Baby Aiden’s Story

May 14th, 2012 by Medea O'Malley

As a mother your job is to feed your child, bathe your child, put a roof over their heads, clothe them, and teach them values. Help them tie their shoes laces, to take their vitamins every day, and to always brush their teeth at night. When they have a nightmare they scream for you, and you rush to comfort them. Tell them what a good job they have done on a homework assignment. Even stay up for hours baking cookies for the school bake sale. These things we have control over, but there is no manual to step you through the things that are out of your control. For me I wanted to keep my children out of harm’s way at any cost. But I learned really quickly that sometimes we are powerless to protect them.
I was only 27 weeks in my pregnancy when I went into premature labor. The doctors did their best to stop the contraction, but my boys wanted out. I was rushed into surgery for an emergency C-Section. Billy and Aiden were born November 6, 2007 at 11:55P.M. At merely 2 pounds each. Unfortunately due to them not being full term they were in critical condition. Some days were good and some days they would relapse. They were both looking strong for a week or so, and showed extreme promise to coming home in a month or so. But nothing would have prepared me for what was going to happen next.
On Thanksgiving Day Aiden’s doctor called to tell me Aiden had became very ill, and had an 80% chance of not making it through the night. When I got to the hospital nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to see. Aiden had developed an intestinal disease called Necrotizing Enterocolitis referred to as NEC. The disease causes an infection and inflammation in the intestines. It had taken over his whole body so fast the doctors were shocked. Aiden’s stomach had become so engorged that his body could not handle it, and the bottom of his stomach tore. His whole body was swollen, red, and his eyes had pain in them. It was the most frightening thing I have ever seen.
Looking into his baby blue eyes seeing how much pain he was in tore me apart inside. I wanted to hold him so tightly and tell him everything was going to be okay. The doctor came in and told me the severity of his condition, and needed to be rushed into surgery. Aiden was in surgery for a couple hours but it felt like years. That whole time all I could think about was why my Aiden? Why not me? He was just this innocent little baby already fighting to get healthy. The doctor came in and brought me into a room with several other doctors. They explained to me that 80% of his intestines had to be removed due to all the inflammation and scarring. There were only 20 cm left which were divided into four pieces. I was informed I needed to contact several transplant centers on getting Aiden on the list for not only a small bowel transplant, as well as a liver transplant. The disease caused Aiden to not be able to eat or go to the bathroom. He was put on IV nutrition, which then caused his liver to show signs it was slowly deteriorating.
I barely left Aiden’s side since the occurrence of that horrifying day. I never wanted him to feel alone. Every night I hoped and prayed for a miracle. In reality, that miracle was getting on a transplant list. To my dismay that miracle was nonexistent. Aiden was too small for the small bowel transplant, and his liver was not depleting enough for him to be to be considered a candidate for a transplant. Hearing those words shattered my heart. It was the first time in my life I felt completely helpless. As a mother I felt like I failed Aiden. I began to blame myself thinking it wouldn’t hurt as much. You can’t help but not think you must have done something to deserve this pain. I cried for hour not knowing how I was suppose to tell Aiden he wasn’t able to get the transplant he needed. There was no one I could convince or beg to give Aiden his last chance to live a normal life. The doctors decided to go back and re piece the remaining parts of his intestines he had left, but were unsuccessful. The 20com of intestines became severely inflamed that piecing them together would have caused them to burst, and Aiden would have bled internally. This operation would have bought us more time to Aiden on the donor list. This was our very last shot, and our last hope. That night I read Aiden a story called “The Elephant and the Bad Baby“; it was one of my favorites that I decided to pass onto my boys. As I was just about done reading I saw Aiden move his fingers. He had given me a sign that he was being my brave little soldier. He had put his pinky and index finger up while gazing into my eyes. For me he was telling me had a lot of fight left in him. I held his hand like every other night to sit with him, and to tell him I loved him.
The next day I had a meeting with the doctors to discuss what other options we had, but this time, there were none. The doctors explained the disease just hit so quickly that there was nothing they would have done. They did everything they could do and it was in God’s hands now. Aiden would not be able to live a normal life even if he lived long enough to receive the transplant. He would never be able to play sports, ride a bike, or any other things a child does. I was willing to take care of him no matter how hard it would be. I just wanted my Aiden and that’s all the mattered. I promised myself I was never going to give up. That Aiden was going to beat all the odds. I was just in complete denial, and being selfish to want Aiden here. I asked the doctor what he would do if you were I, and his response was “if I was as strong as you, I would let him be with God”. I felt as if someone kicked me in the stomach, and I couldn’t breathe. I was living my worst nightmare right before my own very eyes.
I put my head down and began to sob uncontrollably. I did not want to see him go, but I did not want to be selfish just so I wouldn’t have to experience my baby’s death. On December 27, 2007 my family and I gathered together to say good-bye to one of God’s greatest gifts he ever could have blessed me with. Aiden was taken off the ventilator at 4:30P.M. The doctors prepared me for the fact that he would only live a short while. They had given him plenty of pain medicine so that he would go peacefully. I held him, sang to him, and read to him all night. Told him repeatedly how much I loved him and that I was so proud of him for being so strong. I began to think after a few hours I made a mistake. He was not ready to go. He still had a lot of fight in him. I begged and pleaded with the doctors to put him back on the ventilator. They explained to me by doing so he would suffer severe brain damage. At 3:45A.M. December 28, 2007 Aiden took his very last breath, closed his eyes, and went up to heaven.
Saying goodbye to Aiden was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Deciding to put an end to Aiden’s pain is something I would never wish on any mother. We can’t always keep our children from everything that can hurt them. I had to make the choice of ending my son misery, which no mother should have to do. My son was supposed to bury me not the other way around. In life we don’t have a step-by-step playbook on what to do, and certainly not when being a parent. If love could have saved my Aiden he never would died. I know in my heart I made the right decision for Aiden. I know even though Aiden isn’t here with me he lives on through his baby brother Billy. In life we make tough choices, but as a parent sometimes we have to make the most difficult ones.

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