Emmanuel Wannamaker

Emmanuel’s Story
By Patricia Wannamaker
I had been online playing euchre, which was a common thing for Emmanuel and I to do til the wee hours of the morning. 🙂 It was about 3 a.m., and I decided to go to bed. I woke up Emmanuel, his sweet blue eyes looking back at me as he smiled. I smiled back at him and said “Time to go to bed, Mister Man. Mommy’s all euchred out.”

I went into our room, his daddy already asleep, laid him on the bed and got ready to feed him. He was hungry, he had slept for a few hours before and was ready to be awake, so I cuddled him close and stroked his head as he nursed. At about 3:30, he was still suckling but asleep enough to be moved, so I turned him onto his side, kissed him goodnight, whispered I loved him and snuggled in behind him.

Not long after, I was sleeping. It had been a long day – usually is around this house. 🙂 I woke and realized I was on my stomach, which is an odd position for me to be. I looked at the clock. It was 7:30, kinda early for me too. After a few minutes, I turned to find Emmanuel, who didn’t look right beside me. As I turned, I saw that he was on his back, a few inches away with his head turned away from me.

My quick look turned to horror as I realized his stomach was not moving!! I jumped up to a sitting position and screamed! I shook him, and as I did, his head flopped towards me. There was no life in him!!

I cried out his name over and over, screaming for him to wake up. I grabbed the phone and dialed 911, as his dad came running into the room. He asked what was wrong. I said, “The baby is dead! The baby’s dead!! He’s not breathing!”

His dad started shaking him as I was talking to the 911 person, who kept me on the phone for what seemed like an eternity! I heard Ernest say “Pat, his lips are blue.” I felt so helpless watching his dad trying to wake him. We moved him out to the living room and continued CPR, his dad had started a few minutes earlier.

As I tried to breath into him while Ernest pumped his little chest – all at once, we heard siren screaming from every direction. In an instant poice, fire and ambulance were at our house and taking over CPR. I stook back, my hands clasped, praying to God to wake Emmanuel, knowing he had the power to do it and believing with all my heart he would any minute.

They started to take him to the ambulance ans said they had room for one person to go. I never even second thought it, I was going with my baby, so he would see mommy when he woke up! The drive to the hospital was so long, I could not believe the drivers who just would not get out fo the way!! Every time I looked in the back, I was sure everything was going to be ok, but deep inside of me, I knew that Emmanuel was gone and was never coming back.

I rushed into the ER with them as they wheeled that big stretcher past a lobby full of people. I am not even sure why I looked at them, but as I did and walked by, I could hear the mumbles and whispers begin.

In the ER, a team of doctors and nurses started frantically working on him as I stood there and watched, a nurse tried to get me to leave. I remember her saying, “Come on. This is not good for you to see.” I froze and calmly said to her, almost in a hiss, “I am here and out of the way. I know they have to do things to him that don’t look good. If you try to make me move, I will go frantic and I promise you, it will not be this calm nor quiet of a scene.” She knew I was serious and just reminded me to stay back.

It seemed like hours, but it was only minutes when the doctor said to me there was nothing he could do and that Emmanuel was in fact dead. I was furious, why did they stop?! Why could they, with all their medical miracles, not bring a “healthy” baby back to life?

I was numb. It was like I was there but not. How could this be happening to me? I was a good mother. I had raised 3 previous children. I had done everything right, and here they stood saying my son was dead! The detective came in and asked me if she could speak to me. I agreed, and we went outside.

I tried hard to remember all the answers to the questions she was asking, but all my mind would do is wander. Things like “What did I do wrong?”, “What if I had of stayed up later?”, “What is Ernest had of checked Emmanuel when he got up?” So many What Ifs. Little did I know, I would spend years tracing over those what ifs.

I went over things with the detective, things like when I last fed him, saw him alive. Had he been sick? Had I ever noticed him breathing different before, and then came the question that made me feel like I was on trial – Did I love my son? Of course, I did! Was he a planned baby? No, but wanted yes! How did I deal with him being fussy? Did he dad bond with him and on and on.

I found out later my husband was being asked these questions at home by some male officers. I can’t believe the way they make you feel, and you hear “They are just doing their job.” Well, the law of thumb “Innocent until proven guilty” sure didn’t seem true to us that day. We felt like we had done something wrong.

My husband finally was brought to the hospital. We had quite a few friends and family show up actually, and they allowed them all to come in. Emmanuel was circled by loving people, his dad sat by his side and held his hand, and I layed on the stretcher with him for hours in silence, his cold head pressed to my pounding head.

I just wanted to wake up from this nightmare. I wanted to close my eyes and wake up in bed, where I had last saw my precious Emmanuel’s smile…