Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hard Stuff

Wednesday was a normal day. It was turning out to be a long day because it was the day before the 4th of July and I was antsy to get off work and get home.  The doctor I work for was off for the rest of the week, so I was doing odds and ends and finishing up some stuff before the holiday weekend.

One of our last patients of the day came in and it was a 5 month old. The scales are right by my desk, so I was sitting there as one of the nurses weighed the baby. The parents went on and on about how big the baby was getting and they were so excited and proud because starting life as a 23 weeker and being as big as that baby was is a big deal!

About 20 minutes later, we started hearing a beeping noise. We have a lot of patients that have all different types of monitors, so it's pretty standard, but our office was pretty empty that day, so we weren't sure where it was coming from.  A few seconds later, a nurse came out and called for Dr. Shah. The little baby wasn't breathing.

There are about 5 million thoughts that go through one's mind when you hear that a child isn't breathing......What happened? What can I do? What are the parents thinking? I can't imagine being that mom. What if that was my kid? .........Working where I do, I've seen a lot of things. I've seen babies having seizures, I've seen adults having seizures, I've been slapped in the face by a 300 pound autistic boy and had a shoe thrown at my head.  But I've never seen a baby stop breathing.

It's scary. Sad. Horrible and unthinkable.

We called EMS and even though it was a mere few minutes, it felt like forever for them to get there. I was actually surprised in the end at how prompt and attentive they were. There were no fewer than 20 people there--they just kept coming and coming.

All I could think to do was pray. I prayed over and over that God would breathe life into that baby's lungs and give everyone who was working the knowledge and skill they needed in that exact moment to save it's life. I didn't know what else to do.

A few of the EMS techs came out shaking their heads. I had no idea what the status was, but that was not a good sign. A few minutes later, they came out with stretcher and I prayed again that God would send His angels with that baby. After everyone had cleared out, I went to the back to see if I could help clean up or do anything and the dad came back in to get the rest of their stuff. He was crying and I could feel his pain, if only for a moment. As he took the carseat and blanket and rushed out to his car, I remember wondering if his life would ever be the same again.

I found out a few hours later that the baby died in the emergency room. I cried the whole way home because I just kept imaging how I would feel if that were my situation. I can't even fathom the kind of pain they were their whole worlds had been rocked.  I kept wondering if the baby was in pain. That thought breaks my heart. And I'm sure as parents, they are wondering the same thing and I can't imagine thinking your child was hurting and not being able to fix it. I kept seeing the joy on their faces as they talked at the scale about the weight gained and the progress made. They were so optimistic and excited.

That's the thing. It was a perfectly normal Wednesday. Nothing out of the ordinary. They were doing great and they were there for a routine check up. And in an instant, their whole lives changed. Without any notice, without any warning, without anything to soften the blow. They had no idea they would leave their house as a family and return home without their baby.

And the scarier thing is it could happen to anyone, anytime. There's no discrimination against who's on the receiving end of pain. There's no rhyme or reason as to why or who or when or where or how.

I hope so badly that they know Jesus. I have no idea how anyone could get through something like that without Him. I hope and pray they find a peace and comfort that's beyond our understanding. If you think of it, please pray for those parents. Perspective is the best eye-opener and putting yourself in their shoes makes for an earth shattering reality that we've got it good if our families are alive and healthy and well.

It's hard not to get upset and wonder why an innocent baby died and WHY those parents are having to go through what they're going through. It's not fair. It's not right.  But it IS. It happened. It can't be changed.

So all I can do is be thankful for the short amount of time they got to spend with their baby and make sure it changes my attitude about my kids. When they're screaming, they're alive. When they're throwing food all over, they're alive. When they're fighting, they're alive. When they're messy, they're alive. When they're whining.......they're alive.

And I'm so grateful every day for life. It is precious and sweet and sacred and not to be taken for granted.

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