So there we were. Standing over a metal white crib. Monitors everywhere, constantly beeping. Tubes coming from every direction but somehow attached to Lily. Holding her hand waiting for her to squeeze me back. But she didn’t. I still remember the hospital room smell. I took a nap early in the morning, I don’t know how we slept for a couple of hours but we did. I think we just hoped and prayed this was all just a nightmare. We woke up to nurses and doctors doing their rounds. No one would talk to us. They said words I couldn’t even understand.
Later a number of doctors came in and out of the room. They described Lily having numerous strokes and seizures. She was still having them. But I tried to keep reminding myself that she made it through surgery. She was a fighter. She was strong. Soon the police came and interviewed us. We told them everything we knew. I felt like people looked at us in a way that screamed “the parents hurt this child.” I feel selfish for even worrying about that at the time. I just hated thinking people thought we would ever hurt our child.
Days pass by. We had little answers to the shape Lily’s brain was in. I read to her some days and some days I couldn’t even manage. I couldn’t hold her hand, I couldn’t pretend she was going to get better, I couldn’t watch her die any longer. The police arrived one day to take pictures of her as evidence. I felt like they were taking pictures of someone who already died. I hated it. She didn’t deserve this but now pictures of her like this?? Pictures of my daughter broken for everyone to see.
After a few days Lily woke up. She didn’t make much noise and her eyes couldn’t lock with mine. I could tell she was uncomfortable and confused. I was so happy she woke up but soon I realized how scared I was. I had never seen anyone in my entire life this sick. Soon they had to put her back in a coma because of the state of her injury. Days passed by and we had a routine. We slept and showered there. We talked to Lily or read to her. Kept up with family and the police. I hated this routine. I wanted my old one back. The one I took for granted.
After the next two weeks of being in the hospital, Lily’s doctor pulled us into a room to talk to us about her brain scans. She sat us down and a little part of me hoped and thought that the news was bad but we had a chance to save her. There was a miracle. But this wasn’t the miracle. Lily wasn’t one of the lucky ones that got chosen to be saved. “Your daughters brain” “Damage” “Cell death” are all three things I remember she said to us. Lily’s brain lost so much oxygen majority of her brain cells died. You can’t repair them. There were so many that were dead that she would never be able to eat, walk, talk, breathe, see, on her own again. All of the things that made her Lily. Gone. I screamed. I fell to the ground. I wish I could describe the feeling but I can’t. Some say ” I can imagine,” but the thing is you can’t. Unit it happens to you, there isn’t a word to describe how I felt at the time and how I feel now.
So there it was. We had a choice to make. Keep Lily on life support or take her off. Sometimes I wonder if we truly made the right decision. Did we make the best one for her? Then I remember her laugh and smile. I remember her dancing one day to the Beatles. I remember her chasing Koty who was rolling down a hill to make her laugh. I think about the time she yelled at her dad because he picked up a baby duck and it made her mad haha. I think about her getting excited for dinner and loving to eat blueberries whole, which I never understood how she could do it. I remind myself her playing outside with chalk and watching her favorite movies. I think about her trips she has taken and the short life she got to experience with us. She loved to eat, see, laugh, talk, and EXPERIENCE. How could I force her into a life of pain and confusion just to save me heartbreak?