I was scheduled to have a repeat c-section on June 30th. I was 39 weeks into my pregnancy. On June 29th at about 10 o'clock pm, I started having contractions. They started at 10 minutes apart. As the night progressed, the contractions got stronger and closer apart. I called the hospital twice, once when my contractions were 8 minutes apart and again when they were 5 minutes apart. Both times I was told to try to wait since I was having a c-section that morning anyway. By the time we got to the hospital, I was having contractions 2-3 minutes apart and was 5 centimeters dilated. They called my doctor, and my c-section was moved up.
At 7:09 on June 30th, Davis made his debut. He was 8 pounds 4 ounces and 21 inches long. Little did we know how much our lives were about to change.
Not long after birth, Davis started having some respiratory issues. He was breathing too fast and had some fluid on his lungs. The doctors said that was typical of many babies born via c-section. We ended up staying an extra night in the hospital. During this time, I began running a fever. The doctors gave me antibiotics, and said it could be a respiratory issue or my developing mastitis.
We were discharged July 3rd. On July 6th, I took Davis to his lactation appointment at the hospital. Everything was great. He was gaining weight, didn't have a fever, and looked perfect. Later that afternoon, I noticed that he felt warm. At first, I just tried to put it out of my mind, thinking he was just warm from being swaddled. Something about him being warm bothered me. I believe the Holy Spirit was guiding me to check his temperature. When I checked, it was 101.2. I panicked, and immediately took him to our pediatrician. He sent us to EAMC. After some tests and examinations, Davis was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. He would need to spend two weeks on antibiotics at the hospital. We were devastated and so worried for him.
The first night at the hospital, I remember holding Davis, sobbing and praying for God to heal him. At this point, Tucker and I both thought things couldn't possibly get any worse, and then they did.
The third day at the hospital, Davis quit eating. I couldn't get him to eat anything! Our nurse took charge right away, checking his oxygenation levels. She noticed right away that something wasn't right. Our pediatrician ordered an echo, and it was sent to a cardiologist in Montgomery. The cardiologist in Montgomery said it looked like a possible coarctation of the aorta. Davis was airlifted to Children's Hospital in Birmingham.
One of the hardest things we've had to do as parents was to send our baby in a helicopter not knowing whether he would make the trip or not. It was a very anxious and worried two hour car ride to Birmingham. When we arrived, the doctors couldn't tell us much. They weren't sure it was a coarctation, because Davis just seemed too sick for that to be the problem. Further echoes determined that the left side of his heart had completely quit working, probably due to a virus.
We nearly lost him that night. Thankfully, God gave his little body strength and the doctors the wisdom to know how to keep him alive. Tucker and I were a mess. How could we not be? Our baby was teetering a fine line between life and death.
A team of infectious disease doctors worked diligently to try and determine what virus caused Davis' heart failure. After many tests, it was determined that the enterovirus was to blame. This is the same virus that causes Hand, Foot, and Mouth. It was also the cause of the meningitis. I'm so thankful to God that we at least have an answer. Many parents don't ever know what virus caused the heart failure.
The doctors told us it would take a miracle for Davis' heart to begin to function properly again on its own. He would not survive without a heart transplant. However, he wouldn't make it to transplant with his current cardiac output. The doctors told us we needed to act fast or his organs would begin to be damaged by the lack of blood flow. Davis would undergo two procedures within the span of a week. The first was a balloon operation that would take the pressure off of the left ventricle.
That would be the second time we would almost lose Davis. After the procedure, the doctors could not get him to stabilize. The doctor came out to the waiting room to let us know they were going on ECMO. During this time, Tucker and I sat there crying and pleading with God for Davis' life. It was probably an hour to 45 minutes later (it felt like an eternity), when the doctor came back out to tell us they didn't have to put Davis on ECMO. They tried one more thing, and it worked! We are so thankful to God that He gave Davis' body strength and the doctors the wisdom to know how to save him, once again.
After this procedure, the doctors told us they wanted to try a risky procedure, one that had only been performed on 50-60 children Davis' age world wide. They wanted to give Davis a Berlin heart or artificial heart (ventricular assist device). The doctor informed us there was a 1 in 3 chance he would make it to transplant, but it was the only thing they could do to save his life. They gave Tucker and I an hour to decide. We didn't need an hour. We didn't need a minute. If this was the only chance to save Davis, we were taking it, no discussion or thinking needed.
On July 17th, Davis underwent the surgery to get his artificial heart. They told us it would take between 5-6 hours. It was closer to 8. After some recovery time, we were allowed to see Davis. It was such a surreal moment. Davis' chest was open. The only thing covering it was a thin piece of plastic to prevent infection.
We could see his little heart beating inside his chest. It was truly one of the most frightening yet fascinating things I've ever seen in my life. My heart was aching for what Davis was having to go through. I prayed countless times for God to let me change places with Davis. I would have given him my heart if he could have taken it.
Before our eyes, Davis' stats begin to plummet. We were rushed out of the room and sent back to the waiting room. Once again, Tucker and I were praying and pleading to God for Davis' life. I cried so hard, my cries were literally shrieks of heartache and pain bubbling to the surface without control. After what felt like forever, a nurse said "The doctor would like to see you now. " I grabbed a couple of tissues. The nurse saw this and stated "You can bring the whole box. ". The way she said those statements made me begin to prepare myself for the worst. As we walked down the long hallway, hand in hand and clinging to one another, we prayed that Davis was still alive. We turned the corner to where his room was, and we could see his heart beating. Once again, Davis was saved! We cried out right there praising God and thanking him for saving Davis.
The next few weeks were touch and go. He was on a ton of medications and clinging to life at many times, but God remained faithful. He continued to give Davis' body strength to get through each little setback. Several times doctors have come in and stated that Davis shouldn't be doing as well as he is. Yet, he is, because God is with him!
Slowly, he was weaned from all his blood pressure medications and the ventilator. On August 7th, Davis was placed on the transplant list. A few days later, he had to be placed back on the ventilator due to fluid on his lungs. Last week, they were able to extubate again. It didn't look promising at first, but I took my concerns to God. It wasn't pretty. In fact it was pretty ugly. (I'm an ugly cryer.) I cried and asked God to heal Davis' lungs. The next morning, I was amazed. The difference in his X-Ray was day and night. You wouldn't have even thought the X-Rays were from the same child. The doctor came in and said that she wished she could take credit for how well he was doing. She expected to see him struggling to breathe. She couldn't explain why he was doing so much better. I could though. My God was showing out! Once again, God showed me that he was in control.
So now, we wait for the gift of life. Any day could be THE day that we get that phone call. Everyday is one day closer to bringing Davis home for good. Please continue to pray for Davis and for us, and thank you all for being on this journey with us. We couldn't do this without your prayers, love, and support.
Going through this has given me a different perspective on life. Work problems, bad hair days, and little disagreements seem so trivial now. So tell the people that mean something to you that you appreciate and love them. As my pastor would say, eat on the fine china and burn the nice candle. Life is too short.
Also, if you don't know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I beg of you to get to know him. All you have to do is confess your sins (we all have skeletons and regrets), and believe that God sent his one and only son, Jesus, to die on the cross for your sins. He loves you and wants a close, personal relationship with you. He will be there to help you and guide you always. He's the ultimate healer and the answer to all of your problems. All you have to do is put your trust in him.
Tucker and I certainly had faith before, but this experience has only made us grow in our faith. We have realized through this, that Davis and Hudson aren't ours. Yes, they were given to us by God to be their earthly parents, but ultimately, they are His. We are putting our trust in Him.
Our God is greater than the ups and the downs. G>^v