After leaving the doctor's we stopped at Albertsons so I could get a couple things and she made her famous request, "Mommy, me get lellow peesh." At first I almost said no, but then I thought, "She was so good at the doctor's so why not." Wow...am I glad I said yes. Hailey was so excited and ran up and down each aisle looking for her chips. When she found them she yelled, "Mommy, look, me found them, me found them...right there!" She grabbed the package of the mini bags of chips and with a huge smile on her face, proudly carried them to the register. As we walked out of the store, her chips in her hands, I clearly remember telling her to hold my hand in the parking lot because I didn't want her to get hit by a car. That image flashed in my head as I thought for a split second of what I would ever do if something happened to one of my children. Little did I know.
As we drove home she watched Strawberry Shortcake in the car and munched on her little bag of chips. I remember looking back at her and she just looked back at me with this little smile. It was a beau'ful day.
When we got home I made Hailey lunch. It was one of her favorite meals, quinoa with butter and broccoli. (Quinoa is pronounced Keen-wa and is a grain...it kind of reminds me of oatmeal.) Anyways, as she sat at her little table and ate, I laid on the couch because I wasn't feeling that great and was exhausted. She turned around and looked at me and said, "Mommy, why you tired?" Then she walked over to me, kissed her hand, and put it on my forehead. Of course, I was warmed to my soul and I told her thank you and that she made me feel all better.
After she finished eating, I picked her up and told her it was time for "nigh, nights," and as soon as she woke up we would pick up Lexi and go to Grammies house. She was so excited. Before taking her upstairs she said, "Mommy, wait, me give Ava hugs and kisses." I put her down and she ran over and wrapped her arms around Ava and gave her a big kiss on her face. It's as if she knew what was about to happen and wanted to make sure to say goodbye to her baby sister.
I carried her upstairs and as I reached the top of the stairs I asked her for a kiss. She looked right into my eyes with a big smile and gave me the cutest little kiss right on my lips. All was good. As I laid her down, the last thing she said to me was, "No nigh, nights." That last statement literally rips me apart. What I wouldn't do to be able to go back, turn around and say, "Sure baby girl...I'll let you stay up this time." As I walked out of her room, I said, "You have to go nigh, nights, so we can go see Grammies for her birthday. I love you!" That was the last time I heard my baby girl's voice, looked into her big blue eyes, felt her warm skin against mine, saw her radiant smile, or felt genuinely happy.
I went and laid down for about an hour and when I woke up I started getting ready to go to my parents' house. I got Ava up, fed her, dressed her, then made a few phone calls, all the while having absolutely no idea what was to unravel. When I was all done, I realized Hailey had been sleeping for over 2 hours and so I decided to go check on her. I knew she was super tired after going to bed the night before 2 hours later than normal. (She was at the pool that night with her Daddy having a BLAST!) I went and got her clothes ready and then opened the door, not prepared for how my life, as I knew it, was about to end.
Wow, I can't believe I'm actually writing this...
I walked into her room, fully expecting to see her sitting up in her crib with that big smile on her face. Instead, I noticed she was laying on her back with her hands and feet spread out, her head at the foot of her crib. Her eyes were half open, her mouth was open, and she was bluer than words can explain. I dropped her clothes, ran to her crib, grabbed her in my arms, and started screaming her name. "Hailey, Hailey, WAKE UP, COME ON BABY, WAKE UP." She was so cold, freezing. I ran into my room and laid her on my bed, all the while saying, "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh..." I grabbed the phone and immediately dialed 911. I screamed at the lady, telling her that my daughter wasn't breathing, and she was blue, and so cold... "It's too late," I sobbed, "It's too late." I then moved her to the top of my stairs so I could see when the paramedics arrived. I was literally holding her by one leg, upside down, hitting her on the back, screaming at her to wake up. Deep down inside, I already knew. I was shaking like never before. The lady on the phone told me to start CPR, but when I breathed into her mouth bubbles came out of her nose...nothing made it into her lungs. I then grabbed my cell phone and called Sean while still talking the operator. I just kept yelling that she's gone...it was too late.
