I Signed a DNR for My Two-Year-Old Today. 


signed a DNR

You might have found yourself on this post about signing a DNR for a child because you, too, are a parent making an impossible decision. Or maybe you have a friend or a family member who is facing a terminal illness. Or maybe you are just here out of curiosity. 

Regardless of how you found this post, I’m sorry we’re meeting like this. 

When I came face-to-face with the realization that my son’s disease was terminal, I was desperate to connect to people who understood. I was making so many gut-wrenching, life-changing decisions and I was looking everywhere to find a little bit of advice. Unfortunately, when you google “how do I sign a DNR for my two-year-old,” you aren’t faced with a lot of helpful answers. There are a few pages from Children’s Hospitals, but no personal accounts of how horrible that moment will be. 

Child disease and death aren’t sexy topics. Most people don’t like to talk about it and they certainly don’t want to hear about it. But talking is healing to me and I need the next parent walking in similar shoes to know they aren’t alone. 

Today, I signed a DNR for my two-year-old. 

I thought I was prepared. I had thought long and hard about my decision. My son was ready. I had done my research, I thought I knew what to expect. 

Here’s what the internet doesn’t tell you about signing a DNR on your child. 

  • Like all things with child disease, it’s not black and white. There are options. You have to decide things like whether or not doctors can give them antibiotics or oxygen through a nasal cannula. It’s very confusing when your child already uses things like supplemental oxygen and a feeding tube. I signed a DNR because I didn’t want my son to be intubated, but I didn’t realize there were so many other options.
  • Hospice workers who are trained to walk you through these decisions and who do this everyday will still cry with you. They, too, are not prepared to watch a two-year-old die.
  • It might take a few tries to actually sign the paper because your hands will shake so much. That’s okay. 
  • You can get a kid’s sized DNR bracelet on Amazon. 
  • You will second guess yourself. You will watch your child struggle and you will change your mind. 
  • You will have to fight every natural urge in your body to stick to the DNR. 
  • Your heart will break and this heartbreak will be physically painful. You will feel an actual ache in your chest that you know will probably never stop. 
  • You will make it through this. You are not alone




  1. Dear Kelsey,

    I’m so sorry about the situation you are in. I can’t imagine what you are going through. I have four kids, and cannot fathom this. Saying a prayer for you for strength and peace, and for your son as well. God bless you.



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