Tyler and Parker are fine.
Today I saw a baby die. I've always tried to keep the reality of the NICU in my mind. I've written before how one can become complacent. You get into a routine and you forget that you are in an Intensive Care Unit. Today the reality that is the NICU reared its ugly head. It was sudden.....unexpected......and then life went on. Heather and I were enjoying a good day with the boys. I had just enjoyed a very peaceful exceptional hour long hold with Tyler who rested and soaked in every minute (or at least I did....he basically slept). I was at Tyler's bedside holding his pacifier in his mouth when Heather came back from pumping. "There's a lot of action in lion room..." was her first comment. I was oblivious to it. My focus was on Tyler. Heather had gotten back from pumping just in time to start Parker's "cares" (diaper change, temp taking etc.) She had planned it that way and was excited to get started. I stayed at Tyler's bedside and began to notice the happenings in the lion room. Yesterday a 23 week old baby was brought into the lion room and was admitted right next to where Parker used to be (right where Lowell was Courtney). I had a direct line of sight to witness the event.....I probably shouldn't have. At first it was just a few people with a lot of buzz. The gravity of the situation became evident quickly. Four people turned into eight, which quickly turned into more than a dozen people running around. The team consisted of all the major players.....we've come to recognize them all. I only hope I never see them all around the boys crib at the same time. Somebody must have noticed that I was fixated on the scene, because a curtain blocking my view was drawn at some point. I didn't need to see......I've seen so much, it's amazing how I could fill in the blanks and pretty much visualize the scene. The looks on the faces of the medical staff told the rest of the story. I'd seen a large group like this once before. The energy level was similar.....lots of people running around......more than twenty people around a crib......some of them there to simply witness the event......that was an example of a new life saving device being employed in a high energy positive atmosphere that was successful. This was completely different.......somber.....focused....resolute with the understanding of the futility of their actions. Everyone in the room seemed to know the outcome already, yet still they all worked in unison to try and overturn the inevitable.......inevitable........I knew I had dodged it....avoided it......just been lucky enough to not witness it......you see I had thought about this scene many times before.....the math geek in me knew that the probability of all these babies moving on in life was a very small number......I innately knew this was a scene that had to play out sometimes......I'd been here for almost three months and had not witnessed it yet.......it was inevitable that it would happen......but would I witness it........today I did. The attending doctor came into the Koala room and sat seven feet from me.......picked up the phone and dialed........"Hello.....I have very bad news................." This was "that call"........then I noticed that most of the people had left......slowly equipment started coming out from behind the curtain........not just the equipment that had been rushed in for the valiant efforts........no.......they were removing the everyday equipment........the fact that there was no longer a need for this equipment left only one somber conclusion.....any hope that I had been holding onto was wheeled out piece by piece. The whole thing seemed like a scene out of a television drama. Time passed......Heather finished with Parker and came over......I relayed the situation......we both stood stunned......thinking the same thing.......caught between profound remorse for someone we've never met and extreme gratitude for our current circumstances. Life in the NICU......tomorrow's another day.