Tuesday, April 28, 2009

GratiTuesday: A Healthy Child

Prayers for Stellan

I know that many of us have been praying for Stellan and his family. The latest news is Stellan was discharged from the hospital on Monday and they were staying in a hotel getting ready to go back home. A collective sigh can be heard all over bloggy land from those of us who didn't even realize we were holding our breath. ahhhhhhhhhh

I, for one, have been watching this story unfold remembering my own experience of having an infant in intensive care. My youngest son, Tucker had a very speedy delivery. There is a reason that our labors with these babies take as long as they do. As the baby is emerging through the birth canal, the pelvic bone is squeezing all that excess fluid from our babies lungs...at least that's how it's supposed to work.

Tucker was born so quickly that his lungs were brimming with fluid when he took his first breath. With that first breath, like a balloon filled too full of air, his lung sprung a leak. This is called a spontaneous pneumo thorax. While the one working lung labored to give him the necessary air, it too had excess fluid, and popped from the effort of breathing. So for a few seconds (which seemed like hours) Tucker had no lungs that were working. The doctors and nurses feverishly worked to put in chest tubes on both sides and my brand new baby had to be life-flighted (emergency helicoptered) to a large neonatal intensive care facility that could better handle his needs.

This is a picture of Tucker an hour after his birth, just before Life-Flight arrived to take him to St. Francais.

He was in St. Francais for his first month of life. He had tubes seemingly coming from every uncovered inch of his body. He underwent a couple of surgeries during his stay, as secondary conditions emerged throughout that month. He was on a respirator when he quit breathing completely the second week that he was there. And the entire time (until the last few days of his stay), his father and I were being told that he might not make it.

I remember the births of my children and their first days with such pleasure, except for Tucker's. His was an entirely different experience. The memory of staying by his side at St Francais, or at the Ronald McDonald house next door to shower or nap, all seems to be under a fog. I was sleepwalking through a bad dream and even the memory now, eleven years later still seems so surreal. I cannot even put into the words the victorious feeling...the rapture, when Tucker nursed for the first time. Being taken off all machines except for his IV only moments before I was allowed to pick him up and carry him into the nursing room. It was a positively life affirming experience. I remember thinking "He conquered death as a mere infant, God has big plans for this one."

And I'm sure that he still does. Tucker is now eleven years old and he will turn twelve in June. He's the most sensitive of my children and he displays a definate zest for life. He has a beautiful laugh, infectious to anyone who's around. He truly cares about his family and his friends.

The boy is a charmer.

So on this day when Stellan is released to go home, I share a special victory sigh with his mother. Relief, Respect for God and life, and a newfound and intensified appreciation for all our blessings. I truly understand the emotional journey she's had, and I wish her all the luck that I've had with my own ICU baby.

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  1. "He conquered death as a mere infant, God has big plans for this one."
    How beautiful! He is a perfect little boy. And I do know the worry. My son was born with jaundice and because of a paper work slip up he almost died. It was horrible and then I refused to get blood from the blood bank. He had the same blood type as his father and I wanted to use his blood and they wouldn't let me. I pitched a huge fit. They said they didn't have time to blood type DH. But they had time to argue! It worked out and he didn't need blood.He is 13 now but has always been sickly but is slowly out growing it.
    Thank you for the update!

  2. Hi SonyaAnn,

    Isn't that irritating when they will argue but not give any credence to the parents wishes or suggestions at all. I'm glad it all worked out for him though.

    Thanks for your comments

  3. Lisa, I know what your saying so thankful for healthy children. Jana was born with a pneumo thorax too, but only on one side, they were alble to suck the air out of her chest cavity and reinflate her lung. I still was unable to hold her and she was hooked up to all kinds of wires. They gave me a picture to hold instead of my baby, they had to push my bed out in the hall so I could see her in person. (I had a c-section and couldn't get up and walk around much.) Thankfully by the 2nd day she was off all the monitors and able to nurse, I was never so happy. Jeana was in the picu last year with a chest tube, and I would love never to see my child that sick again. They showed me a x-ray of her windpipe and her heart moved over to the wrong side of her chest from fluid! I thought my heart was going to stop myself. But God is good and brought us through. I am glad the little baby got to go home!

  4. I just became a mother a few months ago (besides the prenatal parenting). It is so amazing to me that my perspective on EVERYTHING changed when I pushed my baby girl out into the world. I can't imagine having her separated from me at birth and almost dying without me being able to do anything to change that. My heart goes out to you having done that, even eleven years ago. Thank you for sharing your experience and helping the rest of us understand.


Oh Goodie!!! I love comments! Thanks so much for your kind words.