Day six

Friday: 25th

Mom and I leave the toddler with Hubby around 9 am and head to Beckley. Peanut's appointment is at 10 and I don't want to be late.
I am on doctors orders not to drive for two weeks but mom is driving like a Virginian, not a West Virginian speed demon, so I take over. I love the woman but it was making me ancy watching the speedometer stay at 65.
There aren't many words spoken as I drive.
We arrive at 10. It is rainy and cold, only making my nervous mood that much more dreary.
We stop at the ultrasound building first but they tell me Dr. E will probably come over later with us, so we should just head over to his office.
So we get in the car, drive 50 feet to his office, and park.

My first though when I see Dr. E is: Hobbit.
He is short, round, and has teeny little eyes that are a strange, very light blue, kind of color. His hair isn't blond but isn't white and he has tiny little round glasses that sit at the end of his nose.
I'm thinking: "Can this guy even see!?"
He wasn't anything like what I was expecting.
Tall, dark, and handsome would have made me feel better...
but ya can't have everything.

The first thing he starts saying is he knows what's wrong but he doesn't want to tell us what it is until he runs an echo himself. So we load the baby up, drive the 50 feet BACK to the ultrasound building, and park.

So there we are. Sitting in a dark, hot room, looking at the echo screen but not understanding what we are seeing. The doctor and the technician talk among themselves...

I turn to mom and say: "I just don't want to hear anything about his aorta."
Swear to God, the doctor turns to us and says:
"He has a narrow aorta."

Are you freaking kidding me?! The ONE thing I didn't want to hear. The ONE thing I knew would mean a long and painful road for my baby.
I break down, feeling only fear for my child. The technician is apologizing and only making me cry harder.
And that's not all.
He has four small holes in the upper chambers, but the doctor isn't worried about those. He says those should close up on their own. What worries me is what comes next.
He says Peanut has two big holes between the two lower chambers that will need surgery to patch. His aorta is narrow and interrupted: which means it has a blockage of tissue.
He says that we should immediately head across the street to the hospital to get Peanut put on medication. He fears that if we wait too long, the aorta may close and we would have a major problem. We need to go to the emergency room and tell them to show us to a doctor ASAP. They call ahead to let them know we are coming and boot us out.

I can't keep myself together.
I head to the car, leaving mom to gather everything together. People are staring and watching me cry. I don't even care, I don't see anything, I only see my baby.
My FOUR DAY OLD baby is going to have to have surgery.
My NEWBORN is going to be cut open and operated on.
My child, who I haven't even gotten to know yet, will be taken away from me and poked and prodded by doctors and needles.
And it's not like the doctor said anything to calm me down. He just put it out there. "Put him on meds or he will die."
Like I can think of anything else.

Waiting on triage kills me. I can't sit still. I go outside to park the car.
I don't bother calling Hubby until I hear more.
I pace back and forth, still crying.
I start daydreaming...
I imagine myself in a waiting room..a doctor walks out, taking off his gloves, he looks at me and shakes his head. "I'm sorry, we did everything we could."
A fricking episode of Grey's Anatomy is running in my head right now.
God help me.

There is the usual amount of paperwork before I can see Peanut. They have him behind a curtain in the ER. I poke my head behind the curtain but immediately pull back. They are trying to get an IV in and I am not sticking around for that. It takes at least 15 minutes before one of the nurses finally gets an one in. My poor baby is crying and crying. They add more wires and tubes, they take another EKG and a chest xray.
I only see dollar bills flying out the ER doors.
"How are we going to pay for this?" I ask my mom.
She's too busy praying to answer.

They have called Ruby Memorial in Morgantown and are having them send a team of nurses to come down and pick Peanut up. It will take at least an hour for them to get ready then three hours for them to arrive.
It's going to be a long day.

A nurse comes over to where I am waiting by the ER doors. (Its the only place I get signal on my phone) She tells me she has called nurses to come down from Pediatrics to help put another IV in Peanut. They say that they need to start one for antibiotics but Peanut is so "hard to stick", she doesn't want to do it. She tells me that the nurses from PEDS are much better at putting IVs in little babies.
Oh great.
They are most likely going to put one is his head.
"Come again?"
Apparently there are good big veins running through babies heads that are good for sticking IVs in.
Like I said, it's going to be a long day.
An hour later, they are done sticking my baby full of IVs, tubes, and are done running tests.
My boobs are busting at the seams, so I ask a nurse if they have a breast pump I can borrow.
"I didn't bring mine..I didn't think I would need it."
No problem, she tells me, and escorts me upstairs. She gives me a kit to their fancy new breast pumps and a whole bag of goodies.
This, in a small way, makes me feel better.
Its lame, I know. But receiving a cute little bag full of breast pump supplies makes my day a little less traumatic.

