“I Adopted A ‘Perfect’ Micro-Preemie & Was By His Side As He Died 8 Days Later”


Julie and David have a total of 11 children, 3 born here and 8 adopted. One of them, Cane, came into the world for a very short time. The child was a micropreemie (someone born at less than 800 grams or before 26 weeks gestation), and although the family did everything possible to keep him alive, he died only 8 days after his birth. However, he will remain forever in the family.

“Our faith and our ability to not give up kept us together during those difficult days,” Julie told Bored Panda. “I pleaded to the end.”

Julie said Cane reminded everyone how important family is and that our time on Earth is never promised. While dealing with the loss, she agreed to share her story and gave permission to republish her essay.

While dealing with the loss of her child, Julie shared her emotional essay

Image credits: Our Crazy Big Family: The Daily Mix of Life, Love, Laughs & A Bit of Chaos

Image credits: Our Crazy Big Family: The Daily Mix of Life, Love, Laughs & A Bit of Chaos

Our adoption journey has been nothing short of a roller coaster. We have three older (biological) children and our six “little” ones are adopted.

After our first four adoptions, we again had a failed match. But the light came on when we found our cutest son, who was a microneedling. He was born at 25 weeks and we adopted him as soon as he was released from the hospital at six months. Then we quickly found another mom who wasn’t ready to give birth until August. Our journey took many twists and turns.

We struggled to settle into a new routine with our micro-preemie as we eagerly awaited the arrival of our second baby, Cane.

A little over two weeks ago, I was in line for neurology appointments for three of our little ones when the thought occurred to me to check my messages. I started scrolling and found myself reading a message that broke my heart. The mom we had an adoption covenant with, though she wasn’t due for 16 weeks, was in crisis and we live on the other side of the US.

As one message read, “her water broke”

Image credits: Our Crazy Big Family: The Daily Mix of Life, Love, Laughs & A Bit of Chaos

Standing there with our 8 month old baby, our micro-preemie, I couldn’t help but cry as I thought of mom and baby, praying that all would be well. The next few hours were a blur, but one thing that wasn’t was the need to reach out to mom to love and support her no matter what, as the medical staff did everything they could to keep her from delivering a preemie.

I planned the trip across the country to ensure I had time to spend with the mama, to listen, to pray, to love, and to support her

Image credits: Our Crazy Big Family: The Daily Mix of Life, Love, Laughs & A Bit of Chaos

Anyone who has been in the hospital knows that the stay is never fun. We were all told I would be there for a while. With everything settled at home, I planned the weekend trip which, to my surprise, took longer. When I arrived, I learned that mom had started having contractions and the baby was not long in coming….. 16 weeks early, making him another micro-preemie. All I wanted was for everyone to be okay. My prayers became repetitive because I felt so helpless. Sitting in the waiting room, I researched everything I could about preterm labor. I struggled to read some things, but there were amazing stories. Also, we have an incredible history with our own micro preemie. I prayed over and over again that mom and baby would be okay and that in the event of a storm, we would all be okay.

Little did I know, the storm carrying a precious baby boy, who would be soon joining our family, was right in the tailspin of a hurricane

Image credits: Our Crazy Big Family: The Daily Mix of Life, Love, Laughs & A Bit of Chaos

I had quickly become his anchor, trying everything to find a way to get him out. Never in my wildest dreams did I think any of this would happen. I am a planner. However, there is always something in our schedule, from therapy, to appointments, to school, to outings. I reluctantly boarded a plane one Sunday, greeted by the beeping of feet and a whirlwind of emotions.

My heart felt for the mama whom I have grown to love, and our son, who was laying in an isolette without anyone there except medical staff

Image credits: Our Crazy Big Family: The Daily Mix of Life, Love, Laughs & A Bit of Chaos

The hurricane was getting stronger. All this time, all I could think was that I was a failure. I wasn’t there to protect him. I wasn’t there to track his isolette to let him know he had a family waiting for him…this big, crazy family that loves him.

Less than eight hours after I got home, I got a call that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Many doctors were concerned about his overall prognosis or the possibility that he might not make it through the night. The more the doctor talked, the more I silently prayed as I tried to listen to the myriad medical terms. The conversation ended with do’s and don’ts.

All the while, I knew I needed to get back to the NICU

Image credits: Our Crazy Big Family: The Daily Mix of Life, Love, Laughs & A Bit of Chaos

However, I was overwhelmed by a compelling need: we needed to travel as a family. At the time, I wasn’t sure why, but I knew I had to do it. I quickly realized that the decision to go was one of the best decisions I had ever made.

Sitting down with my husband, David, we figured out the best way to travel with all the young children, some of our older children, and deal with work, daily therapy, and appointments that had been on the calendar for months.

The trip was planned, but when the day came, so did the daily calls from doctors and the sad reality that I might not survive the next hour.

