Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

In addition to honestly being quite busy- and we're having a new baby, so I've been spending a lot of time alternately lethargically laying on the couch or trying to keep up my house and laundry- I've been putting this post off because it really was the worst day, at least near the top. But I do want to  capture everything and then maybe I can use this blog as I've always dreamed I'd blog, for recipes and crafting, cute picture of my (TWO babies) and maybe a book review or two.

Early on Mother's day this year, Brian called me, which was as much of a gift as he could give.

Hello? Hey baby. I was wondering if you could bring me a Vannil-la Llllatte.

I said I would, as soon as I could get there. 

No rush, I know you have things to do.

My mom was just getting home, as she had went to visit my brother's grave, early, and she brought flowers for me and chocolates. It was a sweet as could be.

We left early, meeting Mum and Dad Wilson at the hospital to do church with Brian. I stopped at Dutch Bros and got Brian his requested latte. Free drinks for the ladies, so me and Mom got drinks too.

Brian was happy to see us (and his coffee) and eager to get outside.  He also got the okay to take his first shower, so I was going to help him with that, but he said he wanted to go outside first and then shower later.

We had a lovely church service down on the beautiful patio at the hospital. Brian had a few things he wanted to add, but couldn't think of the verses or the certain version of a song he had hoped to sing. He kept looking to me, but I wasn't sure which one he was thinking of, since all he could offer was "It's by Page CXVI." They sing a lot of different versions of hymns.  It was frustrating sometimes because I couldn't read his mind like he wanted me to and things were so jumbled that he couldn't get out enough clues for me to guess what he was thinking.

We had company all day, and around lunch time Liv and I went and picked up some Thai food from me and Brian's favorite take out place down the road. Brian was still having a hard time chewing so the take out was for me and since it was mother's day I let myself have a treat.

We had first went there when I was still working, belly swollen with Elliot, and too tired to cook, it was "right on the way home."  It was so good we went again, later that week. When Elliot was days old and needed to be readmitted to the hospital, and we were sent out to get dinner, that's where we went. Tears leaking because I'd just left my tiny baby in the hands of strangers and it already felt so naked and strange without him and my body was still firey with the pain of having him. And here, more comfort food. It strangely felt right to go when Brian was left at the hospital, celebrating being a Mother. I couldn't help but remember the sweet card Brian had picked out and the sweet words he had written in it to me, the peony bush I had all but begged for AND an orchid the year before. I knew all the words were true this year and I read them again.

That evening, Trenton made his famous Creme Brulee- I've yet to have a restaurant compare- it's a perfect blend of cream and sugar, exactly toasted to a burnt sweetness. Brian ate two bowls with someone's help, and he needed all the calories he could get! At the same time, we hadn't really eaten dinner so my Mom went and got Burgerville with her aunt and uncle. The waiting room was packed and Brian wanted to (again) go down stairs. Once he signed the voucher to go out side (usually reserved for smokers, but Brian just wanted fresh air) he was downstairs as much as he could. I think maybe because it was something he had control of, and of course the hospital room wasn't too interesting.

Upstairs in the waiting room lobby, I fed Elliot little pieces of hamburger bun and patty, cutting it small and he toddled from one couch to the other as he ate. He'd had a cold, and coughed while he swallowed once and couldn't recover. I thought he was choking so I snatched him up and held him upside down over the trash can and then sink, pounding his back with the heel of my hand, trying to remember if that was the right thing to do for the Heimlich on babies.  He coughed and coughed, and couldn't seem to get it up or down.  I gave him water and that didn't help, tried nursing and that didn't help, he just kept coughing and crying. I thought maybe if we went outside it would help cool him off, since he loves being outside.

As we got there, we met my mom and aunt and uncle who had went to dessert after delivering dinner, as well as a hoard of people already down with Brian, I can't even picture who it all was, brothers and friends and cousins, I think. My mom picked up Elliot from the stroller and he stopped crying almost immediately, which was a little relieving, but he relaxed and his face went kind of gray. I was explaining to her about the choking and I couldn't tell if it was the fluorescent light or if he really did look funny.  After a whole day of being passed around and crawling at the hospital he was down to his jeans and a onsie. Matt was right there, and rubbed Elliot's foot which went white and then gray.

He doesn't look right.

I again explained the choking and suggested again the lighting, but Matt said it again.

He looks funny.

Well. Let's bring him upstairs and check his oxygen levels, I said, planning on using the machine in Brian's room.  Again, thankful I knew my way around those rooms and machines.

I was happy we had so many visitors, and Brian was thriving on all of the attention, but I also felt tired and weary and looking back maybe it was too much. As we headed upstairs we met Phil heading out, he hugged me and must have saw as much on my face because he mentioned it. I said it was okay, I was okay and I'd see him tomorrow.

