“There’s no blueprint for how to go on after you’ve lost a newborn child. You just kind of have to try to do the best you can. In whatever way allows you to make it to the next day.” Rich Hill
I knew it was going to be bad as soon as I opened that door.
I didn’t know how bad, necessarily. But I started bracing myself for the worst almost immediately.
I was with my wife, Caitlin, and we had just been summoned into an extremely depressing boardroom at MassGeneral Hospital for Children. There were two doctors, a nurse, and a doctor’s assistant sitting at a large circular table.
None of them were smiling.
This was just after New Years in 2014, and our second son, Brooks, had been born a few days earlier. We went in for the delivery on Christmas night, and he showed up right on schedule the next morning. It all went according to plan. And before we entered that meeting, the biggest concern we had about our son was that he seemed to be having some trouble breastfeeding. But everything about that room and the vibe and the looks on those doctors’ faces — it all just seemed so … ominous.
We sat down and immediately felt uncomfortable. I remember Caitlin grabbing my hand straight away.
In addition to the feeding issue, Brooks did have this thing where his thumbs seemed to be turned inward toward the middle of his palms. And the doctors also had noticed that his head was slightly smaller than most babies his size. So they had him wearing these special little baseball glove-looking things to help his thumbs move back to the proper position, and had ordered a brain MRI just to be on the safe side. They had assured us these were just precautionary measures, though, so we weren’t really too worried.
At least right up until the neurologist across the table pulled up Brooks’s brain scans on his computer. That’s when everything changed for us.