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Friday, January 9, 2009

The Journey of the Wee Ski


"So remember your people, remember your children,
remember your promise, Oh God
Your grace is enough...your grace is enough...
your grace is enough...your grace is enough for me."

Little did I know when this song came on the other day, as I was driving home from my last doctor's appointment, how significant it would be to our family in the coming days. Matt Maher's arrangement is beautiful -- and so incredibly fitting for the arrival of Thomas Lawrence into this world.

Two nights ago, this journey began.

At that last appointment on Tuesday, Dr. Gage had decided to induce our son on Thursday. She wanted us to check in the night before to start the medication to help ease things along. We were warned that we could be in the hospital up to 48 hours, and the induction may not take. We may end up heading home and waiting for him to decide it's time to come into the world on his own.

So last night, we checked into Providence, after being initially bumped due to a full house at the birthing center. At ten p.m., we began treatment with hormones to help ease the opening of the womb. After six hours of me on the fetal monitor, Dr. Gage was called in to the hospital around 4:30 a.m., because Thomas wasn't responding well to the increasing contractions. His heartbeat was getting more stressed, and Dr. Gage simply said, "It's time."

It took a few moments for us to realize what she meant. She meant a c-section. And she meant now.

And ten minutes later, after a call home to Mom and Dad, I was heading to the OR to be prepped for an emergency c-section. Jonathan and I held onto each other and prayed for the health of our son.

By 5:30ish in the morning, they were using suction to pull him from the womb (even with a c-section!) and called him "the little green man". We didn't know at the time that it meant he had inhaled meconium. Given the color of his umbilical cord, it had been at least 12 hours since he'd consumed it. They immediately suctioned him out and we finally heard his cry.

His sweet, small cry.

They swaddled him and laid him on my chest. I could only kiss his head as most of the rest of me was in surgery or numb or hooked to monitors. They handed him to Jonathan and one of the nurses took the photo in the last post - which I adore. I had just a few short moments with him before surgery continued.

From there, Jonathan and the pediatrician headed directly to the special care nursery with our son. He had a very low blood sugar and they began treatment. He ended up being placed on oxygen and they gave him an IV.

Two hours later, after I had started recovery in the labor and delivery room, they wheeled me into his stabilization room. Between Jonathan and my mom, he had had family surrounding him since the moment he was born. That gave me such peace.

They laid him on my chest and he went to sleep. I kept my hand on his back and cherished the time that I had with him until they moved me into my room. His perfect little hands, one on a splint like device for the IV. His full head of hair: longer than Jonathan's!

I was moved to my room, and spent the next twenty four hours recovering from surgery. I wasn't able to stand or get out of bed or see our little Wee Ski, so I was blessed by everyone who came to visit the hospital. Everyone brought digital cameras, and would bring back photos from the nursery of how he was doing (like Liz here and here and my sister Kristine here). I was so grateful.

Throughout the day, Tommy was placed on oxygen for his labored breathing. It wasn't improving as quickly as they'd hoped, and when the last of the visitors left for the night, and Jonathan and I were ready to settle down to sleep...the on-call pediatrician came to our room.

Jonathan had warned me that something was wrong, and the pediatrician was going to explain what was happening. He looked me in the eye and reminded me that this was all in God's hands...and it would be okay.

She walked in and said that they believed he had meconium still in his lungs, or he had some form of bacterial pneumonia that was dangerous. They were moving him into his own little box (the boy in the bubble!) and placing him immediately on antibiotics. He would remain in the special care nursery for another 48 hours, where we had been hoping he would move into our room the next morning. Should he not improve, he would either be in the nursery for 10 days, or sent to Mary Bridge in Tacoma or Children's in Seattle. The stress on his lungs had been too great and he couldn't breathe calmly without working himself into a panic.

In the midst of the news that our twelve-hour-old son was in trouble, we knew just how blessed we were. Had we been turned away from the hospital on Wednesday night, or had Dr. Gage not immediately called for his birth on Thursday morning, the meconium could have done much more significant damage to his lungs had he stayed in the womb...as we were unaware that it was even a problem. Without my water breaking, there wasn't any way to tell.

Liz and Paige came back to the hospital to stay with me for a few hours, and Jonathan spent time with Thomas in the nursery. I tried to get up to go to the nursery, but I couldn't stand up for longer than 2 or 3 seconds without collapsing. The pain was excruciating.