When we got to Brian's room it was me and my mom and Gwen there, and Elliot's oxygen levels were in the low 70s.  That kind of worried me because they should be 90s minimum. Knowing the nurses had just changed shift and were busy checking on their patients I found the charge nurse and asked if she could please take a listen to Elliot's lungs and maybe we could decide what to do from there.  She listened and said maybe we could have someone bring his inhaler but she would probably walk down to the ER.

I looked to my mom and then Gwen, hoping someone else would tell me what to do, wishing Brian could listen to him and tell me what he thought. I'm the one usually freaking out and he's the one rationally thinking things through. They both looked at me, You're the mom. You make the call.  Their eyes said the same thing. I looked at Elliot, who was lying still on my mom's shoulder.

Let's take him over there. We've already maxed out our insurance, so it can't hurt. 

The charge nurse called the ER charge and told her we were on our way down, and I tried to gather my wits about me as we went down.

They took us right in, I'm guessing the phone call helped facilitate, and Elliot's oxygen levels were still really low.  At his one year check up his pediatrician had said he sounded like a "kid who could wheeze" though he couldn't diagnose him with Asthma until he was having an attack or listened to him while he WAS wheezing. Remembering that, I thought he was maybe having an asthma attack, and maybe it was a good thing so we could get a firm diagnosis. They ordered and then did a chest x-ray, putting the film between me and Elliot but letting me hold him the whole time.

He was crying a lot and I was holding oxygen to his face which he didn't love, but helped keep his levels up. He finally relaxed and slept in my arms when the Doctor came in and said that the chest x-ray showed Elliot had something in his lung, and they'd have to transport to OHSU or Emanuel.  The OR at Southwest was not equipped for pediatrics so we needed to go to a hospital that was so outfitted. I nodded my head, saying I had no preference, and somehow we decided on Randall Emanuel children's hospital. I remember feeling again, far away, wondering how we were there, wondering how long they'd keep Elliot. He left, to arrange transport and I collapsed.

Mom, Put it on facebook. I need people to pray. I handed her my phone and cried. Almost exactly two weeks later and we were back in the ER. My heart vacillated between my two guys. If they wanted to keep Elliot even a few days, I knew I physically couldn't be in two places at once. I wanted to be there for Brian, to tuck him in, to be there in the morning, to help his brain remember things, to jog it, to help him feel more normal, to shield him from people who may be unkind. I wanted to help him take his shower and go to the bathroom and get dressed, so no one else would have to do it. I wanted to take him for walks and see how his eyes would get clearer and maybe tomorrow would be the day he would come back to me. And now this. I couldn't leave Elliot with anyone else, even Grandma or Nana, he needed his Mama in a strange hospital, with strangers poking him and prodding. I was weary in every way, my arms ached from holding Elliot so straight and still, my head ached from being awake so long, my heart ached from the worry of the last two weeks, the loneliness of Brian's indifference and there was nothing I could do about any of it.

My cousin Katie came down to bring our diaper bag and my two mamas wrapped their arms around me and Elliot and Katie and they prayed so hard and real and sweetly that I felt I could keep going when they finished. when we opened our eyes the sweetest red haired nurse, eyes pools of kindness squeezed my leg, asking what church we went to and that she was praying for us, too.

See, the body of Christ. Everywhere. In action.

I realized I had to go the bathroom, bad, and didn't want to be stranded when the transport got there, so I handed Elliot to Gwen who climbed into the bed and I went to the bathroom, using a paper towel with cold water on it to wash my face and try to calm my puffy eyes.

Katie left and I took Elliot back while Gwen went to get our car seat (for when they discharged Elliot,) check on Brian and tell him what was happening and call Phil. She and my Mom were going to drive my car while I rode in the ambulance with Elliot.  She got back right before the transport got there and reported that Brian said,
That's okay, Mom, you go with them. I'm going to sleep.

It helped and made things seem worse. It showed how much Brian wasn't there with me. Normally, he would be right there, worried and annoyed he couldn't be there. It did help that he wasn't fretting and that he was resting, which would help him get better. The  best night nurse did say to keep them updated if Brian asked they could tell him.

The transport team was the EMT driver, a respiratory therapist and a nurse- in case things went south while transporting they could help. They had a stuffed dog for Elliot and stickers and little tricks but Elliot would have none of it and cried and cried, especially when he had to strapped into the little car seat by a stranger, out of my arms. We walked back to the ambulance bay, and could feel the eyes of people in the hall way. They were glad to not be me, and I could tell. I would be, too.

As I walked under the huge awning and they wheeled Elliot's stretcher/car seat into the back I could see my mom and Gwen and I waved to them and got in the front seat.

