Baby Samuel’s Story

July 29th, 2013 by Courtenay

I was 18 years old with my first little boy Samuel Ramon VanEpps. I had no contractions but I was spotting. So my boyfriend and I went to the hospital to check and see if everything was alright.
When we got to the hospital and I was checked, we found out I was in labor and was already 4 cm. They gave me meds to try to slow the labor. If they could have I would have been flown to U of M. But they could not stop the progress, so on 09/10/2007 I delivered my baby boy, although the doctor failed to tell us he was breech.
Other than being breech, he seemed healthy, he even cried when he was born. As scared as I was to be a first time mother at 18 years old and my baby being born at 28 weeks, he was here and he was alive. I got to kiss him on his forehead before they took him away. I thought everything was going to be okay since they took him by ambulance to U of M and didn’t rush him there by helicopter. I had to stay overnight but the night day I was on my way to be by my baby’s side.
Day after day, he seemed to be doing great! Two days after his birth, he was off the breathing machine and only had oxygen in his nose. With each day that passed the oxygen was turned down, he was doing better and better at breathing on his own! After a week, his father and I got to kangaroo care Samuel, Up to an hour and a half. He was now holding his temperature by himself for a short period of time. What a big man he was being!
Samuel even played “games” with the nurses and his visitors. If he knew that you were trying to take a picture of him with his eyes open, he would shut them and then peek to see if the person was still trying to take a picture, or if the nurse was still checking his vitals. Everything seemed so perfect and so promising.
September 22, 2007 he got moved into the room with other babies that have had surgery or were about to go home. Although he was far from coming home, he was doing extremely well; we left that night being proud parents of our little boy for doing so great.
September 23, 2007 was the worse day of our lives, at 9:00 am. The doctor from the U of M called and said that Samuel was having problems with his intestines and were going to try to cut small holes on each size of his belly to take the dead part of the intestine out, but just from the small incision, they could see all of his intestines were dying. So they put tubes in the incisions to relieve some pressure.
We ran to our son’s side as fast as we could, his left eye was open a little and you would tell he was mentally already gone, But refused to let me close his eye. His heart rate would drop and come back up but we were waiting for the rest of the family. Before the end, he was baptized and read his death rights. When the rest of the family got there, I was able to hold my baby one last time as he faded from this world, then his dad got to hold him and after about 10 minutes the line went flat and my angel left this world.
They took him from his dad to clean him up and said after he was cleaned up, we could hold him again. I didn’t think that I would be able to do it but I ended up holding him and had a hard time letting go.

4 responses to “Baby Samuel’s Story”

  1. MJ says:

    Bless you, lost my grandson the same way after 52 days. My daughter is still struggling

  2. Courtenay says:

    I’m sure that would be even harder. The pain never truly goes away even after almost 7 years, I think about him every day and the horrors of watching him pass and hearing the line go flat are still in my mind. But I know that he is now my guardian angel and although I will never know the answer, god called him home for a reason. My other children hear about him all the time and seem to love him just as much as if he was he physically here.

  3. MJ says:

    Would you be willing to communicate with my daughter via email on the loss of her 52 day old SON. Sadly her healing is not mending well. Her husband has 3 other children (previous marriage) they live with his grandmother in HUD housing and she is so unhappy). My daughter and I talk about our Rocky all the time,(her husband tells her she needs to get over it…)Rocky died 2/21/2014 she needs someone who has been through the same pain. Please email me if you can help by emailing her your story. Thank you

  4. Courtenay says:

    I wouldn’t mind at all if you shared my story with your daughter. There is no such thing of “getting over” the loss of your child. I will also talk to her if you and she would like. I don’t know if it will show it but you can contact me at

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