Memories spring forth

Whew, to say the least, the last few days, specifically the last 24 hours, have brought a flood of memories.  And made me mostly rewrite a post.

I knew this would be an sensitive week for me.  BabyGirl is 12 weeks old.  Most people, when they experience a traumatic event, have certain triggers that bring a flood of memories and emotions.  An infant at 12 weeks old is a trigger for me. And as I learned this weekend, so are ER trips with sick 12 week olds.

Cut to a Backstory – I’ll attempt to not be as long-winded as I can be. 

Missy was, to us, a normal healthy baby girl.  Until that week.  At 12 weeks old, we loaded everyone up and went to a family reunion, little did we know what series of events would start rolling.

Dr. Uncle noticed Missy breathing funny – belly breathing and retracting (kinda looks like the chest is caving in) – he mentioned it to my mother in law, who later mentioned it to me.  Missy had been kind of snotting for a couple of days, that’s what I chalked the breathing up to, a little cold.  But just to put  everyone’s mind at ease, I made an appointment with our midwife.

I expected her to shrug it off – she’s sick, give her a few more days to get better.  But when your all natural midwife on Wednesday says “she needs to be seen before the weekend”, a mama’s heart drops and a certain panic sets in.  I immediately called our primary Dr. and got an appointment for the next day.

Thursday morning.  I will never forget how calm he was about it, how nonchalant.  “Yes she has a murmur, its likely nothing more than the hole in the heart that didn’t close at birth, its not a big deal, his daughter had one, just go to Children’s sometime next week and get a chest xray and Echo.”  Whew, breathe a sigh of relief!  I make the appropriate calls to family – its not a big deal.

Friday morning.  My mother in law calls back.  First, it was strange she was calling me, especially at that time.  Her voice was different, more urgent.  After reassuring her what our Dr had said, she finally let it out – Dr. Uncle doesn’t think she will make it though the weekend if we don’t get her in the hospital.

My world stopped.

And he would have been right.

It was so chaotic the next hour or so.  Calling the Dr’s office, having a complete meltdown, the nurse finally agreeing “if it makes you feel better” to take her to the er, they will call ahead.  Calling Mr., trying to figure out where to take the children, more calls.  All while running around to pack a bag for the children and Missy.

I don’t remember much about the drive.  A mix between crying, praying (begging) and telling myself it was just a cold.

They sent us for a chest xray.  If you have seen an infant chest xray, you know the feeling of wanting to punch the techs and save your baby.  I could see the digital image on the screen and knew her heart shouldn’t be that big.  I had to leave the room during the multiple, unsuccessful attepts to start an IV.  God Bless Mr. for being so strong when I am weak.  I could still hear her down the hall, having to again resist the urge to punch the nurses and save my baby.

They brought in an Echo – with a cardiologist and a tech.  We were nursing when they came in.  “Oh that’s ok, I’ll nurse her again when your done.”  You know, with most life changing events you don’t remember every detail, most of it seems like a blur.  But there are always those defining moments that you remember with such detail, forever etched in your mind.  This was one of those moments.  Famous last words.  And one thing I regret.  That was the last time I would nurse her.

We never would have guessed what was coming.

Our baby was in congestive heart failure – the labored tummy breathing, the retracting, the snotty nose – the signs I shrugged off, were because she was sick, much sicker than we knew.  Our baby had a broken heart.

More memories forever etched – the Cardiologist’s lips saying the words, feeling the air rush out of my lungs, the look in Mr’s eyes, collapsing onto his lap and sobbing harder than I thought possible.  I don’t remember the walk up to the CV unit.  Looking down at her in my arms, I couldn’t look away.  I couldn’t hand her over.  I couldn’t help but think we could just walk away and she would be fine, it wasn’t really happening, they were going to hurt her and it was my job to protect her.  I don’t know how long I stood holding her, it didn’t feel long enough.  Finally my logic took over.  I handed her to a nurse and walked away.

She was admitted.to the hospital and diagnosed with ASD, VSD and a CoArc – a hole in the upper 2 heart chambers, a hole in the lower 2 heart chambers and a collapsed aorta.  Each defect making another worse.

She stopped initiating her breaths on Saturday.  Dr. Uncle would have been right.

A successful corrective surgery happened on Sunday, Father’s Day.  Happy Fathers Day!

We were released 3 weeks later.  So much could be said about those 3 weeks, but I’ll save that for another time.

So that’s what replays in my mind with a 12 week old.  I see our newborns now and constantly compare.  

And here we are – Miss BabyGirl is 12 weeks old and has a cold.  With labored tummy breathing, retracting and snotty nose.  Sunday night, we drove to the same ER, although now remodeled.  Was told we had to do the same chest xray (aka The Torture Device).  Only for a Dr. to come in the room and say he is admitting us.

In that second, my world stopped.

“Just tell me its not her heart.”  This time it was only because of a cold.  He is specializing in cardiovascular and reassured me many times, he sees no indications of heart problems.

Intellectually, I knew BabyGirl didn’t exhibit the other symptoms – the lack of weight gain, the sound of a murmur.  Emotions and memories are powerful.  Missy turned quickly.  So did BabyGirl.  But this time, we are all ok.  It really is just a respiratory cold.  With extra lovings and nursing, she will be fine.  We made it through another hospital stay.

Thank you Lord for being our Healer, our Protector and our Strength.

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