Hearing the news that their grandson didn't have long to live, my parents hopped on the next plane to fly to San Diego from Wyoming. Mark is four days old. Grandma and Grandpa took turns holding him and memorizing each feature knowing they wouldn't see him again.
On our way out of the hospital, Mark's nurse told my mom that she felt Mark was making his own decision regarding his life . . .
Grandma is holding her grandson with Grandpa, Daddy and Mom looking on. My mom still says Mark was the prettiest baby I had.
I suppose it seems odd that we were smiling in several of Mark's pictures, but there were many things to smile about. Although it was a very sad time, it was also a joyous time. We were parents, and Mark was our son.
Here's Mark freshly bathed and dressed in a t-shirt. His nurse had washed and combed his hair with a toothbrush and slicked it back with a little baby oil. I kind of liked the messy look with his hair, but I thought it was so special that she took the time to fuss over Mark. She encouraged us to change his diaper and do all the things new parents do. She knew that building memories would help us move through the grief process in a healthier way. Since I didn't have such precious memories of Andrew (my first baby who was stillborn), I understood how important these memories would be in the future . . . something tangible to hang on to when the going gets tough. How I wish I had done more . . .
This is a coloring book page that Mark's nurse, Laura, colored. We arrived in the NICU one day to find it taped up in his isolette. I wish it had scanned better because it's very cute. I asked her why she chose a sheriff and she said that Mark was so big compared to the other babies that it made sense to her that he'd protect them all. I loved that! She even picked him up once and gently tossled him in the air - tubes, wires and all. I think my eyes about popped out but then we all started giggling. It was something you'd do to a perfectly normal baby so why not treat Mark in the same loving fashion?
After Mark died, we received a beautiful sympathy card from Laura. She had grown quite attached to him, and it meant the world to us.
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On Mark Adam's website:
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