Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Baby Cloey

This is a bittersweet post. I wish I didn't have to write it, but it is a story of healing and loss.

Two months ago my stepdaughter gave birth to Cloey Star. On the day she was born we received a call from the hospital. "It doesn't look good", my sister in law told me.

Cloey's heart had severe defects. Half of it was not working properly and it was immediately determined that she would need at least 4 surgeries in her first year of life. Each day was a struggle as her health went up and down. She was transferred between two intensive care units.

Tashina and Martin, Cloey's parents, spent every moment at her side. They lived on hospital cafeteria food, waited by her bedside, held her tiny hand as nurses tended to the many tubes attached to her.

But before I go on about this, I have to give some background information.

3 1/2 years ago, Tashina and Paco (her dad/my husband) had a falling out. Both stubborn as mules, neither budged to contact the other. It was heartbreaking but I promised him when we got married that I would never get between him and his kids. When I said that I meant I would never make him choose between me and them, but it took on a whole new meaning after their falling out. Keeping true to my promise, I didn't try to coax them into reconciliation or attempt to reunite them. It was hard. There were so many times when I just wanted to get them together and make them kiss and make up. But that would have been MY will, me forcing MY SOLUTION on them whether they were ready for that or not. That does not go with my personal philosophy so whenever I had the urge to meddle, I'd pull the focus somewhere else and get out of the way.

But Cloey's birth brought them together in a way more powerful than anyone else could ever have planned.

Our daugther was also born with a heart defect. Of all the people in Tashina's life, her dad was the ONLY one who had gone through a similar experience. As if they had just spoken the day before, Tashina and Paco spoke and laughed, cried, related.

He rushed to the hospital after Cloey's birth and spent time with them. He said special prayers over the baby and notified everyone in his circle of her precarious health.

Most importantly, he re-established a relationship with Tashina.

Cloey's health had been touch and go. She was not improving. She came down with a blood infection. Her intestines became blocked. Her breathing stopped and she had to be hooked up to a respirator.

On Saturday (3/26) I went to the hospital to see Cloey. We recieved a call saying that her situation was worsening and that the medical interventions were no longer helping. I knew that this visit would be my goodbye to her.

When I arrived the doctor was talking to Tashina and Martin. Cloey's struggle was mounting. Her blood pressure was plummeting. The machines were keeping her alive and it became apparent that she was trying to let go.

As I held Cloey's little hand, I could feel her trying to let go of this part of life. I felt a part of her spirit had already transitioned. I gave Tashina and Martin hugs and reassured them that every decision they've made so far have been based in love. That every moment spent at her side was beautiful and that they were great parents. They are.

Cloey made her final transition on Tuesday March 29, 2005.

People ask why would a loving God do something like this? Why must infants suffer, why did this happen to our family?

I don't have an answer.

But in looking at Cloey's short time, I saw her perform a miracle.

She reunited a father and his daughter.

She brought people together.

She touched our hearts as hers gave out.

Rest in peace, baby Cloey. Que duermas con los angelitos.


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