When the paramedics got there it took all I had to stand up and leave her side to get the door. They came running in so fast and started working on her. It was then that I called my mom, on her birthday, to tell her what was happening. After several minutes, the paramedic ran down the stairs holding her in his arms. Her head was cradled in his arms and her arms were flailing by her side. I don't even remember them leaving for the hospital with her because I was too busy screaming at the top of my lungs and sobbing harder than I ever thought possible.
Sean pulled up and I ran out into the driveway. There I saw all my neighbors standing around just watching this unfold. I ran over to Sean and started screaming. He kept asking me what happened, but I don't think my speech was coherent enough to understand. One of the policemen who was there offered to drive us to the hospital since neither of us was capable of driving at that time.
The whole way to the hospital I sobbed hysterically. All I kept saying was, "Sean, you should have seen her. You should have seen her. I think it was too late." I knew I was in serious denial because I kept picturing myself on Oprah in a year or so talking about Hailey and how she was unconscious for an hour, but they managed to revive her and she turned out totally fine. I would tell everyone how the impossible became possible and how they should never give up on anything. Then Oprah would introduce her and say, "Hailey, come on out." The crowd would stand up and cheer and Sean and I would be so proud of her as she walked across the stage with her big blue eyes sparkling and her infectious smile radiating throughout. She was always so strong and such a fighter, so why not this time, right? Plus, I have always believed in miracles. Unfortunately, that thought was just a way for me to cope with the complete and utter shock I was in. (I do however, still believe in miracles.)
Upon arriving at the hospital, Sean and I were ushered into this little room where these ladies that had "Bereavement" on their name tags met up with us. They tried to calm us down and talk to us, but of course we wanted none of it. All we wanted to do was see our baby girl and hug her and hold her and know that she was okay.
One of the ladies finally told us that we could go see her, which I thought meant she was okay. We had been through many hospitalizations with Hailey before and many close calls, so why would this be any different? As we walked into the room, there were tons of people in there. Hailey was laying on the table while one nurse was pressing a bag together to breathe for her and another was pushing on her chest doing CPR. Matt, our neighbor, was there and him and Sean started to give her a blessing. As they began, the doctor said something. I don't even remember what it was because the pain and shock was too great, but I do remember my knees giving out under me and a nurse literally catching me as I fell. A doctor came running to my side and helped hold me up as I sobbed and screamed at the top of my lungs, "NO...DON'T STOP. THEY CAN'T STOP. KEEP GOING, THEY CAN'T STOP. PLEEEASE DON'T STOP." I looked up and saw Sean and Matt sobbing as well, and then I heard Sean say, "Please accept this little girl into your arms..." My baby girl, my precious baby girl was gone. That was the last thing I remember for a while.
All of a sudden I thought of my mom on her way, my dad on his way, my sister, Lexi...what about Lexi? How am I ever going to tell her that her little sister was gone? The nurse came to me and asked me if I wanted to hold Hailey. She placed her in my shaking arms, wrapped up like a little angel, and I thought at that moment that the pain would literally kill me. I would NEVER let her go. My mom walked in and I handed Hailey to Sean; I stood up, looked at my mom, and said, "Mom, she didn't make it. She didn't make it." She ran over to Hailey and sobbing kept telling the medical staff, over and over, that they had to do something. She finally was able to sit down and hold Hailey in her arms. Her little grandbaby was gone.
Next I talked to my sister on the phone. She was at work and I didn't want to tell her the outcome until she got to the hospital, but she could tell that something in my voice was seriously wrong. I ended up having to tell her at work, which I am so sorry for. Luckily she made it safely to the hospital, even after breaking every traffic rule known to man. When she walked in she just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.
My heart was breaking for my Dad. He adores Hailey. He had such a special bond with her. I can't even count the amount of times that he drove back and forth with me to the hospital to visit Hailey everytime she was there. He was right there by my side through her first couple years. The second he would see Hailey, his face would light up like a child's on Christmas morning. They were buddies. He walked into the room completely unaware of what was about to hit him. I ran over to him sobbing, and told him she didn't make it. His just melted and we fell into each others arms and just sobbed hysterically. He walked over to her and just sobbed, saying, "No, no."
