Chapter 6

After only a few days we decided our daughter’s fate. She couldn’t live a life filled with pain and confusion. There was no hope in changing her health. We decided to let her go peacefully. I would like to say we only did it for her but we had to do it for us too. We wouldn’t be able to live with ourselves knowing our daughter couldn’t eat, breathe, or see on her own. So the nurses moved us into a quite room. Lily was placed in a real hospital bed so we could lay with her. She only had medicine for her pain, no tubes, no breathing machine. I remember her fits. She would wake up from the morphine and struggle. I remember it sounding like someone screaming but muffled.

As the days passed we washed her hair, laid with her, read to her, watched tv. Our families came and visited with her to say their goodbyes. I hated these two weeks. Just waiting for my daughter to die. I remember the day so clearly, I hate that I do, but it is the last one I have of Lily.

We went to bed, Koty laid on the separate bed and I slept with Lily. I remember pretending to be asleep when multiple nurses came in to check on her. They turned off her monitors so we wouldn’t be disturbed. I clenched my fists hoping that she wasn’t dying. The nurse got my attention and she said Lily is not breathing anymore Sarah I am so sorry. I yelled for Koty. The doctor came in and pronounced her dead. I don’t remember the time but it was July 21, 2018. The day that I will hate forever.

I yelled, I cried, and begged to bring her back. I held her body. It was limp and cold. She was so heavy in my arms. I kissed and hugged her and begged for her to come back to me. I almost threw up. Koty picked her up and hugged her for one last hug. The image of my husband holding my lifeless daughter will be a memory I wish I didn’t have. We stayed with her for a couple of hours. I couldn’t even think about leaving her but I knew we had to. I kissed and hugged her as much as I could. I begged not to leave. We walked out of the hospital room and I ran back. I couldn’t do it. But eventually I did.

I said goodbye to my daughter. I begged for her to forgive me and I told her I loved her. We walked out of that hospital without our daughter. We walked out and we were never the same again. I felt gut wrenching pain. I felt the kind of pain you can’t describe. It isn’t the same as losing a parent or a spouse. It is not a pain I wish upon anyone.

Sometimes I wish we could go back to who we were before we lost Lily. Of course I wish she was still here. Losing Lily unfortunately, reminds me to be kind to others. She reminds me I am a mom and I always will be. She reminds me to love and care for myself. She reminds me that I am never alone. She gave me the courage to go back to college and mend my marriage. She is with me everyday. Not the way I ever would have wanted, but I am at peace knowing my baby is looking down on her mom and dad. She is proud of how far we have come and she will always be the one to push us to follow our dreams and always remember how short this life is. I will follow up with a couple of chapters after this one. I appreciate those who have taken the time to read and learn my truth. My life isn’t easy and not one I would have chosen for myself or anyone. But throughout my traumatic experience I found something no one can take away from me. Endless love. Thank you Lily. I will endlessly love you and I will never forget your beautiful soul.

Chapter 5

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?

Chapter 4

It was a normal work day just like any other. Stressful and tiring. I went to work with Lily and handed her off to Koty. I went into work and instantly felt like I needed a way out of my jobs environment. I wanted to leave and never look back. So I did. I walked out. As much as I regret how I left a place where I met my husband and bestfriend I’m glad I walked away. I was always tired and always stressed. I left work in tears to Koty. What would we do? We needed the money. I called Koty’s mom and asked her if we could come to Montana. She said yes and the next day we packed our car and left. I couldn’t tell anyone goodbye. If I did I knew I wouldn’t leave. I knew I needed a change in my life and this was the time to do it. We drove for two days and made it to the small town of Whitefish. It was small and charming. Full of hope for new adventures and opportunities.

But soon I become sad and depressed all over again. We knew no one. We had no money. And we were living with Koty’s mom and step dad. I felt like I hated my new decision but I had to stick by it. I knew if I voiced how much I hated it I wouldn’t hear the end of it. We moved into a tiny house down the street a month later and slowly began to like our new home. We weren’t fully there yet when Lily was hurt but we were so close. Koty and I decided to hire a local 14 year old girl to watch Lily a couple of hours on the weekends. We only had his mom, step dad, and brother to watch her and they were not always available. So we introduced her to her babysitter “Eliot” but “El” for short. It still gives me chills writing her name because I hear Lily’s voice call her name, so happy to see someone who ended up hurting her.

While in Whitefish Lily loved to feed the ducks, play with chalk outside, get ice cream, she saw Glacier National Park, we were together more as a family than we had ever been. We were waiting for Koty to apply to become an engineer on the railroad. I would become a stay at home mom and we would be able to provide a life for Lily and our future children that we always wanted.

