This afternoon at 4:30, Annaleigh Lucy DiGiuseppe left this world.
She fought to make it through last night, and she fought to get through the morning, but by early afternoon she had a serious case of acidosis, which resulted from the dead bowls sending acid into her blood. The doctors knew then that it was only a matter of time for her.
We spent her final hours holding her, telling her stories, singing her songs, and reassuring her that we loved her more than anything and that we always would. Brooke told her fairy tales of princesses and about how we met, and I told her about Romeo and Juliet (I changed the ending to make it a bit nicer) and Shakespeare and falling in love. We tried to make sure she knew all the things we were never going to get the chance to tell her.
When the time came, she was comfortably resting in Brooke's arms. Her heart rate dropped pretty quickly, and it was over in a matter of a minute. She was in no pain.
We've said all along how great the people at the St. Peter's NICU are and today was no exception. Besides going out of their way to comfort us and ease our sadness, they arranged it so that we could have a family portrait. They brought Charlie out of isolation and Lily out of her isolette and carried both over on portable oxygen tanks. They closed down the entire NICU so we could have some privacy and gave us a chance to be together as a family for the first time. It was brief but it was the best thing that we could possible do. We will cherish this photo for the rest of our lives, I'm sure.
Annaleigh was loved. I said that yesterday and judging by the amazing number of comments I was not wrong at all. We can't express how grateful we are to all of you who have stayed with us through all of this and have offered your love and support. Her eight weeks in this life were way too short but in that time she touched a lot of lives.
We've got to make funeral arrangements now, something I honestly never thought about before. We're probably going to have a small private service for our immediate family-- we're not sure we could emotionally handle anything bigger.
Again, thank you all. We love you baby.