Monday, September 1, 2008

My Little Hero

** Updated, in case you may think the hero below is always a pleasure to raise...he is currently doing hard time in solitary confinement. Twin brother has been sick for days and accidentally coughed on him. Which naturally means he gets to SPIT on twin brother, right? I don't even think so! Boys can be such a pain in the butt!**

September 2nd brings a flood of memories for me. I won't write this post tomorrow, because tomorrow it will make me cry. So I'll do it today. I have shared on this blog a little bit about the birth of our twins and their journey of ups and downs as premature babies. At birth, the firstborn of our tiny twins was in critical distress. The second baby was not. The Pip Squeak actually did quite well during his first three weeks of life, growing a little and heading in the right direction. As we fell into the daily NICU grind, all of our worry was focused on Quatro. Until the morning of September 2, 1997.

Upon arriving at the NICU that morning, The Hubby and I were asked to have a seat in the waiting room for a few minutes. The doctors were performing resuscitation, trying to revive a baby and no visitors were allowed until the "code" was over. (There were 36 babies in the NICU that day. What were the odds that it would be one of ours?) Twenty minutes later, we were called into a conference room. The baby the doctors were working on was OURS and he wasn't responding well.

Without going into great detail, our little Pip Squeak had taken a swift turn for the worse over night. He had developed a life-threatening condition called NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis), and his tiny body had gone into septic shock. Our baby boy spent the next two weeks on life support, in a drug-induced coma, while his organs failed, his lungs collapsed, and his body began to bleed into itself. He experienced a grade 3 hemorrhage into his brain. He swelled from just over 3 pounds to almost 8 pounds from the fluid building up in his body. He received so many transfusions of platelets, packed red blood cells and fresh frozen plasma that we now tease him that he doesn't have any of his own blood anymore. He was put into isolation and we weren't allowed to even speak in his room because it agitated him and he would stop breathing.
Those were hard days. We spent a lot of time in prayer, asking for healing, praying for peace if God's decision was to take our little one home, assuring God that we would love and treasure our child no matter what.

Thankfully, God chose to leave Pip Squeak with us.

Pip came home from the hospital with no less than 9 different doctors and 14 diagnoses. He has since had 10 surgeries to repair, remove or correct problems related to his birth. He has been through more painful procedures and scary treatments than I can count. We almost lost him again at the age of three, when an overdose of Botox (which was supposed to help loosen his legs muscles) left him on oxygen, unable to speak, swallow or sit up. Spinal cord surgery at age 4 gave him the ability to move his legs more easily and made it possible for him to learn to walk. At age 6, the doctors finally removed the gallbladder that kept spitting out stones. Now he could eat a normal diet and enjoy cupcakes at school like other kids! Through each struggle and setback, Pip has pushed forward. He hasn't let his spirit sag or his courage fail. Whenever I have to face something I really don't want to do...I think of my little boy bravely staring down the painful parts of life that he would rather not face.

September 2nd brings floods of memories...bad ones and good. The memories of that day cause me to hug all of my children a little tighter and remember to be thankful for every breath they take. I try to make this day a celebration of life.


Homesteader in Training said...

Oh, a precious story. One that made me cry. Our son was in nicu for a week and every time I saw him I could only click my tongue because I would start to cry and then couldn't speak. God bless your wonderful family and thank you for a heart warning story about a strong little boy who has more determination in his little pinky then I probably have in my whole adult body.

Mia's Mama said...

What a lovely post. Thank you. Thank you for reminding me of all I have and when I face something hard...there's someone out there facing something harder.
Love to you today, and tomorrow :)

melody is slurping life said...

Beautiful story. Happy Celebration of Life Day. :)

AZ Chapman said...

wow he really is a hero

HipMomma said...

It really is a precious story that reminds me to be grateful every moment.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Thanks so much for sharing this story. My neighbor Rosie (yes, the one who is ill) shares this in common with you. Her twins Pocket and Posies were born at 25 weeks and spent months in the NICU. They are heroic in the same way that your little Pip Squeak is!

Melisa said...

I ran across your blog on CWO and just seeing your son's beautiful pictures was surreal. My son, Michael Andrew, died as a result of NEC in 2000. He was 6 weeks and 1 day old. You are very blessed. Thanks for sharing his story.

lonestar818 said...

Hi, I followed your link from your comment on my prematurity awareness post.

Wow, what an amazing story and a brave boy!