18. Watching Your Baby Die
I was assisting in a crash C-section once. The mother was eclamptic (sky-high blood pressure), and the only cure was to deliver the baby. But she was only 25 weeks.
It was so fast that there was no time to get an epidural, so we had to put her under general anesthesia. The baby had a strong and healthy heartbeat, but of course, once you deliver at 25 weeks, that doesn’t matter.
The father sat in recovery beside his wife’s stretcher, holding their dying baby. The whole time tears and tears just running down his face. He never said anything. He just sat, without talking, holding a tiny bundle of blankets, looking down at a perfectly formed tiny face struggling to breathe. The mother was still sedated, but when I walked in, the father had the bundle in one arm and was holding the hand of the mother with his other hand. He was humming a lullaby.
He just held and held the baby until he died in his arms. Never saying a word. Just rocking it back and forth, humming to him. Crying the whole time.