The Other Baby

September 18, 2013 at 9:44 am | Posted in hospital, Jake, life after loss, NICU | 13 Comments
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“We can leave whenever you want to go.” Evan said for the tenth time.

“Not yet, I can wait a little longer.” I lied.

I was hot and I felt like the walls where closing in on me.  So, not even 5 minutes later I ran out of the hospital.  Evan followed me.

It was the first time we had been back to the hospital since the horrible day that Jake had died.

It started earlier that day.  Evan and I were both home.  Our fog of grief was interrupted by the ringing of the phone.   He answered.  I heard him say, “I am her husband whatever you need to talk to her about you can can tell me.”  I could not hear the response on the other end of the call.  Evan’s sad voice spoke once more, “Do you realize that our only child died last week and his funeral was just days ago?”.

Evan appeared with the phone in front of me.  “It is a nurse from the hospital.  She needs to speak to you.”

The one and only thing that entered my mind was that this nurse was calling to tell me that Jake was alive!!  This has all been a terrible mistake.  Evan and I are about to wake up from this nightmare.  Jake is really waiting for us in the hospital.  I grabbed the phone from Evan.

“There has been a mix up at the hospital.” said the nurse.

My mind and my heart were now both racing so fast that I could not sit still.  “Okay.” was all I could manage to say in response.

“The milk that you had pumped for Jake was given to another baby.”

My mind and heart stopped racing.  What!?  I had been pumping milk since the day that Jake was born in the hopes that he would one day drink it.  Evan would take the bottles of milk, label them and put them into this high security refrigerator in the NICU.

When Jake died we asked if we could donate the milk.  Perhaps at least my milk could help another baby and help us to make some sense over Jake’s death.  We were told that we could not donate the milk because I had been given pain medication after my C-section.  Another loss.

Evan asked if we needed to come dispose of the milk.  The nurses assured us that we did not have to worry about it – they would get rid of the milk.

Except, they did not.  The milk was mistakenly given to another baby in the NICU.  Now the parents of the other baby were understandably upset.

The nurse was calling because they needed me to come in for a blood test to verify that I was not on any illegal drugs when I pumped the milk.  The other parents needed to know that the milk that their NICU baby drank was ok.

“Of course, my blood is ok.”  I whispered as I realized that this call was not going to bring Jake back to us.  Evan held my hand.

“I will come right now to take the blood test.  I know that if we were those other parents we would want/need to know.” I hung up the phone.

Evan drove us the 3 miles back to the hospital where we had left Jake’s body just days before.   A nurse met us out front and led us to a room far from the regular labor and delivery and the NICU.  We were far, far away from any happy parents with their newborns.  The hospital walls seemed to close in on us.

We waited in that room for the blood test.  We waited for 30 minutes.  “We can leave whenever you want to go.”  Evan said for the first time.  And, then we waited 30 more minutes.   He repeated over and over that we could leave.

After 90 minutes I could not take it anymore.  I ran out of the room.   I did not ever take the blood test.  I knew that there was nothing in my milk that Jake would not have been given had he ever drank it.  So, I thought the other baby would be ok.  Or, at least that if the baby was not ok it would not be from my milk.

I will never know for sure but every day I hope and pray that the other baby is alive, happy and healthy.


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  1. I am so very sorry you had to go through that added pain. Wishing you peace.

  2. What insanity that you were put through this, and what a testimony to the wonderful person you are that you agreed to it.

  3. Oh my goodness, insult to injury. I’m so sorry that happened to you. ❤

  4. I know with 100% certainty that your milk only helped to nourish that child, and could never have caused him/her any harm. I also know that the hospital in question, which I otherwise think very highly of (even though Jake never came home from there) could not have handled this situation any worse than it did. I don’t think they ever even apologized for the mix-up, how it would clearly make you feel, and how brutally they fumbled their handling of the blood test.

    I also know you are especially brave, not just because of all you did (as you described above) in going in for that test and waiting longer than anyone could have expected, but because you did it despite the fact that you HATE having your blood drawn and it never is easy for you to have blood taken. To put yourself through all that under any circumstances — let alone these circumstances — is a testament to the amazing person you truly are.

    I love you and am so proud of you.

    • I wish there was a “like” button for this comment.

  5. Wow Lanie, thanks for sharing that story–that must have been incredibly hard, and clearly not well handled by the hospital. But you were strong, once again. Evan is right when he says it’s a testament to the amazing person you are.

  6. That is so sad to understand I hope that things get better soon for both of you.
    Love Jasmine Rosado

  7. What an awful experience to have to go through after loosing Jake. I can’t believe they stuck you in a room and left you there. They should have just done the test and let you leave asap.

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  11. There are not many people on this earth that would have been that giving, and especially not during the time in which that happened. Your grace and strength are evident in how you conduct yourself throughout your grief journey.

  12. […] The Other Baby | A Mourning Mom […]

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