One year ago today I delivered my son, a stillborn. For a moment he was placed in my arms quiet, blue, and limp. The midwife and her assistant then took him from me and began CPR. They could not find a pulse. He did not breathe. Because we were at home (it was my third, planned homebirth) 911 was called.
While cpr was continued and we waited for the ambulance my husband took water and baptized him using the name we had agreed upon, James Fulton. I remember sitting on the floor saying, “Fulton Sheen, Fulton Sheen, Fulton Sheen” over and over again in my head. I suppose it was as close as I could come to a prayer; I suppose it was my way of asking Archbishop Sheen to interceded for my son.
The paramedics came and rushed James away. In route, as they tried to restart his heart, they gave him two doses of epinephrine by lines in the shin bone. Neither worked and one leaked out, turning his whole right leg – from toe tip to buttock – black and blue and purple. In the ER the doctors and nurses worked on him for another 18 minutes or so. A nurse practitioner told me she wanted James’ mother to be able to hold him alive for a little bit. Five minutes, an hour – she just wanted my son to be alive long enough for me to say good-bye.
They did a sonogram of his heart. It fluttered but it didn’t beat. A nurse held his foot; she later told me it was cold, like the expression “cold and dead”. He was intibated and getting oxygen, but there was no way that the chest compressions were adequately circulating the oxygen to the brain and other organs. Following the orders of the on-call neonatalogist they stopped working on him so they could call time of death.
My little boy, James Fulton, 9lbs and 12oz, had been without a pulse for 61 minutes.
Everyone stopped working. And then his heart started.
They were told he would be brain-dead, paralyzed, blind, on a feeding tube.
They prayed, and more importantly, they never wavered from their commitment to their son’s life.
Read the rest. Get the tissues. And say a prayer of thanks.