Our baby girl Maya was conceived on Halloween night of 2011. We didn’t have power that night; so what are two twenty-something love birds to do? When my wife and I decided we were ready to have a baby I remember everyone telling us not to “try”. Just let it happen. Well, it was an amazing surprise!
My wife and I started trying in June of 2011. It didn’t happen right away and I always had a fear that I wouldn’t be able to have children. I’ve wanted to be a dad for as long as I can remember. I know it sounds crazy to be a man in his mid twenties fearing he’ll never conceive a child. After my wife got her thyroid hormone under control, (she has hypothyroidism) we got pregnant right away. I remember the day she told me very vividly. I was woken up very early on a Wednesday (my very busy work day of the week); it was November 16th. My wife nudged me saying “Wake up hunnie… I’m pregnant” while waving a pregnancy test in my face. I could have sworn I was dreaming! I was so excited I couldn’t go back to bed so I jumped right into a cold shower to make sure this was really real. On the bathroom sink were two tests that indicated we were having a baby. After work I made my wife go to the drug store with me to get one of those fancy pregnancy tests that says the words “PREGNANT”. I wanted a photo moment.
Shortly after we found out we were pregnant our family lost a wonderful man, my wife’s grandfather. I was sad he wouldn’t be able to hold his first great-grandchild but a part of me felt like he was going to look over my wife and our new baby. I remember telling my wife over and over that her grandfather was going to keep our baby safe.
We called our precious little baby Baby Boo while in utero because we conceived on Halloween night. I remember making a reference to my wife of the little girl in Monsters Inc. Mike and Sulley called the little girl Boo in the movie. Although, we were convinced baby Boo was going to be a boy. It seems even more fitting now. Baby Boo and Mommy were doing fantastic. Every doctors appointment was routine; baby boo is great, heartbeat – great, measurements – great, Mommy’s thyroid – great. I admired how well my wife was doing through this pregnancy in the summer heat.
On Thursday, June 14th, we had a routine ultrasound to check on Baby Boo. Everything looked great, however, my wife had been complaining about being in a lot of pain all day. The doctor reassured her this was normal and it was just the baby dropping a little. The next day, same thing. My wife was still in pain throughout the day. I suggested we get out of the house and try to get her mind off the cramping. We still had some things we needed to buy for the nursery. So we headed to Babies R Us and then went to Panera to pick up dinner to bring home. My wife went to the bathroom while I waited for our food. When she returned she told me that she had brown discharge. My wife immediately called the doctor and we were advised to come in right away.
My wife was hooked up to the monitors as soon as we got there. They were going to monitor her and Baby Boo over night. We ate our Panera take out and watched the monitors. It was a very rough night for my wife. I tried my best to sleep as much as I could so that I would be alert enough for us both. Early Saturday morning around 5 AM we were admitted. The contractions would not stop so it wasn’t safe for us to go home. My wife asked the doctor if she could take a shower and the doctor said yes. I helped my wife into the shower. She said the shower felt great and helped. As soon as she got out of the shower the pain got worse.
The doctor quickly checked my wife and she had progressed to 3 cm. As soon as the doctor was done checking, her water broke. The doctor looked at my wife and me and said, “Looks like we’re having a baby today”. I was scared because of how early this was but also very excited to finally meet Baby Boo. My wife immediately panicked. She kept on saying “We’re not ready…”. My wife is a big planner. She had another week of school left (she’s a teacher) and wanted to at least get through the rest of the school year before Baby Boo arrived.
We originally planned on having a natural child birth. We even went to a natural child birth class to prepare ourselves. The pain was so intense, not to mention no sleep and constant back labor, my wife needed an epidural. My wife looked at me and cried saying she was sorry for not being stronger. I assured her that was nonsense. The epidural allowed my wife to finally rest a little.
The doctor we had on Friday night had to leave so another doctor came in. My wife progressed very quickly and by 10:45 AM we were going to start pushing. I grabbed one leg and the nurse grabbed one leg. The nurse and I were coaching my wife through pushing but the intense pain she had in her shoulder blades and back was too much. The nurse tried everything to make her more comfortable, but nothing was working. An hour later the doctor came in and said she was going to try forceps to get the baby’s head out. She tried one tug with the forceps and it didn’t work.
My wife was quickly rushed in for an emergency c-section. I threw on some scrubs and waited to enter the room while they prepped my wife for surgery. I was led into the room to sit next to my wife and I held her hand. I was able to see everything going on. The doctor had a hard time getting the baby out. The baby was stuck so far down that the nurse had to push her up out of the birth canal. I sat there helpless, sobbing as they immediately handed our baby to the pediatric team. I wanted so badly to rush over to see if we had a boy or a girl but I knew I needed to stay out of the way so the pediatric team can do their job. I sat there for what felt like an hour sobbing and looking back and forth from my wife to the incubator as a team of six worked on our baby. My wife told me to go over and look; she couldn’t wait another minute to find out.
