Not a Tango, nothing to see here

March 7, 2018

Christian Jack 7/7/17 – 3/6/18

Filed under: family — antitango @ 10:34 pm

Last night gave me the most profound sadness a man can be given.  Last night, my baby boy passed away.  I’ve had a few people ask for details, so if that’s something you REALLY want to read, head below the break.

On Monday, my wife was at a teacher-in-service day at school as a teacher.  She was tired of grading, so she packed up and went to pick the boys up from day care.  Our day care provider went to get Christian up from a nap he started just 10 minutes prior and found him unresponsive.  Her husband is a Sheriff’s Deputy.  Both she and her husband are infant CPR certified and immediately started CPR.  The paramedics showed up in reportedly extra-short time and continued CPR to the hospital, approximately 5 minutes away.  When I got there, they were breathing for him with the hand bag (I don’t know what it’s called) and they had a pulse of about 120 beats per minute.  While in the Emergency Room, he woke up enough to attempt to pull the breathing tube out, so he was sedated.

I want to pause the narrative for just a moment because I must emphasize that there is absolutely nothing that could have been done by our daycare provider.  She is an amazing woman who has done everything right by us and this was just an unfortunate incident that happened on her watch.  Not only did they do nothing wrong, but they did EVERYTHING RIGHT!  We’ve already spoken with them personally and ensured they know that they have our blessing that because of them, we got one last time to interact with our little boy.

He was then flown by helicopter to Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City and placed into the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).  While in flight, he again attempted to pull the tubes out, and was again sedated.  Before we arrived, they had done a CT scan.


After we arrived, they left the sedatives out so he could wake up and they could measure his neurological activity.  The doctor spoke with us and showed us the results of the CT scan.  There was little white matter (grey matter is brain, white matter are the areas between), indicating that the brain was swelling.  The doctor explained that this was due to hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain).  Apparently CPR is nice, but does little to get oxygen into the brain.

We still had great optimism because that horrible shit happens to people in the movies.  My kid’s going to be fine.  I noticed that when I rubbed my fingers on his arms, his pulse went from about 120 to 150.  So, I stopped.  His pulse went back down.  I did this 4 more times before I showed MY WIFE, so she got to “play” with him.  Then, he would start to open his eyes.  A little bit at first, then up to about halfway!  It’s working!

His mother and I continued to talk to him.  She would also sing to him (I wouldn’t put my child through any pain, so I declined!)  HE STARTED MOVING HIS ARMS!  Just a little bit and then all the way up to his head!  This was the most exciting thing possible.  I was ecstatic!  Then his legs moved!

Except his legs moving was suspiciously twitching-nerve-like, so they grabbed an EEG and hooked him up to watch.

Then, it stopped.

EEG Readout

The nurse checked his pupil reactions and saw one pupil was completely dilated and no longer responding to light stimulus.  A few minutes later, the other one.  They rushed him down and got another CT scan.  Back up to the PICU and then re-attached to the EEG again.  It was flat.  His pulse was approximately 150-170 (that’s OK) and BP was normal.

Then the doctor came back with the results of the new CT scan…  the swelling was far worse than the first time.  “What chance does he have of a recovery?”



If we decided, they could continue to perform life saving measures.  It’s EXTREMELY likely that he would have no quality of life.  Likely, be unaware of his environment, but…  alive.  There’s still a chance of recovery, though.  Hey, miracles DO happen, after all!

I had to make the most difficult decision of my life and issued a DNR against my 8 month old son’s fight.  If he were to go into arrest, no life-saving measures would be performed.  However, because he’d given us SO much in the 8 months he was ours, we chose to allow him to give one last time and set him up as an organ donor to potentially save the lives of other children (or even adults.)  The decision was made.

We didn’t want our two older boys (ages 5 and 8) to remember him in the hospital and only remember his smiles and giggles.  We spoke with a grief counselor who worked with children and their stance made sense and we decided it was best to let the boys see Christian, so Grandma and Grandpa were called.  The grief counselor had activities set up so they could do cards, take handprints, etc with Christian, and have their last memories.

When Grandma and Grandpa got there, I met them and was walking them back when the nurse rushed out.  Christian’s vitals were deteriorating fast.  All of us rushed in.  His heart rate was around 200 and his blood pressure was down to about 65.

Two nurses stood respectfully in the back.  I quickly explained to my boys what was happening.  My 8 year old knew.  He understood.  My 5 year old understood, I think, but didn’t want to be correct.

Then it flashed red in the corner.  “V-Fib”.  Ventricular Fibrillation.  “If this were happening to you, we would shock you with the paddles,” the doctor whispered to me.  We knew this was it.  Mom sat down in one of the chairs to hold him.  They removed him from his life-saving ventilator, removed all of the IVs, and hooked up a pulse monitor to his toe.  This pulse monitor was monitored remotely, by the nurses outside.  “When we detect no heartbeat outside, we will come in.  We will then use a stethoscope to listen for 2 minutes.  If, after two minutes, we still hear no heartbeat, the time of death is called.”  and all of the nurses left.

It was now just the family.  We got last pictures with all of us while mom held him closely.  It was the hardest thing I thought I could imagine.  I so badly could not.  My little boy was in ventricular fibrillation and was off of his ventilator.  After a few moments, the doctor came in with her stethoscope and took her two minutes.  I have pictures of this, but these are extremely private pictures of my baby boy and under no circumstances will these be viewed by anybody but our closest of family.

Approximately 27 hours after the events started rolling, it all came to an end.  My little boy is now gone, my wife and I are heart broken, and my other two little boys are hurting such that they can’t even recognize it, yet.  They’ve changed.  We all have and it sucks.

We do not yet have an official cause of death or the specific event that precipitated everything, but so far it APPEARS that he spit up a little bit, or vomited, and then aspirated that matter back into his lungs, stopping his airway.

Tomorrow, we meet with the mortuary.  The mortuary for my 8 month old son.  I’ve been told by others that there is a “new normal.”  I guess we see what that is.  I hope it’s better than now.

Update:  We already had a rendezvous with a photographer, so we kept it.  Here is my favorite.



  1. I came her, from Erin Palette, a dear friend. I tried and failed, to hold back the tears as I read about your loss. As a Christian, all I can do is offer you the promise that I will pray for your family, and the promise that I know that God is also weeping with you at your loss. I know that your son is with Him in heaven, I have studied the Bible and have assurance of that, but I also know that the Lord understands your pain, and will be there for you. Draw close to each other, and gain from your own family the strength that you need, and never allow this to drive you apart.

    Comment by pigpen51 — March 8, 2018 @ 7:54 pm

  2. We have never met, but I read about your tragedy on Erin’s blog. My prayers are with your family.

    Comment by Colleen Lahna — March 8, 2018 @ 7:56 pm

  3. I can’t even wrap my brain around this. My prayers are with you all.

    Comment by Jennifer — March 22, 2018 @ 3:18 pm

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