UPDATE: This post has received an overwhelming response from people from all over and I’d like to give my heartfelt thanks to everyone from my family, Xavier Alumni, contacts from work and in the gaming hobby.
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to post something on the blog, as my wife and I have been going through what could only be best described as a truly unfortunate series of events of a medical nature, that have left us in a state of financial difficulty.
I won’t bore you with too much medical detail here, but the birth of my son last month was not according to our initial plans. Due to a condition called pre-eclampsia, we were forced to have the baby delivered through a Cesarean Section ahead of his due date. This was only the beginning of our worries.
I distinctly remember sitting next to my wife, looking at the heart rate monitor in the delivery room, waiting for our turn and watching her blood pressure climbing steadily. The doctors were pumping every drug they could think of to stop it from getting worse, but to no avail. At the rate that the numbers were climbing, our only choice was to deliver the baby or my wife would go into seizures.
As we were about to push through with the delivery, the doctor stops us to say that the results of a 2-D Echo test performed last weekend came back with even more bad news: She had water in the sac that surrounded her heart. As such, her heart was extremely weak, and there was a chance that she would go into a heart attack during the Cesarean Section.
My son, James, was born on December 22nd, just shy of Christmas. I would have been ecstatic, but then I was told that my wife was to be sent to the ICU.
They would operate on her a second time to drain the fluid from her heart. I spent Christmas in the ICU ward. Christine was an absolute trooper despite the difficulties. Time and again we were told by the doctors: “You’re lucky. With a case like yours, you have only a small chance of surviving.”
She didn’t get to see James for an entire week after giving birth to him, and I would sneak her photos of him I’d taken while cuddling the boy in the Transitional Care section of the hospital. I was bouncing between both of them, whispering words of encouragement to both, letting them know that everything was going to be okay somehow.
Christine made a full recovery, but while we were overjoyed at the fact that we were alive, we were also concerned about the fact that we’d incurred a huge financial hit. We left the hospital worried about how we were going to get ourselves back on our feet.
Then came the second thing.
James contracted Late Onset Sepsis, an infection of the blood that manifests itself weeks after birth in premature infants. I remember the horror of waking up at 4 AM of January 7 to find that he’d gone deathly pale and his breathing was almost nonexistent. We rushed him to the hospital right away, with me driving like a madman, biting back my fears as I heard James let out a plaintive cry that could only be described as a dreadful shuddering gasp accompanied with a weak whining sound.
The nightmare hadn’t ended, I thought as I watched the Emergency Room staff get to work, and soon he was with an IV drip, only two weeks old and already he was being taken away to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Another ICU, just weeks after I’d left the first one behind me.
The trouble with Sepsis is that if it was caught too late, it could go to various organ systems, causing tremendous damage. Christine and I had to watch over James in the ICU, as they went through a barrage of tests: blood tests of all kinds, a spinal tap, and ultrasounds of his kidneys to check if his renal functions had been affected. We had a litany of horror stories relayed to us, each more terrifying than the next.
Finally, after the gauntlet of horrors, and the discussions with doctors specializing in pediatric infectious diseases, we were finally given leave to stay in a normal room of the hospital… for two weeks more. It wasn’t easy for Christine, who was still struggling with the medication from her stay, to be taking care of James in his state, angry and frustrated at his IV line and the constant interruptions of his sleep by nurses administering more medication to him.
We stuck through it, doing what we could and now we were finally discharged from the hospital. We’re exhausted, emotionally running on fumes, and financially even deeper in the hole than we were when Christine first recovered. Had it not been for the generosity of family in helping shoulder the bulk of the hospitalization costs, we would probably be even worse off.
We’re incredibly grateful for the ways and means by which were able to make it. Maybe it’s just dumb luck, but at this point, I’m willing to thank God for everything he’s done, from making certain we got the best doctors, to the coincidences that led us to being able to discover that James and Christine needed to be in the hospital at those times. I’ll chalk all of the good that’s happened this past month to the big guy upstairs.