THE MICAH WESSMAN STORY
Micah Robert Wessman, the firstborn son of Cory and Heather Wessman, was born on October 30, 2009. He was a healthy and happy boy through his entire 9 months on earth. While quiet and mild-mannered by nature, he enjoyed cackling at his dog, and expressed great delight in recognizing Cory come home after a day at work. He relished the attention and affection of many of our family and friends, especially his grandparents and older cousins. We (Cory and Heather) had no reason to believe that he would not live a long and healthy life with us, his loving parents.
On Thursday afternoon, July 23, 2009, Micah was enjoying his typical dinner of finger foods of chicken and peas. When Heather went to the sink to get a cloth to clean up Micah's face and hands, Micah was accidentally unbuckled from his chair. As Heather walked back to Micah to wash him up, she watched as Micah leaned forward to touch his toes and tumbled forward, falling head first onto the ceramic tile. After about 30 minutes of crying and wanting to be held by his mother, he calmed down. Micah developed a bump above his left eye. Micah also developed a strange cough immediately after the fall. Later that evening, Heather decided to take Micah to the hospital to be evaluated. Micah was seen by a resident and a doctor and was checked over for any signs of head injury or other injuries. The doctors determined that Micah exhibited no signs of a concussion or other head injury, and so no head scan was taken. We informed the doctors of the cough, but the doctors felt that the cough was unrelated to the fall, and so we went home.
On Friday, July 24th, Micah initially seemed happy and acted normal. But after going to bed that evening, Micah developed a temperature. He woke up fussy and was not acting life himself. Heather called the pediatrician and the ER triage nurse. The nurse indicated that the fever was unrelated to the fall, and that if his temperature rose to 105 to bring him back to the ER. After several hours of trying to console Micah, we decided to bring him back to the ER for further evaluation. The ER determined that Micah had developed pneumonia. The chest x-ray showed pneumonia but no signs of further complications. Micah was given an IV antibiotic, discharged and given instructions to meet with the pediatrician for an antibiotic shot the following day. The issue of the cough was brought up again; it was determined that he could has aspirated some food (i.e. swallowed food down his lung) because of the fall, but no one was overly concerned about the cough.
On Saturday, July 25th, Micah was seen by his primary pediatrician. He was given a shot of antibiotic and was further evaluated. It was determined that no further treatment was necessary, but that Micah should be seen by the pediatrician the following Tuesday for an x-ray. The x-ray would determine if the pneumonia had improved. If it had not, the pediatrician should that it would be necessary for a doctor to sedate Micah and use a scope to remove the foreign body from Micah's lung.
On Sunday, July 26th, we were hoping to attend the 11:00 am service at our church, Bethlehem Baptist Church in downtown Minneapolis. Before church, Cory headed to Target around 9:30 to pick up a prescription for Micah. Micah woke up from his nap while Heather was drying her hair in the bathroom. Micah let out a terrible little cry, and Heather immediately ran into his run. Micah then started choking, and immediately turned blue.
Heather called 911 and started CPR on Micah. Cory arrived home and tried to relay CPR instructions from the 911 operator to Heather, who was attempting to resuscitate Micah. Within 1 minute of Cory’s arrival, the fire department arrived. The fire department personnel attempted, to no avail, to resuscitate Micah. Within 2 or 3 minutes, the paramedics arrived. They, too, were unsuccessful in attempting to resuscitate Micah.
After about 25 more minutes, Micah was transported by ambulance to Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. Once at the hospital, a team of doctors and nurses continued their attempts to resuscitate Micah. We were met almost immediately at the hospital by a social worker and a chaplain. During the following 20 minutes, the doctors and nurses unsuccessfully attempted to resuscitate Micah. At that time, we were told by the head doctor to go into Micah's room and say goodbye to Micah.
Just at that moment, the doctors indicated that they had been able to finally get a pulse going again. They were also able to incubate him and, with the assistance of machines, get him breathing again. The head doctor apparently had made chest compressions hard enough to restart Micah's heart. The doctors immediately cautioned, however, that because of the length of time that Micah went without oxygen to his brain (about 1.5 hours), he would have permanent brain damage. Micah was then moved to a room in the intensive care unit in South Minneapolis.
Later that afternoon, an Ear-Nose-Throat specialist scoped Micah's lung. There, he found a pea that had collapsed his right lung. The E-N-T specialist was able to remove the pea. At this point, the doctors believe that Micah suffocated on a combination of this pea and the phlegm material generated by his lung as a result of the pneumonia.
That evening, Cory asked the nurse in charge of Micah's care whether we should be praying for his recovery or praying for his "going home." She responded, without hesitation, that we should pray for his "going home." We did not sleep at all that night. We supported each other through a long night filled with alternating spells of earnest prayer and prolonged weeping. We know that many prayers were lifted up that night on Micah's behalf asking the Lord to spare his little life.
The next morning, Monday, July 27th, we met with the head doctor in the intensive care unit to discuss Micah's situation. He indicated that Micah had little to no brain activity, and that he had no chance of recovery. They provided us with the option to remove Micah from life support at any time. At that time, it appeared that he may have had enough brain function to breathe on his own if he were removed from the ventilator. At that moment, the Lord provided Pastor Kenny Stokes with 2 Corinthians 5:8, "Away from the body, present with the Lord." We determined that because Micah would never have any brain activity, it was time for us to say goodbye to our only son, Micah Robert Wessman, so that he could go home to be with Jesus.
We then determined to gather our extended families together in Micah's room to say goodbye to him. Due to all of the lines and cords coming from his little body, several nurses had to assist in transferring Micah from his bed to Cory's lap. Heather sat in a chair next to Cory and Micah. We sang a number of hymns together, including "Children of the Heavenly Father" and "Jesus Love Me." Heather then kissed Micah goodbye, telling Micah, through tears, to "run to Jesus, sweetie, run to Jesus."
While Cory waited for a local organ donation company to arrive and review Micah's status for organ donation purposes, the doctors again checked Micah's brain function. The test results showed that, during the time that we were saying our goodbyes that morning, Micah's brain functions had further deteriorated, and Micah was no longer able to breathe on his own. He was gone. Apparently, Micah had listed to his mother one last time, and he ran to Jesus.
After meeting with the organ donation company, (we later learned that Micah's heart valves were used by another child), Cory held his firstborn son as the doctor and the nursing staff removed all of Micah's tubes. Within a few minutes of having his tubes removed, Micah died in Cory's arms. After a few minutes of holding Micah's shell for one last time, Cory's brother read aloud from Romans 11:33-36.
We love our son so very much and even now, these many months removed from his sudden and unexpected death, the pain is very real and very deep. We love our son very much, and always will love him. He will always be our firstborn son and, along with his brothers, our pride and joy. His short life and sudden death have greatly impacted our lives and our hopes, and so we know of no better way to honor him than to find ways to help other grieving parents. We hope that, through your visit to this website and any interaction with the Micah Wessman Foundation, you would be drawn closer into relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ.
It is our strong conviction that after Micah died, he was received directly into the arms of our loving Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Because we trust in the saving work of Jesus Christ on our behalf, we are confident that we will see him again, someday, at the great Reunion. We hope that, when we see Micah again, he might tell us, "Well done, Mom and Dad." Regardless of what he says, however, we know that Micah’s story is not yet finished; there are many, many more chapters to his life yet to be written.