Saturday, June 28, 2014

Processing it all...

So, I was driving through town today in our Suburban & had a flash back moment from this past weekend. My heart sped up & I felt the panic rise in my belly. You see, this past weekend, we almost lost our daughter. The story goes like this:

Friday, June 20th we had a really fun barn party. We invited friends that we needed to thank for all the help in building our fabulous new barn & some that we needed to thank for helping us move to our acreage & neighbors. It was GREAT! We bar-b-q'd, had chicken races, homemade ice cream, great conversations, and more. Plus, it was Jeremy & I's 16th anniversary. 

The following day was filled with egg deliveries & all the little chores you need to do normally on a hobby farm.  I was just starting dinner & sat on the couch to ask Jeremy a question.  Glory was standing on a chair at the table getting her drink. She knocked the glass onto the floor & it broke. She slipped off the chair & landed on the broken glass. Brody, who had been standing next to her, hollered to me that she was bleeding. I walked the few feet over to her, turned her around & cursed. 

My kids know that I curse when we are headed to the emergency room. But his time, I cursed 3 TIMES! I grabbed her up & had to hold her insides in. I could see past all the layers of skin & through the muscles. THROUGH THE MUSCLES! I yelled for everyone to get in the car & for Jeremy to drive. He told me to just go (meaning don't wait for the other kids to get in the car) so I explained to him that I needed to hold her together.

We called 911, we called the hospital & told them we were speeding & the route we were taking. We treated red lights like stop signs. All the while Glory was going into shock & vomiting all over my leg multiple times while I tried to hold her sideways while clutching at her mid section. What 2yo wants to be held in a funny position, squeezed & vomit while driving? She startied out crying & pleading with me to let go & take the rag off that I'd grabbed out of the drawer on the way out. I couldn't make her understand. But when she just layed there with her eyes drifting shut, that was scarier. I asked her questions about what she liked more swings or slides, chickens or sheep, what's her sheep's name, etc. She stopped answering; but she was still awake.

When we got to the hospital I wanted everyone to move as fast as I was & I was trying to be calm but I felt like punching the registration lady in the face. Nurse Shelley was fantastic. She understood. She didn't wait. She got busy. Since we called ahead the doctor was already waiting & a surgeon walked in after just a couple minutes. They started 2 IV's. The peds doc came in & stayed. They did a portable chest xray to see if her lung was perforated. It looked good. They gave her a 200cc bolus of fluids. Within a very short time they told us that Glory would have to go to Blank Children's Hospital because she had a "life threatening injury". Those words actually echoed in my ears.

You might notice that the above paragraph, minus the punching the registrar in the face, was somewhat clinical. See, I'm a nurse & when my kids are hurt, I go into nurse mode. It's easier to get done what needs to be done if you aren't as emotional. Not that nurses aren't emotional, but they aren't having to work on their own hearts personified in the little one sitting on the gurney. At the moment that doctor told me it was life threatening & they were sending the Life Flight Helicopter, I struggled to keep it together. I couldn't finish singing the songs to keep her calm while they put in another IV & took blood & monitored her heart. Then, they explained that I might not be able to go in the helicopter. I would have to hand my baby over to strangers while they rush her to surgery in another city & I couldn't hold her or say goodbye or be her comfort in the midst of all things scary & new.  

I tried not to lose it. I had to think. I had to answer questions. I had to get my other kids taken care of. I had to plan 2 different scenarios of action should I get to fly or not. Jeremy & Zeb needed to come. I would need to feed Zeb soon but I had to stay with Glory. Should I send Jeremy or would weight be a factor in the flight so I should go? Add in about 30 other weird thoughts that enter your mind, like who will do animal chores & make sure Sage turns off the water to the cattle? 

The Pediatric Flight team from Blank came to our hospital to take her in the ambulance to the little airport in town to fly us to Des Moines. My heart was pounding through my chest while I patiently waited to ask if I could fly with my baby. I didn't even hesitate when they asked my weight. Thank God, He answered my prayers! One of the paramedics stayed back so that I could fly with the Pediatric Team.  

I had no time to be pondering the fun of my first ambulance ride & helicopter ride. I feel like time stopped or was in slow motion at various points. The ambulance ride felt like 2 min tops. The helicopter flight, maybe 5-I know it was 15 because they said it would be a 15 minute flight on the head phones. Glory got blood in the helicopter. Her lips turned grey & her skin was mottled & paler than normal (cause as it was pointed out many times, I am rather pale normally). I had signed the papers okaying a blood transfusion if necessary but it was still shocking that IT WAS NECESSARY!

I forgot to mention that the paramedic that helped in the ambulance on the way to the airport was so great! I have the feeling that if I saw him in public, I would only have minor qualms about rushing up to him & hugging him. In reality, I would just smile very big & say hello hoping he remembered us but inside I would be hugging him.  Laurie, on the other hand, I would run to to hug! She was the head flight nurse & she was INCREDIBLE! She put Glory at ease starting in the ER, she continued in the ambulance, the helicopter, and all the way to the trauma room. She has 6 kids so she knows how to talk to them. Then, she came to visit 3 or 4 times on the PICU. She even took Glory up to the roof to visit the helicopter a couple days later & have her picture taken. She is fantastic at her job & deserves a huge raise! I wish I could give it to her.

