Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Serenity's Story Part 6 - Making Her Worse to Make Her Better

A couple of days before Thanksgiving the doctors decided that the reason they were having so much trouble determining the cause of her problem was because the staff of the previous hospital had done such a wonderful job stabilizing her.

They decided that first they would wean her off some of her heart medications. If she started to get worse, then we would know that it was the coarctation. If she didn't get worse, then they would wean her off of the vent. If she started to get worse then, it was because of the Mitral valve. Basically they told us that in order to make her better, they had to make her worse.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, things were pretty quiet. Our children and other family had to travel 200 miles to spend Thanksgiving with us at a local restaurant. Tommy's place of employment blessed us by paying for the whole thing. We hated leaving Serenity but we knew that our other children needed to spend time with us as well.

Serenity did very well over the next couple of days. They were successfully able to wean her off the heart medications. Things were looking up. Then the process began to take her off the vent. The first night was wonderful. I had my daughter back again. She was off the sedative, so she was alert and I was able to hold her. I just sat there rocking her for hours until the nurse finally said it was time to lay her down.

I left her room that night so full of joy and promise for tomorrow. However when I walked into her room the next morning. My parents were already there and Reni had a new contraption on, what I call the "miss piggy treatment." It was a hat with hoses that strapped to her face allowing her to receive more oxygen and the nurses had tied bows on it to make it pretty.

At first I just thought, okay she just needs a little oxygen to get her going, but she'll be alright. We joked about how silly she looked and just made light of the whole subject. Until we began to notice her chest sinking in her under her ribs with every breath. We could tell she was struggling.

When the doctors finally came in on the their daily rounds, things got a bit more serious. Serenity was having a hard time keeping her numbers up, even with the new contraption, she was laboring very hard for her breathes. They took her from my arms and said she would have to be re-intubated.

Now, you have to understand that it had already been several weeks since I was able to hold my baby. I was just beginning to really enjoy having my daughter back. Now they were taking her away from me again.
I could feel the tears swelling up, but I tried very hard not to show it. I began to tremble all over. I noticed one of the resident doctors looking at me with empathy in his eyes. He slowly walked over through the crowd and placed his hand on my shoulder. His words brought so much comfort, "Don't worry we'll let you hold her for a little while longer."

He spoke to the Intensivist and they decided to finish their rounds first and come back to do the procedure later. I had about half an hour longer with my daughter. I held her just a closely as I could crying and praying. My soft warm baby was to a cold distant breathing machine again. I could hardly stop my lips from quivering long enough to give her a quick kiss before I handed her back to the nurse.

We had to leave the room for awhile and were given instructions to come back in about 20 to 30 minutes. We spent the time in the waiting room witnessing to other PICU parents.

When time was up, we walked back to her room. We immediately noticed everyone standing around her bed staring at her with very concerned expressions. Then one of the nurses walked over and pulled the curtain back to block our view.

This did not sit well with my husband. He rushed to the door demanding to know what was going on. They proceeded to tell us that during the procedure, Serenity had become ghostly white. They were keeping an eye on her stats for awhile to make sure she was stable.
I know that there was more to this story, but we did not press the issue. We just waited patiently, praying and speaking life into her body. A few minutes later they walked out saying she was beginning to pink up and would be fine. Once again we came face to face with the real possibility of losing our daughter and God had sustained her.