It was 2:30 in the morning and I awoke to the usual. I heard Zekey cry at the same time that Emmitt attempted to slip into our bed unnoticed. I asked Matt to take Em back to his bedroom and I told him I’d get the baby and feed him.
As I picked up Zekey, I immediately went straight to change his diaper because I knew he’d either peed through or would shortly. I started to lay him down on the changing table and noticed his posture didn’t seem right. I picked him up under his armpits and rushed straight into the kids’ room and asked Matt if he was having a seizure. Matt grabbed him from my arms and ran to the living room to have a better look. He started yelling at me to call 911 and that he wasn’t breathing. I was on the phone with 911 within 30 seconds while Matt laid Ezekiel flat on his back on the couch. It looked like he was holding his breath and then would gasp for air every 15 seconds. We were crying and praying and crying and praying, “Lord, please give him breaths. Jesus give him breaths.”
The paramedics were at our house within 5 minutes. Meanwhile, we had called my parents with Matt’s phone and ironically they were there within minutes as well. The paramedics immediately started helping him breathe with a bag valve mask and asking a million questions. He was in the ambulance within minutes and we were whisked into the back of a cop car to follow. I didn’t even realize my parents were at the house, but when Matt got into the police car with me I asked if the other police officers (there were SO many people at our house within minutes) were staying with the kids and he told me my parents were already there. We prayed constantly the entire time, begging God to keep his heart pumping, begging God to give him breaths. Matt called our pastor and good friend, Sam, and left him a message on our way to the hospital.
When we got there I remember the receptionist met us in the doorway and asked us if we could give her some registration information. She asked for simple stuff that I could answer if I concentrated really hard, name, birthday, address, pediatrician, etc. It felt like years, but it was probably 10 minutes at the most and we headed straight back to find him. The rest is a blur as we rotated between singing/whispering/praying in his ear to asking questions and answering questions. Sam was there within minutes of us being there and family started to trickle in as quickly as possible. The PANDA (OHSU Pediatric transport team) team was dispatched and arrived what felt like hours later, although in reality it was probably 45 minutes or so. We prayed. We cried. We prayed some more. I promised God I trusted him, but I begged him for Zekey’s life. I promised I’d do anything.
The doctor seemed at a loss and kept asking if he’d been sick. I felt like I gave a one minute recap about 15 times, but I probably only did it for the paramedics and the doctor. “He was sick with a virus. I took him to the doctor three times last week. He had a 104* + temp for 5-6 days, a rash and red eyes. The doctor diagnosed him with adenovirus. The virus can last up to 10 days. He was still fussy until Wednesday. Thursday and Friday he was totally normal, happy, smiley, angelic. Saturday he seemed maybe constipated or like his tummy was bugging him. I could tell he hadn’t eaten as much, but thought he was maybe constipated. I went in to feed him and picked him up and his head tipped back like he was having a seizure (so I thought). We immediately called 911.”
They were doing x-rays of his head, and x-rays of his tummy. The PANDA team got there and started taking over while the doctor came in and explained that when he tried to put a tube down his throat the very first time to intubate him his jaw was stiff like rigor mortis had already started to set in. He said essentially he wasn’t breathing at all and his heart was being paced by a machine. I didn’t want to believe anything yet. I went back in and knelt next to him singing and praying and singing and praying. The PANDA team continued to work and essentially checked to see if he was breathing or if his heart was functioning at all. They started to explain what transporting him meant and I knew in my heart what they were saying. He was gone. He had been gone. Everything humanly possible had been attempted and he was still being called home.
We spent the next hour holding him. Praying. Crying. Praying, and holding him some more. We examined every inch of his perfect body and I put him on my chest as they unhooked the breathing machines. I thanked Jesus for every day we had with him and that he chose me to be his Mama.
There were lots of confusing results and pieces of information that I will spare you the details. Our pediatrician, Dr. Wilson, heard the news early Sunday afternoon and he came out to spend the afternoon with us trying to piece the puzzle together. The autopsy was performed Monday and the preliminary results showed that he indeed was a perfect baby. His brain was totally normal (lots of inaccurate info about bleeding in the brain) and the cause of death was myocarditis, which was more than likely caused from the virus he had. Myocarditis causes the heart muscle to become thick and swollen. It has little to no warning signs, and treatment in infants is nearly impossible baring a heart transplant. Essentially, Ezekiel’s heart slowly slowed down until it stopped pumping and he died. Most likely, he was taking his last breaths as I picked him up from his bassinet and was in our Savior’s arms within seconds. The long, gasping breaths he was taking while we were on the phone with 911 were probably just triggered by his brain stem that hadn’t completely stopped working when his heart had stopped (there’s a name for this, I’m just drawing a blank as to what it is).