About Grayson

I woke up Wednesday morning thinking I would do nothing more than go to work and spend time at The Cheesecake Factory with siblings for...

I woke up Wednesday morning thinking I would do nothing more than go to work and spend time at The Cheesecake Factory with siblings for my sister's birthday. Around lunchtime I got a call from Yvette.

Yvette had had an appointment scheduled for around 2pm, but decided to go in a little early because she hadn't felt Grayson move much over the previous few days. On the phone she told me that the doctors wanted her to go to the University of Utah hospital for further monitoring. They wanted it done there in case there was any chance Grayson would need to be delivered. With Yvette being only 33 weeks and never having shown signs that she would need to deliver early, I thought we might stay for a few hours and be sent home. I left work to pick her up from the Hospital and we drove up together. As I’m writing this 3 days later, I just realized that my motorcycle is still parked at the hospital in Provo.

After about an hour of monitoring and one more ultrasound we were informed that Yvette would need to deliver by C-section and we would be doing it now. We were stunned, but moved quickly so that we could deliver him safely. I watched as they pulled him out, showed Yvette for just a split second and then rushed him over to NICU so that the team standing by could immediately work on him. I stayed with Yvette while the doctor's in the other room tried to stabilize him and while her operation was being finished. After about 10 minutes one of the doctors came over to tell us that things had not been going so well and they wanted to give us as much time with him as they could. I felt uneasy leaving Yvette for the remainder of her surgery, but that had been the plan from the beginning and the doctor was leading me out of the room.

Upon entering the room I saw our little boy stretched out on the surgical table. His eyes were closed, he had been intubated and he looked very weak. I watched a few feet away as the doctors worked on him. After what seemed like a few short minutes however, the pace started to slow and people began backing away from the table. I thought this meant that he had been stabilized, but that was only partially true. He was now as comfortable as they could make him while keeping him alive, but there was already nothing else that could be done for him. We will know for sure when we receive the autopsy results, but for now our only explanation is that they were unable to insert a tube down his esophagus into his stomach. This would have allowed them to remove gas and relieve pressure so that his lungs could start working. This would have been the first step in a long fight for him and unfortunately, it was too much. The only comfort I can take from this is knowing that the outcome would have been the same had he been born full-term.

I moved (or was moved, probably) closer to the table so that I could touch him. He was very warm and so beautiful. I wrapped his fingers around mine and felt his strength. I wished he could open his eyes or make any noise, but he was too weak. The doctor and I gave him a blessing that he would live long enough that his mother could hold him.

With the ventilator breathing for him, and a tube down his throat, the doctors allowed me to hold him. I had a few precious moments with him in my arms before Yvette was wheeled in on a hospital bed.

She was less informed of his status than me, but seemed to already know that he wasn’t going to make it. Throughout the day I had many times had the thought that he wouldn’t live, but now I was in shock. And since the doctor had not yet explicitly told me, I didn’t comprehend that his treatment was basically over now and that we would be holding him for the rest of his probably short life. It wasn’t until later on the doctor explained to me that there was really nothing else they could try and they weren’t going to try again. “It’s better that he gets to be with his family than with a bunch of strangers making him suffer” They were positive no matter what they tried the results would have been the same.

At this point our families had arrived, my mom was on a flight from Oregon, and we started preparing for what would come. I texted my bishop to ask if we should give him a blessing and he said, “Yes. ASAP.” I quickly gathered my brother and father-in-law and with the rest of our family who could be there around us we gave him a name and blessing.

We tried listening to his heartbeat a few times after that through a stethoscope but could only hear the ventilator pushing air into his lungs. After about another hour, we asked the doctor to take a look and they were not able to hear his heart. At some point before this, but after the blessing he passed. I was holding on to hope that he would live long enough for my mother to see him, but at least it was the case that his own mother did.

After a while we were taken to a recovery room for Yvette who would need to stay in the hospital for at least 72 hours. I had imagined our hospital stay to be much longer than that and it didn’t seem real to me that in 3 short days we would be leaving the hospital without our baby.