As I'm making my way back to Peanut's "room", a short little old lady stop and asks me:
"Are you the mommy?"
I can only nod, holding back tears.
She then puts her arm through mine and starts praying.
This is the kindest, most thoughtful thing and it breaks my heart.
I can only sob as she and my mom pray for my baby. To have a total and complete stranger take the time to pray with you, to pray for someone they don't know anything about, is very moving.

I go sit by my baby and begin writing a list of belongings for Hubby to bring. I had called him earlier to let him know what was going on. I'm sure I scared the crap out of him, calling and not being able to say anything through the tears. He is a trooper though, and handles the news much better then I. He asks me if I want him to go to Morgantown with me, or my mom. I tell him I think this is way too important for him to miss, so he should start packing and head this way as soon as he can.

An hour and a half later, Hubby arrives. Mom says she should start heading back to our house; she will be watching Monkey while we go up to Morgantown. It has started snowing and she doesn't want to be stuck at the hospital, so we say our goodbyes.
Hubby informs us that not only is Monkey sick, but that the power at the house is out.
Mom insists she will be okay, gives me one last hug, and heads home.

Ambulance is still over an hour away.

Mom had told me earlier that she and my dad were talking; and he brought up a good point. It was an act of God that my water broke early. He said that, given Peanut's issues, he may not have survived a natural birth. His broken little heart may not have been able to handle the stress of a vaginal birth. I completely agree, and thank God for my c-section. I will never complain about my scar again.

Around 7 pm, the ambulance team arrives.
They are all very nice and professional; Hubby and I feel very comfortable leaving Peanut with them. Since they sent a team of four, there isn't any room in the ambulance for me to ride with them. We hang around to sign paperwork and once they have finished prepping Peanut for transport, we leave for Morgantown.
It's a long 3 hour drive, in the rain and darkness, to a place I really don't want to be at.
I don't want to be here. I don't want my baby to be here. I want to scoop him up in my arms and never let him go.
The uncertainty of what is going to happen is killing me.

The transport team calls us at 10:30 to let us know Peanut has arrived at the hospital. We start looking for a hotel.
Turns out, Snoop Dog is in town, so every hotel is booked.
My list of GREATS just keeps getting longer!
It takes us over an hour to find a vacancy then to FIND the damn place. You would think, with a map in hand, and only two turns to make that we would have found the hotel no problem. But this town is whack and we end up in the ghetto twice before we find our hotel.
We check in, drop off our things, then head to the hospital.
It's one am before we see our newborn.

The NICU is very quiet and dark. We walk into a room with four stations with four babies. Peanut is on the left with a doctor standing over him, running an ultrasound of his heart. She is quiet at first, consulting with her assistant.
A short while later, she motions us over and begins to explain what she is seeing.
She has a very neat Eastern European accent.
She tells us that he does indeed have four holes in his upper chamber, and two in his lower chambers. She is more concerned with his narrow aorta. According to her calculations, his aorta looks to be half the size it should be. She points out the interruption and where it is supposed to connect to the rest of the artery. She explains that they will have to bridge (go around) the blockage to fix the problem.
She can't answer many of our questions, as they all depend on what Peanut's cardiologist decides to do. But we leave feeling better with the little knowledge we now have.

*added January 25th, 2012*
follow this link to view a CHD awareness board on Pinterest, with Corbin's story

1 comment:

Aislynn said...

Ruth, this is wonderfully written. I've been wondering how you've been managing to post such upbeat status updates on Facebook, and stick to the facts on Caring Bridge. You're an incredibly strong woman and Corbin couldn't have a better mother to support and love him through all of this. I don't know how you do it. This blog entry made me cry and selfishly hug my healthy baby. I wonder if I could ever be as tough as you're having to be through all of this. Please let me know if I can do anything. Seriously.

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