Last night, Chris told me that he still regretted coming home the night before Max passed away and it made me feel awful because the truth is that it was really my fault. We had waited the whole day at the hospital (it was the day when he started to crash .. the morning was -great- but then everything started to go wrong and we were there waiting for radiology, waiting for an OR to open up, waiting for surgery ..) and had been crying all day and just a nervous wreck. We waited anxious to see if he would make it out of surgery (there was a very real fear that he would not), and were so relieved to hear that he did, and the surgeons told us that they would have to wait about 36-48 hours to see how much of his intestines they could save.
Even as we made our way back into the NICU (they had closed it down because he wasn't stable enough to move), there were so many nurses and doctors still working on him. I saw the blood splattered on the ground and how he had big awful "Frankenstein" stitches across his chest, and I was so tired .. and I wanted to go home. Chris wanted to stay. He really wanted to stay. But I said that we should go home and rest while we could. And so we went.
That night, around 3 AM, the doctor called me and told me that things weren't going well. I hung up the phone, numb, and contemplated going in, but much like the previous night, I think the main reason I didn't go is because I was just too scared of what I would see or hear. I think we all saw and heard too many things we wish we could unsee and unhear during that period.
Am I a bad mother for not having spent every single moment with Max when I could have ? I have no doubt that I loved and still do love him. He always put a smile on my face and I always wanted to be near him, but it was frightening how small and frail he was, and I never knew if he was our baby to keep. Was it cowardice on my part ? I tell myself that I did what I had to do to get by and that I saw him every day and not to be too hard on myself, but I know I could have done more.
It hurts to think that Chris looks back on that night with such regret and pain when it was my fault we weren't there. I just didn't think I could take any more that night. Even though he had made it out of surgery, there was still too much air in his lungs and they were still frantically inserting lines to try to get the air out. I just thought .. it never ends. And I knew it didn't look good.
Even now, I'm haunted by the things I did see. I wish I could choose to remember our Max the way I want to, and I hope in time the more traumatizing things will fade away and I will simply remember the way he always tried to open his eyes and his shy smile.
I went back into work today and had lunch with a friend (TK). When I got home, I believe he had just fed and so we let bath time slip by today. I just love coming home to Dexter. He reminds me of everything that is good. I love the way he lets me hold him upright when he gets really tired (and subsequently smashes his head into my jaw, usually) and seeing his face up close without my glasses.
He didn't want to sleep after he had his bottle tonight and after a while, we placed him in his crib and he fell asleep by himself.