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 David Christopher Hensley

David Christopher Hensley

Jeffersonville, Clark County, Indiana, USA
Death 30 Oct 1970 (aged 4 months)
Charlestown, Clark County, Indiana, USA
Burial Clark County, Indiana, USA
Plot back of cemetery near fence around other infant graves
Memorial ID 10721675 · View Source
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The following is an excerpt from a paper written by David’s Mother Kathleen:

November 1969, "Congratulations, your baby should be due April 28th 1970." Boy or girl? Now to tell the other three boys.
April 28th 1970, nothing - ah well - must have miscalculated. May 28th, month overdue - impossible! I ask my doctor if he would induce labor, like he did the other two, (Kevin our eldest is a chosen child, adopted when he was three days old.) The doctor says, "Come back next week, and we'll see."
June 2nd 1970, (day before Paul's 4th birthday) We checked into the hospital at 10:30am, still "watering" but no pains. The nurse checks me, but can't feel any dilation. Then funny thing, I'm sent to X-Ray - "Is it twins? Breech birth?" I ask. "Your doctor will tell you."
[after the birth] 8pm. "Where's my baby?" "The doctor will tell you." "Is it a boy or girl?" "The doctor will tell you." I try to get off the table and go to my husband, he is in the waiting room. They had called him when I went into the delivery room. Two nurses hold me down. In the waiting room, my husband sees the doctor and our priest. "My wife, is anything wrong? Is she dead?
I'm wheeled out, see my husband, - "Oh dear God! Our baby's dead!
We are taken into another labor room. I had been in the delivery room for 3 hours waiting for news. The doctor and the priest are there. "Your baby is not dead. You had a boy - he has a severe birth defect - he will only live 48 to 72 hours - we advise that you don't see him."
How can you explain pain? The sharp pain of knowing you have given birth and yet cannot hold the baby or even see him. To know that in a few hours he will die! But ... David Christopher was going to live!
The grief of coming home without him, of explaining to his brothers, of trying to explain a birth defect that I had not seen. The bitter tears that were cried, the phone calls to the hospital every day. The nurses who cared and loved him like I wanted to but couldn't. "He has lost a pound - he has gained 4 ounces - he has lost an ounce." Progress reports daily. "Please, can we see him?" We are still advised not to by the doctor, not knowing our rights.
Then my six week check up. "I think you and your husband should see David. He cannot stay in the hospital nursery. There is a home in Louisville that will take babies like David. It will be better for you, better for your husband, better for the other boys, better for the family etc .." What shall we do? We see David for the first time. He has survived six weeks.
Oh how nervous we are. The descriptions of our baby's defect gave us nightmares. The doctor meets us at the hospital. "Are you alright?" "Yes." Not knowing how while I was. Then at the nursery - a solitary crib. Such a tiny baby, fair skinned, long black hair, dark brown eyes, long eyelashes. How beautiful! "I think now is the time to see the defect." A cover is taken off the back of his head. There is a large translucent sac coming from the back of David's head. We are told that his brain and spinal fluids are in this sac. "Can I hold him?" "No, we don't pick him up."
The arrangements are all made. We will have David transferred to the Home for Convalescent Children in Louisville. I go the next day with the ambulance driver. David is handed to me on a pad. I'm holding my baby for the first time. The Home is nice - I guess. "Have you ever seen this type of defect?" "No." "You have to turn his head like this." I take my right hand and place it under his head and the sac, and put my left hand on top of the sac, then turn his head and the sac in one movement. This was how the hospital nursery did it.
I arrive home completely lost. I can't leave my baby there! I call the doctor. "Don't you think we can take care of him here?" "Yes, I think you can." My husband comes home from work. "We can't leave David in that Home." He has wanted to bring him home but knew that the main care would be mine, so he hadn't said anything. We call the doctor again, he in turn notifies the Home.
David comes home. The boys love him. "Come and see my new brother with his brain outside his head," says 5 year old Michael. For a few days all was new to us. We set our clock so that we can wake every few hours and feed him and turn his head. He does not cry, he makes a mewing sound. David is our new baby. I bathe him, making sure I use a lot of oil on the sac to keep it from cracking.
Such joy and peace fills my heart at last. I have my 48 to 72 hour baby home. I sleep soundly for the first time in weeks. I don't mind the clock waking me. He doesn't cry, he eats and sleeps, he cannot hear or see, but he can feel our love pouring over him. He loves his bath. He eats well, gets his birth weight back. He will never grow any more. The gland controlling growth is in the sac.
We hold him, not like a normal baby, because the sac has to be supported. We take him where ever we go in a car bed. We visit friends and relatives. We do not tell the boys that he cannot see or hear, let them have some comfort. They talk to him, show him rattles and books. We write to the Mayo Clinic to see if they can help us ... nothing can be done for him.
Middle of October. David is eating less and sleeping more. The thought of his leaving is pushed away. For myself, I want him with me always, but I wouldn't want him to live with such a severe birth defect.
Friday, 30th October. We've had David home for three months. He returned to his heavenly father on this date. He was four months, twenty-eight days old.
We tell the boys that David has gone to God, he is an angel. Paul, who is four, says, "But he left his skin behind." "Yes, that's all it is." - Bye David.
We didn't realize so many people cared. Such wonderful friends at the funeral home. At the gravesite services, the priest says, "Don't pray for David, pray that those of us who are left go also to God."

David, God let us keep you for a while
then you left us with a smile.
As angels up above us sing
God gives our little David wings.
Your Mommy, Daddy, brothers too
Know that now they can depend on you
to look upon us with your love,
Because you are there, up above.
~Kathleen Hensley

  • Created by: Mike Hensley
  • Added: 4 Apr 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10721675
  • Mike Hensley
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for David Christopher Hensley (2 Jun 1970–30 Oct 1970), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10721675, citing Saint Michaels Cemetery, Clark County, Indiana, USA ; Maintained by Mike Hensley (contributor 26870844) .