Journey to Heaven

It was a Friday like any other Friday. J woke up and got ready for work, as he got out of the shower, I woke up and jumped in the shower. J left for work, and I finished getting ready. This was our routine for the last 4 months. Once I got dressed, hair done, makeup done I made a cup of coffee and got S' breakfast ready. Fruit and milk. I could hear her little gibberish over the speaker of the baby monitor. I peeked in on her and she was slowly starting to stir. I turned on her mobile and closed the door, knowing this would keep her attention for awhile bit longer as I continued to get prepared for the day.

I was so excited for this particular Friday. You see, I had been a temp at my current employer and the boss man had finally offered me a full time position. That day, I was to take more steps to initiate my spot as a real person! Than that Sunday, we were to take our family holiday photos. I was determined to send out holiday cards. I had just got her dress and we were ready to have some real family photos of the Bogue Family.

This was her Christmas Dress
Back to my day.. I finished getting her breakfast, set it on the table prepared her little highchair, then headed into her room. I walked in and turned on the light. As I looked down at her, she scrunched up her little face, hands over eyes, shielding herself from the instantaneous lightness that took over the room. She did this every morning when I turned the lights on, all the while with a smile on her face. She rolled over and looked up at me I picked her up and brought her to the closet. She would help me pick her outfits out for the days. The first thing she would touch, that's what she would wear. This day, it was a green and white striped long sleeve shirt, grey sweatpants with heart shaped buttons, and a little white winter hat. She was just getting over an ear infection and upper respiratory infection, so I needed to keep her warm! Plus, she just looked too darn adorable in those little hats to not put one on her!

Her little hat, the only thing we have that she wore that day
Well we proceeded with our morning. I changed her, got her dressed, socks, shoes, hat--check. Grabbed a bib for breakfast, extra clothes for the diaper bag and headed to the kitchen. I sat her down in her little chair, and fed her, than it was time to go. As she sat and digested, I finished packing her diaper bag for the sitter,  making sure I had enough bottles and food, clothes and bibs. Gathered up her toys and put her in the car seat. I grabbed my purse, her diaper bag, my lunch and her carrier and out the door we went.

The weekend before in her new chair!
We headed to the sitters and I turned the radio on, she talked to me as we drove. I could see her little face in the reflection of my mirror (she had a mirror for her too) and she was just smiling away. Carefree and as happy could be. We pulled up to the sitters and she was in a rush. Her daughter (who she drove) was late for school, so she grabbed S, asked me to put her bag in the house. So I did, and when I walked back out, she was strapping her in. I said goodbye to the sitter, sneaked a peak at my little munchkin, got in my car and drove away. If only I had known that was the last time I would have seen her alive, if only I had known that was the last smile I would see glowing from her face, if only I had know..., I would have kissed her goodbye and told her how much I loved her. If only I would have known I would have stayed just a moment longer. But I didn't know. And the moments of the rest of the days events would begin to spiral out of control slowly but surely.

I went to work as I usually do and carried on as I usually do. I had to take a pee test that day, all to substantiate my spot as a full time employee. So I took a late lunch and headed downtown to do that. I got back to work at around 2:00 in the afternoon. As I carried on my merry way, I was counting down the minutes. It was Friday after all and I was always excited to come home to J and S. Then a single text, a phone call, and my life as I knew it would shatter into a billion pieces right before me. It was 2:43 and I checked my phone, I had a new message from the sitter. "Come quick its an emergency" I also had 2 missed calls from her. I told my colleague, there's an emergency with Savanna and I have to go, I'll let you know what's going on. I grabbed my stuff and left. As I walked to the car, in that 3 minute walk, a million and one scenarios ran through my head. I called the sitter, and she was hysterical.. I couldn't make out a word she was saying, the only word I could make out was 'ambulance.' I ran to my car, those scenarios I had whipped up only began to play faster and harder. My hands were shaking, knees were weak, the world was spinning around me. I sped to her house, about ten minutes from my job. I called J and told him to get there now. I remember running red lights, driving through parking lots to get past people, I'm sure I made some people very angry, I can remember praying the whole way there. "God please let her be OK, let her be OK, just please let her be OK." But there was that instinctual mother feeling that something was not OK. As I pulled into the complex, my breath was sucked from my lungs as I saw a hoard of people outside, a fire truck and an ambulance. I ran to the house, the sitter standing in the hallway hysterical, the medic standing there. I'm asking for my baby, where is my baby. The medic pulls me aside.

