Thursday, 28 May 2015


Dani shares with us the time Jasper spent in the NICU and having to make the hard decision to turn off life support.

     "I could have stayed in that NICU unit for hours just touching his delicate hands 
      and stroking his arms and head, but we weren’t allowed. Many of the babies
       in the NICU are very sick and I know they try and limit contact until babies 
      can be removed from their special chambers. Regretfully I agreed to go back 
      to my room."

November 18, 2011, at 9.31am my sweet baby boy Jasper was born at 9.31am by emergency classical cesarean at 26 weeks. When he was born I didn’t get the opportunity to say hello, or to see him, he was in respiratory distress. The nurses showed us some photos before he was whisked away to the NICU unit.

It would be almost 4 hours before I got to see him for the first time. He was intubated and was on a positive airway pressure machine to help him breathe. He was so small at 785 grams but he was fighting. In his small humidification chamber I could see his tiny legs kicking and I could see him trying to cry – he couldn’t make a sound because of the breathing tube. I was told I could put my hand in and touch him as long as I sterilized my hands first. That first touch – his skin so soft, but so bruised and red from the trauma of his birth. But I didn’t even notice the colour of his skin – all I could think was that I had birthed a perfect baby boy – a fighter. He was naked, save for a tiny nappy that could have fit on my fingers, and a teenie tiny leg band that won’t even fit over my finger. The doctors told us he was doing very well and that they were able to reduce the pressure of his machine and that he was starting to breathe on his own.

I could have stayed in that NICU unit for hours just touching his delicate hands and stroking his arms and head, but we weren’t allowed. Many of the babies in the NICU are very sick and I know they try and limit contact until babies can be removed from their special chambers. Regretfully I agreed to go back to my room.

It took so much begging to the nurses before the consented us to go back down and see him. They finally allowed us at 7pm, but when we got there, it was not cheerful anymore. The doctor was about to call us. Jasper had stopped taking oxygen and was suffering pulmonary hyperplasia, meaning his lungs weren’t developed. The doctor gently explained that with the amount of time he had been without sufficient oxygen, the chance that he would get through this was remote – and the chance that he would ever be able to see, talk, walk or be without oxygen for the rest of his life was nil. They told us they believed that his death was inevitable and that we had a choice. To remove his life support and let him fly to God peacefully, or keep him on his oxygen and to see if he improved.

How does a parent make this choice? My mind was numb. Could I possibly live the rest of my life knowing that I agreed to remove care? The doctors said his death is inevitable but what if they’re wrong? Can I live with that? My mind was numb. I looked at my husband. Silent tears streaming down his cheek – still in his work clothes from when he bought me in that morning. My only thought was that I didn't want to be alone. ‘Can I please get my parents here’ I remember asking. The doctors agreed and our parents were called.

Somehow I fought through the fog and mind numbing pain to ask for Jasper to be baptized. I don’t know if there is a life after this, but I wanted to make sure my baby got every chance at heaven and God. Our parents came and finally, Corey and I knew it was time. Time to make sure our baby suffered no more. We knew. He wasn't fighting anymore, he was still. He was exhausted. They placed him in my arms and slowly removed his tubes. I held him tight and all of his grandparents came and told him how much they loved him, touching his hair. In the final moments of life, all he knew was love and comfort. In his mummy’s arms and hearing the voices of people who loved him.

He passed away in my arms at 7.31pm. Finally I was able to give him to his grandparents for a cuddle. They said their goodbyes and I sat there thinking – I had to switch off life support on my son. My first born. I did that. Nothing will ever change what I did. I hope he knew I loved him. I didn't want him to suffer anymore. If nothing else in his short time on Earth I wanted him safe and loved. And I hope he felt that.

The absolute soul crushing, heart wrenching physical pain that comes with losing a child, and the guilt I felt for ending his care – words can never make someone who hasn't lost a baby understand. The pain – it’s physical and it tears apart your heart. You literally feel like your heart has shattered and you are surprised it still beats. Each beat is physical pain. My baby was gone. I helped that along. And 2 days later I walked out of the hospital without my baby, slowly, bruised, and with a broken spirit.


If you require support after reading this blog please contact 
Sands on 13 000 72637 

Danielle Hall

Wife to Corey and Mumma to two boys: Jasper Rhys in heaven and Harrison Phillip Robert in her arms. Jasper passed away after PPROM at 23 weeks and birth at 26 weeks, surviving for 10 hours in the NICU unit. Currently completing a Master of Social Work with the goal to aid in the safety and protection of all children, because all children deserve to feel safe and loved.

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