I wanted to sit quietly, and I could hear Elliot crying all the way across the river and just before Emanuel; but the driver made conversation which was a distraction and probably better. He said he had heard Brian's ambulance drive by when I told him what time and he couldn't believe our circumstances- neither could I- but I could honestly tell him I was at peace with Brian, and only happy this whole thing with Elliot had happened at the hospital. I might not have brought him in if we were at home. You never know.

When we got to Emanuel, I tried staying out of Elliot's sight since he had stopped crying, but as they turned the last corner and wheeled him into the ER room, he saw me and the waterworks started up again.  Not long after they got report they let me have him after checking his IV site that had been inserted at Southwest, and left us alone. The Nurse there was great, doing baby sign and distracting him with a whole bag of tricks while the blood pressure was checked.

There was a bit of a mix up about which "Peace Health" we were coming from so the Doctor or Anesthesiologist thought they had 20 more minutes since St. Johns is even farther north, so they weren't quite ready for us. That was okay, because it gave our Moms time to get there and the ENT Doc came in and explained the procedure and had me sign consent. He was very thorough with his explanation of how minor it was and how probably the worst that could happen was a sore throat. I think he expected me to be freaking out a bit more- though my eyes had to have been red and swollen still- but I had just signed consent for not one, but two brain surgeries. This really was minor, Elliot really was going to make it, and was in the best place to be if he were to try to "not make it."  The strange part was how little I was actually worried for Elliot's physical well being. I was just worried sick about how the next few days would look and driving PAST Brian's hospital to go to Elliot's and what would happen.  However, in the same speech, the doctor said we could go home as soon as Elliot woke up.

We can go home?

Or you can get some rest here and discharge in the morning, he said misunderstanding my question, up to you. 

After that, I felt great. We were going to be fine. They were going to let us go home! We could all go see Brian tomorrow!  A huge weight lifted off and by the time my mom and Gwen found us I was doing much better.

They kept me on the stretcher holding Elliot as the wheeled us to the OR and waiting room.  We made Elliot balloons out of rubber gloves and he had fun batting them around. He was feeling better, too.   The anesthesiologist met us, telling us how CUTE Elliot was. (Duh, I said) and gave him the medicine right there in my arms. I handed him off and he cried a tiny bit but stopped almost instantly as it took effect and we were shown to the waiting room.

It was in the bowels of the hospital and I was so thankful that's "all" we were there for, imagining the hundreds of thousands of parents who had sat vigil in that same waiting room, anxiously watching the screen as it automatically showed the patient numbers moving from pre op, to OR to recovery, unsure of what the doctor would say when he or she emerged. I remember I thumbed through Latina People (severe lack of magazines) and we bought some snacks from the vending machine. Cheetos and Pepsi, midnight snack of waiting room champions.

It was only maybe 30-45 minutes in which time I called Brian's wonderful nurse, Steve, and updated him, and then the doctor was back.
They didn't find a thing.

I could hardly believe my ears, but I was so relieved it was all almost over and they let me go back into recovery, where my tiny boy lay sleepily waking up. He was pretty happy to see me, and I was pretty happy to see him and we were soon wheeled up to the recovery floor.

The walls were covered in this lovely wooden paneling and life size outlines of frolicking lambs were softly illuminating the hallways. It was soothing, and calming and I couldn't help but if you were a little child, scared and in pain that the gentle lighting and lambs would make you feel a tiny bit better. The room was wide and spacious, a couch, rocking chair, hospital bed crib, bathroom, all tastefully decorated and the nurse was casually dressed and pretty.  Her baby was a month older than Elliot so she was especially enamored.  They offered to let me sleep over, but that seemed silly since someone would have to drive home that night- there were three grown ups and one couch- so we decided we would discharge home as soon as they let us.

We got down to the parking lot and I took my contacts which had suddenly turned leaden and sandy in my eyes and threw them in the garbage. It was almost time for new ones anyway. We buckled our sleepy guy in his seat and Gwen drove us home. I know she talked the whole way, probably to stay awake it was 2 or 3 in the morning, but I can't think of one thing she said. I was asleep almost before we hit the freeway.  She "accidentally" drove us straight to my house so she took my car home, promising to pick us up sometime the next day.

Just sleep in, and take your time.

And that was that. I brushed my teeth, carried my precious boy upstairs, deposited him on Brian's side of the bed and lay down next to him.  I marveled at the events of the last few hours, of God's goodness, and the turns my life had been taking. I didn't marvel too long because I was fast asleep before long.

Happy Mother's Day.


  1. Wow. Rosa, it'sy Gods grace that you can so calmly tell us all this. Never underestimate His strength for us!