Friday, September 18, 2009

Power of prayer, power of touch. AKA: we're home

I have to first start this by saying thank you to all who prayed for Micaiah, as well as the rest of us, during this unexpected medical emergency. Also, to those of you who have children with chronic medical conditions and/or have been through multiple or more serious surgeries, I applaud you. I don't know how you managed it.

Now to our story.......

Friday morning around 10am Micaiah had a bottle of formula, and when he finished he immediately threw it up. Shortly after he fell asleep and had a pretty long nap. I figured he must have a little stomach bug. When he woke up I tried to feed him, but he only took a few little sips and immediately it all came back up. But this time, it came up as that horrible yellow stomach bile. This is pretty much how the entire day went. He was throwing up the bile constantly, and not eating. I was mostly concerned about his hydration, but being a mom of many, I have learned that stomach bugs often clear themselves out in 24 hours and then the kiddos are right back to eating everything in sight. Because I was a little worried, and work was slow, Jeremy came home early that night. (he got home around 7:30pm, and normally on a Friday night he gets home after midnight) When Jeremy came in, he layed down on the bed with Micaiah and Cai was smiling, cooing, and acting as if nothing was wrong. Jeremy and I both shrugged it off and figured we'd use the rest of the night to clean house. I went off to take a shower and left him with the baby. A few minutes into the shower I hear the kids yelling to each other to get dressed, we're headed to the hospital. I quickly get out and ask Jeremy what happened, which he then reports he changed the baby's diaper and there was blood. Yeah, that's never a good sign. We decided a divide and conquer was the best approach, so my mom came and picked up 3 and we dropped off 2 to Jeremy's mom on our way to the hospital.

We check in at the ER at Seattle Children's Hospital, and once again Micaiah is all smiles and just fine. The triage nurse checks him out; no fever and all looks OK for the moment. We are sent back out to the waiting room and told it may be about 2 hours until we are seen. OK, fine, 2 hours isn't that bad considering we at an ER on a Friday night. 10-15 minutes pass, I'm holding Micaiah, and realized he's filled his diaper. I take him to the bathroom to change him and the diaper is full of blood. I give the diaper to Jeremy and tell him to show the triage nurse immediately. Within 5 minutes we were in a room and had a team of nurses and docs coming in and out. Not too much longer and nurses were starting an IV, and docs were ordering ultrasounds and x-rays. I knew they thought it was serious, but they were sort of dancing around the issue. I suppose it was to help keep us calm, but as Jeremy can firmly report, I HATE when people do that. It took all my restraint to not yell "OUT WITH IT ALREADY MAN!" The suspected culprit was Intussusception. (doesn't quite roll off the tongue like Mississippi) Basically they suspected his bowel had slid up inside itself. (think of a long telescope that slides into itself) Our awesome nurse from the ER stayed with us for the Xray and ultrasound, and helped keep us occupied while we waited for all the white coats to agree on a plan. Someone came in to tell us, in that same round about way I hate, that it was in fact Intussusception. They said they were going to start with a non-surgical procedure (an air enema) to try to correct the problem. They assured us that this has a very high success rate, especially in babies. I opted not to be present for the procedure, so Jeremy went in instead. I knew it would be too hard on me, which would cause Micaiah to stress. Luckily my wonderful cousin was willing to stay up and chat on the phone with me while I waited in the hall. About 45 minutes to an hour later Jeremy came out and said it didn't work, but they might try again in a few hours. Our nurse took us back to our ER room at that point. It wasn't long before a round of surgeons were coming in (one after another it seemed...... I wonder if they all knew the others were coming), and explaining that instead Cai was going for surgery very soon. I think that was the moment we were sucked into the time warp, when suddenly minutes seem like hours, and hours seems like days.

A couple hours later we're standing at our baby's bedside, just outside the "doors". You know, those dreaded doors you see in movies. Those doors where you kiss your loved one and say see you later, praying that when the surgeon comes back through those doors he's smiling and not looking down at the floor and sadly removing his scrub cap. I remember a very short nurse wearing gold Mr. T chains saying he'd be back, and returning with the anesthesiologist. As she was talking, I found myself half listening and half sizing her up. I was trying to guess her age, how long she'd been doing this, if this was going to turn out like Dennis Quad's twins, just the usual parent stuff. I heard her say something about working with a resident anesthesiologist, and suddenly there was a child beside her and I was thinking "you need to run along before you're late for your shift at sunglass hut little one, we're waiting for a resident anesthesiologist". While the little Mr. T nurse, the child late for the Sunglass Hut shift, and the anesthesiologist were having a random side discussion about redesigning the ID bands I realized Doogie was the resident we were waiting for. Jeremy must have sensed my apprehension because he took that moment to remind me we were at one of the best hospitals around; a sentiment I quickly came to be annoyed with.

