I have been writing this blog for over two years now and published more than 500 posts about parenting, but I know I have been skipping a big part of my own parenting. I have been skipping this part deliberately, not because I think it is not important, but because it is too important to write about it lightly. Writing about it means I need to open my heart and as all open heart surgeries go, it may bleed.
Do you remember the last scene in the movie The Sixth Sense, when the kid tells his mom, “I’m ready to communicate”? I think I feel the same now. I am ready to open my heart and tell you about some of the defining moments in my life as a parent. It is long and a bit painful, so I think I will do it in installments.
It was on the 39th week of my pregnancy. I woke Gal up and told him my water had broken.
All excited, we drove to hospital with Eden (who was 5 years old at the time) and my youngest sister who had come to stay with us in Texas for the birth of her new nephew.
It was a long night. After hours of painful labor, which was not going as it should, one of the doctors suggested a caesarean section and the “second opinion” said the same.
Late at night, my baby was born, cute and loveable. From being parents to one child, we became a family.
In the morning, Gal, Eden and my sister came to join me at the hospital to celebrate the new addition to our family. We took photos and were very excited for 12 hours.
At 5pm, a baby-heart-expert came to my room and tried as gently as she could to explain to me that my son, that cute and lovable little bundle I had carried for nearly 9 months and kissed and hugged for a whole day had a heart defect and would not survive the night.
“Is there nothing we can do?” we asked, unwilling to give up.
“We could operate”, the expert said, “But he is so young, the operation may be too tough for him”.
“But if we don’t operate, he will die anyway, so why not operate?” we kept insisting.
The good doctor looked very sad. “If we operate and your son survives, he is likely to live for another month at most, by which time you will get very attached to him and will have a much harder time letting him go. The best thing you can do now for everyone concerned is to put him on morphine so he doesn’t suffer”.
It was like someone was handing us a death sentence for our own son and we had to sign it “for everyone’s best interest”. We cried together bitterly, feeling helpless, frustrated and guilty.
Late at night, a nurse brought my baby to my room. He was relaxed with the morphine and I kissed him and told him I loved him very much. The nurse told me he was much more relaxed in my arms. It comforted me that in his last hours, my son was in the most loving arms he could be.
In my mind, I tried to find the strength to survive just a few more hours, keep my eyes open and keep him company. I talked to him for hours, saying, “Mommy loves you” and hoping it would help him just a bit during his last hours.
Early in the morning, he started crying weakly. I took him to the babies’ emergency room, where the nurse gave him some more morphine and explained to me that his heartbeat was starting to slow down. Every 5 minutes, she checked his heartbeat until at 5am, she said, “It’s over now”. I kissed him a last goodbye and was escorted to my room.
Two days later, I followed a small coffin of the child I had the honor of carrying for 9 months and knowing for only 35 hours. In a grass patch set aside for babies, we buried the child who changed our life forever, our 35-hour son.
His name was Tsoof.
Enough bleeding for one day. I will continue tomorrow,