Julius' Story

Julius Luciano {05.30.10 ~ 10.12.10}

As posted on Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope:

My husband and I waited a little over five years after getting married to start our little family. We wanted to make sure that we were in a good place – financially, professionally, etc - before we brought a precious life into the world. In July 09, we decided to start trying, and were excited and terrified when 2 months later we received a positive pregnancy test. We told immediate family almost immediately, but waited until that 12 week mark to tell friends.

Around week 6, I started bleeding. We were both so scared that the worst was happening, and that we were losing our baby. I bled on and off for about a week and a half, but I never passed any tissue. At about 11 weeks we went in for an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy, and we so very happy to see our little bean’s heartbeat. Despite all of the bleeding, he was still there, strong as ever.

My pregnancy itself was rather uneventful (after the bleeding dilemma). I didn’t have any morning sickness, but was hungry all.the.time. I never really got sick until towards the very end. I was still going to the gym regularly with no problem. Despite being slightly anemic in the second trimester and some bad heartburn in the third trimester, my pregnancy was a piece of cake. It was so much fun to feel the baby move when he was big enough. Julius was always very purposeful in his movements. He never really got hyper and bounced around. And somehow I knew that I was going to have a very mellow baby.

In the early morning of his due date, May 30, labor started. It started off mild, and I was able to get some rest for a few hours before it really picked up. We were planning to have an out-of-hospital natural birth with a midwife, so at around noon we headed to the birth clinic. And about four hours later, Julius was born. I can honestly say that I had such a wonderful birth experience with him. And the midwives immediately commented on how alert he was, and how strong he was since he was already trying to lift his head.

We took him home the next morning, and our life as a family began. He was a champ at breastfeeding, and nursed pretty much every 2 hours – he was always hungry. He loved to be held. He never cried for just any reason, and was not at all colicky. He was just such a mellow baby, and as long as he was being held and/or fed, he was fine with anything. He had the most beautiful head of curly black hair, and the prettiest eyelashes. He got mistaken quite often for a girl, and people always commented on how beautiful he was. He was our little sidekick, and we were so proud to be his parents.

About two and a half months after he was born, I went back to work. That was such a hard time for me because I loved all the time we spent together, and really didn’t want to give it up. But unfortunately I had to. The first few weeks of him going to daycare were really rough. He had become such a breastfeeding pro that he was refusing to take a bottle (or pacifier). I was so stressed out trying to find a bottle/nipple that he would take. I think I bought every bottle and sippy cup on the market. In the end, I just decided to drive to him on my lunch break and breastfeed him. Though I was stressed, secretly I was glad that he didn’t want a bottle because that meant I got to spend more time with him.

He was so alert and smart. He hit his developmental milestones on time or before schedule. He started rolling over onto his tummy at around 3 months. So many people commented on how smart he was, and how we would have to be chasing him around soon. He was just such a determined little boy, and you could tell by the way he did everything.

The weekend before he passed away, I scheduled two different photo shoots for him and the family. And I’m so glad that I did. We had one on the Saturday before with our friend and family photographer for his four month pictures. And then on the Monday – the day before – Julius and I spent the morning in the park with a friend and had some pictures taken of just the two of us. I will always treasure those pictures.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010, began just like any other work day. We all woke up, and as my husband got him ready for the day, I got myself ready. My husband left for work, and then we hung out at home a little while longer before I took him to daycare. I dropped him off in the morning, and as usual went back at lunch time to feed him. And after he ate, I spent a few extra minutes talking to him and playing with him as I usually did, and I handed him over...for the last time. I left and went to go pick up some lunch, and went back to work. A few hours later, I got a panicked call from my husband telling me to go back to the daycare because something was wrong with Julius and an ambulance had to be called. I grabbed my purse and dashed over to the daycare.

The scene I saw when I pulled up will haunt me for the rest of my life. I saw a fire truck and paramedics lining the street. I parked and raced up to the door, and was asking for my baby. But they had already taken him to the hospital. I was so upset, and was trying to leave to be with him, but they wouldn’t let me drive myself. They made me wait for my husband to arrive. When he got there, we both went to the hospital. And when we finally made it there, and met with the doctor, they told us that our perfect little baby boy, who was only four and a half months at the time, did not make it. The autopsy that was done determined the cause of death to be SIDS.

The Saturday after his death we held a memorial service for him, and we had such a wonderful turnout. Family, friends, and people we had never met before showed up to say goodbye, and show their support. It was clear that even though Julius was only 4.5 months when he passed away, he touched so many people in his short life. My husband got up and spoke about our son, and about all of the joy and happiness that he brought to our lives and into our home. It was a very memorable service, even though I wish it never had to occur in the first place.

As I write this story, it has been a little over two weeks since the death of my son, and the pain is just as bad as that horrid day. I miss my baby so much, and look forward to the day that we are reunited. But until then, I’ve been trying my best to muddle through life without him. I’m hopeful that one day I will be a mommy again. But I’m so sad that he won’t be here with us to show what an amazing big brother he can be. And that I won’t get to see him grow into the amazing little boy I know he was.