One day I got a phone call from the lead neonatologist at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO where my second daughter was after her birth. She had developed a pneumothorax and with the necrotizing enterocolitis we already knew about she could not feed through the feeding tube any more. They had a “more viable fetus” coming in soon. They needed the incubator for her. The team had elected to take my daughter off the life support systems and let my daughter die. They had found it was easier for both mother and child if she was allowed to die in my arms. They were waiting on me to come to the neonatal ward now for that purpose. If I could get there in the 20 minutes before the other fetus arrived, I could hold my daughter while she died.
I wanted to scream into the phone “I do not want to hold my daughter while she dies! I want you to do your job and fix those things so she can live!” Instead I said we would be there. I had my first daughter, handicapped in her own right, to think of. It is a 30 minute drive from my home at that time of day to children’s hospital in good traffic. We were not going to make it there in 20 minutes. But I started gathering up my first daughter for the trip. While I did that, my ex husband called our church. Our pastor had already assembled the deacons. The Lord G-D had told him to call in the deacons to the church and wait for a phone call that was coming in. He was there. The deacons were there in his office. My ex husband was the call. He told me to go to children’s hospital and not worry. Everything was going to be just fine.
We did get to the hospital about 45 minutes after we hung up the phone. I just knew my daughter was gone and I would never have ever gotten to hold her. The lead neonatologist met us at the section of the ward where parents had to sterilize themselves before entering the room where the incubators were. He said, “Who are you?”
My ex husband said, “This is Theresa, my wife. And I am Evan, her husband. We are Heidi’s parents.” The lead neonatologist shook his head and said, “No. Who are you!” Even repeated the same thing. The neonatologist shook his head again and looked at the floor.
He said, “I have been doing this a long time and we have seen this kind of miracle before but in each of those cases the parents or someone in the family was a high ranking person in the church or something. Heidi is pink and off the respirator breathing room air. I want to know who you are.”