Our family stayed with us late into the evening and we were allowed to keep him overnight and for up to 24 hours after the time he was declared.

We cherished every minute and had a wonderful photo shoot the next morning where we gathered pictures that I will forever treasure.

The next day was full of planning. Thanks to so many in our families, friends and ward family, we were able to hold a funeral for him that Saturday.  

Here is my letter I read to him during that service.

Dear Grayson,

Anyone who has seen me around kids knows that I love to play and I am so sad that we won’t have that chance here. Our first moment together was when you wrapped your fingers around mine while still on the operating table. I was surprised how tight your grasp was considering that the reason you were born early is because your strength was diminishing. You would have been a good thumb wrestler. And we would have had fun wrestling.

I wish I could’ve seen that active little boy I saw during some of the ultrasounds when you wouldn’t sit still. But I’m glad you were saving your strength so you could spend those precious few hours with us that you did.

It’s true what they say about women becoming moms while they are pregnant, but men becoming dads when their child is born. Not that I wasn’t excited, but it just wasn’t real for me yet. When I found out you were going to be delivered, I should have been more scared, but I was mostly just excited. When I saw your little body for the first time I was instantly pleased and so hopeful. When I touched you for the first time, I couldn’t hold back the tears and I only wanted to hold you in my arms. You were mine and that was never going to change. Each tender moment with you only grew our bond to the point that I can’t believe how much I already miss you.

After we removed your breathing tube we got see your face and all your features. Everyone started noticing how much you took after your mommy, and that makes sense because you’re so beautiful.  Even though you do have a little grumpy face.

I thought about some of the possible reasons that you would have been taken from us so quickly and I figured it’s because you also take after your mother’s spiritually. I’ve never met a more kind and tenderhearted person and with all the happiness that you were able to bring to my life in such a short amount of time, I’m sure you got that from her. You were already so perfect; you didn’t need to spend any more time than you did here on earth. I will pray everyday that I can live worthily enough so that I can see your face again. I hope you are happy where you are and that you know how much I love you.
                                                                        I love you Grayson, Love Dad.

Grayson is buried in the Angel Garden section at the Provo Cemetery. It will be hard moving on, but we have the support of our family and friends. We wish we could have brought him home with us, but at least we know that he will always be watching over us as an angel.

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  1. This is beautiful. I'm sure he heard all of those words and that he is looking forward to the day when he will get to be with his mommy and daddy again. My family and I will continue to pray for you two. I only wish there were more we could do. I'm so sorry for your loss. Yvette has always been a wonderful friend. Please give her love from me.

  2. Daniel, that was so eloquent--you write with great sincerity and feeling and I appreciate being able to hear about your precious little son from your point of view. You are right that he is with the angels awaiting when you and Yvette can be his parents in the hereafter with him! We are so sorry for this loss of his presence with you here on earth, but at least you got to be with him for those few precious hours, and he got his body and a name and blessing while here. Our prayers are with you family--Thanks for posting your message! (--Lori Standring and family)

  3. Today I felt the sting all day, I tried to keep myself busy, but my thoughts kept returning to his tiny face . It's hard for grandma's too. I found myself humming the song Lonny and Brian sang at the funeral, "be still my soul". I fully know the gospel plan and understand the beauty and grace that Grayson already had. He came for what he needed, to belong to a family and gain a body. It's been in my thoughts all day, and even tho, my reasoning fully comprehends, my heart is heavy. Grandma GG

  4. I was honored and blessed to attend Grayson's funeral. I felt his presence that day. I want you to know, that I believe the veil is very thin, and that your sweet beautiful boy is very close. It is hard to find the appropriate words to tell you just how sorry I am for your loss. I am deeply touched by your strength and faith. I want you to know that I am just a few houses up the street, and I do know how to give great hugs. "Be Still My Soul." Is one of my favorite Hymns. I have never heard a rendition quite so beautiful. Thank you again, for your example, to me, during YOUR difficult time.