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Monday, May 23, 2005

Alexander Locke Johnson

February 17th 2005 - (either April 29, 2005 or May 11, 2005)

My wife reads every comment. We both agreed contributions to the March of Dimes (also the American Cancer Society) as fitting legacies for my son, who never got a chance to experience the vast majority of his potential life.

I did not live blog my son's death. I don't feel comfortable speaking about it now. I know what it feels like to have your best buddy die in your hands, just like the war movies. I didn't realize he was dying. It's still a painful wound. I cry every day. Sometimes I cry until I feel nauseus or my guts ache.

I replay April 29, 2005 in my mind.

My first thought was that my son had epipepsy, after he punched the air. I'd never seen him move his arms like that. It looked uncontrolled or like a spasm. Of course babies move their arms jerkily, but this was clearly different.

Literally within a couple seconds he'd gone limp and his face was blue. I was sitting next to a phone so I called 911 just as I was trying to figure out what was going wrong. I felt my son, white and limp as a dish rag. I tried to give him a breath. Around that time, I think - during times of crisis events get jumbled and I usually remember fragments (not always in order) - I heard the 911 operator and I picked up the phone. I knew Alexander was serious, very serious.

The 911 operator gave me advice to turn Alexander on his stomach. I wasted precious seconds explaining to her that "upside down" in my world meant I had followed her advice (he was on his back) and turned him to facing down. She asked me if there was any blood. Just at that moment - (talk about bizarre coincinces which can toy with your sanity) - there was a small amout of fluid bubbling from his nose. Some of it was breast milk, some was blood. I tried to give my son another couple breaths. I thought his heart wasn't beating, but I wasn't sure and couldn't understand what was going on. I was going between the operator and my son frantically.

"Epilepsy doesn't kill people outright, does it?" I wondered in my head.

Things get very jumbled as the firemen arrived. First, I ran my son out to the truck, stomach down, hoping to get any fluid out of his chest, and in my panic I guess I thought they'd just grab him and run him to the hospital. I wasn't thinking clearly. They brought him inside and used up valuable minutes trying to establish and airway and a heart beat.

In a nutshell, my son died that day. We watched his heart beat and lungs ventilated for almost two more weeks.

I'm wracked with guilt. Not knowing infant CPR very well, not seeing some 'sign', wishing I'd ignored 911 and just done straight CPR (the operator told me not to, did I mention that?), and more as my creative, perfectionist - judgmental conscience finds new ways to make me miserable.

My pediatrician thinks even a crash team would have had trouble given the cause of the event, a severe seizure of the brain. The question is "Why?" We many never know. Test results - and I think we've had all of them - should begin to show up in a couple weeks.

When I can take it I plan on reading every comment here.

For now, I mainly take out my sadness and frustrations on the back yard. I've done two months gardening in about six days. I look at Alexander's pictures, cry, then go to the back yard. That is a typical day. If I'm on the Internet, it's at night, or when I need to get out of the nice, cool Florida Spring days (90 F, 70%+ humidity).

I bump into things even more than usual, commercials with babies can make me cry, I forget where I put something as I put it there. It's a less-than human existence right now.


Anonymous said...


Please know that you and Jennifer and precious Alexander are in my prayers.

We went through this with our first granddaughter, who lived 36 hours...she was a micropreemie.

What you feel, what you berate yourself about? Sadly, all a part of the grieving process. There is no timetable, there are no rules.

Just realize that you were wonderful, loving parents, and that
there was nothing that you could have or should have done differently.

I have saved the site that Jennifer made for Alex, and look at it, and remember what love he got and gave in his almost 3 months on earth. Chip. The March of Dimes was a perfect choice.

One day at a time...


LASunsett said...


As I read your post, I already knew what I was going to say. Then I clicked on the comments to comment and realized that Lois has already said everything.

I will keep you in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

You and your family are in my prayers.


jlfintx said...

Chip, there was nothing you could have done, no matter how many times you replay this in your mind. Some things just can not be explained and we just don't know why. There are many, many people praying for you.

jinnderella said...


Anonymous said...


How does one comprehend the incomprehensible. I could tell you about the 5 stages of grief and be clinical in explaining what you're going through, but it does not matter and little good to someone in so much pain.

You and Jennifer are in my prayers. You have a family beyond borders here to support you (your cyber family).

Gardening is a good way to deal with the pain. Make something beautiful happen as a tribute to your precious son. And one more thing... hold your wife, and pour your love into her. She needs you now more than ever. And you need her too.

Alexander is an angel watching over you both.


Anonymous said...


We can only witness your grief from a virtual distance, and acknowledge we cannot change a thing for you out of mercy.
May the Lord lift the burden of loss from your shoulders and carry it for you.
Blessings and peace unto you and Jennifer.


RebTex said...

It seems that you did everything you could think of.
To second guess your actions & re-actions is fruitless.
Cling to your faith & your family.
Those will turn out to be the only constants. said...

Chip and Jen,
Put one foot in front of the other, cry until you cant cry anymore, pray for Alexander. I pray for all of you.
The abyss will pass......don't hate me for saying this.......have another baby now.

Care for you deeply,

FASTAC_6 said...

Your family remains in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...


I am so sorry to hear of Alexander's loss. My prayers to you and Jennifer, as I have nothing else to offer.

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