Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Sweet Angel

Some of you know Erik personally. Some of you don't. Nobody knew Erik like I did though. So, this is what this little note is for. To tell you all about my little boy.

To this day, I can remember the exact second that I got pregnant with Erik. I can remember Kyle looking at me and saying "you better take good care of my baby". We still laugh about that. Because of Erik, I can no longer eat skittles. Being pregnant really sank in for me when I threw up a whole bag of skittles at work one day. I remember being too terrified to tell anyone in my family that I was pregnant. So terrified in fact, that Kyle and I took a vacation 4 hours from home with the sole purpose of taking a pregnancy test! Crazy, yes I know! I can remember peeing on the stick. It was just before midnight on New Year's Eve 2004. Kyle was asleep and I decided to sneak into the bathroom to do it. I was so nervous, that I missed the entire stick!!! I cried out to Kyle and told him that I couldn't even pee on a stick, how was I going to take care of a baby. We laid back down and fell asleep. I woke up again at 3 a.m. and sure enough, there were 2 pink lines! It was at that second, my life changed forever. The ironic part is that the next morning, my Mom called just to tell me about the crazy dream she had had the night before. She dreamt that I had just given birth to the most beautiful baby girl with the fullest head of curly black hair she had ever seen. I about fainted! Keep in mind that it was another 3 months before she even knew I was preggo! I can remember being at Broadway at The Beach and calling Heather to tell her my wonderful news. She was so excited for me!

My pregnancy with Erik was rough, to say the least. I was sick as a dog and had no energy. I gained weight like I was eating for 4 instead of 2. The roughest part came in May when I started having contractions. I had been told many years before that I would never be able to carry a baby to full term, so when those contractions started at 20 weeks, I prepared myself for the worst. Luckily, a constant drip of terbutaline and monitoring twice a day kept the little booger inside of me 3 days shy of his due date.

I went into labor at 9:22 p.m. after a 3 hour walkathon around Wal-Mart. No sooner than we got home & put the groceries away, my contractions started. Nothing regular, but enough to alert me. I went on to bed only to be awoken around 4 a.m. with the worst pain ever. I got up and went to the bathroom and the "show" had started. lol. I told Kyle that he wouldn't be going to work that day because I was going be having our baby. I called my sister and then my doctor who told me to come on in to the hospital. I showered and even managed to straighten my hair before walking out the door. We got to the hospital around 8 a.m. and sure enough I was in labor and dilated to 3 cm. We got checked in and got the ball rolling on having a baby. Around 9 p.m., it was time to push. I told Kyle and the doctors that I would be holding my little boy before 10 p.m. The doctor told me not to get my hopes up. Low and behold at 9:55 p.m. my little angel came into the world screaming his little head off! He was by far THE most beautiful baby I had ever seen. He was simply perfect!

The next year flew by. Erik said his first word at 9 months, and no I’m not talking “mama” or “dada”, he said tractor! Our preacher was there to witness it! He was walking by 10 months and running by 10 months, 1 day (not really, but close!). I could tell that Erik was extremely intelligent before his 1st bday. He caught on real quick and was so independent that it drove me insane. He was supposed to be my baby, but here is this toddler wanting to do everything all by himself. We celebrated his 1st bday with a swimming party at my mom’s. Erik had a blast. He had cake from the top of his head down his diaper and everywhere in between. I can see that day just like it happened yesterday.

The next few years went by even quicker than the first year. Before I knew it, Erik had his 2nd bday party, then his 3rd bday. I will always remember that 3rd bday. That’s the bday he asked for 2 baby sisters!!!! (And keep in mind; this is before we knew we were preggo, let alone having twins). We had his party at our old pasture – we called it a tractor party. He had a bday cake shaped like a cow and we even managed to get close enough to our real cows to take some pictures. Everyone got to ride on the tractor. We had a wonderful time! 9 days later, I took a pregnancy test and discovered that Erik was going to be getting a baby brother or sister after all. I can remember Erik standing in the bathroom with me while I pee’d on that little bitty stick once again. He asked me what I was doing and when I told him that I was seeing if Mommy had a baby in her belly, his little face just lit up. He was beyond excited and took it upon himself to tell Kyle our exciting news. It never failed that each and every time someone would ask him what was in my belly, he would say, a baby sister AND a baby brother. He always made sure everyone heard that “and” part. I guess I should’ve paid more attention myself because 3 months later, the “and” part was confirmed! Erik loved talking to my belly and rubbing my belly. He talked to his sisters through my belly button. It was the sweetest thing. He told them how much he loved them and that they were going to sleep with him when they were born. He begged them to come out and couldn’t understand why he had to wait so long to meet them. I started having trouble with the girls around 21 weeks (sound familiar???). I was in and out of the hospital too many times and finally in February, I got put out of work. My heart was broken when my doctor told me that I couldn’t lift anything heavier than 5 pounds. How could I go 20 more weeks without picking up my little boy?! My many trips in and out of the hospital had Erik terrified of hospitals. He thought that every time I had to go for testing that I was going to have to stay the night. I remember when I was there for 3 nights. Erik cried every single time he had to leave me there. He begged to stay and got mad when Kyle and I told him he couldn’t. He would bring me breakfast every morning before school and even managed to talk Kyle into buying a gift shop bear so that I wouldn’t be alone. When the girls were finally born, Erik was the proudest big brother I had ever seen. He told everyone that they were HIS babies and didn’t mind introducing them to anyone that was looking our way. He loved holding them, feeding them and was quite interested in trying to change a diaper – until they were dirty anyway. Then he went on and on about how bad they smelled. He truly was a wonderful big brother. He would get in the floor with them and attempt to play with them, only to get frustrated when they wouldn’t play back. He loved laying with them and talking to them.