So….here begins the part of the story I am dreading. It was a normal day. I slept in because Koty always let me. Lily tried to wake me up and I slowly did. We both had to work again that night so we stayed inside that day. Koty left for work that afternoon. Lily and I took a nap before I had to leave. When I was getting ready for work I was so irritated with her being upset. I figured it was because I had to leave. The babysitter arrived before 5pm and I left. I gave Lily a kiss and hug even though she was crying. The babysitter who had long brown hair and braces brought bubbles with her. A kind gesture to make Lily happy. I will always remember this day. Was Lily trying to tell me something but she didn’t know how? Why was she upset? Why did I leave her? Why didn’t I notice that something could have been wrong? I will forever regret this day.

A couple hours after being at work I checked my phone. The babysitters mom called me a few times. I knew instantly something was wrong. I got on the phone with her mom and she told me there had been an “accident.” I left work right after the phone call. Speeding down the windy roads of the town next to Whitefish. I called Koty over and over. No answer. I got a call from the paramedic telling me my daughter was unresponsive, I felt like my heart sunk all the way to the bottoms of my feet. I finally reached Koty and we rushed to the hospital. Both of us scared. Is our daughter okay? What happened?

We finally reached the hospital, waiting for what felt like hours to speak with someone. The babysitter and her mom arrived within minutes after us. Eliot said that Lily fell off the couch. In my heart I wanted to believe her but I knew it was a lie. Koty and I were directed to an area outside of the emergency room. We were following a nurse to be taken to Lily. Soon another nurse walked out of a room I knew we should have been going into. She said “Im sorry but the doctors are having to put a tube down Lily’s throat because she can’t breathe. You need to wait in the waiting room.” I fell to the ground. I screamed. I cried. I was scared. Koty and the nurse had to pick me up off the ground.

We were shown into a waiting room. We were in shock. How did this happen? Why did this happen? Soon a pediatric neurosurgeon explained Lily needed to have brain surgery. There was so much blood and pressure in her brain and she was in critical condition. So we signed the paper work and waited. What if she is never coming back? What if she dies on the table? What if she becomes special needs forever because of this? What are we going to do? There was nothing we could do. But wait. We talked with nurses. We talked with CPS. All while waiting for our baby to get out of surgery. Thinking about her not only having surgery, but on her brain? Hours later we got to see our daughter. We were sent back to the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) She was in a crib. She had gauze wrapped all over her head. She had tubes in her mouth. Her eyes were swollen. She only had a diaper on because she had a temperature. She looked so small in that crib.

She looked broken. We grabbed her hands and kissed her. We told her we were sorry and we loved her, and we waited for the news ahead.

Chapter 3

So here we were in the hospital. A chubby cheeked blue eyed baby swaddled in her hospital blanket, and a new mom and dad. All of my fears of becoming a mom just left my body as soon as she was born. Other than breast feeding my motherly instinct just came naturally lol.

As soon as we got home our lives felt so different but so familiar at the same time. I started to experience sleepless nights as a mom. Pumping breast milk every two hours and waking up to feed Lily. Changing diaper after diaper. And sweatpants and t shirts became my new wardrobe. I was so tired. I hated my body. I hated missing out. But I still loved being a mom. I loved kissing her cheeks and talking to my new baby even though she couldn’t understand me. I loved watching her sleep. Koty would come home from work and hold her and feed her. This was our routine until I went back to work.

My 6 weeks with Lily was over quickly and I actually was okay to go back to work. Koty and I worked opposite shifts so one of us was always with Lily. But soon our stress free “easy” relationship ended. Koty and I would argue over the house being dirty. We would argue about who could get a night off. We would argue about issues I wish we hadn’t. Looking back sometimes I think “Damn why were we so ungrateful” “We should have just been happy our baby was here instead of arguing about who would get a night with friends.” I know it didn’t mean we didn’t love our daughter but when someone passes away we tend to think about every single detail of the past.

I was thinking about writing the details of my life from the time Lily was born until she was two. But that would be an insanely long blog lol. During the next two years Koty and I both could not seem to figure out our relationship and parenthood. Everything looked perfect on the outside but on the inside it wasn’t. I struggled with my body image. I was constantly tired from my job. Koty was too. Koty was suffering through his own personal battles. Trying to find his passion in life and being a dad and husband at the same time. We had financial burdens from making young dumb decisions. When I put all of these issues together I always end up blaming us for what happened to Lily. “Well if we didn’t pay for a wedding we couldn’t have afforded Lily would still be here” “If we had just invested in our own mental health then Lily would still be here.” I know that none of that is true, but as a parent how can you not blame yourself?

