I thought you all might like to see a picture of my new little boy! This is Joshua Wesley, born October 16th at 8lbs. 7oz. and 21in. long. You might think that's big but I've had two bigger babies (and one smaller) before him! I am up about two times a night feeding him and am pretty exhausted at this point. However, all of my kids have slept through the night at 2 months so fingers crossed he follows the same pattern.
This little man gave us the scare of our lives. Born with the lungs of a preemie despite being full term, he was pronounced in respiratory distress minutes after birth and whisked off to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). My thoughtful nurse encouraged us to snap a quick picture before he was taken away.
He was suppose to be in the NICU for only a few short days until his lungs could adjust to breathing normal air. However, at 48 hours old, he went into a downward spiral. His oxygen levels dropped dramatically because his left lung collapsed. The doctors got that re-inflated and he stabilized, only to have the oxygen start dropping again. This time they inserted a tube into his chest to suck out the oxygen that had leaked into the space between his lung and his lung cavity, causing the lung to collapse again. Once more he stabilized, then again started to drop his oxygen levels. The doctors were scratching their heads about what was causing all this trauma, and were having to resuscitate him in between procedures and bedside x-rays. He finally ended up on an oscillating ventilator, hooked up to a tank of nitric oxide and given a dose of synthetic surfactant. Five hours after the initial lung collapsed he stabilized for good.
Sitting in a waiting room for that amount of time while your baby is fighting for his life is terrifying. It was the darkest night of my entire life, and the only thing that got me through was my faith in God and in his being in control of the situation.
Everyday of his stay in the hospital I got up early, got my kids ready for school, and went to spend the day with my baby. I had no time to heal, to rest at home while my body recuperated, to enjoy the solace of being surrounded by only my family. Every afternoon I had to leave him there in the care of strangers and hope that he would still be there when I returned. If you've never experienced having an infant in the NICU I cannot explain how hard it really is. I was so grateful for the care of the doctors and nurses who saved his life, but I was incredibly sad every night that I didn't have all my children under one roof.
We were warned that Joshua might have a few more setbacks after that really horrible night but he never did. Thanks to the prayers of hundreds of people all across the country, we saw our little man get steadily better and better. I brought him home on October 29, thirteen days after his birth. It was the first time my other kids got to meet their brother.
Going through something like this has a way of putting all of life's experiences into perspective. Five days after Joshua came home a spark plug exploded in our minivan, ruining the engine and causing thousands of dollars of repair work to be needed. We ended up completely replacing the vehicle. Had this happened a month before I would have been super upset. When it did occur, though, I could only be mildly annoyed. The worst thing in my life that could have happened didn't. My baby did not die in that hospital. Every other setback pales in comparison.
Life is precious.