Monday, September 20, 2010

Mom to Miles
Born on October 6, 2004
Passed away October 7, 2004
Portland, Oregon

My first child Miles was born on October 6, 2004, after a healthy and normal full-term pregnancy. At one month shy of my 35th birthday, I was an older first-time mother. We are now approaching his 6th birthday and the details are beginning to be a little bit smoother around the edges, and the grief somewhat diminished.

I had a difficult labor of nearly 24 hours that encompassed nearly the full range of medical interventions, short of c-section. It was a long labor and delivery that culminated in fetal distress and suction-assist delivery. Despite my wishes for a quiet, simple, natural birth, what we got was medically complex, chaotic, and assisted. It was all OK, though, when my son arrived, weighing in at a full 4.0 kg. The physicians recommended he spend his first hours in the neonatal intensive care unit under observation for inhalation of meconium. It was just observation, they told me, and nothing to worry about.
Miles was born at 12:20 am and lived 29 hours. The first 16 of those hours he spent in the NICU, apparently well, but under observation. At 4 pm on his day of birth, he was finally released from the NICU and brought to our hospital room. To all appearances, he was a healthy, big boy with a full lifetime ahead of him. We had no reason to worry, as he had been cleared by the NICU and had passed his exams. We expected nothing other than to go home with our son.
We had an uneventful afternoon and evening. My husband went to sleep on the cot in the hospital room, and Miles and I settled into a sleepless evening of getting to know each other. Around midnight the nurse took Miles for some evaluations, then returned and tucked him into bed with me. The nurse carefully and confidently rolled up towels and wedged them tightly against me to make sure I couldn't roll over, and then tucked my son into bed alongside me so that he could nurse as needed. Eventually we both slept.
I awoke at 5 am and felt for my child. I noticed that his head felt cold, and I replaced his cap, which had come off during the night. It dawned on me that something was not right, so I switched on the light, saw his blue lips, and reached in panic for the emergency call button. Within moments the ward staff had whisked him off to another room where they worked to resuscitate him for what seemed an eternity. 10 minutes, 30 minutes, I don't know how long they worked on him. It didn't matter, because the moment I saw his still, blue face I knew that he was dead.
Autopsy revealed no conclusive cause of death. It couldn't be SIDS, because in my state, SIDS was not considered a cause of death in children under 30 days old. "Positional asphyxia" was mentioned as probable cause, but was in reality improbable because I was wedged in tightly with bolstered towels, and woke in the same position in which I had gone to sleep. More importantly, the autopsy findings did not support asphyxia as a cause of death.
We do not know why Miles died. His death remains a mystery.
Four months after his death, we became pregnant again. We now have a daughter, who is almost 5 years old. She is our joy and will remain our only living child.
Kiley blogs at
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Andrea said...

Thank you for sharing your story Kiley. I'm glad you found Faces. I'm so sorry for your loss, your story is heartbreaking.

Lori said...

I'm so, so sorry.

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