I shared this on our family blog, and wanted to share it here too. So I guess three years ago (to the day on November 3rd) our lives were turned topsy-turvy when we took M to the ER because she was vomiting at 17 days of age. Her heart rate was in the 320's. She went into a form of cardiac arrest. She was admitted to the Cardiac ICU. She remained in the hospital for two full weeks with the diagnosis of SVT-fast heart rate. You can read more here, if you want to.
It was hard. It was scary to know that we were responsible for checking her heart rate with a stethoscope throughout the day and during the night. When we traveled to visit family, our trusty little stethoscope went with us. Not only that but she needed medicine for her heart every six hours (and later 8). So we set the little alarm on my new digital watch and gave her the medicine as needed. We hated drawing up medicine. Giving it to Meghan wasn't so bad...unless she spit it up, or worse, threw up from gagging on it. Giving medicine to Meghan was easy. She was trained from a very early age. She (and I) gets her first ambulance ride at the age of five months when she has a febrile seizure (not admitted to the hospital). She and I have our second ambulance rides in another two months when we are in a car accident (when Derek is in San Fransisco).
Fast forward two years. E is born, and the day we are discharged from the hospital after his birth, we head to the ER and are admitted because he is dehydrated despite his excellent nursing attempts. After they finally get the IV in, he is fine though we stay in the hospital for a couple days. E has been our healthy little boy until now.
Fast forward one more year from his birth. Our healthy little boy as a seizure that lasts several hours long. He rides in the ambulance for the first time. He seems to make a full recovery, though the reason behind the seizure is unknown. We know a seizure could return any day, but pray that it doesn't.
Suddenly, our counters are cluttered with medicine and syringes. Again. And this little boy has a very strong opinion about how awful it tastes. But it's different now. We've been through a difficult time before. Honestly, though this is not what we want for our family, in some ways this situation is easier than what we went through a couple years ago with M. (Though can I tell you that E's hospital stay, in some ways, was worse than M's? The only time she cried was when they were trying to replace mulitple IV's. E cried A LOT. And could not be comforted for hours at a time.)
Vigilance is in watching and listening (and making sure the monitors are always on), not in trying to count heartbeats. We don't have to disturb E's sleep to give him medicine. We don't have to wonder if we missed something, since we will know if he has another seizure. So this is a bit easier on us as parents. Don't get me wrong. In many ways this is horribly difficult. I don't mean to be flippant. But really, we are extremely blessed. Sure, most parents can't say that all of their children have spent days in the ICU. Probably many can't even say their child has been seriously ill. M and E might have some health problems, but they're manageable. (I am thankful for yet another great specialist. We've heard great things from multiple people about Evan's new doctor!)
Just by spending an hour in a children's hospital tells me that my children's problems are tiny compared to others'. I never want M's speech disorder or their health problems to be a thorn in my side. It's just life. But the fact is that God has given us these children for a time. God has a reason for all things, and through all of this we have learned that we can never take our children for granted. Seeing a team of a dozen hospital staff work on your child is a solid reminder that life is fragile. If you are a parent, I hope you haven't experienced what we have, but I also know that you may have experienced the loss of a child or daily difficulties with your child's health.
May each of us appreciate life, no matter the "quality." Life, at all ages and stages, is still life. It is still to be treasured. (You know how expectant parents say they just want a healthy baby? Yes, that is ideal, but really, all babies are a blessing. But that annoys me because life is to be cherished, even a difficult life or a short life. We will all have struggles, it's just harder to see our children going through them.) So thank God today for the people in your life. Tell them what they mean to you. And go give your children a hug.
Washington, D.C. Family Trip - With Washington, D.C. only a couple of hours away, our family took an overnight trip to our nation's capitol. It was highly educational, but more than that...