My grief is handled in words.
I was the one who found Sloan. I went in to get him from his crib at 9:48am, opened the door and noticed he was on his stomach. I touched his back and felt that he was ice cold. I flipped him over and a blood curdling scream for Justin escaped me. His face and chest were completely purple on one side. His lips blue. His eyes closed. Justin came running in and I handed Sloan over to him. I remember the animalistic scream of “No!” that came out of Justin over and over. I remember him laying Sloan on the kitchen counter, trying to perform CPR while on the phone with 911. I was still screaming.
Our neighbor heard and stood under our window and shouted “do you need help?” I remember him banging on our door, asking me if he could do something. I remember just staring at him and finally saying “I don’t know. I don’t know. I found him. Oh god my baby” as he ran up the stairs. At some point another neighbor arrived. Those two men took turns pumping Sloan’s tiny chest for 20 minutes. I remember calling my mom sobbing telling her to come, and only saying that I’d found him in his crib. I remember her arriving just before the paramedics came rushing in. They shoved furniture out of the way, laid him down and someone escorted us down the hall. It felt like an eternity. I called my mother in law and can remember the sound of my sister in law crying as I tried to get the words out. Someone took the phone. My mom held our hands as we waited. A paramedic came down the hallway after almost 30 minutes, kneeling in front of me. He placed his hand on my knee and said softly “He’s gone”. He asked if I wanted to see him, and walked me back out to the living room. On the ottoman was his small body under one of the throw blankets. I pulled the blanket away from his face and collapsed over him sobbing. “Oh my baby, my baby, I’m so sorry”
I remember my dad coming in at that time, sitting down on the floor next to me and holding me as I laid there clutching my baby. They moved me to the couch. Kailynn came in and sat beside me. I laid my head on her shoulder and cried. Officers and Chaplains filtered in and out. Detectives arrived to photograph his room, his food, his toys, his blankets, his body. Then Justin sat down beside me as we cradled Sloan in our arms. He couldn’t bear the pain of what was happening and began hyperventilating, requiring assistance. At some point I cried out that I needed Sloan’s blanket with his name all over it. The chaplains, my mom, and justin tore through laundry trying to find it. Someone brought it out and I wrapped Sloan in it. I traced all of his face with my fingers over and over, kissed his forehead, rocked him.
Then the detectives questioned Justin and I separately, they wouldn’t allow us near each other almost two hours. My brother held me during that time. Nicole tried her best to occupy Rowan in the back room, as he had witnessed everything.
The medical examiner arrived and told me they’d need me to reenact the scene. They lead me into his room and kept everyone else away from me. Two officers, a detective and the examiner stood around me. He handed me a doll he pulled from a back pack. He told me to place it in the crib as if placed Sloan when I had put him to bed. He photographed it. Then he told me to place the doll as I had found Sloan, making me lay it face down, then more photographs. They walked me back out and sat me on the couch, letting me hold Sloan again for another hour. Someone brought Rowan out to say goodbye to Sloan.
Then the examiner got out some forms and asked us questions about my pregnancy, Sloan’s birth, his first few months, his health, his abilities, the fertility treatments, our miscarriages. He informed us that soon he’d need to take Sloan, that he’d have us leave the room so they could “prepare him” and take his body from the house. We each held him for a few more moments. I tried to hold Sloan’s lifeless hand but his body was too stiff at that point and I couldn’t open up his fingers. Then it was time. We kissed him, covering him in tears, we gasped for air as they took him out of my reluctant arms. They unwrapped him and handed me his name blanket back. The examiner started unfolding an infant sized body bag.
Someone walked all of us down the hall to our room. We all sat around the bed crying and sobbing without saying a word. Then, the Chaplain came in with a detective (whom Justin and I went to high school with) and told us “Okay they’ve taken him.” I stood up and Justin’s sister Nicole wrapped her arms around me, holding me while I sobbed and choked into her shoulder. Our baby was gone. Those had been the last moments we would ever hold him again.
We will relive the worst 6 hours of our lives for an eternity.