January 26, 2004 to February 11, 2004
I don’t really know where to start, or what to say. I guess I’ll just start at the very beginning. In February of 2003 my then boyfriend and I found we were expecting a baby. I had just turned 18 and my boyfriend was going to be 20. Being so young, and the pregnancy so unplanned we didn’t know what to do. I know now that a baby is a blessing from God but then I was naive and immature. So since neither of us had a job, I hadn’t finished school yet, we decided that we would have an abortion. In mid March I had the procedure done. After wards we both regretted it but it was to late. A month and a half later I found out I was pregnant again. This time there was no doubt in our minds about keeping the baby. We didn’t care that we couldn’t afford a baby and were so young. We just new that we had our love to give.
On January 26, 2004 I gave birth to a handsome little baby boy we named Ryan Blaise Jimenez. Ryan was a small lil’ man, weighing only 5lbs, 14 ounces. Everything checked out fine with my baby and I so they sent us home the next day. Everyday family and friends were coming over to see Ryan. So many people loved him. For the time we had him, Ryan would sneeze here and there. I just thought that it was because he was a newborn and was getting used to all the new smells in the house. During his second bath that I ever gave me, I noticed a small little rash on the back of his head near his neck. I didn’t think much of it; I just thought it was from the collar of his little shirt rubbing against his soft skin.
The night of February 9, 2004 was the usual routine. We fed Ryan and laid him down to sleep. We had the bassinet in the room with us but this time we let Ryan sleep in between us. This we rarely did, at least not for the whole night because we didn’t want him to get used to sleeping with us. That night, he woke up only once or twice that I remember, and my husband fed and changed him so I could sleep.
At around 7am on February 10, 2004, it had gotten really windy so Albert went outside to make sure the fence wouldn’t come through our window. A couple minutes later Ryan woke up crying, but then would drift back into sleep. Than he’d wake up crying again, and fall asleep. He did that for about 10 minutes. Since Albert was right outside our bedroom window pounding with the hammer I thought that was what was making Ryan cry. Ryan would never cry. If he was hungry or wet, he would just fuss, never cry. Then, Ryan just started crying, very loudly so I got up and started rocking him. I tried to feed him, checked if he was wet, tried to burp him, everything but nothing was making him stop crying. So I told Albert to stop banging the hammer because the baby wouldn’t stop crying.
I thought maybe my baby was had colic so I would try to soothe his belly. I went and got my mom because when I was a baby I had colic really bad. I figured she would know what to do. So I handed my baby to her and she told me and Albert to go back to sleep that she would take care of Ryan for us.
A couple minutes later my mom came into my room saying that she took Ryan’s temperature and it was 99.5. I immediately called his doctor. They told us to bring him in so I got all his stuff together so we could go. By that time, our lil’ man was starting to make this moaning noise over and over again, as if he was in a lot of pain. We knew his head hurt because when we’d try to comb his hair he’d cringe. Once we arrived at his doctors around 10, Ryan’s temp. had risen to 101. His doctor told us he was going to call the local hospital to admit us. He told us to go IMMEDIATELY, that the sooner the better. When we arrived at Riverside Community Hospital it took them almost 2 hours to admit us. The whole time Ryan was just moaning but I held him tightly against my chest so he could hear my heart beat. While I’d hold him like that he would fall asleep. But once I’d move him, He’d wake up crying and moaning in pain. While we we’re sitting there waiting for them to admit us, Ryan looked at me. He was looking at me while I was holding him and he just stared, dead into my eyes. I thought it was strange because he never would look at me when he DID have his eyes open. Mainly he would stare at his dad. Something told me something wasn’t right, for my child was looking at me as if saying “I’m sorry, but I know I have to go.” Finally we were admitted to Pediatrics. They set us up in a room where they hooked Ryan up to an IV and a machine to monitor his breathing. The nurses gave Ryan Tylenol to bring down his fever, which had risen to 102.
He wouldn’t eat all morning but he did drink a lot of water, so the nurses gave him something in his IV that would keep him hydrated. The doctor soon came and informed us that he wanted to do a spinal tap to see if it was meningitis that was causing his fever. The results for that would take a couple hours so Ryan, Albert and I just sat in the room watching TV. For a while I was holding Ryan and he was looking better and his fever had gone down. We thought everything was going to be ok and we just need to wait to have the nurses discharge us. Albert took Ryan and was holding him for a while. I was watching TV when Albert started commenting on how Ryan’s skin was looking back to normal, that he looked “good.” I asked him to turn him around so I could see him and when he did, my heart sank because my babies skin was turning a bluish gray! His lips were no longer looking pink but pale so I told him to give him to me. I started freaking out and told Albert to run and get the nurse. All I could this was think “oh my God I’m going to loose my baby in my arms!”