Then it was TIME. Time to kiss my baby and send him through THE DOORS. He was sleeping when I leaned down to give him a long kiss on the forehead. He smelled like warm, homemade playdough, and I quickly had visions of rainy winter afternoons at home and memories not yet made. I had been praying all evening, and I fully believe God has a plan, but at this moment made sure to tell God that I'm not done with that child and I want him back after he goes through the doors. So, they took him and left us there in the dark hallway. I turned around before they got to the doors (I knew I couldn't watch that), and headed to our dark little waiting room. We sat in silence for a bit, and prayed. I soon realized I needed a distraction or I was going to drive myself mad with worry. So what do you do at 4am when you need a distraction but don't want to watch reruns of ER, Law and Order, or infomercials? You flip to the movie channel the hospital offers and watch Paul Blart Mall Cop. Don't judge. I was stressed. We were told the surgery would take about 2 hours, but every footstep or opening of a door made my heart jump. Jeremy kept reminding me about being in a great hospital, blah blah blah...... But all I could think about (and reminded my helpful husband) was that somewhere Doogie Howser was pumping our baby full of drugs while nurse Mr T looked on and some strange man cut him open to take out his insides. (they are called insides for a reason, they are supposed to stay inside the body!) Now, I am FULLY aware that in the grand scheme of things, his surgery was relatively minor and it's not like he was having brain surgery, but he's just a baby, and he's MY baby. Finally around 7am the surgeon came to our room, smiling. He reported that all went well. He said Micaiah had one of the most extensive cases of Intussusception he's ever seen, and was amazed that none of the tissue had died. They did take out his appendix, but did not have to cut out any of the bowel. About an hour later they let us in to see him.

Thankfully they warned us in advance that he may have a NG tube (that tube that goes through the nose and into the stomach), because it was very hard to see my sweet boy with that taped down to his soft cheek. He had monitors and tubes everywhere, and looked so small in his hospital crib. Shortly later they moved us to the surgical floor, which became home for a few days. They gave Micaiah an epidural during surgery to cut down on the amount of pain meds he would need, but he still ended up needing shots of morphine every 4 hours for 48 hours after surgery. We were super fortunate that we only had a roommate for a few hours on the first day, and then got a roommate around 5pm the night before we were released. The first while after the surgery Micaiah was pretty sleepy, but got really agitated when we tried to touch him so we weren't able to hold him despite the doctors telling us that babies recover faster when held. Once we were finally able to hold him the next day though, I barely put him down, nor did he want to be put down. We were super fortunate to have the same nurse for 3 days, as she really got to know Micaiah well.

Sunday was the hardest day. His anesthesia had worn off, but was still in a lot of pain. Every 4 hours on the dot he'd start screaming in pain. He also hated his NG tube and his IV, and he kept using the hand with the IV to punch himself in the nose, trying to get the tubes out. My poor baby. Sunday evening the docs came by and said they weren't going to let him eat until Tuesday, and we would not be released for 3-5 days after that. In the middle of the night while we were all sleeping though, Micaiah made an amazing turn around. By 8am Monday the nose tube was removed, by 9am the monitors were off, and by 11am the nurse brought in a 2oz bottle of Pedialyte to start his feedings. He did so well with the first feeding that by 2pm we were told one more bottle of pedialyte and then back to regular feedings whenever he was hungry. He was off the morphine, and had just one dose of Tylenol on Monday. Our lovely friend Rene headed over at that time, which was just the pick me up I needed to get through our last night. (especially since I'd be going it alone as Jeremy and I decided he needed to go round up the kids and get them home.) We were told we'd be headed home by lunch time the next day. Since we were first under the impression we'd be staying until the end of the week, this was music to our ears. The fact that we'd make it home for Genna's birthday on Wednesday made it doubly sweet.

All went smoothly Tuesday morning, and when the white coats came around at 10am they decided we could be given our walking papers and sent on our way. We had only one little hiccup that morning. When the nurse unwrapped his hand to remove the IV line and the arm board, his skin was burned and blistered. It was just as shocking to her as it was to me; it looked horrible! The nurse thinks he must have had a reaction to something, and was also sucking on his hand so there was a lot of moisture trapped under there too. It doesn't seem to bother him though, and we were still let out as planned. Being out in the sunshine and fresh air, walking to the car with my little boy in tow was the greatest feeling ever. It felt like it had been so long, I could hardly believe it was all done and we were on the way home.

We've been home since Tuesday afternoon, and doing pretty well. We've all been rather sleepy, but we're slowly getting back to normal life. Micaiah is a little more sensitive now to being put down or left alone than he was before the hospital, but he's very quickly getting back to being his happy self. He's got a two inch battle scar on his belly, and his hand still looks bad, but I can see he's healing up quickly. He had many many people praying for him, and we appreciate that more than we can say. Clearly God heard all those prayers.


Mandy H. said...

Aubrey - What a beautiful testimony to God's faithfulness! I am teary-eyed reading it. Thank you for sharing each step of the way. I was praying for you as you came to mind. Praise and glory to Him and Him alone. God bless you, my friend.

Ann said...

Thank you for sharing your family's story with us. I'm so thankful yours had a happy ending. :) Children's is a wonderful place but also very scary at the same time. When Faith was there we saw a LOT of doctors who were young, and although she were probably fabulous at their job they weren't the best at "people skills". I also had a very hard time seeing many of the other patients who weren't leaving the hospital anytime soon and the poor stressed out family members who were praying for a miracle. Justin and I always try and donate new toys or $ to Children's because of the wonderful care and new toys that were donated to Faith while we were there. :) Glad Cai is home and thrieving!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you've been able to type this up so quickly. It will be a gift to Cai when he doesn't remember ANY of it! And Girl, don't you go slamming what you've been through as compared to brain surgery! ;-) Your pain is your pain, doesn't matter where.
Hope this comment shows up, Google was having trouble posting comments a few days ago when I tried.
Hope you are resting, healing, and enjoying one another. Praying for continued healing and no infections. Once this is taken care of, is it a one time thing with little or no chance of recurring? Not chronic, right? So nice to see someone get sick and recover "like they should". I hate this long-term stuff (Rene, etc.). Just make it go away!
OK, I'm off. Good to hear from you and we'll be in touch. Playdate soon? Friday?
Enjoy your day and squeeze that fam!