"It appears that she may have aspirated. She was covered in vomit, wasn't breathing, but she was still warm to the touch.. now I know this is going to be difficult but I just need to get some information." What? Not breathing? Vomited? Did she choke? Where is she? I want to see her!! Can I see her? And now you want information? I just want to see her! He walked me to the ambulance and opened the back doors, stated the mother was here, there were 5 men in there, but I couldn't see her. As quickly as he opened the doors he closed them. At this point, I just though she had choked, stopped breathing.. I didn't realize the severity, or I just didn't want to admit the severity. I called J, it seemed like it was taking him forever, it was cold, I was waiting, I was scared and confused. I just wanted him to be there. He kept asking me if she was breathing, I kept telling him I think so, they said she was warm I don't remember. So I got off the phone, and I asked him, is she breathing. No. The walls of the world seemed to implode around me the sky seemed to disappear, noises and sounds emerged from the center of my being. The ambulance left, sirens blaring and I shuddered at that sound. You always hear the sirens, you never think it's going to be for someone  you love, someone whose life is so precious.

I stood there and waited for J, I called my mom in a panic not knowing what to do. She had as many questions as I did, and was completely terrified. In that moment, I felt horrible for calling her out of the blue while she was at work, and all I could tell her is that her granddaughter is not breathing and that's all I know. I continued to sit there, and finally, I saw J's truck. I ran to him in the parking lot, got in and we proceeded to follow the fire truck to the hospital. It seemed an eternity to get there. J was making phone calls and I called SB and told her what was going on, she tried to calm me, to tell me it was going to be OK, to tell me to pray. And I did, prayed so hard, harder than I ever have. But somehow I knew it was not going to be OK.

We finally arrived at the hospital. Walked into the ER. They immediately knew what we were there for. They walked us into this room off to the side. The charge nurse walked in followed behind her was the chaplain. J said, honey it's just a precaution.. Precaution my ass! I remember just saying "no, no, no" over and over again. The nurse had these eyes, and this look.. eyes and a look that I see in every person that comes to know our story. Eyes and a look that are forever burned into my memories. She took my hand and began to talk. I know she was speaking in clear and concise sentences all I could hear were snippets. 'She was warm' 'Asperated' '30-45 minutes w/o a pulse' 'Trauma team waiting' Somewhere within those sentences, those words forever changed my life, my legs gave out and I was on the floor. I was sobbing, I felt so sick to my stomach I wanted to throw up. I was sweating and shaking, inconceivable thoughts running through my head, my heart feeling ripped from my chest leaving it open for the world to kick at. "Do you want to see her?"

Slowly they picked me up, the chaplain started muttering words to us, I couldn't understand him, it was all a jumble a maze of words escaping his mouth. I'm sure he was praying, praying with us, and for us. We walked what seemed the forbidden road, the path to a life I didn't want any part of. As we walked, I could feel those eyes and those looks, they knew we were the parents of the tiny infant baby girl. We were the ones who were dealt these cards. They walked us into a room and there she was. A team of people surrounding her. Tubes in her mouth, her nose, patches all over her of where they were monitoring her vitals. They pulled a chair up right next to her and I sat with J standing at my side. I imagined it like you see in the movies or the miraculous stories you read in the paper. She would feel my touch and hear my voice, and open her eyes and it would be a medical mystery and we would be out of the hospital and back at home. But it didn't happen like that. Her color had changed, her body lifeless. I reached for her hand hoping it would grab me back, but nothing. I caressed her hair and started talking to her, wishing her life back into her body, praying for a miracle, closing my eyes and opening them in hopes I would open my eyes and be at work. This was just a terrible terrible dream. But it wasn't it was real. There was no response from her, they continued to do CPR, machines all around, medicine being injected into her IV. No response. I can remember just crying, telling her to come back to me, whispering in her ear, caressing her curls, holding her hand, looking up at the doctor and nurses willing them to bring her back. Somewhere in that time frame, the doctor reached across the gurney, across her body and placed his hand on mine. I peered up into his eyes, those eyes and that look as he spoke the words. "I'm so sorry honey, but the prognosis is not good." I crumbled, up to that point I still had a smidgen of hope, a prayer left in me that she could come back to us. But the reality of it all was that she had gone too long without oxygen and it had been, as far as they knew, at least an hour without a pulse. J leaned down and whispered in my ear, tears in his eyes, pain in his voice, baby she's gone.

