No explanation

I had one of those unable to be explained moments at work this week.

We had just admitted a little baby. He was born with so many birth defects, that the doctors had told the family there was nothing to be offered.  There were problems with his brain, his eyes, his mouth, his heart, his intestines were even formed on the outside of his body. Once the decision to focus on comfort was made, the breathing tube was removed and he was transferred to our hospice house.

Mom got here 1st with him. She was 20 something and overwhelmed. As I was meeting her and the little boy, I noticed some sudden breathing changes. His color was changing to more blue/grey and I realized the worst; this little baby was dying just minutes after getting here.

We gently interrupted our process of admission to see if she wanted to hold her son, trying not to be alarming, but letting her know that her son’s breathing was slowing and it looked like he was dying.  She cuddled him. I and the nurse hugged her from each side as we sat and cried.  The breathing was a pattern of long 40 sec. pauses with just a short little gasp/gulp in between.  I listened to his heart which had almost stopped, just an occasional out of sync little beat.

If only his father was here, but he was still en-route. Mom prayed for more time…I prayed for more time, I think all of us were praying for more time.

And then, something I have never seen.  That baby boy’s color began to pink up. I listened again to the heart, confused at the color change, and as I listened that heart beat began again, strong and fast.  Simultaneously the breathing started again, quick and fast.

Just like that, he was back, living and breathing.  The nurse and I were flabbergasted. She whispered to his mom, “You’re son’s spirit must be strong, he wasn’t ready to go yet.”  His mom wept anew, but this time with joy.

A little miracle.  I wish I could say he went on living, or that all those malformations were healed. But in truth his heart was much too weak. Instead, his father arrived a little later. The two of them, mom and dad, spent the next hours holding him and loving him, and then just as before, the breathing changed.  This time though, they were together as a family. They ushered him out of this world together, peacefully.

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