During those two years I know the positives outweigh our negatives. Lily and I experienced Montana together, Koty and I took her to her first aquarium and zoo experience, Lily got to see the sea lions at pier 39 in San Francisco when she was 11 months old. She learned how to walk right in front of me, we got to take her to the play ground and put her in a swing, she was able to dip her toes at the beach in Florida. She went to a few hockey games and got her own puck from one of the hockey players on Kotys favorite team. She experienced so much and more. And regardless of the issues Koty and I had, or the struggle to be happy when we just couldn’t because of depression, anxiety, stress and ect. the three of us had a pretty great life together. Then once we moved to Montana it changed in an instant.

Chapter 2

Before I begin my story I want to begin with this:

Grief is an indescribable feeling. I can’t explain the physical, emotional, and mental pain that it can do to a human being. For example, once I finally had gone back to work, there would be days when nothing was out of the ordinary, nothing “triggered” me I would just start crying out of no where. I felt the pain rush through my entire body. “No” I thought, “this can’t be real.” “My daughter is still here she has to be.” “Why did this happen?” Sometimes I couldn’t stop. I’ve gotten comments like “she shouldn’t keep doing that at work.” Why does grief have to be so private? Why do I, someone who has lost their child have to worry about making others uncomfortable with my emotions?

My story begins in 2014, I was 19 years old working as a server. I dropped out of college after my freshman year ended that spring. I didn’t have the motivation to keep going to school, so I decided to work and save my money. I met my now husband Koty where we worked. I stopped him in the parking lot one night and we shortly started dating after.

Soon after we began dating in September, I started staying at his apartment more frequently. My mom and I did not always get along, and I was honestly searching for a way to leave the second the opportunity came, whether it was subconscious or not. I just wanted to be on my own. I moved in with Koty pretty quickly. I never really asked him, and he never really offered. It just happened. But we were your typical young couple maybe not always responsible but we both made good choices…for the most part lol.

We never really talked to one another about having or wanting children, that was probably the last thing on our minds. In April 2015, only 7 months of dating we found out I was pregnant. I was scared, angry, and sad. I know he was too but he was pretty great at holding back his true feelings for my sake. We instantly made the best decision for us and decided to have our baby, and move into a new apartment together.

For the most part our friends and family were happy. But I know some were disappointed in us. If I’m being honest at the time we were kinda disappointed in ourselves. We eventually became excited and loved the idea of having a baby. Looking back now I feel like I was robbed my first pregnancy “experience”. I wasn’t married and the pressure to get married was on. It was not something I truly wanted, we had barely dated a year. Yet I started pressuring him to ask the question. I just thought it would make our lives seem “put together” I mean it was the “right” thing to do…… right? We had comments made to us about how young we were and how we couldn’t make it. I might have acted like I didn’t mind at the time everyone giving me their opinions or advice but I did and I still think about them at times. I never asked anyone for advice or their comments but for some reason since I didn’t plan to have my child and I wasn’t married then I guess I needed it? I don’t want to tell the “woe is me” story. Because I hate those stories. But this is my truth. I honestly believe Koty and I were too young to get married regardless of us having a child together. I know that there were people just trying to help. And I know there were some that were upset with us too. I just wish I had a backbone back then. I wish I didn’t feed into the ideas of others and sometimes I think to myself if I hadn’t then maybe I wouldn’t have lost my daughter.

So Koty and I waited for our baby to arrive. We don’t have a beautiful story to tell about how we decided on the name Lily. But I know somehow she was destined to have her name. My due date was December 16th, 2015. But she arrived early, on December 13th at 8:21 pm. It was only Koty and myself in the room when Lily was born. We didn’t have our moms, or a photographer. It is a memory I will never forget. I was 20 years old and I instantly experienced true love as soon as she was given to me. I could see it in Koty’s eyes too. It was now the three of us..it still is.

Chapter 1

I’m not much of a writer. Most who know me can tell you that I can barely tell a story. I get so excited that I end up getting lost within my own words. But I’m going to try my best to begin my story in a way that might inspire those who have experienced the death of a child like myself, or even those who have not. I am a true believer in expression. Whether it is through talking, writing, art, music, ect. I believe for me that writing is going to help me through my own journey. I have been battling the idea of a blog, but a young woman who used to be a dear friend to me began her own. She inspired me by putting herself in such a vulnerable situation that I knew after reading it I needed to do it. I needed to express how I have been feeling, how I have felt, and what I have experienced.

But am I going to say too much? Not enough? Not be as honest as I should? Or be too honest? But I want to be as transparent as I can and help those who grieve. I want my friends and family to know my true story and not the one I have covered up to save them from the feeling of being “uncomfortable”. Well death is uncomfortable, so is grief, it is raw and it is uncontrollable and If I can inspire someone who might need to express themselves to feel somewhat better, then that would mean the world to me. I know writing is going to be my form of expression, and I never thought it would be so thanks Megan (sorry for stealing the same website lol)! But I’m going to start posting my blogs in January. I hope I don’t suck lol!