August 31 2014. Sunday. This day started off the same as yesterday where we woke up at the Ronald McDonald house and made our way over to CHLA. Still pushing Megan in her wheelchair as we would do for the entirety of the week.
This morning my parents met us at the hospital as they would do every morning and they get dropped off by my aunt and uncle, before they headed off to church. So I thought anyways. They had dropped my dad off and they went to back to the airport for the second day in a row to pick up my sister this time. She would have flown in on the same flight as my mother yesterday but she was a bridesmaid in my cousins wedding. While a doctor was in the room discussing Lucas state at the moment to Megan and me, I remember looking up and with a confused and shocked tone and shouted “Tabatha?” Remember when Luca coded the doctor said if family wanted to see him they better get there as soon as possible. But I had no idea he had said that until recently from my dad. So to see my mom and sister fly in when they did was a surprise. Unfortunately, my wife’s brothers and sister weren’t able to make it out this week. Megan’s sister was also in Marines boot camp and the only communication they had with her was through writing and sending letters. Megan and her mom would write daily updates and print photos to send out to her. When Luca passed away they tried to get a hold of Brooke and they were able to do so through the chaplain at her training. They got to talk to her on the phone for a few minutes and she could have left boot camp, but would have had to start all over once she returned. Megan told her to stay and to finish strong. Had we known how this week was going to end, her brothers would have come out but Megan told them not to. Which is her biggest regret.
We had a bunch of family and friends now coming to the hospital but not everyone got the chance to see Luca. There was a list of a certain few people that were able to go into his room. Our family and friends wanted to be there for us though, whether that meant bringing food or waiting downstairs for us to come down and say hello and to share our photos and videos of Luca.
This day was a difficult one personally for myself though. Today was the first game I would miss since Luca was born and it was a match against our arch rivals, Chivas USA. Wasn’t much of a rival from what I can remember anyways (haha). I had not practiced since Luca was born so of course I wasn’t going to be playing in the game, but I wanted to be there. I needed to be there to get away from the stress and images that being cooped up in a small hospital room all day can bring on someone. Soccer was my escape, when I was going through the hardest year of my life off the field I was having the best year of my career on the field.
If you know about playing sports then you know once you step across those lines of the field, everything on the outside may have been put at ease for a short period of time. The entire LA Galaxy organization, my teammates, the fans, the front office helped me stay positive and that year ended with us being the “First to Five.” So, I went to that game by myself because all my family was now in town and they wanted to stay at the hospital. I was greeted by my teammates and staff and fans for the first time since becoming a father. The same people who got me through everyday leading up to his birth, I was excited to spend a few hours with them. We won the game 3-1 which made it a decent end to the day.
I drove back to the hospital after the game and remember ending the night reading to Luca as we did every night. Our favorite book was a personalized book called “two hands to hold Luca”
“Luca you are my baby ill never be far, I’ll love you, think of you, wherever you are. These two hands will raise you up high in the sky, to soar with the planes and the birds flying by”
At his fourth day of life, we finally got a small bit of good news. Luca had released some fluids and pooped so we got to change our first diaper. Not many parents get excited about changing diapers but this was a milestone since becoming parents for Megan and me. We left CHLA and i dropped Megan off at the Ronald McDonald house and I went back to sleep in Luca’s room. That night I felt pressure to get back onto the practice field even though nobody was pressuring me. Bruce told me to worry about my family, but I needed soccer for my sanity. With the little good news that we had gotten this night, I made a decision and the next day I went back to training…