Mar 6, 2010

13 Minutes

Thirteen minutes almost changed our lives. Let me clarify, thirteen minutes changed out lives.
Brendan started the laboring process posterior - sunny-side up. Being flipped the on his back meant that traditional delivery was going to be more difficult. After about an hour and a half of laboring, our doctor decided to get Jamie ready for cesarean birth. By 5:30 Thursday evening we were in the OR. Jamie gave it another go....Brendan wasn't crowning enough.
I'm not sure what the time of birth was....I do know that when he came out there was pin-drop silence. The pediatrician worked for 13 minutes revive and resuscitate Brendan as Jamie and I were confined behind the curtain in the OR. Later he joked that it's always quieter in the OR when everyone's praying feverishly.

Walking him to the nursery Brendan didn't move, fuss, cry, or whimper. Dr. Mike (the pediatrician) made uncomfortable conversation with me while we walked. It was clear that something wasn't right...that he wasn't squirming like he should; that he wasn't wailing like newborns wail.

Nurses under pressure are at their best - nurses that we'd been with for 11 hours, nurses that are invested in you and your son, nurses that are dedicated to his success.

They called the emergency helicopter team from Spokane at some point - probably while Dr. Mike was reviving Brendan in the OR. Time was at a halt while they got Brendan ready for transport to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Spokane. I felt paralyzed while the nurses and Dr. Mike worked to get him ready. Immobilized in my own skin watching Brendan begin to breathe on his own, move on his own, live on his own.

Coming out to talk with the family that was at the hospital was easily the most emotional I've ever been. For me it was the first time I had do more than listen - I had to communicate to our family (who'd been confined to our room for more than an hour without any updates) not only the facts but the decisions and the emotions of what was happening. I remember only stuttering out "he's not doing well" and Dr. Mike taking over calmly providing the details of the procedure and update on the Brendan.

By 11:00 Thursday night Mike (Jamie's dad) and I were in Spokane meeting with the doctor on the floor of the NICU and getting the update. His transport from Spokane had gone well and he was recovering nicely.

There's a familiar adage that gets thrown around in times like these and it's appropriate to summarize these events - Brendan was "touch and go".

If I'm honest so was I. I was teetering between an emotional climax and fear - maybe both at the same time. Oddly I wasn't scared to Brendan - I was worried I wouldn't know what to do or how to do it. Worried I couldn't be strong enough for Jamie.

A community of people in your life is not a coincidence - it's a blessing. A God-Orchestrated web of visits, encouraging phone calls and texts. It's one thing to hear your friends tell you that they love you and that they are praying for you. It's a whole different thing to hear your pediatrician say he prayed for 13 minutes while he worked to save your son's life.

Jamie and I not a religious people. We are people that, a long time ago, decided that pursuing Jesus first, then each other second, was the most loving thing we could do for each other. May we be people that pray. May we be people that love. May we be people that press into the Lord when things are good and when things deviate from the plan.

If you prayed for us I tearfully (right now, tearing up) thank you. If you texted while the process was happening - we read it, thank you. I guarantee we'll talk to most all of you at some point along the way if you called and left a message. Prayer isn't just a fleeting hope that some distant, detached god would take pity on you. It's a lifeline that communicates supernaturally to God's very ear. Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit groans on our behalf communicating to the Father. God did not create us so he could relieve our pain and dispense miracles to us. He is not in the business of pain-avoidance. He's in the business of making us Holy - not happy.

Jesus may you continue to mold Jamie and I into suitable parents. May you teach us how to care for, love, mentor, parent, and connect to Brendan.

Friends and family: thank you. We love you.

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