With a squirt of soap, a floodgate of emotions burst. That scent of antimicrobial hand cleaner in the bathroom of Duke University Hospital hit my nose and sent me reeling back to the days of scrubbing up to my elbows until my skin was raw… The days of asking for permission to see my own baby girl, of donning a worn hospital gown over my own clothes to protect her from germs, of watching her vitals on the monitors and feeling my heart drop with every alarm, of maneuvering around breathing tubes and drains and IV lines just to touch my bundle of joy. Remembering rushing to the hospital in the early morning to sit by her isolette and listen to the doctors discuss my child with words and terms I never dreamed of understanding and then having to walk away from her at night, trusting her life in the hands of strangers that were really angels dressed in scrubs.
I pulled myself together in time to sit in the waiting room and hear the sound of the helicopter coming in for a landing- that same sound that carried my newborn baby hours away from me on her birthday. I remembered so vividly trying to hold my precious girl so tightly in my arms as the life flight pilots gently pried her away from me, watching them strap her in that plastic box on a stretcher and wheel her down the hall, and laying alone in my own hospital bed as that awful sound of the helicopter got louder, then faded into the distance.
So many other heart-wrenching memories flooded my mind today, triggered by the smallest things… Watching the nurse wrap the pulse ox around Harper’s toe, that red light glowing under the tape; walking to the ICN window to speak to the folks who were such a blessing to us; seeing those weary families trying to find some rest in the waiting room; an infant being wheeled down the hall in a plastic box of a crib, covered completely by a blanket to protect her from stares; getting our red plastic armbands at the Ronald McDonald House; being away from my big girls and leaving them home with family… It has made for an emotionally draining evening for sure.
Tomorrow will be even more trying as this mommy prepares to turn her baby over to the doctors again. While it is just for an MRI, it is causing me much anxiety. Harper will not be allowed to have any food or bottles after midnight, as she will be under general anesthesia tomorrow. We will take her to pre-op around 9:00 in the morning, and she will have to have IVs put in. She is part of a special study being done here at Duke on a medication they use, which means she will also have to have blood drawn and have an EKG before and after her tests. This will be the first time since bringing her home that we have to leave her with the doctors, and it is already breaking my heart!
Her scan is scheduled for 11:00, and then she will go to recovery until the meds wear off. We will then meet with Dr. Fuchs, her neurosurgeon, around 3:00 to discuss the results. On her last scan she still showed some areas of fluid, brain damage, and cysts, but it was all stable. We are praying for miraculous results tomorrow. She is an amazing little girl and shows no signs of brain trouble at all, so we know God is taking good care of her! Thank you all for praying with our family tonight and tomorrow… God hears and answers those prayers, and we are so grateful!