Sunday, August 22, 2010

Though He Slay Me... (part 2)

I was so angry with God, but afraid to say it out loud. Is it okay to angry with God? Will He strike me down if I admit it to anyone? The bible tells me in several places to 'pour out my heart', but my heart didn't have anything nice to say to Him. Why is He putting my family through this trauma? Why is my newborn son's life hanging in the balance after waiting ten years for another child?


My son was born on June 13th and I was having this conversation with myself in my first full shower on June 15th in the parent's room at SickKids hospital in Toronto. The neonatologist had visited us this same evening to discuss the findings of his assessments and tests so far. The doctor's best guess was that our son had suffered a stroke during birth - because he was big and came fast. The only test remaining to complete was an MRI, which would be completed that night. We would have confirmation on a diagnosis within 24 hours, but we needed to be prepared for the possibility that our baby would not breath on his own, may never walk or come out of a constant seizure state.

How does a parent sleep after a conversation such as this? I can tell you, there is no sleeping.

We could visit our boy anytime we wanted, 24hours a day. He was on such heavy medications, including three seizure drugs, that he was unconscious. The many tubes and wires that were attached to him made it difficult to touch him and he was very swollen from many needle pricks and fluids he had received. All this, and the machine doing the breathing for him, he looked more like a robot than a baby.

The next 24hour wait is very much a blur in my mind. I know I ate, because my dad and his wife came and brought food to us. I know I walked around the hospital, because I remember feeling great resentment about how cheery they had made the environment (I wanted my surroundings to be just as black as I felt). I know my husband was at my side the entire time, because I remember holding his hand almost constantly. What I don't remember is talking, or thinking, or acknowledging anything. Both my husband and I were living in a fog.

For as much as we, as parents, were being drawn through the 'valley of death', our little Duck was having a hard time, too. In some ways it was harder for her because she was not at the hospital with us. She was seperated from her entire family and had little information other than her new baby brother was very sick. We were trying to protect her from the worst, but she is far more intelligent than we were giving her credit for being - she already had started praying for a miracle.

We finally reached the next evening and the neonatologist returned to our room, bringing the social worker and the duty nurse with him. This, to me, was a sign that he wanted extra support for the negative news he was about to deliver. He drew a picture of a brain to show us what had been discovered from the tests. Our son had suffered a brain bleed in the left ventricle of his brain. The blood that had collected in the ventricle had caused the seizures and some brain damage could be seen on the wall of the ventricle.

He raised his head to look at us and said, "this is far better news than a diagnosis of stroke".

What? This is good news?

The doctor continued to explain that the bleed had stopped on it's own and the blood would also reabsorb on it's own - our bodies are made to work that way. The damage was a small area on the wall of the ventricle that may affect our boy's right sided motor skills and his vision (they know this because the brain is mapped out very well). However, because he is just newborn, there may not be any noticeable affect. As he grows and learns to grab and walk and use his right side, he may simply adapt to any weaknesses and develop normally.

Yes...this was much better news than a stroke, which would have damaged a much larger portion of his brain. The doctor smiled at us and said, "I'm glad my initial assessment was wrong."

At this point, my nurse brain snapped back on - I started asking about care plans, future therapy, reductions in medications, etc. It didn't take me long to move past the dark world that I had been living in and move to a place of hope again.

It took a little longer to reconcile my feelings toward the Lord. The prayer of thanks was immediate, but I didn't have the answer to my 'why?' question. In the end, I have concluded that we are 'vessels of clay' and He will 'have mercy on whom He will have mercy.' I serve a soveriegn God and although I don't understand the purpose in this event, I simply accept that He had a purpose - and I may never know what it was.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than you thoughts. Isaiah 55:8&9

To make the final part of the story short, our little man spent three weeks in SickKids before being transferred back to the first NICU where his seizures started. He stayed in that hospital for another two weeks and then CAME HOME! He came home with a feeding tube in place, but he was bright eyed and active. That activity has shown that his right arm and leg are strong and moving just as much as his left side!

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Psalm 139:14

I will expound on some of the details that I've skipped over here (including a commentary about why I still don't support socialized medicine). However, with a newborn boy keeping me busy at home - the posts may be slow in getting out.

Meet 'Hoss':

And the best babysitter I could ever have:


Anonymous said...

I'm a long time reader, first time commenter and I'm so relieved and happy that he's home with you! I could not stop thinking about you and your family since you posted part 1 last week! I hope your little guy is doing well and congratulations to big sister Duck!


mom-e-mae said...

Awweee! Thank you for sharing your story!! So happy for you and your family :)

Mrs. Parunak said...

Wow! That picture of Hoss and all the myriad wires and tubes is just heartbreaking. Praise the Lord for His mercies in healing your baby, and bringing him HOME!

Kim from Canada said...

Actually, Mrs. P, that picture is of the EEG that Hoss received at SickKids the day we were being transferred out north. If you look closely there is no respirator in his nose, just the feeding tube. When Hoss was initially attached to all the tubes and wires (many more different ones than seen here), I didn't have the strength to take a picture of him when we didn't know what the future held.

On the day of this EEG, a student technician was learning how to use the machine and had put on WAY more wires than necessary. I ran and got the camera in order to have at least one picture of the 'robot baby'. Knowing that, the picture is really more humorous to us than heartbreaking. ;o)

chosen said...

SO glad to read this post... a sweet baby boy at home!!! He is an absolute doll. I have prayed for you since I read post #1. Blessings as you enjoy every moment with your 2 beautiful children!