Another year passed by and everyone has really grown up. My little boy was getting ready for his first day of kindergarten. He was thrilled. Me? Not so much. Taking my little boy into school was rougher on me than it was on Erik. He walked into that school like he had been doing it for years! He sat right down and immediately started talking to the girl sitting beside him. I cried simply because I knew my little boy wasn’t so little anymore. After those first 2 days of school, I swear I thought Erik was going to get kicked out. He had 2 bad days the first week, but after that he never had another bad day. This proved to me that I had done a good job raising him. By now, the girls are 16 months old and Erik is turning 5. It was around this time that Erik decided that he wanted to grow up to be a bull rider. I cringed at the thought of my little boy climbing on the back of a 1200 pound beast and hanging on for 8 seconds. I tried my best to talk him into a career in baseball or basketball, but he wouldn’t budge on the idea of being a bull rider one day. I finally decided to support him – only in hopes that he would eventually come around and decide to do something else. We had his 5th bday party at my cousin’s farm and Erik was in heaven! He got to play on tractors, ride horses, run around and do whatever he wanted to do. The sparkle in his eyes let me know that it was THE best bday party he had ever had. I couldn’t have been happier to see him so happy. Erik was doing very well in school and would come home every day with something new and exciting to tell me. He had began making a life long list of friends and was well on his way of being the well rounded little man that I had always wanted him to be.

September rolled on around and then we were in October. While other kids were picking out costumes of Spiderman, Batman, Vampires and everything else that was available, my boy was telling me that I didn’t need to spend money on him a costume because his Uncle Kent already had gotten him a bull rider costume. So that’s what he was for Halloween. A bull rider. Not a cowboy, which is what a lot of people thought, but a bull rider. He didn’t feel too good Halloween night and everyone could tell it. He was ready to go home after an hour or so of trick or treating. I didn’t argue! We made our usual stops at my grandparents and then at Kyle’s house. Little did I know that Halloween would be the last time we would see Papa alive. He died the following Tuesday. I can remember sitting Erik on the side of my bed to tell him. He didn’t cry. He just turned to look at me and with the biggest, most beautiful brown eyes; he looked at me and said, “so Papa is up there with Aunt Margaret?” I simply answered yes. Aunt Margaret died last year. Papa’s funeral came and went. That was an extremely rough week. Erik begged to spend the night with Kyle the Friday night after Papa’s funeral. I didn’t think Kyle would let him, but sure enough Kyle let him stay. There’s one thing about Erik that nobody could deny – he loved his daddy with ALL of his heart. He wanted to be just like Kyle.

This brings me to the most recent past. The weekend that completely turned my life upside down. Kyle decided to keep all 3 kids for the weekend so that I could finally get some rest. I had to stay at the hospital with my mom on Friday night because she had just had surgery that morning. I talked to Erik that night on the phone and told him that I loved him and to be sweet and that I would see him on Saturday. When we got home from the hospital, I called Kyle and told him to bring the kids over later. After all of them left that night, Erik called me and asked would I bring him some shorts over because he didn’t have any. The child couldn’t just sleep in his underwear; he had to have something on top of them. Kyle told me that I didn’t have to bring shorts over if I didn’t want to, but like always, I told him that I would do anything for my kids and I meant it. I took Erik his shorts and he jumped up and gave me the biggest, tightest hug he had ever given me. He showed me his new tractor that he had gotten at Wal-Mart earlier in the day. He thanked me for bringing his shorts and told me more than twice that he loved me as big as the sky. Kyle walked me out on the porch and told me that Erik had been crying on the way home and when he asked why, Erik simply said “I want you and Mama to get back together for Christmas”. I just shook my head and told Kyle that I was sorry that I would have to disappoint my baby, but us getting back together wasn’t going to happen. Kyle hung his head and walked back into the house. I left and honestly didn’t think another thing about it. Kyle called me the next morning to see if I would come get the girls because he wasn’t feeling well. He said that Kent had agreed to let Erik hang out with him so he could keep playing. I went and picked up the girls and as soon as I got out of my car, Erik jumped out from behind the tractor and scared the piss out of me. I scooped him up and gave him another big hug and told him that I missed him so much and wanted him to come home with me and the girls. He told me that he wanted to keep playing. I didn’t argue with him because I knew he was having a good time. He walked in the house with me so that he could tell Kyle he wanted to ride his 4 wheeler. He didn’t even give Kyle a chance to answer and out the door he went, with his helmet in tow. Once I got all their stuff together, I walked back outside to see him sitting on his 4 wheeler waiting on Kyle to start it. He already had his helmet on. I told him that I needed a hug and a kiss before I left. When I seen what a hard time he was having getting his helmet off, I told him that I would just kiss his hand instead. I told him I loved him and to be careful and that I would see him around suppertime. I never thought in a million years that that instant would be the last time I would ever see his beautiful brown eyes again.

