I ended up in yin yoga. I love stretching in uncomfortable positions that feels like an eternity. It's the good pain. In the middle of an hour of a free flowing mind, I often find you. You can sneak up in all kinds of forms. Most of the time I welcome our visits together. This past Sunday, I found you in a very difficult situation. It was the beginning of the end.
Jacob, you left this world on June 19th. You would have left the world a month earlier on May 21st, if I weren't able to save your life. It sounds so heroic - saving your child's life. Reality is that there is absolutely nothing beautiful, sexy or wonderful about CPR.
Jacob, I have kept this story close to my heart. This is the story I haven't yet been able to put words to. I have told your closest circle of friends. We told the doctors caring for you. But I couldn't come to terms with what happened on May 21st. I still haven't. This day got hidden deep into my brain, only to come out in a very deep hip pose, craving for release. Craving for tears. Craving for understanding for the things that should never happen to a mom. A mom should not have to give her child chest compression. But in my world, it happened.
So, let's go back to Saturday May 21st. I was riding a Century Ride. It was early in the season, and I had no idea if I would make it. It was a beautiful day, and I cranked out my 100 miles. Little did I know that would be the easiest part of my day.
I remember sitting down in my chair in the basement after your bed time. I actually think I was blogging. My legs were hurting. I was content from finishing my ride, and happy it was over. Your monitor was up on the counter as it was every night. We could suddenly hear the alarm from your pulse ox. It often went off without no true worry, so we waited a little to see if we would hear a second alarm or not. We heard a second and a third. Sarah was up on the first floor, so we asked her to check on you. We could hear her screaming from your bedroom. We both ran up the two flights of stairs.
Your oxygen level was seriously low. We increased the oxygen. No response. We removed your bi-pap, and put you on nasal cannula, since sometimes you had a hard time coordinating your breathe with the bi-pap machine. No response. You were turning blue. Our tricks didn't work. And that is the moment, I knew I had to act. You had a pulse, but your breathing was far from perfect. I gave you rescue breaths. I gave you chest compression. Believe me it was nothing like the doll mannequin I had practiced on in CPR class. This was beautiful you, and I was desperate to get you to breathe again. Through monitor beeping, I did what I had to do. I'm not sure anymore if Joakim or I called 911. I have a vague memory I talked to the dispatcher, but I am not having a clear line of events. What I do remember is hearing Sarah half crying, half screaming "no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. no..." I could see her in the corner of my eye on your white coach. She was so scared, but I could not leave your side.
You did decide to come back. It was almost as it had never happened. You looked pretty good. You were tired, but you were after all sleeping. When the ambulance crew marched in, you were laying on your therapy mat as if nothing had ever happened. Vitals perfectly normal. I don't know how we were able to convince the ambulance crew to keep you home that night, but I guess they realized it wasn't much more they could do. You were stable, you had decided you wanted to still fight.
Doing CPR on your own child is an adrenaline high, Jacob. But there is nothing glorious, nothing heroic about it. In fact, sitting down after you had settled for bed again, I was sad. I was so very sad. I knew it wasn't normal to simply stop breathing in your sleep. I knew this was serious. I feared it would happen again. I feared it would happen as soon as overnight. I feared the worst. But since the moment you were born, we were always hooked together, and that also meant me doing anything, anything for you.
As always you wrote your own story, Jacob. You decided May 21st was not your night to leave this earth. You had more to give, you had more fights to fight, you had more love to give. But looking back on May 21st, your dad and I know in our hearts that this day was the beginning of the end. You had your beautiful moments during your last month of life, but it was a struggle. It was a struggle for you to keep up with the demands of your body. Maybe you knew we needed a little more time. Maybe you knew we needed to know that modern medicine couldn't do anything more. Maybe you knew we needed to know the deepest secrets of life and death. Maybe we needed time to prepare.
So, why am I telling the world about our secrets? I do so because I know I am not the only mother who has saved his or her child's life. It's terrifying and places scars on your heart and brain. Would I do it again? In a heart beat. That is how you and I lived together. In our world, nothing was truly hard. It was simple. It was beautiful. It was raw. And so very real. We let the rest of the world sweat the small stuff. What I would do to do it all over again.
My so very cool Jacob!
Sweet Jacob, I love you to the moon and back,