While this is part of my story, it is also my baby’s story. It is a moment from his life, he will never remember, and only hear about. It is a moment that I will never forget. Some times moments in our story change our lives, and my baby’s brain surgery did that.
The beginning of my Baby’s Story
The H1N1 flu was brand new. There were all sorts of precautions being made in hospitals because of it. I was due to have a baby right in the middle of flu season. Baby number 4, our third son. We were very excited. The day came when he was born. Everything went great. The nurses were wonderful, the doctor was wonderful, the birth was just like we anticipated it being. We video chatted with the other 3 kids (ages 4.5, 2.8, 18 months) and showed them their new baby brother, since they weren’t allowed to visit in the hospital.
We brought out perfect little babe home after a couple days, and he was not lacking in any attention, ever. Our daughter loved him and the boys thought it was great to have another boy around (even if he didn’t do anything yet). All was well. We were adjusting to not sleeping again, and having 4 small children 4 and younger.
One evening we decided to get out and run to the store as a family. On the drive home Jack started crying. I couldn’t console him in the car. Once we got home, my husband helped the other kids get ready for bed, while I got Jack ready. He stopped crying, but wouldn’t nurse. If we laid him down, he started to cry. If I held him, he sounded like he was catching his breath from crying so much. We also noticed that his mouth had been a perfect circle while crying when we first got home, and had become a strange oval shape. We realized that Jack wasn’t breathing right, and was skipping a breath every few breathes. I called the nurse, and she told us to go to the ER immediately, becasue he wasn’t getting enough oxygen.
We headed off to the ER. It was 10:30 PM (on Friday the 13th) when we got there, and there wasn’t a wait at all (it’s a very large hospital, so it was pretty amazing to not have a wait on a Friday night.). They hooked him up, and his oxygen was fine. They were just as stumped as we were about the droopy mouth, and the breathing. A second doctor came in and decided that we needed to have the on-call Pediatrician check him out. So, up we went to Pediatrics.
The doctor was fantastic. He told us they’d do all sorts of tests to try to figure it out. We were fine with that. We left the room while they did the spinal tap in the very early hours of the morning. It took twice as long as it usually does. Once they were finally done, the doctor told us that they found some blood in his spinal cord and would be doing a CT scan. We were told it’d probably take over an hour because the wait would be pretty bad on a Friday. Twenty minutes later they wheeled him back in. There wasn’t actually a line at all, on Friday the 13th, like they anticipated.
My baby’s diagnosis
The doctor came into Jack’s room. He sat across from us. He told us that they found a blood clot that was 3.5 mm in the lower right side of his brain, and that it was 1/4 the size of his brain. Life flight had already been called at the children’s hospital, and they were on their way and would be there in about 30 minutes. We were shocked. Both of us cried. We didn’t understand a lot.
A sweet nurse, one of many angles in our story, asked if we wanted to hold our baby, since we didn’t know how long it may be until we could do that again. That thought hadn’t even crossed our minds yet. She got the doctors approval, and we both got to hold him. The life flight nurses got there, and got him all settled in a special little bed, hooked up to a million things, it seemed like. Little did we know what would be coming. The nurses at the hospital gave us a card to wish us and our son well.
We followed as our baby was wheeled off to a helicopter. They explained there was room for the 2 nurses, the baby, and the pilot. They double check the phone number they had, and told us it’d be a 17 minute flight ,and if we didn’t hear from them in 30 minutes, they were safely there. We stepped back, and watched a helicopter take off into the sky and fly away with our almost 10 day old baby. We held a bucket of belongings we had acquired, a diaper bag, and an empty car seat. It’s moments like that, when the reality of things come fully to you. Jack was flown off around 5:30 AM. We had a long, long night. We had no idea how many long days we had ahead of us either.