I should be preparing for the dual birthday parties we are having tomorrow, but I’m so tired from working on that today that I thought I’d take a break and share a little story. Picasso and Earnhart will be celebrating their birthdays simultaneously tomorrow, her 8th and his 4th. I can’t believe our oldest is eight. It is true. It goes by way too fast. Tipper looks just like she did as a baby, the first sibling of hers to strongly resemble her, so it’s kind of neat to look back at her by just looking in his face. I’ll have to scan in some of her baby pics to show you sometime. She looked a little something like this…
…only with longer lashes. I can’t believe how much she has grown. She is my precious first born, the one I learned how to do this job with, the one I let sleep with us in our bed too long, keep her paci until she was four, and threw the huge party with mulch ordered for the backyard, which she slept through. She’s taught me so much about being a mom. I just love her.
Our first son was born four years later, almost to the day. His birthday is nine days after hers. Only with him, we had a moment in time where we weren’t sure we’d be celebrating a fourth birthday, or a first for that matter. When Earnhart was born, I was a pro. We went to church just days after we came home from the hospital. We visited a friend at a children’s hospital after she had major surgery. We went to the zoo in an effort to make up for the last few weeks where I mothered mostly from the couch. We were out there. The girls were actually attending a preschool program at the local baptist church, so they could have brought the germs home, or it could have just been my carelessness. Either way, Earnhart got sick. I couldn’t keep him awake to nurse. He slept all of the time, and when he was awake, he was very floppy and lethargic. We had a meeting with a developmental pediatrician regarding some testing we had done with one of our girls, and she was very concerned when she saw him. He was very yellow, and she was concerned about his jaundice levels. She canceled our meeting and sent us to the hospital immediately.
At the ER, they took his vitals and weren’t happy with his pulse and oxygenation. They admitted him and ran tests, and while he wasn’t having alarming results, the nurse kept saying that his tests weren’t matching what she was seeing. That nurse was our angel. She would not rely on what the machines were telling her. The doctor decided to send us to Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital in order for Earnhart to have a spinal tap done. The Children’s team from the ambulance came to load us up. It was a huge rig. Just before they put me in the front for the ride up, they warned me that they may have to intubate him if he stopped breathing. I nodded my head and got in the front, just trying to process it all. The driver shut the door and went to the back to assist them in loading the incubator that they had to put him in, and it hit me hard. Intubate? My baby could stop breathing? Could my baby die? The thought had NEVER crossed my mind, EVER. I knew that babies have passed, but I had never consider that happening to one of my babies. Superman had to go home and get some stuff for us and get the girls taken care of. My parents couldn’t ride up with me. I was alone, and I was terrified. Then the strangest thing happened. The driver hopped in the front of the rig, made sure I was buckled up, and took off with lights flashing and sirens blazing. And he talked to me. Not about the baby fighting for his life in the back, but just random stuff to keep my mind off of that very frightening situation. And we were there in a blink, greeted by at least 12 people rushing to care for my son. They talked me through every step and procedure, though I couldn’t tell you what any of those things were right now. They did a spinal tap and sent cultures off. He had meningitis, but you have to wait on the cultures for a few days before you know for certain if it is bacterial or viral. Did I mention the sweet child was only 8 days old? They put him on antibiotics to treat him just in case, and we were placed in the NICU, right in front of the nurse’s station. He was put on monitors, under bilirubin lights, and under a warmer to raise his body temp. He was also wrapped in several blankets and put on an IV to get his vitals to a safe place. I was scared. Terrified. Oh, and I had three little girls at home who were just adjusting to having me back home with a new baby in tow, one of whom was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder that we were still figuring out. How was anyone going to be able to take care of them the way only I knew how to do? They were too young to visit, and they had no understanding of what was going on. The youngest were just shy of their 2nd and 3rd birthdays, and the oldest had just turned four. They needed their momma.
But I couldn’t leave my son. I was the reason he was there, struggling, in the first place. Or at least that is what I thought in my mind. So I camped there in his room, watching nurse rotations and doctor’s rounds, waiting to hear what was going on, pumping so that I could supplement my breast milk with the formula he had to take because of his decreased weight from not eating much that week, and reading. We got the cultures back and found out it was viral meningitis. We were in the clear, sort of. The urgency and edge-of-our-seats feeling had left the room, but you can still face complications with the viral, especially with such a young child. I don’t know when it happened exactly, but I had become calm. To some, I may have seemed like I wasn’t worried enough. But I knew worry wouldn’t make him better. Worry wouldn’t change our circumstances. Worry wouldn’t reverse what had happened. So instead, I prayed, and I had many prayers behind me through family, friends, and fellow church members. Our parents visited daily, as did members or our church. We were bathed in care and concern. My sister-in-law helped out with the kids, and Superman spent some time going back and forth. I was so grateful for the calm. I was thankful for the nurses. Even the lady that cleaned my room each day was heaven sent. And I learned something. I don’t have to do it all for my children. I can’t do it all for my children. My son needed those doctors and nurses to help him live. I couldn’t do that for him. He did need me there, which meant I couldn’t take care of the girls. But you know what? Someone else did the job and they survived. And as you know from the fact that I am celebrating his birthday today, Earnhart survived. I learned a valuable lesson those days I spent in the hospital. God is in control of it all. I can’t do it all, not without Him. A lot of folks have some loud, obvious life changing moment that draws them closer to God. He seems to be taking me on more of a path, with many events along the way that point to His power and might. They aren’t always easy, but He’s always there.
Happy birthday to my very wild, fun, and rambunctious four year old son! I’m so thankful for the gift of your life, no matter how loud you choose to live it!