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.