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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