The weekend before
Slowly the room dissipated, leaving a couple nurses, J, me and the chaplain in the room. Later I found out that the doctor looked to him once he told us the news. Looked at J to make the decision to stop. I couldn't imagine being the one to give the OK to the doctor to let his baby girl go, to just stop. My heart kept breaking over and over as I sat there and stared at her. They asked me if I wanted to hold her, and I did. The green and white striped sweatshirt had been cut from her, her sweatpants in tatters beneath her. Only one sock she had left on. I remember J in and out of the room, I remember talking to people, telling the horrific story that my daughter is dead over and over. It was a sick and twisted game. It felt like mean joke. I held her, J held her. We cried, we cried together, we comforted each other, we held each other, we held her. We stared at her. A detective came in, told us, with those eyes, how sorry he was. And as protocol with any infant death there would be an investigation. There would be questioning, an autopsy, toxicology tests ran, that room was now a crime scene, her clothes were part of evidence, the tubes would have to stay, the wires would remain. I remember just nodding, I wanted to know what happened. She was so healthy, so perfect, reaching all her milestones, so happy... but here she was dead. And they had no clue why.

They would have to take pictures, take evidence, they were questioning the baby sitter and would question each of us individually, they questioned us as the 'victims' parents. We walked out of the room, I needed air, I needed to breathe something other than the walls of that hospital. We walked into the family room to be overwhelmed by the people that had to come to support us. We don't have much out here, we just moved. But all of J's buddies and supervisors from work came and they hugged us some prayed with us. We went outside to breath some air, to try to make some realistic sense out of everything. The pain was thriving inside me and I was numb one minute, angry the next. J's cousin and wife came. And hugged us, talked with us. All the while the whole movie of the day replaying itself in my mind. We went back in to her room several times, after they cleaned up the area and had wrapped her up in the little sheet. I held her, her skin starting to grow cold and my heart and body giving in to the pain. I sat there with her, and I rocked her, the mommy rock. And I just talked to her. I touched her toes and her fingers, trying to take in every detail, every wrinkle, every roll. Stroked her hair and her eyes, never wanting to forget. I tried to smell her, only remnants of the hospital air left on her precious little body. J held her too, a daddy so broken holding and looking at his daughter in his arms. A picture that should only bring joy to my heart, instead it was pain and heartache. It was anger and hatred. It just wasn't right. So the night continued on, we were each questioned individually, the events that had transpired from that Monday up until that day. We each got through that. They went in took pictures of her, took foot prints, hand prints, and took a lock of her hair. They placed all of these things into a little purple box.

The last picture we have of her alive. Taken 11.11.10
The night was coming to an end. The moment of the goodbye slowly creeping closer. I dreaded this moment.. even though I didn't spend every moment with her in that room, I knew she was close and I could go in and see her at any moment. In some twisted way, that made it a little OK. But leaving and going home, home to a house with no baby laughs, no crying, no bottles or dirty diapers, that was a nasty reality I didn't want to face. That moment came though, and we had to say goodbye. I held her so close and so tight. I squeezed her and kissed her, rubbed her feet and her toes, twisted her fingers in mine, smoothed out her hair. I handed her to J, he than handed her to his cousin. It was like time froze in these moments. The reality of it all so far reached.. how could this be us? How could this be me? What did I do to get dealt these cards? It's not fair, and it's not right. She was only 7 1/2 months old. Well, I finally got to hold her one last time. I rocked her for the last time, hugged her for the last time, and kissed her for the last time. I told her I loved her and laid her on the bed. And than we walked out the doors with her to our backs, J and I hand in hand, and a little purple box. A little box, memories, pictures and videos, that's all we have left our little Savanna.

22 blessings, thoughts. &. feelings:

Mrs. Rosenbalm said...

I'm sitting in my cubicle crying.
I am so sorry for your loss.
No mother should ever have to go through this. Ever.
And I am so sorry that you did.

Debbie said...

Oh my I have never met you but I am sitting here crying wondering how this could happen in "real life". You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers!!

TanaLee Davis said...

These moments that you speak of...bring me to tears. Tears for your pain and memories all to familiar to mine. I did not loose my daugher to SIDS but my daughter went from "getting better" to death in the blink of an eye. My life went from happy (for what I could be) to devastated in seconds. I'm home boo-hooing over your loss and I want you know how sorry I am that your life has been dealt "these cards". I hope to get to know you in your journey. Hugs for you mama-

JenJen said...