Along with my family, we had tons of friends there before I even had a chance to register what had just really happened. I don't want to name personal names because my mind was very fuzzy and I wouldn't want to risk leaving someone out, but let me just say that the people who I needed there were there. They rushed out of work at a moment's notice and were there by my side. Work was no longer a priority at that moment, they had put me first. I have to say that thank you for that. I literally have some of the best friends anyone could ever have the privelege of knowing. My bishop was also there within 20 minutes, along with several other church members. My church family is also amazing. The blessings and service from all those who cared for us had started the second they heard the news.
Once things semi-calmed down...we were never really calm, Sean and I just sat in the room together, by ourselves, holding Hailey, crying, talking to her, and having no idea what to do next. Where did we go from here? How do we tell Lexi? How do we go home without our baby girl? Who was going to stay with her when we weren't there? Would she be warm and comfortable? Would she be scared? Would we survive this?
We looked at each other and at that moment, sitting there together, holding our precious, beloved daughter, we vowed to each other that we would make it through this. We would stick together and never leave each other. We would take care of our other two girls and make sure they were okay. We would not get angry with God or give up. We were the only 2 people in this entire world that knew what it was like to be Hailey's parents. We owed it to Hailey to keep her family together.
The time came that we had to leave. Lexi was on her way and we had to be there when she got home. My heart was so broken and yet it still had to break more for Lexi. As we put our baby girl down, I literally thought that this must be exactly what hell is like. I felt like I was going to completely fall apart and never be able to get back up again. My arms were already aching; every part of my soul was aching...I was empty. One of the ladies from church offered to stay with Hailey for us until the coroner (I HATE that word) came to pick her up. We all piled in the car: my dad, mom, sister, Sean, & me...and drove home in utter and complete shock and devastation. There were literally no words. How could something like this happen to me?
As we pulled into our neighborhood we realized that every single tree had a pink ribbon tied around it. Then we turned the corner to our street and saw a beautiful memorial to Hailey on our front lawn. Our neighbors were showing us how much they truly cared.
When Lexi got home, I heard her get out of the car excited to see me. She came running in the house as if all was well. After holding it together for about 2 minutes and saying hi and giving hugs, Sean and I told her we had to talk to her for a minute. I still had no idea what I was going to say...I mean, what do you say at a moment like this? Before Lexi got home Sean and I had gone upstairs, kneeled down on the floor, and prayed together. We poured our hearts out to our Father in Heaven and asked him to guide us in what to say to our other precious daughter.
When she came upstairs, we sat on the bed next to her and I was already crying. I looked into her precious, innocent eyes and said, "Lexi, today when Hailey went to sleep for her nap, she didn't wake up. While she was sleeping, Jesus came and asked her if she wanted to go with Him to Heaven and help take care of the other kids there. She was so excited to help Him and she knew you and Ava would be okay here with Mommy and Daddy, so she said yes." Lexi looked back at me and replied, "You mean Hailey died?" I said, "Yes, honey, I mean Hailey died." She grabbed me and started to sob hysterically, like I'd never seen her cry before. Once again, I thought the pain was going to kill me. My body and soul was numb. I was now dealing with the pain of the loss of my daughter and added onto it, the pain of another precious daughter of mine. My parents and sister were waiting downstairs and could hear Lexi sobbing. After a while she wanted to go downstairs and see everyone. We walked downstairs and she asked if we could say a family prayer. So we sat and prayed together. (As if anything could possibly be funny at that moment, knowing our family, it would come upon us. We paused the TV in order to say our prayer and as my mom looked up she said, "Ummm...wait a minute." We all stopped and looked at the TV and all you could see, covering the entire screen, was a girl's chest in a black bra. There happened to be a Victoria's Secret commercial on and it was paused right at that moment.) Only us...but we actually giggled a little.
We had just taken our first step toward healing, we laughed for but a second.