While Albert was getting the nurse, Ryan was staring at me with this glazed over look in his eyes. His breaths were becoming shallower. Then out of no where, the machine monitoring his breathing flat lined. By that time the nurses came rushing in, took Ryan from me, laid him on,the bed and started shaking him, while Albert and I watched in horror. I thought we were going to loose him right there. The nurses stabilized him and called for a mobile incubation so they could rush him to NICU. They told us that while they rushed him to NICU they had to keep him breathing by pumping his chest. Once they got him into NICU they closed the door on Albert and me, all we could see through a small tiny window on the door was all the doctors and nurses working on him. The doctor soon came to us with the results from the spinal tap. Meningitis was controlling our baby. He said it invaded his spine, was in his blood, and was now in his brain causing it to be inflamed. The other doctor working on him came out to us awhile later to tell us they stabilized him. They had to put on him on the breathing machine in case he stopped breathing again and that the inflammation to his brain was causing him to have seizures. When we asked what were Ryan’s chances of being ok and coming home with us, the doctor said 50/50. Albert and I fell apart right there. I think we both went into shock that this was happening. Not to us, not to our lil’ man. Finally, the nurses let us into NICU to see Ryan. It was such a horrible sight; to see such a small little frail body, lying there with just diapers on, IVs coming out of both arms, a machine with tubes going into his mouth, down his throat and into his chest to breath for him. They had a thing to measure his blood pressure around one leg, and around the other they had heat pads because they kept having to draw blood from his heel. We sat in there next to him for hours, holding his little fingers, rubbing his skin, kissing him, telling him he’s a soldier and that we love him. While we were in there, Ryan would have seizure after seizure where all the sudden his skin would turn green all over and his arms would rise up and his eyes would just stare blank less at the ceiling. A couple times he would have one and the doctors would come rushing around him and ask us to leave, then come back telling us that they had to revive him. Despite all the pain our lil’ man went through, he was a solider through it all. He tried to leave this world behind about 3 or 4 times, but the nurses kept bringing him back. They warned us that IF he pulled through from the meningitis, the long-term effects could possibly be deafness, seizures and retardation. The long-term effects from having to be revived so many times was brain damage. I’m not sure if the doctors did a CAT Scan to see if Ryan was brain dead. I’m not sure if he was or wasn’t because being only 19 I don’t really know if when you are brain dead if your “dead” or what. When I would look at him he didn’t look the same anymore. His face didn’t look like a baby; he looked like he grew up. When I would look into his eyes, the color of them was too dark for me to tell if his eyes were dilated or not. I do remember they were half open half shut but from what I could see, he looked so “far away.” To me, he looked as if he wasn’t there anymore. So I don’t know if he was already brain dead. Albert would ask the nurse that was taking care of him if he was conscious and she told us that most likely he was, just that from all the medication they had him on, plus trying to fight this disease that he was tired and heavily sedated.
At around 4:15am on February 11, 2004 the nurse told us to go home and try and get some sleep. That it would be a long day ahead of us and we needed some rest. That nurse was taking such good care of our son that I felt reassured leaving him there and that he’d be ok. He’s in good hands. Looking back I feel bad because I know my husband wanted to stay and wait by Ryan’s side. I practically had to drag him out telling him “Ryan’s in good hands here, its ok for us to go try and sleep.” The hospital is about 10 minutes away from our house so it didn’t take us long to get home. We only had time to take our clothes off, put P.J’s on, climb into bed when my cell phone rings. It was the nurse telling me to come back to the hospital IMMEDIATELY because Ryan took a turn for the worse. I asked her what was wrong and she said to hurry then hung up on me. Right then and there we flew back to the hospital and ran into NICU. Once you go through the doors of NICU, there’s a window right there to the room Ryan was in. As soon as I ran into NICU following my husband, I saw nurse Dana, cradling him, holding him with the baby blue blanket my mom had bought for him at my baby shower that he always was wrapped in. She was adjusting this little blue beanie she just put on his head. For a split second I thought to myself, “Thank God..my babes O.K. made it!” But as soon as I ran into the room he was in, I could see she was crying and I looked at Ryan’s face, which to my horror was pale. I knew he was gone. I started screaming and crying out loud with my husband, asking God why? Why did he take our lil’ man, so small, so young?
She asked me if I wanted to hold him, and at first I was in such shock, that I didn’t want to, I was scared to. But then I thought to myself, this is STILL my child. So she took us to a room where she left us to hold him as long as we wanted to. I held Ryan, holding him, rocking him like I did so many times before that, but that being my last time. I held him until he started getting colder, bluer. To me, he looked like he was just sleeping, peacefully. But when he started getting colder and bluer, I couldn’t look at him or hold him because I didn’t want to remember him like that. I hated myself for not being there those last minutes Ryan had. I told him right before we left “Don’t worry baby, momma’s going to be right here with you.” If only we hadn’t left and stayed. But then again, it was for the best of mine and Albert’s interest that we didn’t see Ryan go and see the nurses and doctors rushing around him to keep him alive.
Then I couldn’t help but think was God punishing me for having the abortion before Ryan was conceived?
I never blamed the nurses or doctors; they were wonderful and did all they could. Some of the nurses held him and cried with us after he passed. Now I don’t blame God. Although we were praying none stop for Ryan to make it and be ok, even people and nurses at the hospital were praying, Ryan isn’t in pain and isn’t suffering anymore. This would have been the best for him because he wouldn’t have been the same if he did make it.
The Death Certificate states that he died at 4:50am. I don’t know if when he passed we were still at home before the nurse called, or while we were driving over there.
It states the cause of death was Group B Beta Hemolytic Streptococcus Meningitis. Also known as GBS. The doctors told me that the way a baby catches that type of Meningitis is through the birth canal during labor. Even though I was tested for GBS at 37 weeks pregnant and came out negative, some time between then and when I delivered Ryan, I had the infection that took my baby from me.
All women get the infection that causes GBS, but it doesn’t harm us; we’re just carriers.
The 16 days we had Ryan with us were blessings only from God. I as well as my husband had to grow up fast because of this experience, but it has made us stronger, and love each other more.
Momma and daddy love you baby and miss you more then our hearts can handle!!