Sunday, October 12, 2014

2 Years Later

Two years ago,  October 11, 2013, is forever marked in my memory as one of the worst days of my life.  The day before, our sweet baby Kruz underwent a large surgery on his stomach and intestines. The surgery was expected to be fairly routine.  In fact, Moise had had a very similar surgery when he was 15 months old.  I knew many, many children who had the Gtube placement and Nissan procedure. Kruz had an extra procedure included as his ileostomy, a result of a perforated bowel at birth, would be reversed.  Still, the surgery was expected to be uneventful.  But I left the hospital that evening after the surgery with an uneasy feeling in my gut.  The baby's pain seemed out of control, his breathing was more like panting, his body very swollen, his dark skin ashen. 

The next morning I went to work, anxious for the end of the day so I could go back to the hospital to be with him.  I had called the hospital several times during the night and knew that he was not resting comfortably as his body so desperately needed.  At noon, my cell phone rang and I answered to the voice of the pediatric ICU doctor asking me to come quickly. 

 "Kruz is not doing well," she said.  "His hemoglobin and platelet levels are critically low and dropping." She explained that they needed to intubate him to help him breathe and they needed signed consents.  "I'm not sure we can wait until you get here to sign," she said.  "He needs the vent now. If you will give us verbal consent we will go ahead and intubate."  I consented and, with the help of a dear friend, headed straight to the hospital.

My head swam with the enormity of what was happening. I felt like I was walking through a fog as I walked into the hospital.  Just days before, it was Jim and I and our five living children in our home.  Another child was not in our plan. Now I was praying fervently for the life of a dear child that had a hold on my heart. 
A team of doctors stood around his little isolette when I walked into his room.  Machines surrounded him with countless tubes and wires protruding from his tiny little body. Beeping monitors and the whooshing sound of the ventilator brought a sense of deja vu.  I'd done this before, with Moise and with Laynee, and it felt surreal that I was here, doing this fight for life thing all over again. Regardless of how familiar this scene may be, nothing can fully prepare us for seeing a child we love lying in that bed. I wanted to turn around and run.  I hated this hospital scene and I willed my quaking legs to support me. 

The swelling in his body was alarming.  His distended abdomen looked like it could pop.  I didn't even know that it was possible to be alive with a body temperature as low as his was. I suspected that his being alive was due only to the blinking machines. But the one thing that bothered me the most was his obvious distress.  In spite of the sedation meds, his body twitched and jerked in discomfort.  One of the doctors explained that they had gone as high as they could on the ventilator settings but the excessive fluid in his belly was pushing up on his diaphragm, leaving no room for his lungs to expand with life sustaining air.

That afternoon and evening, Jim and I, along with Kruz's birthparents, paced and prayed in the waiting room for 6 hours while the doctors worked on him. The events of Laynee's accident played over and over in my mind as we waited. The pain was still so raw.  I wondered how and why this was happening to us again.

 I don't know what they did during those 6 hours.  I never asked.  I didn't need or even care to know.  He was alive, the vent was doing it's job and he seemed to rest more peacefully.  In that moment, nothing else mattered.

The next several days were precarious.  Due to his bleeding disorder,  Kruz was in a cycle of bleeding, which required more blood products, which caused excessive fluid build up, which put strain on his heart and lungs.  And on and on and on it went.  

But we witnessed the miracle of modern medicine and felt the miracle of love growing in our hearts. A month later we brought him home from the hospital. 

And he brought healing to our hearts that ached from child loss. 

We didn't know we needed him.  But God knew.  
Now, 2 years later, we rejoice in every new milestone our little warrior meets.  
We are strengthened by his perseverance and awed by his resilience.
  And we thank our great and mighty God for the miracle of life.  

"Lord heal me, and I will truly be healed.  Save me, and I will truly be saved. You are the one I praise."
Jeremiah 17:14

God is good, all the time. 

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