We were met on the roof by more people & police. I guess the police guard the helipad? We took the elevator down & were met by a team of about 10 trauma specialists. Blank is a teaching hospital so I knew some of them were learning but it was a little overwhelming. I started answering questions directed at Laurie & apologized quickly while putting my hand over my mouth. I had switched back to nurse mode in my head. The head trauma surgeon put me at ease & didn't make me feel badly for speaking up. He acknowledged that I was a nurse & asked me some questions. There was a lady there just to keep Glory calm & entertained. She had bubbles, toys, & an IPad with fun games. It didn't really work but she tried really hard. Jeremy arrived with Zeb & I knew that he must've sped a little but who could blame him. 

We walked along with the gurney to the surgery area but we had to stop at the doors. They told me I couldn't say goodbye. "Just walk away." A couple students took us to the waiting area which was deserted because it was late Saturday night & they don't schedule surgeries for that time. We were left alone. I was supposed to sit & wait for news. 

Jeremy deals with stress by eating. He called Jimmy Johns & ordered for the both of us even though I was nauseous. (He did a great job of reminding me to eat & drink the entire hospital stay) After 16 years of marriage & 3 years of dating, he knows me pretty well. I don't eat or drink when I'm stressed, or busy, or...let's just say it isn't a priority & if I was single with no kids my food bill would be really easy to budget. Anyway, Jeremy offers me a tshirt from his bag & I finally notice that my shirt is covered in blood & my pants are covered in vomit. I took them to the bathroom to change but I couldn't bring myself to do it. It was weird. It was like I needed to keep her blood near me just in case. I was kept busy for the next 2 hrs watching Zeb & trying to eat the sandwich Jeremy got for me. 

The surgeon finally arrived to tell us all about her surgery. The glass had missed her diagragm. Her ribs had done their job in protecting her lungs but one had a triangular knick out of it. Her artery next to her ribs was cut & that's why she was bleeding internally. That artery helped them to find the other damage. The fat that surrounds each organ was poking out of the hole in her side. When the investigated that they found that her stomach was perforated & needed to be fixed. He had to make a vertical incision from the bottom of her ribs all the way to her belly button in order to fix her stomach. But she's alive & we can go see her.

Finally we got to go up to the PICU to see her. But we had to wait in the family room until they got her situated. They took her breathing tube out but she was still on oxygen. She looked so puffy & tiny in that big bed. Her nurse was one of 11 kids. She was great all night long. She gave me some scrubs to change into & I showered in Glory's room. I forgot how comfy scrubs are! Jeremy & I took turns sleeping with her in that big bed. Well, as much sleeping as you can do when your baby has just had emergency surgery & is connected to machines that beep constantly & nurses come in every hour to check her vitals. I think I fell asleep between 430 & 630am. 

Funny thing, Glory is a very insightful child. She could tell within 15 sec of meeting a nurse or doctor if they were going to be good or not. And danged if she wasn't right every time. If she spoke to them, they were in. If she just stared at them, we knew that they were having a bad day or not really a kid person. We had 2 fantastic nurses named Amy & Chelsy. The other ones were ok & some of them must've been having a bad day. She had a bunch of docs but her favorite was her trauma doc Dr Swegle. She told him that the arm boards taped to her arms to keep her from bending them & pinching her IV's were her SUPER SHIELDS. So when he came in, he would say, "shields up" & she'd put her forearms up by her face. It was very cute. He said he'd never had anyone call them that before. You can tell she has big brothers. 

Another way God took care of us was that Zeb got to stay with us. Normally he wouldn't have been allowed to stay all night & there isn't enough room in the rooms for both mama & daddy let alone an infant requiring a crib. But they put her in the only double room so they had room for the gigantic crib & both of us. Even when they down graded her status from intensive care, we got to stay in that room unless it was needed-it wasn't. Plus. Zeb slept through the night for the first time every night we were there! I didn't have to worry about feeding him & noise & getting him to sleep while there. At home he sleeps with us but it is against hospital policy to co-sleep. I didn't want to make waves since they were already allowing him to stay but he never sleeps for over a couple hours in a crib.  Didn't even have to worry.

OK, this is getting long. So, I'll wrap it up. Thank goodness for the kids' play room, the wagons & riding cars to take walks, Frozen movie (I believe we watched in 9 times, could've been more), therapy dogs & their fun baseball cards, hot cocoa & popsicles, fun visitors, Gma & Gpa watching the other kids, cell phones to keep everyone in the prayer loop, helicopters & ambulances, doctors & nurses, & FANTABULOUS husbands.

I have a greater respect for many things. But that'll have to be another post. Go hug someone that you need & love.