Why am I here (Part-2)

First off, I struggle to believe it’s been over a year since my last post. I can assure you, my intentions are good, and yet I’ve not set aside time to post here more often. As it’s May already, I’m going to establish my New Year’s resolution here on 5-12-24 and make up for lost time the rest of the year. More posts coming – stay tuned…

OK, so I’m gonna attempt to pick up where I left off on this topic.

Setting the stage: From 30 to 35 weeks of pregnancy duration, my wife and I were going for multiple Doppler blood flow ultrasounds each week. The reason for this is because something was going on in the womb with our child. It was not growing at a normal pace and at 35 weeks, it was clear to the medical folks, this little person was likely going to need to come out of the womb soon. One of the best ways to do this is to monitor the flow of blood into and out of the umbilical cord via this Doppler blood flow ultrasound. They watch the blood flow in, flow up to the brain and back out. At this 35-week ultrasound, they notified us the blood was getting to the brain but was not exiting normally. As such, they needed to emergency schedule a C-section for intercession, and to get this child out of its (as Robin William’s called it) “Womb Service”. We were told, “…it looks like the placenta isn’t doing what it should at this point, and is breaking down & causing this issue. If we don’t get this child out soon, it could do further damage. So, a C-section was emergency scheduled. And just like that, we were about to have our 4th child.

On August 22nd, of the year 2000, my wife went into surgery. I don’t remember if I was allowed in the room (it’s been too long) like I was able to for all my prior children. I do remember, the first time I saw our child and remember many of the feelings and thoughts I had at the time. OMG – “this child is so small and frail” It (still didn’t know at this time if “it” was a boy or girl) had hoses and wires connected all over its little body. It was delivered at a whopping (NOT) weight of 3 lbs, 2 oz. If you’ve ever seen a child of this size, you know what an awe-inspiring time this is. So unbelievably frail and hanging on by a thread to life. Because it was 35 weeks, its lungs were further developed than most infants born as preemies. As is quite typical its lungs had quite a bit of meconium in it and needed quite a bit to get it breathing ok. This child needed a bilirubin light (blue light to help with the typical jaundice so common with preemies as well). When getting this therapy, eye protection is worn, thus the funky glasses.

Not long after arriving in the NICU, a blood test was done on our new child and we were told, from a blood perspective, this child was, in fact, a boy. We named him Sean

Shortly after arriving in the NICU, the nurses and doctors told us they needed to run a few tests because they were concerned about something they were seeing with our child. Some time later, the doctors and nurses came back and told us their fears had been confirmed … our new son had “calcification of the brain”. This confirmation had been verified by their testing. The doctors and nurses suggested we contact our spiritual leader to seek assistance in dealing with this news. My wife, who was a bit more Catholic than me at this point, called our parish priest. Through many tears, she notified our parish of what was happening at St. Vincent’s hospital on the NW side of Indianapolis. We were notified our parish priest and some ladies from St. Michel’s parish in Greenfield, IN. would be coming out to give our child the last rites (a “sacrament” in the Catholic Church and quite common when a person is near death). My wife was inconsolable at this point. At this time, she had been through so very much. To be told, your child is basically brain dead and there isn’t much you or anyone can do to help, aside from pray. We felt completely hopeless. Inside, I was starting to be really pissed at “God” Why us? Why now? After all, we’d prayed to God to help us get pregnant and were trying to do all we could to live good Catholic lives as parents. This made no sense to me. We’d lost a twin in utero and now this!!!

Our Priest showed up with two ladies from the church office. They prayed and prayed over Sean and he both baptized Sean (with a sea shell and Holy Water) and gave him his last rites. I remember thinking at the time … this is a surreal moment, and I don’t think the baptism and last rites did jack shit. My wife was overwhelmed with appreciation they came, and did what they did for our son. She tipped him with $money$ in a truly grateful way just before their departure. Shortly after, the nurse and doc came up to us and said they’d rerun the tests and our son. Turns out, our son did not have “calcification of the brain”. The test was a false positive. Our son was probably OK. Hallelujah, It’s a miracle !!! Once again, I was both glad and horrified at what had transpired. Why ?? What the Hell ?? Was this a miracle? Had Sean not been “Baptized” or received the “Last Rites”, would he still be brain dead? My emotions were all over the place. My wife held onto the sea shell like it was a religious artifact / relic and kept crying like she’d witnessed a true miracle. I was in a state of shock.

The next few weeks are a complete blur in my mind, as we spent most every waking moment in the hospital next to our son, Sean. To be continued…

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