The Day the World (Almost) Ended
© Copyright 2018 by Nancy Loera
Just the sound of that word sends an ugly tingling up and down my spine and causes my chest to feel as if someone is squeezing the life out of me. My heart rate triples and sweat appears on my forehead. It is something no one likes to think about or have it enter into their life. You feel sympathy towards the unknown families of the dearly departed you read about in the newspaper or hear about on the news. But secretly most of us are glad it was those lives it touched and not ours.
I have dealt with death in my lifetime, as most of us have. February 28,1999 the father of my four young children committed suicide. This was one of the worst days of my life. Explaining to my babies, the oldest 9 and the youngest 3, that they wouldn't be visiting their daddy anymore, that he was in Heaven now, was difficult. Especially not wanting to have the ugliness of his death cause them harm and unnecessary mental anguish. We got through it and continued on with our lives.
Fast forward to October 17, 2004, my second husband had a massive heart attack in our front yard. My four children and I clung to each other as he was loaded into an ambulance and whisked away to the hospital. Upon my arrival to the hospital I was told that everything that could possibly be done had been done. But there was no saving him, he was gone. Once again I had to tell my children the man in their lives wasn’t coming back. Another soul sent to Heaven. We got through this too.
When my only daughter became pregnant at the age of 14 I was devastated, in shock, wondering where I went wrong raising her. Those feelings lasted about 10 minutes, then instinct and reality kicked in. My daughter needed me and I was not going to let her down. I knew it would be an uphill battle and our lives would be forever changed. I didn't wish for this to happen. I hadn't planned for this. I wasn't sure how to handle it or what I should do. The fact was my baby was having a baby and all I could do was accept it, deal with it and be strong for my family.
Saying it was easy would be an outright lie. My poor daughter was put through hell. Society today is suppose to be so far advanced in their beliefs and opinions than they were 60 years ago. In that era a young pregnant girl would disappear for 9 months and then suddenly return and carry on with her life. The baby would be put up for adoption and never spoken of again. The very few that refused to give up their babies would be shunned by their families and society in general. The fool that I am thought those days were long gone. How wrong I was.
For example, my daughter and I was in the checkout line at Walmart when she was about 7 months along. She stood 5’1” and weighed about 90lbs. before she became pregnant. So, needless to say, at 7 months her baby bump was very noticeable. In line in front of us was a “religious” woman, I say this because of the way she was dressed. She had a little boy with her that I presumed was her son. The boy was sitting in her shopping cart and looked to be around two years old. My daughter started playing peek a boo with the child. My daughter had always loved children and had a way with them. This child's mother took one look at my daughter's stomach and jerked the boy’s face towards her. She proceeded to scold him about not be allowed to play with heathens and sinners.
Pain reflected from my daughter's eyes as anger reflected from mine. How dare this woman hurt my child like she did. My daughter put her head down in shame. I lifted her face so she could see mine. I spoke loud enough so to be heard by the woman who should be ashamed of her hurtful words and actions. I told my daughter to never be ashamed of her child, because God wouldn't be giving him to us without a reason. Instead she should feel special because she was having one of God's children. Then I added that we would never teach her child to judge other people the way that woman was teaching her son. My daughter smiled at me and then told the woman that she forgave her for her ignorance and prayed that the woman's son grows up strong, healthy and doesn't end up being a serial killer. Then we moved to another checkout line.
My daughter was treated badly by a lot of people during her pregnancy, including nurses and doctors. She was diagnosed with toxemia early in her pregnancy. Which can cause a lot of problems for the mom to be and the unborn baby. When she was a couple of weeks from her due date the swelling in her hands, feet and face became severe. We rushed to the hospital she was registered to deliver at and was told to go home and come back when she was in labor. They didn't even have a doctor examine her or care about the swelling. So we returned home. The swelling got worse. The next day we returned to the hospital and was rudely told not to waste their time. They made the remark that my daughter was acting like the child she was and there was nothing wrong with her.
Instead of going home I took her to a different hospital in a town 40 miles away from where we lived. As soon as we entered the emergency room they took one look at my daughter and rushed her to labor and delivery. They induced her labor. We were told that the toxemia was so bad that if we would have waited any longer we would of taken the chance of losing one or maybe even both mother and baby. As it was the odds were still against us. So with fear in my heart I prepared to help my daughter deliver her baby.
She did a really good job, considering she was only 15 years old. I feel that they put her through some unnecessary pain and should have taken the baby by c-section. But what do I know, I'm not a doctor. The doctor on call might have agreed with me if she hadn't went to take a nap and never showed up in my daughter's room. Every once in a while a nurse would make an appearance and talk about how busy they were and how good my daughter was doing.
By this time we had been at the hospital for approximately 12 hours, my daughter had been in active labor half of that time. She was given an epidural too soon and it was starting to wear off. All of a sudden my daughter started crying and saying the baby was coming right then. She had the urge to start pushing. I buzzed the nurse and let her know. When the nurse arrived she took one look at the monitor, one look at my daughter and told us there was no time to get the doctor. The baby was coming now. She looked at me and quietly told me there was no heartbeat on the monitor for the baby and we needed him out now.
Between me and the nurse pulling and my daughter pushing the baby was born. I caught a glimpse of his lifeless, blue body as the nurse rushed him to the incubator and started to try to resuscitate him. She was trying to call a code blue but her hands were busy and she couldn't reach the button. So I pushed it and yelled at the woman who answered that it was a code blue and please help us. During all this my daughter looked straight into my eyes and asked me why her baby wasn't crying.
I didn't know what to say. How could I tell my child, after everything she had gone through to have that baby, that the baby had died. I sat there with tears streaming down my face and lied to her. Telling her it was alright. The door flew open and the room filled with doctors and nurses. I held onto my daughters hand and prayed for a miracle. How could He let this happen? Hadn't there been enough DEATH in my children's lives? I didn't want to be the bearer of bad news again. I didn't want my daughter to go through more pain than she already had in her short life.
It seemed like a lifetime had passed since the baby was first delivered. Actually all this happened in less than 2 minutes. My daughter once again asked me why her baby wasn't crying and right when I was prepared to tell her why I heard the most wonderful sound I've ever heard. It wasn't very loud and just barely heard over all the noises in the room. It sounded like a small newborn puppy trying to whine for the first time. That whine soon became a full out newborn baby cry. There will never be a more welcome sound than the first cry my first grandchild made that day. I held my daughter and cried tears of joy as they handed her son to her for the first time.
Hayden Christopher is eleven years old now. I have three more grandsons and a granddaughter also. But the day my daughter almost lost the one we fought the most for will haunt me for the rest of my life. My world almost ended that day, but instead we were given a new beginning.