It was fun!
Cody and I rode in our SUV with my dad driving. My mom picked up my mother in law and they rode together. I don’t remember much of the details of the ride up there. I just remember crying. Praying. And my husband reaching up from the back seat to place a reassuring hand on my shoulder.
We parked in the parking garage, and made our way to the NICU. There were several people waiting for us in the waiting room, but I just wanted to get to my son. In all the craziness, my brain was a blur. My main concern? Either getting to my son to nurse him, or getting to a pump. My biggest fear? They would give him formula. Sad, but true.
The gruff lady at the desk in the NICU (whom we eventually came to like) told us that we could not see him yet, that they were examining him and doing test etc. So she handed me bags of bottles, and sent me off to the pumping room. That did not go so well. I had no idea what I was doing….
When I was done attempting to pump, we asked once again if we could go see our boy. The gruff lady said no, but it wouldn’t be much longer. So we went back to the waiting room and were greeted by 16 family members that had come to love us, support us, and pray with us! What a blessing! During this wait we also set out to make arrangements for our stay. What a blessing that the hospital had transformed some old rooms into a “motel” like setting. So we were able to stay just a few floors above our baby, and could be there with him 24/7!
Eventually Cody and I were FINALLY able to see our boy. And he was more than ready to see his momma!!
As excited as we were to see our boy, for the second time in less than six hours I was assaulted with an image that I was not prepared for. The first, when I saw my son on the stretcher at our hospital. This time, with a tube sticking out of his head so that they could give him a platelet transfusion, and would keep it there in case he needed IV or anything. The nurse explained that the best vain on a baby was on their head, and that it was the best place, since they couldn’t reach it and pull it out with all their wiggling and wailing.
The nurse also told us that they were preparing for his transfusion, and if we wanted to stay we could, or we could go eat and it would be done when we got back. After all that had happened that day, we hadn’t realized how hungry we were. We hadn’t ate all day, so we opted to pray for him again, then go get some food.
Remember that I told you we had 16 family members there with us, so we all decided to walk a few blocks down the road to El Fenix. So we went and enjoyed a meal together. For me, though, it is mostly a blur. I kept an eye on the time. I really wanted to get back to my son. I wanted to know he was alright. I wanted to nurse him, comfort him, hold him. I wanted the dr. to say the transfusion had been a success, and they would probably send us home in the morning…. That was wishful thinking.
We walked back to the hospital, and Cody and I rushed back to see our son. He was ready for his momma, again. The nurse laughed and said that we had no need to worry about his lungs, that they worked just fine. She also informed us that the transfusion had been successful, but not as much as the dr. wanted. His platelet count before the procedure had been 21,000. Afterwards it had only jumped up to 42,000 – not near enough. So they would keep an eye on him and and determine if he needed a second transfusion. They had also done a sonogram of his head to check for internal bleeding. And had taken a urine sample and had sent it back to do culture on it. There had to be a reason for his platelet count to be so low, so they were doing everything they could to find it.
We went back to report to our family. Several of them had been doing research from the moment they heard about Luke, and asked us if we wanted to read what they had found. Cody and I declined. Without even talking about it, we had somehow agreed not to look into it too much. For now, we would rely on God, and on the staff He had appointed to care for our son. We were worried, but also had a peace that cannot be explained.
Our family began leaving, with promises to call and check in, or that they would be back the next day. I am forever grateful for our wonderful family and friends who love us and support us.
Cody and I went to our room to try to rest. TRY being the operative word here. The hospital wanted me to nurse every 3 hours (at home I nurse on demand). So at every 2, 5, 8, and 11 o’clock I would make the trek to Luke’s area of the NICU to hold him and offer him nourishment and comfort. Cody was a trooper, he went with me every time. Which means he didn’t get much rest either. I would get there at the appointed time, say 2am, and it would take Luke about an hour to nurse, then we would make the trek back to our room (it took about 15 minutes!), we would climb back into bed after 3am, and my alarm would go off about 4:30 to give me time to get my shoes on, make my way back to the NICU, wash up (did I mention that we had to do a 3 minute hand wash every time we went to see Luke? I understand and respect the necessity of it, but geez, that got old quick!), gown up, (gotta love those ugly yellow gowns!) and go nurse again. So in reality we were getting about an hour – an hour and a half bits of sleep at a time, but oddly enough, I don’t really remember being tired. However looking back on pictures, it was obvious on our faces that we were tired, and worn, and that we aged during that time.
