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23 Years on...and still thinking about Baby Shane
My name is Erica, and I am Baby Shane's Mummy. Baby Shane died at 8 weeks old on May 29th 1983. He had a complex heart defect and following major heart surgery and much fighting for life, he died.
It was a Sunday morning; I lay on the sofa drifting in and out of sleep. The phone rang, and it was a nurse telling me that she thought I should come in and give Baby Shane a cuddle. Little did I know it was to be the last cuddle I would ever give him.
We got to the hospital at about 9.30 am, for 3 hours we took turns holding our baby, kissing him, and cuddling him, he was still attached to the equipment that was helping him stay alive. We decided to go for a quick coffee break; we said that we would be back at 1.pm - that was at 12.30pm. However on the way out of the ICU we met Baby Shane's Consultant, he explained there was nothing more that they could do for him now. We went for coffee and returned at 1.15, and yes, you guessed it, Baby Shane had died, he died at 1.10. In my mind he waited for 10 minutes, but we were too late. He died alone. For years I cursed that Consultant, thinking if we had not have met him in the corridor, we would have returned sooner, and would have been with our son when he died.
I walked into ICU, the doctors face said it all!! I remember I still followed the rules of ICU, I grabbed a gown and washed my hands with the special soap, I can still smell that Hibi Scrub !!!!!! Of course on reflection I needn 't have done either of those things. My baby was dead, even clean hands were not going to save him now. My son lay motionless on the ICU bed.
"I picked him up and held him close to me, closer than I had ever been allowed to hold him before."
I picked him up and held him close to me, closer than I had ever been allowed to hold him before. Silent tears rolled down my face, and then Baby Shane's Dad (also called Shane) held him in his arms, as I stood there stunned, I watched Shane as he wailed and rocked, and wailed and rocked our son in his arms. I remember thinking at the time, I should be doing that!!!
A voice asked me if I wanted to bath my dead baby, I declined thinking " why does he need a bath, he's dead" I watched as a nurse bathed my dead baby. Of course now I wished I had bathed him, at the time I felt rushed, confused, and shocked!!!
They dressed Baby Shane in a white paper gown; his hands taped together holding a single lily. I noticed his tiny bruised hands, man handled by doctors putting needles into him, in their bid to make him better, to save him. Baby Shane 's brow was now relaxed, no more frowning, no more fighting, he was peaceful now.
They put my baby in one of those see through cots, and put the three of us in a disused office. I remember standing there, staring at Baby Shane's chest, thinking I could see him breathing, hoping they had made a terrible mistake. Leaving hospital without my baby was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.
I remember that feeling of loss. I would look in drawers, and be searching the house looking for "something" I had lost. I didn 't know what I was looking for, but God did I know what I had lost. I felt incomplete, empty inside. The feeling to be maternal was overwhelming. Milk still leaking from my breasts, I had been expressing milk for Baby Shane to have his Mummy's milk in a tube. Now my t-shirt absorbed the milk, and my tears.
We organised the funeral ourselves, everyone wore white, as we had requested. This we felt reflected his pureness.
We scattered Baby Shane 's ashes in the Holy River Ganges in India, a place we had traveled to before.
Baby Shane lives on in my heart now. The waves of grief have got further apart, and I can speak about Baby Shane without feeling that raw pain. I still shed a tear for him every now and again, but I wouldn 't have it any other way. My brave, brave boy, I love you, and miss you, always in my heart. Love Mummy xxxxx
Baby Shane May 29th 1983