Yesterday I shared my birth story. Such a sweet, peaceful, and quick birth it was that brought The Blessing into our lives. For almost two whole days we basked in the afterglow of that birth, adoring our new little baby, beginning to understand what an extra chromosome meant to us. And then it happened. My world threatened to collapse in top of me.
I have been considering exactly what to write concerning this nightmare that we had entered into. Words fail me as I try to remember how it all happened. Do I just list the events in chronological order, separating out the emotion from fact in an attempt to accurately tell a story? Or do I try to convey the despair, terror, and desperation that haunted me every second of that week? Is any of that even possible? And so I beg your indulgence as I muddle my way through my tale, knowing that words can never really express accurately the things I am trying to tell you.
The diaper was filled with blood. Not a little streak, not a tinge, but filled with blood. As I wiped the blood from her bottom, she grunted and more blood came pouring out where poo should have been. And to the emergency room we sped.
I laid her pale, limp body on the warming bed as the doctor came in the door. “And what brings you here, tonight?” he asked us pleasantly. I pulled the diaper away from her leg, exposing the gobs of dark red blood filling it yet again. “This” I said.
And the room exploded with activity. We were rushed to a larger room where the shouting and bustle began. Blood transfusions! Oxygen! Antibiotics! The Man and I stood against the wall, clinging to each other and silently crying while we helplessly watched this crowd of people try to save our daughter’s life. A social worker appeared and through a fog I heard her explain that she was there to answer any of our questions. She explained what was going on at any given time – “now they are drilling into her bone to administer the iv because they can’t find her veins”.
After what seemed like an eternity, she was stable and ready to be transferred to the ICU.
Then the testing began. Brain scans, ultrasounds, x-rays, blood tests. We spoke to a slew of specialists as tests results came back and needed explaining. All the while, my Blessing laid on that warming bed with so many tubes and wires coming off and out of her body that I could barley touch her. I stood by her bed, crying so constantly and endlessly that it took days for the swelling around my eyes to subside. I wondered if we would be taking her home or if I would never hold her again. I prayed in the wordless way one does when sobs and sighs will just have to do. My post partum body ached from the many long walks to the pumping room where I would try to express milk in hopes that she would one day need it. My feet became more swollen than ever they were during the pregnancy and my head ached constantly, whether from the crying, the exhaustion, or my rising blood pressure we will never know. But wild horses could not have pulled me from that bedside. My whole heart was laying there, struggling to survive.
And survive, she did. The glimmer of hope was already shining as every test came back with good news, and everyday she improved just a little bit more. And then the tubes started coming off, the ivs were removed one by one and finally we were transferred out of the ICU and to a regular room. And then we were discharged and able to come home. We had been there for six days.
The Blessing has been home for a week, now, and seems to be doing well. She is breastfeeding with only a little supplementing needed. We will be seeing the pediatrician later this week for a follow up visit, but for now we are back to enjoying our new baby, learning about her and her specialness, and recovering from the most awful week of our lives.
We are overwhelmingly grateful to all of our friends and family who supported us during this trial – bringing to us food, hugs, and pleasant company while we lived at the hospital, keeping our kids happy, fed, and carefree during our absence, and upholding us in prayer through every heartbreaking minute of our ordeal.
Above all, I am beyond thankful to God, who in His mercy has allowed us to keep our Blessing a little longer. Every moment she is with me is a moment to treasure.
I realize that this account leaves room for lots of questions. This really is all that I can bear to say at this time. I am ready to get back to blogging about happy things like yarn and fiber and itty-bitty baby knits.