I can't imagine. I really can't. I am so sorry...


Kacey said...

I'm so so sad that you had to go through this. We both have our daughters as our Angels. Exodus 23:20.

Kate said...

I am so horribly sorry for your loss. What is there to say to a mother of a lost child, other than my heart breaks for you. I am absolutely sobbing reading your blog. Your bravery in speaking about your daughter is amazing. Please know that you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers tonight and all others to come.

kamdyn&Paytonsmommy said...

This hurts me so deeply,knowing that someone else out there has too lost a precious child. I lost my daughter 2 days after she turned 7 months old in May 2006.I can't believe that time has gone by so quickly and we have made it without our precious daughter. We now have a 3 year old daughter and it pains me so much to know that they will never meet.I'm so truly sorry..please if you need to talk let me know. Prayers from Kentucky..Cari Rose

Not so typical said...

My hearts breaks for you. Please know you are in my prayers

Mary said...

Oh my dear my heart was torn open again as I read your story. So many of your memories brought back flashes of my loss. I hope that your hearts are healing. Your little girl is a beauty.

Anonymous said...

I don't know you, but I saw you on Kellie's blog - "Another day stronger" I'm so sorry for you the loss of your precious Savanna. I will be praying for you...Sacha

Anonymous said...

Your story really hits home. We lost our 7.5 month old son. He filled our hearts with joy, and our lives with laughter. We can't help but smile when we remember him. I hope that's how you feel about your daughter. She was really beautiful!

Skye said...


MomNific said...

I can't even imagine that kind of pain and read this & imagine is braking me down...your family is in my prayers...

Curls O Fred said...

I have tears for you and your sweet girl. I'm sorry for the pain and grief.

kimi said...

Thank you for sharing this. It has made me realize what a gift I have in each of children. I am overwhelmed as a stay at home mom but you have shown me that the chaos is a gift. Your daughter is beautiful. Those eyes of hers make me smile! I am praying for your family. Thank you so much for your strength in sharing this story.

Jenny said...

she is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story.

BellaSteph said...

I am sitting at work crying reading this. This is exactly what happened to my son except they think staph and pneumonia or what caused the aspiration. I am sorry for your loss and your daughter was beautiful.

Diana Doyle said...

Dear Tabitha,

There are no words that I can write to take away your pain at the loss of your beautiful Savanna.

I too lost a Savannah, she was four and a half when she died. I miss her every single moment of every single day and would give anything to have her here...but life doesn't work like that as you know.

I also lost my sister and mum the two years previous to Savannah and have found different ways to cope with my grief that I now blog about to help others.

Its been 7 years since Savannah died and it still feels like yesterday however I do ok most days now, but the grief blind sides me often, when I least expect it.

This post is profound and sad, thank you for sharing with others to help us understand we don't walk alone in this journey.

I wish you strength and comfort from your memories of Savanna. I too kept Savannah's hair and half her waa wee security blanket. Having to let go and say a final goodbye was the most excrutiating painful thing I'll ever face in this life. I remember primal noises escaping from me that I didn't even know I was capable of.

I will keep you in my thoughts,

Sending a hug to you in this message.
Diana x

Samantha said...

I know how you feel, i know you have heard this many times over, but my son just died of SIDS we think he was 4 months old almost same story. I feel so bad for you, i tell my self every day i dont want any mother to go through what i went through and the more i read online i dont feel alone. I feel so sad for your story and thats because i have flash backs from the hospital of my son with tubes everywhere. If you ever want to talk i can give u an email address i would love to hear some stories of Savanna. Im sorry for ur lost again.

Kelly said...

Tabitha, I just came across your blog and wanted to say that your story is very similar to mine. We lost our Adam on 1.11.11, after he spit up, choked, stop breathing, and was not revived for at least an hour. By that time, it was too late, and he had massive brain damage. We had to make the decision to let him go.

We too became like a crime scene. We still do not have Adam's clothing and belongings back, as an investigation remains against us until his autopsy results come back. It's disgusting.

I'm so sorry for your loss. Many hugs to you from one momma of an angel to another.

aleks said...

I am so sorry for you loss... Hard to know what to say to try to help....

Jamie said...

I just found your blog this evening. I am so sorry for your loss. My son died of SIDS 1/11/11. He was 16 weeks 2 days old. Thank you for sharing your story. It does help to know that no matter how alone you feel, you're not.