Monday, November 8, 2010

Some Unshared Guilt

I love you, Caleb. And I need to get this out in the open because this guilt creeps up on me every once in awhile. So I am sharing it, getting it out there and hopefully it's a little less heavy.

This is a picture of Caleb, alive. He was breathing, his heart was beating. He had Colton's nose and long fingers. And I really think he looks like Willy here. Caleb was alive for 25 hours after he was born. And he spent most of that time in the NICU with nurses and doctors. Willy and my dad went in to visit him shortly after he was born. I don't know how long they were in there and really don't know much of what was said except that his blood pressure was really low and his kidneys weren't really working. And I don't know if Willy went any other time to see him, minus when he accompanied me. Willy's main concern was me and my health. And I love him for that, now that I can understand that.

It was several hours before I was able to get into a wheelchair to visit my son. My son. I had one, lifeless, lying in a bassinet, wrapped in blankets a few feet from my bed, and another all the way down the hall hooked up to all kinds of stuff. When I was finally able to visit Caleb, I was still pretty out of it. I remember scrubbing in, and being wheeled next to my baby. His "bassinet" was covered with a type of plastic wrap. He was so tiny and so skinny. And his left leg was so dark from losing circulation when he was stuck prior to being delivered. I remember not being able to touch him, because his skin was too delicate.

I said the following to him: "Hey baby, I love you so much. Mommy and Daddy are here and we love you so much. You gotta fight, baby. We know you can pull through this. You're an Earls and they are stubborn. We're here and we love you." I am sure I said other things, but I really remember these words.

We were probably in there for only 15 minutes then I had to go back to my bed. That is the only visit I made to my son in the NICU. I don't think I ever called to check on him. I know I was wiped out from the c-section and the drugs they gave me. And I remember pumping milk for him. But why didn't I go see him more? Why didn't I call every half hour to check and see how he was doing? Was it because I had faith that we had more time? I really don't know, but I feel so bad for not showing him more love those hours he was so far from me.

But there are nurses who knew him. Nurses who spent more time with him than I did while he was here with us. And I really think that I am ready to talk with these nurses. I think it's an attempt to be a little closer to Caleb. A friend ran into one of these nurses today at a school function. They were talking and the twins were brought up. This nurse remembers the boys and our family. I hope that we can talk one day.

As I wrap this up, I am continually grateful that I got to feel him breathing in my arms. I got to hold him and witness his first and only smile. And I know today, as I know everyday that Willy and I made the right decision to let him go. Even though it is the hardest decision we've ever had to make.

I miss my two boys every moment of every day. But today it's a little more closer to the surface than on others. Today is another of those days when it feels pretty fresh.

post signature


  1. Oh Carrie - I beat myself up the same way shortly after Sawyer died. I saw him in the NICU only 3 times before he died. Three very short visits because of the csection. Three visits that should have been one long one where I never left his side.

    But, we did not know the fate that awaited our boys. We just didn't know. I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog. Much love and light to you. xo Michelle

  2. Carrie, I think we all have this one form or another. I know I do.

    The nurse that was there when I got brought in was off the next several days and thankfully returned the night before I was to be released. She was the one that actually delivered Bryston (and was in the OR when Colton was born) She stayed in the room for over an hour just talking with us that night and answering all of our questions. And then her, the nurse I had for most of my stay and two other nurses that were there that first night came to the funeral. And they stayed about a half an hour after the services just talking with us, hugging us, crying with us. I truly have love for those ladies. I think talking to the nurses will help you a lot. When the time is right for you, you should absolutely do it. ♥

    Thinking of your sweet sweet boys.

  3. I think we all feel some kind of guilt and some kind of regret about the situations we did. Unfortunately, the what-if monster will always be there...What-if I did this, or what-if we did that. I too still feel a horrible guilt and regret when I think back to April 30th...but, the reality is, this just isn't something you plan for and being in that moment is a lot harder than what people imagine it to be.

    I hope there is a time that you can talk with the nurses who spent so much time Caleb. I think it would give you a little peace and maybe comfort you some.

    Thinking of you and the boys. I hope you are doing as well as you can be, and know I am thinking of you and sending you my love. I may not be lurking around as much anymore, but I'm always just a FB message or e-mail away.

    Hugs and love to you Carrie!

  4. Oh Carrie, I think in our situations no matter how our time with our babes was spent it could never have been enough and we all wish there was more we could have done and said. I get stuck on the little things that I wish I had done in a different way but I know in my heart that then there would be something else I would focus or dwell on instead.

    We all did the best we could in the time we had. There is no guidebook unfortunately so we just had to do what we felt in that small amount of time.

    You must know that Caleb knows this as when you were with him he smiled for you! He knew which hands were his mommy's and which soothing voice belonged to you.

    I hope through speaking with the nurses, when you are ready, that you are able to let some of your guilt go. You did the best you could for your sweet babes and continue to do so.


  5. Carrie, As I stood byside your bed that night and watched as you held your babies, Lucas already gone and Caleb slipping away, I was amazed at your strength. I watched your face, there was so much love, I watched as you caressed your babies and whispered to them. Your babies felt your love, try to let the guilt go.
    You did everything you could and more.
    I am so proud to have you as a daughter-in-law and the mother of my grandsons.
    Love you so much, Dru

  6. Carrie, I was there with you during those days and I KNOW you did everything you were supposed to do. You called to check on Caleb, you went to see him when you were able (you asked to go several times and they told you that you couldn’t go yet) and your thoughts never turned away from him. Feeling guilty like this isn’t what the Lord has for you. I did a little research and found this from Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family… I hope it blesses you and sheds some light on the subject!

    “2 Corinthians 11: 14 says that Satan can present himself as "an angel of light," meaning he speaks as a false representative of God. Accordingly, it has been my observation that unde¬served guilt is one of the most powerful weapons in the devil's arsenal. By seem¬ing to ally himself with the voice of the Holy Spirit, Satan uses the conscience to accuse, torment and berate his victims. What better tool for spiritual discourage¬ment could there be than pangs of false guilt that make you feel you cannot be forgiven?”

    Satan is always eager to attack anything that brings glory to God. He’ll attack relationships that manage to survive even through unthinkable circumstances, and he’ll attack women who are growing despite a personal hardship. You have taken this tragedy and used it to bless women all around the world. All of us are so grateful for the gift of your friendship. In the name of Jesus, I break the curse of undeserved guilt over you and pray that you’ll walk in freedom. Keep up the good work!


  7. Carrie, I just saw this post. Caleb's picture is so beautiful. I know that the guilt can be overwhelming. The seemingly countless what-ifs and should-haves can eat us up. You did everything you could do though. You were and are an incredible mother to your boys. When you decide it is a good time to talk to the nurses, be sure to be gentle on yourself. Remember that your boys know how much their mommy, daddy, and brothers love them. You are in my heart and I am giving big supportive hugs!

  8. I don't know if that mommy guilt will always be a part of us even though it subsides after awhile. It comes back during the holidays when I miss my daughter the most. Maybe venting is the best approach. I LOVED the pictures of your twins!

  9. My heart aches for you that you kept this inside for so long. I know that we all feel guilty about something surrounding our babies and it is very hard to live with.

    Caleb is so beautiful and he knows how much you love him even if you couldn't visit him as much as you wished you had. You just had major surgery, already went through a traumatic experience and were dealing with so much.

    Even though you didn't call to check on him, you knew that they would call you if there were any changes.

    I think that it would be nice to talk to the nurses who care for him when you are ready.

    You got some really special moments with Caleb, moments when he could feel every ounce of love you have for him and that is enough for a lifetime.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...