Wow, where have the past three weeks gone? I can't believe how quickly the days go and I am very thankful for such a sweet baby in Jack. I would like to thank you for the encouragement we receive daily! It carries us on the low moments and I am so excited to say that yesterday was the first time in three weeks I didn't cry. Might be that my hormones are getting a little bit back to 'normal' or that I continue to be hopeful and encouraged for the future. Being the controlling person I can be...I have never been more challenged to TRUST and truly rely on God to ease my anxiety about the unknowns this journey will take us on. I have told many people that when I reflect on my life so far, I have realized how He has woven each thread in my life and brought good out of every circumstance. If you have a moment, please listen to Sarah Groves' song...He's Always Been Faithful. We had this song as a part of our wedding slideshow.
So, onto the angel in the nail salon. Again, God reveals how He orchestrated this meeting, on an average Monday morning. It makes me realize how many times we go about our own business and don't acknowledge people in our presence and I have to ask what God could teach us through a simple conversation. If this interaction did not happen, we might not be snuggling our baby at this very moment. So let me rewind to that Monday morning...
After another night of off and on again contractions, I was ready for a pedicure to distract me from the pain that was coming and also acknowledge that I probably wouldn't be getting one anytime soon after the baby arrived. My Mom, Caitie, and I met up around 11 o'clock and I picked out the best OPI color, Pink Flamenco! As my toes were drying I started to feel the contractions coming on stronger, I paced the back of the salon and took some deep breaths. I had noticed a woman getting a manicure that kept looking over at me and smiling. This is not unusual when you are pregnant. A pregnant belly is a manget for older woman to smile and ask questions. :) After meeting eyes with this woman I told her I can not have this baby in the nail salon. She said, "Actually you could, I am a labor and delivery nurse. Where are you delivering at?" I responded with the name of the hospital and she said she had just finished her shift there. She told me that if I was to have the baby this week (which she confirmed that I looked close at that point) that she would be there. She had just had foot surgery and told me that she probably wouldn't be my nurse but she would definitely look for my name when she was working.
Now fast forward to Tuesday noontime. We had the morning filled with a doctor's visit, family visits, and the news of him having Down syndrome was settling in. Although we still didn't have much information on his physical condition. Jack was still in the baby warmer in our room. I had asked Chris what his emotional state was at that point and he said he was so unsure of what he was feeling, if our baby was going to be okay, if he was not going to make it, just a sense of confusion.
Diane, the nurse from the nail salon saw my name on the list and came down to visit our new baby boy. She came in knowing that Jack had Down syndrome and said, "You grieve the baby you thought, and you love the baby you were given. I came down to meet your beautiful baby." At that moment, looking over him in the warmer, Jack started choking. He started gagging for air. Diane immediately asked who our nurse was, told Chris to push the nurse button, turned Jack downward and started firmly patting his back, then paged the NICU and said the word STAT. She told us to pull the cord and her firm pats turned into forceful blows. Flashes of my first aid training came flooding through. If you have ever been trained in it and then see it done, it is very frightening. Jack was turning blue and a hue of purple. We stood there in silence as three people from the NICU ran into our room and tried to get Jack to breathe.
He was taken to the NICU for monitoring and do some tests. They brought both Chris and I back to sit with him. I was emotionally numb and felt at that point that I was going to throw up. I remember sitting in the rocking chair and thinking to myself, I don't want to be here. I can't do this. I said to Chris, "I just need to go lay down. Are you okay if I go back to the room?" Again, Chris stayed with our baby and watched as they stuck tubes down his throat and did numerous tests on him. When he came back I could see it in his body he was broken. Tears streamed down his face.
After a couple hours in the NICU, the Neonatologist came and talked to us about Jack's abdominal scan. They had put a tube into his stomach to make sure his esophagus was okay, that his digestive tract was working properly, and that there wasn't a blockage. It was confirmed that everything was perfect, that he was choking on fluid from being in the womb and could not breathe. His echocardiogram came back normal, like a typical newborn. No heart defects. 40-60% of children with Down syndrome are born with congenital heart defects. Jack was explained to us that he was a healthy newborn...with an extra chromosome.
Diane was not our nurse. Diane was just coming to say hello. Diane met me the day before because she saw I was in labor. I talked to her for 10 minutes and now she was saving my baby's life. This is not by chance, she was an angel. Taking a moment to reflect, oh how I am thankful my parents taught us kids to be personable, acknowledge others, make a new friend, and realize God can speak to you through others even when you are not expecting it. God taught me something really big that day...never underestimate when and where God can show up...and that I need to get more pedicures! :) So who are you going to acknowledge today that you might not have taken the time to before?
You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail.