Thursday, January 3, 2008

So, This Was Christmas

I wanted to give my kids a memorable Christmas this year. I had the gifts purchased, wrapped, and ready to place lovingly under the tree. I had the turkey feast purchased and ready to bake. I had even selected the outfits the kids would each wear to open their gifts so that I'd have fabulous pictures to look back on. It was going to be an exciting Christmas for all of us, and I was ready.

We had noticed in the week previous to Christmas that Snort, Pretty, and Number One had little colds. I contacted the doctor, and got them what they needed to get over it. I don't like to medicate my children much because I'm a believer in letting their bodies grow their own immunities, but I suppose that's a whole other blog post for another time. Snort is, of course, too little to have medications anyway, so the doctor. gave us suggestions to help make him more comfortable.

I monitored him each day, and sometimes it seemed like he was getting better. Other days, he seemed a little more off. Finally, the Saturday before Christmas, I opted to take him into the Saturday pediatric clinic just to be sure all was well. The doctor looked him over, listened to his lungs, and gave him two thumbs up. I couldn't have been happier. This was a sure sign that the holidays would go off without a hitch.

Sunday, I kept Pretty and Snort home from church with me. I haven't quite been ready to take my beautiful new baby and expose him to all the germs that are floating around in church. I noticed throughout the day that he was really sleepy and hadn't eaten much. I guess I just wasn't on top of things enough to realize that these were signs that something more was wrong with him. By that night, he was rather pale. Even our close family friends noticed that something wasn't right with him. We were hoping to wait it out until Monday morning, Christmas Eve, so we could get him to the pediatrician. We also got him a blessing, just for peace of mind and to bring him comfort.

As the night progressed, we noticed his breathing seemed off. I didn't jump into action because Pretty used to do something very similar. I panicked when she did it, and it turned out to be her reflux. I did NOT want to take her to the ER for reflux. So, the King and I watched him...and watched him...and watched him. There was no change. But, I was starting to feel like he needed to be seen by a doctor. I told the King, and he agreed with me. (He never argues when I feel like something important is happening and needs to be addressed. Thank goodness!)

So, we took him in at 12:45 in the morning. It was now Christmas Eve. We figured he might need a breathing treatment, and would be home shortly after that. We couldn't have been more wrong. He was quickly taken to triage, probably because I wrote "labored breathing" on the form asking why he was there.

I calmly took him into the triage room while the King waited in the waiting room for us. The nurse took his vitals and observed his breathing. He stayed straight-faced the whole time, even as he took Snort's oxygen saturation level. It hovered at 67%, and went up to 80% with a good breath. Having had a child with asthma, I knew these were NOT good numbers. The nurse said he was going to get a room, and would be back shortly. He went in back, a code was called, and within twenty seconds, Snort and the King and I were being brought back. From there, all Hell broke loose.

Before I knew it, my sweet 30 day old baby was in pediatric critical care and there were about twenty people in there feverishly working on him. I turned around to find the King gone from the room. Apparently, he had been taken out to register the baby, leaving me alone. There I was in my own personal Twilight Zone. Doctors and nurses were scrambling around the room trying to help Snort. They cut him out of his clothes to get to him faster. Questions were coming at me left and right, and I couldn't begin to answer them. I just panicked. I stood there like an idiot crying trying to figure out how I had missed that my precious baby was in serious distress for hours and hours. My mind was just spinning out of control. It was like time was frozen around me. I could see it all happening, but I couldn't become a part of it. I just stood there terrified that I was losing my baby, and on Christmas Eve no less.

He was finally stabilized, and tests were run. Shockingly, his lungs were totally clear. Whatever was wrong with him was viral. Obviously, he was staying there in the hospital. Luckily, we got a doctor to agree to take him on and not force us to rush him to the Children's hospital in the bigger city an hour away.

So, at 4:45am on Christmas Eve morning, we were officially admitted. This was so not part of my holiday plans, and I was beyond shell shocked. The King stayed the rest of the night, what was left of it, in the hospital with Snort and me. He went home to care for the other three kids later in the day. So, there I was alone in the hospital just grateful to still have this beautiful baby I had been blessed with.

I got to go home for an hour that night to set up the Christmas tree for Number One, Beast, and Pretty to find on Christmas morning. Our babysitter came and stayed the night with us at the hospital so I could come home right when the King called to say the kids were awake the next morning. I got no sleep that night. None. My heart was broken in so many ways. I wanted to curl up in a corner with my little family and hide and never come out.

The King called me bright and early in the morning when Number One woke him up. I came straight home and got to enjoy watching the gifts being opened. And then, I had to leave again. I cried all the way back to the hospital. I had just had Christmas without Snort. And then, I was leaving my children to spend the rest of the holiday away from them. I couldn't play games with them, make them the feast I'd planned on, or just generally enjoy the holiday the way we had hoped.

A few days after being admitted, Snort developed pneumonia, and a whole new treatment plan was begun. Thankfully, the treatment plan worked, and we made it home that Friday. We are home with breathing treatments, apnea monitors, medication schedules, and special feeding plans. But, we are home.

So, Christmas wasn't what I thought it would be. In fact, it was a nightmare. If I could cancel it every year from here on out, I think I might. We're shooting for a lovely Easter...or Halloween. Either way, I'm not counting on Christmas going very well ever again. (For those that don't know, last year was somewhat similar to this one.

What I did get out of Christmas this year, was an opportunity to count my blessings. I learned how loved we really are. My visiting teacher brought us dinner on Christmas Eve, and it was no small dinner. It was AMAZING! And, she cooked my turkey for me before delivering it to my family. If I couldn't be there, at least the dinner could be, right? She then called our Relief Society president who arranged for someone to take the Beast off our hands for a few hours and meals through the holiday weekend. Wow! That is some big sacrifice on the part of people who should have been enjoying their own holidays, not worrying about mine.

I also realized how lucky I am just to have my amazing husband and four beautiful children. No amount of turkey or beautifully wrapped gifts or holiday fun can outshine having a family who I love and who is together. I'm just grateful beyond grateful to have them all okay.

So, this was Christmas. And I'm glad that it's over. And I'm not looking forward to next year's Christmas, but I am looking forward to making special memories all year round.


Anonymous said...

((HUGS)) Thank goodness for getting him better and all the help you had. So glad he's on the mend

heidi and tom said...

Holy cow!!!! I am sooooo glad everything is okay with you and your little man. How truly scary!!! Why do our little ones insist on giving us such close calls?? There's always something to be learned through life's lessons. Welp, I am truly happy that all is well. love you,