January 02, 2011

Finn Patrick Rhodes, Dec. 30, 2010 - Jan. 1, 2011

I knew Finn Patrick Rhodes for almost 50 hours which was, ironically, about how long my wife was in labor with our first son, Aiden. Finn's labor, in comparison, was relatively short at about six hours, only 23 weeks and five days into gestation.

We were told we may only get about 20 minutes to get to know our son, but then he went and lived over two days, which we considered an amazing if nevertheless short gift from him to us.

I like to think Finn was a fighter, and in fact the record clearly shows he was just that. He went far more rounds than the experts thought possible, so I think he's earned a rest, although I still miss him horribly.

His lungs were never really up to the challenge set before him, and an eventual brain bleed probably gave him the cue he was awaiting to leave the ring.

In the end, I was the one who threw in the towel.

My wife and I were summoned from our hospital room at 7:25 p.m. on Jan. 1, and told our son was in deep respiratory and cardiac distress. When we arrived at his incubator, a team of doctors and nurses were huddled around him, trying to save his life.

Even the relatively modest chest compressions of a forefinger and middle finger may just have well have been a sledgehammer to his impossibly tiny chest. Having learned how easily premature babies can bruise, I could only imagine the trauma Finn was experiencing.

Over and over again, my wife was asking, anybody, if we should be allowing this to continue, but ultimately the only people who could answer that for little Finn was us, and after 15 minutes of chest compressions, I implored a stop to the resuscitation efforts, which will very likely go down in my mind as the most controversial call I'll ever make.

Chest compressions stopped and life support was halted; little Finn was placed gently in my wife's arms, and she rocked him as the last few reflexive gasps mimed from his resigned lips.

And then he was gone. . .

My wife and I bathed his impossibly tiny body, put lotion on his bruised and battered skin, and then I dressed him in a white one piece outfit and hat that left him looking far more peaceful and serene than I thought possible after the trauma and heartache of his last few minutes of life.

Somewhere inside, I'm a deeply changed person, although I can't tell you in exactly which ways, but I can feel it beneath my skin as though lightning itself is coursing through my blood. It's heartache and longing and grief, and even joy, love and relief all rolled into an emotion without a name of its own.

Finn Patrick Rhodes, you are loved and you are missed beyond measure; by your mother, your twin sister Zoey, your big brother Aiden, myself and everyone you've touched here and beyond.

I love you.


Posted by Ryan at January 2, 2011 02:48 PM | TrackBack

Oh, man, not much can make me cry but this post made me cry for you, your wife, your big boy, Finn's twin sister and for Finn himself.

Words are meaningless from me. I wish there was something that could ease the terrible, terrible heartache you must all be feeling.

I am so, so sorry for your loss, Ryan.

Posted by: Erik at January 3, 2011 02:01 AM

"This shit makes Plain Layne read like a Dr. Suess book."

Posted by: Joshua at January 3, 2011 07:28 PM

In the dusty archives of my mind, Joshua, I seem to recall making that comment to something you wrote, which makes your recollection and re-post of it just that much more special.

Posted by: Ryan at January 3, 2011 08:23 PM

You did indeed. Six and a half years ago. And it's become sort of my little mental tag line for when I read something really intense in an online journal or on Facebook. Which is why I quoted it here. Not to suggest in any way that there's a comparison.

Posted by: Joshua at January 4, 2011 08:10 PM

i don't know what to say other than i am so sorry, and will keep you and yours in my thoughts.

Posted by: amyleblanc at January 8, 2011 03:09 PM
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