hospitals are funny. they say things like "rush you into surgery" or "emergency c-section" and that really doesn't mean what you think. it was still hours of preparation before they moved sharon and i into the operating room. there was a definite change in the demeanor of our nurses though. every one started moving faster, talking faster, putting on different outfits. i even got one...my very own bunny suit, complete with boots and a hat. i sooo wish i had a picture to show you. actually, i'm glad i don't. those things are not designed for fashion...i'm just saying.
once everyone was ready in the OR, they took sharon. i kissed her goodbye and told her that i loved her. our nurse told me she'd be back for me in a minute. it was about 12 minutes actually...but it seemed like hours. it's a strange thing, being faced with the cold reality that sickness or death doesn't care much about who we are. it has no feeling or remorse. it just acts, without prejudice or even bothering to hear our appeal. as i realized that truth in that empty room in my bunny suit, i was more afraid then i've ever been. but i knew (know) that God loved us and had our best interests at heart and that He was big enough to handle all of this. i knew in that moment and i kept repeating it to myself. i was glad, because i was not. not big enough. not strong enough. i was at the end of me. but in that emptiness of self there was hope. hope for sharon, hope for anne and jillian...and me.
i don't know what i expected an operating room to look like...but it was nothing like i imagined. it was really less about the room and more about the people and equipment in the room. it was plain, and white and extremely bright. they positioned me on a chair right behind a blue curtain up by sharon's head, which was already quite foggy from the anesthesia. she was awake, but funny. i held her hand and looked around. as i saw all of the familiar eyes smile at me behind their blue masks i knew that this room of strangers that we had grown to love over the last week were determined to do everything in their power to help us. there were two clocks on the wall behind me. one read the time and the other the length of the surgery. i watched sharon's surgeon, nena's eyes the whole time. she would cut and pull and watch and look at the clock(s). her instructions were clear but very calm. very in control. it was amazing! days later, she and i talked about how impressive it was for me to see her work. she is truly a wonderful doctor.
jillian came out first. nena grabbed her quickly and handed her off to the team of doctors waiting on the other side of the little window in the operating room. we heard her cry as they carried her. (smile). anne was next. she was beautiful! it's amazing...even knowing that they were identical twins i was still so stunned by their identicalness. i mean...they looked exactly alike! it was truly amazing. anne had her own team of doctors waiting on the other side of the little window. as soon as the babies were whisked away, the doctors re-focused their attention back to sharon. they began counting every tool, every sponge, every bandage. making sure that nothing was left someplace it shouldn't be. good thing i guess? after about 10 minutes and a couple of stitching attempts, one of the doctors said that there was a lot of blood on the floor. (silence). calmly nena asked where it was coming from and attempted another stitch after two quick glances at the clock(s). sharon had begun to complain of pain, which in anesthesia speak isn't good. then i heard "let's have dad step out now". before my brain had a chance to catch up, one of the nurses escorted me back to our room and said one of the doctors would be out to talk with me very soon.
my brain began to catch up. (panic)
i started breathing heavy and thought that i should sit down. as i sat staring at the door and the nurses station in the background i saw one of the doc's run out from the OR that sharon was in and asked hurriedly "where's the hysterectomy kit?" this couldn't be happening. it wasn't happening. my head was spinning. i turned my chair around and stared out the window at the sutro tower looming high on the hill above the hospital. time stood still. i have no idea how long i sat there. after what seemed like hours, one of the doctors came in the room and told me that sharon was fine. they found the bleeding and stopped it. they were just finishing up and i could see her soon. (breathe)
one of the nurses came and told me that we were going to be moving to the other side of the hall where the recovery rooms were and if i wanted to start moving our stuff she could show me our new room. i was vacant, but grateful to have a task. as i was walking back and forth between the rooms, still in a daze, concerned for sharon and the girls, tim, the head neonatalogist stopped me in the hallway. what he told me caught me off guard. even knowing all of the potential outcome for weeks...i was still unprepared as he spoke. 4 months and 4 days later it still doesn't seem real. tim spoke softly and told me that jillian had responded to the resuscitation well and was on her way into the NICU but that anne was not responding. he said that he needed to go back to her team and see if there was any change. tim knew that sharon and i wanted to do everything possible to save anne. he looked at me with compassion in his eyes and said, "jeramy...if there's no change...we can keep doing what we're doing all night, but it's not going to make a difference." my heart sank. after a few minutes tim came back and told me that there was no change in anne's response and that they had done everything they could do. anne was still breathing, but it wouldn't be very long. (silence). he asked me if i wanted to see her. as the door opened there were 4 people standing around this little table. each person with their own task and at the center was my little girl. she was so small. just over 2 lbs. they had this little mask over her mouth to help her lungs fill with air. i remember putting my finger in her hand. it was so small. this couldn't be happening. i'm not sure how long i stood there...at some point tim said that sharon was in the recovery room and i could go see her and that they would bring anne in too. as soon as i saw sharon she mouthed the words "is she ok?". i couldn't speak, but i didn't need to. sharon could see it on my face. tim and his team brought anne in the room on her little bed. that was the moment i fell. i was broken and helpless and empty.
a couple days earlier, sharon had reached out to our dear friend matt and told him that there was a very real possibility that the girls were going to have to be delivered soon and that we might not have much time with anne. sharon asked matt if he would consider taking pictures of anne after she was born. he said he would. i called him right as sharon went into surgery...not sure if he would even be able to make it on such short notice. as i stood there in the recovery room with sharon and our precious little anne, matt arrived. i'm not sure how he did it, but for the next 30 minutes matt captured so many beautiful images of our little girl. because of him we will always be able to remember her face. we will never be able to repay you matt. we are so grateful for these memories...thank you so much. here are some of the images.
over the next several hours we stayed in that room, holding our little girl. it was magical. sharon said that it was a holy moment that we had with anne and i believe that was true. in the midst of the greatest heart break we have ever been through, we felt so incredibly lucky that God had given us the time that He did with anne. we could have had nothing, but we had 3 wonderful hours. hours that we could store away and hide in our hearts forever. as i stood at the window watching the sun set on the city, my view stretched all the way past the golden gate bridge all the way up through marin. i rocked anne and whispered to her that i loved her and that it was ok...that she could go. for those few hours sharon and i got to be her mom and dad and we will never forget it. sometime just before 10:00pm, the doctor came in and listened to anne's little heart with his tiny stethoscope and confirmed that our baby, anne marie sossaman, was dead. time stood still.
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