I got the girls home and we played for a while and then I laid them down for a nap. I started on my usual list of Sunday chores – washing clothes! The girls woke up around 1:30 and I got them some lunch and then we played. Our Sunday company came by and like always, I had left my phone in the bedroom charging. The next thing I know, Kent is pulling in the driveway like a maniac and he and Kyle are running to the door saying that we have to go because Erik has been in a bad 4 wheeler wreck and that he is being air lifted to the hospital. We take off towards Greenville. That 45 minute drive was by far the longest of my life – up until that point anyway. I start calling and texting as many people as I can think of telling them what’s going on and to start praying. I text Heather and tell her to meet me at the hospital because I knew that I was going to need her support. Me, Kyle and Kent get to the hospital about 2 minutes after Heather did. I go flying through the doors of the ER only to find that my little boy hasn’t made it there yet. The lady says that it’s not abnormal for people in cars to beat the helicopter to the hospital. That was the biggest bunch of bull I’ve ever heard. She tells us to have a seat and that as soon as he arrives, she’ll let us know. We hadn’t been sitting there for 2 minutes when Kyle gets a call from his uncle saying that Erik had in fact been taken to the hospital in Greenwood – which is only 20 minutes from my house, but an hour and a half from where we were. I was IRATE!!!!! We begin the long drive to the other hospital. Now this drive is really taking forever. It was literally the longest drive of my life. And that’s with Heather going 90+ mph. Kyle finally got a call from the flight nurse telling him what was going on. They gave him the number for the hospital and he called to see if he could get any information at all. Turns out that one of his best friends from high school married a girl who works in the ER. She knows Kyle and I well. He spoke with her on the phone only to find out that we REALLY needed to hurry to the hospital because Erik was in bad shape. I had to hear what she had to say for myself, so I called. She told me the same thing. It was in that instant that I knew my baby boy was gone. Heather begged me to stay optimistic, but my motherly instinct kicked in and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to tell my baby goodbye.

We finally got to the hospital and were escorted into a room so that the doctor could talk with us. He started talking and all I heard was blah, blah, blah. I knew he was trying to sugarcoat what he was trying to say and I didn’t want to hear any of it. I just wanted to find my baby and hold him in my arms. I blatantly asked the doctor if Erik was dead and when he didn’t answer me, I cussed him out and blew out the door calling for Erik. The nurse grabbed me and took me to him. What I saw will forever be etched in my mind. There was my perfectly sweet little angel laying on a cold ER table with wires and tubes and bandages all over him. He was still and cold. I begged him to wake up and begged and begged and begged. I kissed his face in hopes that my breath would revive him. Nothing I done worked. My baby was gone. I fell to the floor and just screamed. I yelled at God and demanded a reason why he had to take my child. My first born son. My heart. My everything. When I was able to stand again, I just held Erik. They still had the neck brace on him and he was still laying on a body board. They weren’t able to remove the tubes from his mouth because the coroner hadn’t come yet. He had bandages on his sides where the surgeon had tried to insert a chest tube to help him breathe. His hands and face were triple their normal size. He didn’t look anything like himself. I couldn’t bare the thought of leaving him in that cold room alone, but we had a crowd of people waiting outside to hear what was going on. They all knew as soon as I walked through the doors into the waiting room. I cried harder than I ever thought possible. Was this real? Was this really happening to ME? Had a just told my family that their grandson and nephew was dead? I made my way outside to try and get some air. I fell to the ground and immediately I felt sick. I think I dry heaved for 10 minutes before I finally realized that nothing was coming up. I had to make the dreaded phone call to my sister and mother who were patiently waiting at home to hear what was going on. My sister just screamed into the phone and I could hear my mom doing the same.

To be continued...

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