I came back over to my wife and said “It’s a girl!!!”. We were so convinced we were having a boy that I was overcome with an overwhelming burst of emotion. I remember leaning over to my wife and saying that I would be at every one of her dance recitals! We had our little girl, our Maya.
My wife and I watched as doctors shook their head no and nurses did chest compressions. Right in that moment was the best and worst day of my life. I kept crying and saying over and over again that I need her. I needed Maya to be okay. She is supposed to be Daddy’s little girl and I need so badly to protect her. Here I sit, helpless with two of the biggest loves of my life; my wife and our beautiful baby girl, Maya. I kept telling my wife she’d be okay. That Maya is strong and she’s a fighter.
It wasn’t until 27 minutes into Maya’s life that she had a stable heartbeat. I was told I could come over and touch her. I rubbed her little cheeks, her head and her little feet while I told her how much Daddy and Mommy loves her. I begged for her to breathe for Mommy and Daddy. As I touched her, her belly puffed out. She was trying to breathe on her own. She knew that Daddy was there talking to her and rubbing her little belly and face.
We were told that Maya would need to be transferred to Children’s Hospital Boston and that their medevac team was on their way. She had a stable heartbeat and was still getting help breathing. We called our families. I asked my parents to go right to Children’s Hospital to meet me there. My best friend (who was already on his way to the hospital as soon as I told him what was going on) came to pick me up to rush me to Children’s Hospital to be with Maya. It took hours to get Maya ready to be helicoptered over to Children’s Hospital.
At 4:30 PM a parade of nurses and doctors came into our room, both Children’s and Emerson staff. They wheeled Maya in to see my wife. She was able to reach out and touch Maya’s little hand. We took a few quick pictures of us with Maya before she left for Children’s Hospital. The head of the medevac team said he was cautiously optimistic. As soon as they left I got out of my scrubs and back into my clothes. I kissed my wife goodbye as my best friend and I left for Children’s. My wife was with her Mom and Step Dad so I was okay with leaving her to give her updates on Maya. I was ready and prepared to live at the hospital for as long as I want. I wasn’t going to leave Maya’s side!
About 35 minutes later I arrived at Children’s Hospital Boston. I rushed in to get my Parent badge and went right up to the infant ICU on the 7th floor. I met with my parents and my brother. As I was giving my parents an update on what happened at Emerson Hospital I was approached by two doctors. I knew instantly from their faces something was horribly wrong. They asked if I would follow them into this small conference room over to the side. I was there with my parents, my brother and my best friend. My heart just dropped. The doctors started to explain how sick Maya was and that there had been significant damage due to the lack of oxygen to the brain. I just absolutely lost it.
It was just all a blur… I don’t remember anything else that was said to me by the doctors. I sat there sobbing my heart out as everyone hugged me. This couldn’t be happening to me!!! The doctor said they would be making arrangements to get my wife to Children’s Hospital to be with me and Maya. Now I had to make the toughest phone call in my life. I had to call the woman I love and tell her that our baby girl is not going to make it. I explained to my wife that they were making arrangements to get her to Children’s to see Maya. I don’t remember much more… I think I handed over the phone to one of the doctors because I just couldn’t talk anymore. I just laid my head down on the table and cried and cried.
After I had calmed down a bit I called one of my favorite people on this earth, my aunt. I told her what had happened (she had texted me for an update and was worried) and asked that her and my uncle come be with me. I just really needed her strength and love. My best friend offered to go back home to our house to watch our dog, Halee, so that we could be with family. As I waited for my wife, aunt and uncle to arrive I went to stand by Maya’s side. I stood over my beautiful baby girl and kissed her little feet, hands and face and told her how much her Mommy and Daddy love her. I just cried and cried and cried telling her how sorry I was that this is happening. I told her that Mommy and Daddy would NEVER forget her and I asked that she stay with us so Mommy can see her.
My wife finally arrived and was wheeled in right next to Maya’s bed. The doctors were doing chest compressions and breathing for her. She didn’t have much longer. They put a pillow in my wife’s lap and put Maya in her arms. They then took the tubes out of her nose and mouth. The doctors and nurses left us alone. Our parents stayed with us. My wife then handed Maya to me and the doctor came back to confirm that she was gone. In my arms was the most beautiful little girl. Our Moms held Maya and my wife and I held her one more time. I couldn’t stand to feel my baby girl go cold and pale. Saying goodbye to my baby girl was the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life.
We don’t know why Maya died and are waiting for answers we may never get.
Maya only lived in this world for 9 hours but she will always live on through me. I will never forget my beautiful baby girl, my angel… Maya!