Through tears, I asked Jonathan to call the chaplain. The chaplain came and prayed with us for our son. We felt His grace as we finished praying, knowing that whatever was to come...we were not alone.

Our nurse, a tiny little angel named Gina, encouraged me to keep focusing on Thomas even if I couldn't be with him...so we resumed the process of encouraging the breast milk even though Thomas wasn't allowed to have it due to the antibiotics.

My incredible husband filled both role of mommy and daddy yesterday -- taking our family and friends to see Thomas before he was the "boy in the bubble"...while balancing caring for me and Tommy with my mom.

Today brought a new day.

During the night, Tommy pulled off his oxygen and the nurses decided that since he was a fighter, they would see how he did on his own.

Throughout today, his respiration rate and pulse oxygen level slowly improved. They allowed Jonathan to feed him what little colostrum I could produce, and he finally slept calmly.

I was able to get out of bed, and visited our son for the first time in 24 hours. Tears wouldn't stop coming as Jonathan wheeled me into Tommy's new room in the nursery...and all the nurses came to see me and tell us how much better he was doing. They moved his IV to his other hand because he kept pulling on that too. He looks like our little Rocky.

We've been in several times today to our boy in the bubble, and each time, we get to hold him in our arms. Feeding him little bits of breast milk, watching his chest settle and calm as his breathing slows, and getting to soak in all his sweet goodness.


The last few days have been emotional, to say the least. God's grace has been there throughout...and because of that, we're able to rest in His peace as we help care for our son.

There are no words to be able to adequately thank everyone who has offered prayers, filled our room with flowers and gifts for the Wee Ski, stopped by to say hello, and offered supportand emailed encouragement for this journey. You have made this journey so much more bearable through the challenges.

From our hearts, thank you. ♥ ♥ ♥

7 comments:

Liz said...

I love the photo of you and your son! You are an fantastic mom and J is an exceptional dad.
I can only say that events like this that are placed in our lives, for reasons only God knows, strengthen us and give us the oppotunity to learn things about ourselves and our relationships that we never were aware of previously.
Your precious family is in my prayers~

CFCina said...

Continuing to send you guys lots of virtual hugs & prayers!
~ Kathy

The Naipo's (Jennifer, Noah, and Kealani) said...

Oh my goodness! I was in tears as I read your blog, not knowing how hard that must have been for you! I cannot imagine. But I'm so glad that things are improving with your health and his. And he is SOOOOO INCREDIBLY adorable!!! I LOVE the pictures! Cannot wait to meet the lil man. =) CONGRATS!

Helen B said...

Hi Shelley, this post has me crying tears of joy for you and Jonathan.

I am also crying for you as I can only imagine how much you want to make this better for him. When Gracie was born, she ended up having a very high level of jaundice and was under blue lights for 6 days. I felt so helpless but knew God was watching over her.
She came out alright (lol - look at her now!)

I send you my heart's prayers along with Vic's and Eleanor's. I am so proud of you Shelley, God has given you something he knows you can handle - so hang on and know your son is feeling your love.

I also pray for a quick recovery for you as well!

Your son has his parents' fighting spirit! Vic and I will both send extra special prayers up for you at church tomorrow.

Gracie was watching as I was reading after I told her what was going on with your babe...she said "i will hold him carefully and then he will be better and he will like me!" How sweet was that? She knows something is going on and said she will pray too.

I look forward to one day, seeing your little boy in person, crawling around as you watch on in sweet bliss. Day by day sweet Shelley, day by day.

All our love,

Helen, Vic and Gracie

samantha jo campen said...

Oh my gosh I'm totally crying. I had no idea that all that had happened. He's beautiful and perfect and I'm so glad that he's turned a corner. He looks like a fighter! Stubborn like his parents, too :-) Thank you for posting details in the middle of all of this. Still praying for you three!

Kilipohi said...

You guys are constantly on my mind and in my heart. Thank God for this little blessing that he has added to your life.
I also absolutly love th picture. The nurse must have some skills.

Val said...

Little Clare, Jon and I are praying for you guys. What a cute little boy! They're so amazing aren't they? Keep being faithful and God will take care :)

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