There was a time when I didn’t want to answer the phone. I prayed persistently and asked for “prayer warriors” to cover our baby. I posted daily on social media asking for prayer help for specific needs as the doctors gave news. There always seemed to be a point in the day where we were told I wouldn’t make it to the next hour. This prompted my husband to contact family members who lived near the hospital, asking them to visit our little boy.

I cannot thank them enough for dropping everything on a moment’s notice and getting the hospital until we could get there

Image credits: Our Crazy Big Family: The Daily Mix of Life, Love, Laughs & A Bit of Chaos

In the meantime, I changed our already made plans to leave early, canceled everything on the calendar, loaded up our car and went to get our baby, who was without his mom and family. When we finally arrived, I got all the kids settled in at the hotel with our oldest daughter, which allowed me to arrive at the NICU in the wee hours of the morning. I was greeted by her nurse, a respiratory therapist. All I saw was the most beautiful, amazing baby struggling to live. At that point, he no longer looked like the child I had left the previous Sunday. It had only been three days and he was anemic and not moving. He was so tiny, with so many tubes and wires crowding his little body.

I just wanted to trade places. I wanted him to beat the E. coli infection that was ravaging his system

Image credits: Our Crazy Big Family: The Daily Mix of Life, Love, Laughs & A Bit of Chaos

There was a part of our stay where we saw progress, miracles, though it was quickly followed by the same question from different health professionals, “What are your wishes and how aggressive do you want the treatment to be?”

I felt like a broken record, but also like a silent voice. I followed the NICU by phone when I wasn’t physically there, calling for results, calling for updates, calling just because, and trying to keep everything together in our makeshift home of a hotel room. As the minutes turned into hours and then days, we were able to witness several miracles, things we had specifically prayed for and asked others for.

Our little boy would get better on one occasion, but take three steps backwards on other occasions. As he stood by his isolette, he would read the comments left by others on the daily updates he posted while reading the scriptures in the Bible. He was listening and God was there with him. However, we soon discovered that while one or two things were successful, others were not. Finally, it all came to a halt when we had another heart-to-heart talk with another doctor. I asked questions that I wasn’t even sure where they were coming from. We all agreed to have an electroencephalogram (EEG) to determine if our little boy was still the child we had seen several days earlier.

His head was so small, I was not even sure if they would be able to fit all the EEG leads

Image credits: Our Crazy Big Family: The Daily Mix of Life, Love, Laughs & A Bit of Chaos

He received his crown, as we call it. I had to excuse myself while the technician finished placing all the leads, because there was a part of me that did not want to know anything. I returned about an hour into the test, seeing the screen, lines going across … I just cried. I cried uncontrollably. Our family has had their share of EEGs and I have seen many results. I am not a doctor, not even close, but I knew even with the little hiccup here and there the lines I was witnessing were not in his favor. I knew in my heart our precious baby boy did not have any brain activity and it was not long before the medical professionals were confirming my worst fear.

When the doctor was speaking to me and giving the results, a part of me felt gone.

I know there is a reason for everything, but why bring precious baby Cane into the world only to take him out eight days later? I was sad, mad, and most of all, I felt as if I was letting his first mama down — a feeling I wish upon no one! I requested that any wires and tubes that could be removed from him be gone so I could finally hold him close to my heart.

For several hours I was able to love him more, sleep with him, and just have those moments, those moments to cherish

Image credits: Our Crazy Big Family: The Daily Mix of Life, Love, Laughs & A Bit of Chaos

At first light, I left the hospital to pick up the rest of the family at the hotel, not quite sure how we were going to spend the day when our little boy would receive his angel wings. I knew that as a family we could do anything. Even if it was difficult, we would do it together. Our little guy received lots of love without being in an isolette or crowded with tubes and wires. He was hugged, coddled and read to by a big crazy family who found light and love in him. I’m not going to lie, I questioned our decision several times and was assured that our little guy was so sick that if he had stayed in the womb another week or even a few more days, he would have been stillborn.

As early evening came, I had hoped he felt so much love

Image credits: Our Crazy Big Family: The Daily Mix of Life, Love, Laughs & A Bit of Chaos

Even if he did not know it, he had given so much love to our family. Eight days is never enough to have with anyone in comparison to a lifetime, but I know we will cherish every moment we were given. As his passing came and the doctor gave the official declaration, our little guy has his tiny footprints forever stamped on my heart. I was asked this past week how I could love someone so much I did not give birth too and my answer was, how could you not? He needed us and we needed him, and that is the definition of family.

Our family is truly grateful and blessed by all the love, prayers, thoughts, and outpouring of support through this time

Image credits: Our Crazy Big Family: The Daily Mix of Life, Love, Laughs & A Bit of Chaos

I am still in awe of everything and continue to read the comments and posts as they help us on our journey. Our precious Cane came into the world for eight precious days and brought light, not only into our life but many others. God had his plan. Although I still don’t understand it yet, I hope someday I will. I have faith that our story is not over.

Until we meet again, little one.