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Location: Northern California, United States

Friday, March 04, 2005

The long road home

Just as it happened, there was a neonatologist in the hospital that day, visiting. He was a world class Preemie Doctor, from one of the finest Preemie Hospitals in all the land. He was there working on my son, who no longer could exercise his tiny lungs alone, when my husband arrived.
I don't know how it is that they took Andrew to see the baby straight off... maybe my housemate Lisa vouched for him and they took him straight away to a window where he could see a tiny doll (surely that was not a real baby?) being worked over by a team of specialists, with a special ambulance transport team waiting with a high tech, portable isolete made just for preemies... I was in shock, and left all alone for some reason. I didn't care, I wanted every nurse and doctor in the hospital with Jesse! I was freezing, and shaking, and thought I might even be passing out. Soon someone came and saw me and yelled for help... and I remember lots of hot white blankets covering me. It broke me out of a strange fog. They told me my husband was with the baby, and I knew a great relief.
They wheeled Jesse in, all hooked up to monitors and machines and told me to take a look and say goodbye, that they had to take him to another hospital. Andrew looked really scared. I asked them if they were taking me too, but no. They were taking the special doctor though, who would stay with him and make sure he was stable.
I actually tried to get up off the table and tell them I was ready to go, to just give me some slippers... but Andrew told me no, so I quietly laid down again. I found out later that they would have sedated me with a hypodermic if I'd insisted!
So I watched my baby roll away with a team of people, and my heart left my body and went with him.
They kept me overnight, at one point sending andrew home to rest so he could drive me to the other hospital the next day. Besides, I needed something other than a long flannel night gown to wear. They ended up sedating me, twice, but I was so keyed up that I walked the hall from my room to the nurses station probably 50 times. At 5 a.m. I finally convinced them to call my doctor's service and beg them to have him release me. I was out the door by six a.m., desperate to get word about Jesse. Nobody had given us any updates!
A wonderful friend, Marcee, had come to get us. We didn't have a car at that point, being new to California and having sold everything to come. She rented a car for us and sent us on our way. I didn't come home for a month... they actually gave me a room to stay in AT the hospital when they saw that I would not, could not, leave Jesse's side. Andrew and I stayed in the hospital in San Francisco for 3 months. I don't recall eating or sleeping much at all... just keeping vigil, praying, covering Jesse's isolette with scriptures and pictures from a precious moments storybook... and ministering to other parents. It was the most traumatic, hard, life-altering thing I've ever been through, but that's another blog. It wasn't over after we left the hospital 3 months later... we continued to beat the threat of death away from our baby right up to this last year. I can't count how many middle-of-the-night ambulance rides we've taken... how many miracles we've seen (even the doctors admit they are miracles, many doctors have seen the power of God and the usefulness of prayer since Jesse came along.)
But it seems we're almost out of the woods now... and we have a strong, beautiful boy, sweet, precious, and wonderful to the core. He's very empathetic to anyone in pain, he's suffered so much of it himself. He loves Jesus, because he has known Him from birth... He knows Who carried him through each crisis. He was 4 and his sister 3 when they invited Jesus in as Lord.

And here I sit, wondering why I still get so wound up every year on the night before his birthday, feeling the loss of *something*, feeling the shock and trauma and hardness of the road we walked threatening to come up and overwhelm me. I wonder why even the fact that my tiny baby is _9_ years old today makes me cry. I guess I have a good cry coming, eh? I never really did get to cry it out of my system. I didn't have time... I had a baby to take care of, and a Father in Heaven to give no rest concerning my little ones! It's good that I learned early that my mothering heart was perfectly lined up with the Father heart of God, that indeed, one came from the Other! I don't have time to cry now, either... I need to go and make pancakes and eggs and start the day off with celebration and thankfulness and praise to the One who lent me these sweet little ones. Maybe later I'll have a minute to reflect on where the time has gone!!

Thank you, who read this, for praying for my precious son today, for this to be a wonderful, growing year, and for his life to be wonderful too!
Much Love,
the mother of two (so far!)

The Journey Begins...

At this minute, my darling baby was being given a UA line (Like an IV, in the umbilical opening) and being monitored... he breathed on his own for just a few minutes, so they wrapped him, walked him over to me, and showed me the tiniest face I ever saw, like a doll... he looked like the sweetest little old man with the wisest eyes... I thought maybe they'd caught a little leprechaun instead of my baby... he didn't seem to have an ounce of padding on him! My heart caught in my throat, and I named him Jesse Andrew. The plan had been to name him Jesse William, but I just couldn't... I couldn't name him william! What were we thinking?? :) I had to give him Andrews name, so he could have a little bit of his Dad, who still hadn't made it there. At least I could send his fathers' name with him!
They hurried him off, because something was wrong.

Exactly Nine Years Ago this very minute...

My baby boy came rushing into the world... attended by more doctors and nurses and (bless their hearts) a few EMT's who just couldn't leave. Firemen had followed us (they were the first responders to my house when my housemate Lisa called 911...) There were more people crowded into that room than any episode of ER ever had!
My husband was on a train, crying and praying, from San Francisco where he'd already been at work, because Lisa had the foresight to call him also.
I pushed for only a minute or two, and Jesse came into the world. I saw just the shortest glimpse of my baby before they quickly cut the cord and rushed to the room next door. Almost the entire flock of doctors and nurses went with him, which made me afraid for the first time.
My doctor stayed with me, stitching up the incision he'd made for the sake of the baby. Apparently, with preemies, the faster and easier they're born can make the difference between life and death.
One sweet nurse stayed with me as well... and she called a friend for me who worked at the hospital. She was an elder at our church, as well as the head of Infectious Diseases for the hospital... when she came into the room to see me (and pray for me and my baby who still hadn't cried... aren't they supposed to cry??) everyone backed away, thinking she was there due to some exotic disease! :) She quickly yelled that it was a personal visit, much to their relief! :)
She came and got the report and held my hand... and I sent her to PLEASE see my baby and tell me what was going on...

Nine Years ago this minute...

I could hear (over the din) the sounds of my doctor running down the hall. His practice was right across the street from the hospital, and apparently he'd nearly been hit by cars as he RAN to the ER. I could hear his shoes flapping on the tile floor.
As he literally screeched into the room, I looked up and saw his face, and I uttered the words, "I told you so!"
He paled when he saw it was me...
I'd been in on Friday (today was Monday) telling him that I was positive I was having my baby early, I didn't know why, but I begged him to send me in for tests of some kind. He patted me on the head and said I was a nervous first time mommy!!!

Nine Years ago right now...

There were 6 nurses and a few doctors and 3 panicked EMT's all around me, some yelling at me that whatever I do, DO NOT PUSH! I thought that was a rather silly thing to say, considering I'd not pushed at all... As a matter of fact, flashing back, all I'd done was sit in the bathroom expecting a much different delivery... I thought I had gas that morning! I never dreamed it was labor considering I was only 28 weeks and 1 day along...

Nine Years ago Today...

I thought I'd take a page from my friend A.'s blog...
nine years ago this minute I was being wheeled through the crashing doors of the Emergency Room of Mills Peninsula Hospital... there were EMT's and Nurses all screaming in a panic at each other, and stunned patients sitting in the waiting room who actually had the nerve to look annoyed that someone on a guerney was getting to go in ahead of them... :)