Bailey’s story

April 1st, 2009 by Michelle Marshall

Our son Bailey was born at 26 weeks after I developed severe pre-eclampsia. Bailey was 500g (1lb 1oz)and was the tiniest thing I had ever seen.

Bailey gave us good days and bad days. When he was 5 days old he developed meningitis and ecoli. I looked at him and wondered how a baby who was the same weight as a half a bag of sugar could possibly beat those two things together. One of those was enough to kill an adult, but two? And here was Bailey with a head the size of a big plum, looking up at us and determined to fight. Bailey fought hard and beat both infections. He then developed another that only one of the consultants had ever heard of. He beat that too. We were beginning to see that Bailey was a fighter and believed he could fight anything. Bailey’s tummy started to swell and his urine output stopped. He was swolen for nearly 2 weeks but they kept telling us ‘his bowel sounds were good’. Eventually they told us that Bailey had another infection, N.E.C. I have to say that by this time I thought he was invincible and could fight anything.

Bailey deteriorated to the point where they came to us and asked us to turn his machines off but we wouldn’t hear of it. Our son was a fighter and he would fight this. Two days later we went home for a few hours sleep and when we went the next morning Nigel went to speak to the doctor to tell them not to talk to me about machines being turned off. When he came back he told me that Bailey had deteriorated a lot over night and the doctors had said he was going into multi organ failure. His tissues were breaking down and as a result he had lost two of his 4 drips and they couldn’t be replaced. They had said that there was a chance that either his stomach would burst open or his heart would rupture. I thought they were trying to pressure us again because they needed the bed so I went to see my son. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw.

I took one look at Bailey and I let out a cry. I had to be helped from the room. Bailey had swollen to about three times his size and truly did look like he was going to burst. His skin had turned yellow and there were areas that had started to turn black. I could see why they were losing the drips and knew in a matter of time his other two would fail and he’d die without the morphine. Nigel and I realised that we had to let him go. If it was left to Bailey, we had no doubt that his stubbornness and determination would be his downfall. He wasn’t going to let go. We talked about it and knew it had to be soon, we didn’t know how long the drips would last and it was his sisters birthday the following day. We didn’t want her growing up never able to enjoy her birthday. We called for family and friends to come and meet Bailey and to say goodbye.

Courtney spent the day with Bailey holding his hand and talking to him. Bailey was dreadfully ill but spent the whole day looking at us. I begged him to close his eyes, but he was determined to see everyone. I didn’t want him to look at me that day. It was too hard. I asked for 5 minutes alone with him and sang him Jesus loves me and told him how sorry I was that I couldn’t help him. I asked him to close his eyes and told him he’d done enough and it was time to let go. He didn’t listen though, he had people to meet.

That evening we began to notice that Bailey was flinching and the nurse said the morphine wasn’t working very well. He wanted to squeeze our fingers too which he had never done. He hated being touched. As soon as I saw him in pain I knew it was time.

I asked Nigel to send everyone away and as soon as everyone left they disconnected his machines. Bailey only lived for a few minutes but he lay in our arms and looked up at us. A look that will haunt me forever. I am so scared that he thought we were giving up on him. The day before his funeral a friend wrote a poem that began ‘A little angel whispered, Bailey it’s time to go’ We didn’t see an angel that night and we didn’t hear the whisper but Bailey heard the call and at 9.50 he closed his eyes and took a little breath before going home. Our loss was Heaven’s gain.

I didn’t want to hold Bailey, I could see by his colour that he was gone. I don’t remember much about leaving the hospital, I remember hearing a loud cry and then realizing it was me. I didn’t want to make a scene as I knew there were parents in the unit that needed to be strong for their babies but I couldn’t stand and the sobs shook my whole body. I was helped to the car and that night we left the hospital two very broken people.

Bailey had a post mortem, I had to know we had done the right thing. His entire intestines were gone. He had a piece the size of a baby finger nail. I thought that this would make it easier to live with but it doesn’t.

Bailey’s dad kept a journal while he was sick and you can read his story in more detail on his website.

We are very proud of Bailey and the fight he showed. We truly are proud to be called his parents. He’ll be in our hearts….Always!

One response to “Bailey’s story”

  1. Cris rodriguez says:

    I felt the same way about my princess Anastasia. I thought she could beat anything, but the day we found out all her intestines were dead I knew this fight would’ve been too much for her. She fought long and hard against NEC once before and she beat it, but the 2nd time it got the best of her.
    I cried as I read your story and pictured everything as I was reading it. I truly am sorry you suffered so much.

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