At twenty one years old, I endured the toughest time of my life. I lost my son Jacob Adam James Alexander at seventeen months.
I had just moved in to a new apartment. I had been putting things away in my children’s room, and had put together the crib. To keep it out of the way, I pushed it against the closest wall. Which was also next to the window. As my son and daughter slept, I put their clothes away, kissed them good night, and then went to bed myself.
The next morning, I went in to check on them. Kylie met me at the door. I thought Jacob was still sound asleep. But when I took a closer look, I realized his head was cocked at a funny angle and the strings to the blinds were around his throat. I panicked.
I took him out of the crib and started CPR, grabbing the phone to dial 911. They tried to walk me through the CPR process and all I could do was to yell at the operator, “I know how to f---ing do it, just get someone here!”
He was still warm. He couldn’t have been unconscious for more than ten minutes, which was confirmed when the paramedics arrived and were able to get Jacob breathing again. From there, we were transported to the best children’s hospital in Portland, Oregon. I felt so numb, my mind couldn’t wrap itself around the thought of losing my child.
They kept him alive for twenty hours. Twenty hours of not knowing my child’s fate. Not knowing what was going to happen next.
I remember the sounds of his heart monitor. And then Jacob’s oxygen levels started spiking. The beeping machines. His heart rate went tachycardic four or five times. And then they confirmed brain death.
Adam, my son’s father, wanted to keep him alive. But Jacob’s little body kept giving out. We had to make a decision. And it was then that I made the hardest decision of my life, with Adam finally behind me one hundred per cent. Do not resuscitate.
I found myself telling the doctor. “Let him go! . Somewhere in the background I heard the song on the radio in his room. Somewhere Over the Rainbow. And somehow, the song put me at peace. I knew Jake was okay.
Losing a child is never easy. There is nothing worse than knowing, or even feeling like, you have done this to your child. The guilt and depression associated with his loss was so very hard to deal with. But I had a little girl to live for, and the hope that I can help educate others and guide them through their difficult losses.
I’ve found that celebrating Jake’s life outweighs the pain of losing him. It never gets easier to tell his story, but I feel it’s a great path to healing. Jake was sent here for a reason, and I think some part of me knew. His short life had such a profound impact on mine, and he changed me for the better. And that is why I celebrate my son. Because I want him to know that his mommy loves him. Then, now, and forever.