The next day, Sunday – Mother’s Day. Luke’s platelet count had dropped to 41,000. So they were still keeping a close eye on him to determine the need for a second transfusion or not. I remember at one point when we were in there with him, I was coughing and sneezing a bit. I looked at the nurse, panicked, and told her “I promise I’m not sick, it just allergies!” she laughed, then said “sweetie, I know your not sick, I’ve got so much information on you, if there was anything going on with you, I’d know it.” It hadn’t occurred to me that they would have information on me, since I wasn’t the patient, but it made since – they were trying to figure out what was wrong with my boy. A lot of people assumed it was be cause I am blood type negative, and so that must have been the cause, but the dr. and nurses told us that was not the case. I had my rhogam shot (which HURTS, by they way).
My parents brought my sweet O to see us on Mother’s Day. I remember seeing my mom and telling her Happy Mother’s Day. Cody looked to me, gasped, with wide eyes, and hand over his mouth and said “I’m the worst husband! I forgot about Mother’s day!” I laughed, and told him it was fine, he could make it up to me later 😉
This is the night that I had my big break down. I was so tired. I missed my girl, who, at only 2 and 1/2 didn’t understand what was going on. She had wanted to go see her brother, and didn’t understand why she couldn’t.
I remember taking a shower that night, and just letting the hot water wash away my tears. The noise drown out my cries. Just standing there crying my prayers, because I had no words. Just a broken heart. I tried to get myself under control before going to bed with Cody. But he knew. He just held me and said that it was all right. I started crying. I told him no. It was not all right. It wouldn’t be all right until our family was together, at home.
Cody and I would share meals together in the cafeteria. We would stroll through the gift shop. We spent a lot of time walking around the hospital, holding hands, talking, praying.
Eventually they told us that Luke was jaundice and needed to be moved to the other side of the NICU. Cody and I laughed, not because it was funny, but because that past Saturday, when we first got to the NICU we had noticed their were two separate areas. The room on the left was dark, with lots of blue lights and babies in incubator looking things – we assumed that was where the “really sick” babies were. The other room, to the right, had lots of lights on, and people milling around, that must be where the “not-so-sick” babies were, after all that was where Luke was. Guess, what? We were wrong, and our boy was one of the “sick” babies. I think that is when I realized how serious it really had been.
I should also point out that by this time, Lukes platelet count was coming up! It had started going up about 10-20,000 at every check!! We went from 41,000 t0 44,000 to 55,000 to 77,000!! YEA!! God was working a miracle in our boy.
Finally, on Wednesday morning, when we were trying to rest, we got a phone call in our room. Cody answered and spoke for a while. When he hung up he had the best look on his face and I knew – we were going home! Lukes platelets had taken another big jump during the night – they were at 140,000 and the dr. said it was safe for us to go home, but we would need them checked again the next day with our local pediatrician. We could handle that!
Remember in my previous post that I mentioned that in February I started feeling tired all the time. We now know that it was because my body had started attacking the baby. My body was producing antibodies that were attacking and “eating” his platelets.
They never did find out why this happened. The head sonogram came back all clear. No internal bleeding, no brain swelling (they did find a small cyst in the folds of his brain, but said that was not of concern.) His urine culture came back just fine. Nothing abnormal there.
In the beginning, I remember wondering if Luke would be ok. Would God chose to take him home, to heaven? I didn’t dwell on this too much. I just prayed. I feel like I put on a good front for our family. But once they all left, and it was just Cody and I… He got to see my true emotions. I cried. A lot. Cody was amazing though, he loved me, supported me, held me. He cried with me. Most importantly, he prayed.
It’s funny. When Olivia was born, and I saw Cody hold her for the first time, and I saw love and joy radiating from him like I had never seen before – I remember thinking that I just thought I loved him before. But I had a new love for him in that moment. The same is true for this experience. My love, respect, and admiration for this wonderful man of God, that God had gifted to me, grew once again. My respect for him grew. He really stepped up to the challenge in support, comfort, and as the spiritual leader of our home. God was definitely at work in both of us during this time. Growing us as His children, as a couple, as parents. We learned to fully depend on God. He was all we had. He was all we needed.
We may never know why, but then again maybe I do. Maybe this was the experience I needed to learn to fully trust and depend on God. Because when it came down to it, there was nothing, and nobody that could help my boy – except God. Maybe it was the experience I needed to learn to step back and let my husband be the leader God created him to be. Maybe I needed to learn that my children are not mine. They belong to God. He has trusted them to me. Maybe I needed to take a hard look at my priorities. Maybe God needed to bring Cody and I closer together. God knows the BIG picture, He knows the future, and I know that whatever the reason for us going through this, it was for His glory.
Many people have commented on how Cody and I handled this situation, with faith in God and with each other. If we can set an example for anyone, if we can open others eyes up to God through this, then this experience will have served the most ultimate purpose.
Closing thoughts: That week changed me. It changed my relationship with my husband. It changed my relationship with God. It rocked me to my core. And I would joyfully go through it again.