around 50 bpm, down from the 130-150 that he had been holding.
I had Cortney go get all the kids so they could all say good-bye. We told them that his heart was not going to last much longer and he would be gone soon. We all cried.
As I was holding him I knew that he was now looking into the eyes of Jesus and no longer here with us. The nurse checked him and asked to take him to his bassinet to listen to him there. She looked at us and said, “I don’t hear a heart tone.” (7:10 p.m.)
In the anguish of his passing I also remember feeling very blessed that we were all able to be with Dekar when he passed on. If I could have planned it all, it coudn’t have been more perfect for a sad situation. All of us were able to welcome him into the world and each of us were able to say good-bye. We were able to share our love with him, and he shared his love with us. God timed everything so perfectly. He was not in pain, and passed peacefully.
Dekar was so beautiful and precious.
After Dekar’s initial diagnosis Dr. Jeakle (my OB) had shared a story of when he worked downstate and a baby that was delivered had Trisomy 18. The colleague he worked with looked at the parents and said, “You have a couple hours to give your baby a lifetime of love.” I thought that was so beautiful, and so fitting for our situation. I held on to that, knowing our case was similar. On the bottom of my emails it has read, “We have a short time on earth to give Dekar a lifetime of love.” Now that all is said and done, it was Dekar who gave each of us a lifetime of love during his short time on earth.
Thank you, Dekar, for sharing all of your love with us. You will always be deeply loved and deeply missed.
“And whoever receives and accepts and welcomes one little child like this for My sake and in My name receives and accepts and welcomes Me.”
~~Matthew 18:5~~ (Amplified Bible)