six sets of hands

every once in a while life brings you an event that changes your perspective, gives you a new outlook on things you otherwise might pass over.  maybe even changes who you are.  rarely is it anticipated.  it comes.  and the days tick by.  and it may go. but life is never again the same.

i was watching as my baby lay lifeless on the bed.  moments ago she had been fine.  we were a day out from surgery and i was stroking her midnight hair as she lay peacefully recovering.  all her monitors said she was doing great.  and then in an instant there was nothing.  no movement.  the nurse began to shake her.  'breathe, sarahjoy, breathe!'  there was no response.  i watched in horror as my baby slipped away.  there was no warning, no indication anything was wrong.  her body simply stopped.  'sarahjoy!  mommy is here!  BREATHE!'  as they swarmed the bed i moved to the corner.  by this time my mouth screamed and my cheeks were flooded as i watched.  i could still see my little girl, in between the bodies of the nurses and doctors attending to her, but there was no life.  no breath.

i cried out.  'this isn't supposed to happen!  she's dying! she's gone!  we should have never done the surgery!  my baby!!!!'

i don't know how long they worked on her.  maybe 30 minutes before the medical staff began to disperse.  before my cries subsided and i began to sense that this wasn't the end.   i remember walking out of the PICU, down the hall and wondering what in the world had just happened.   i took my sweatshirt off and put on a tshirt.  i was sweating.  my body felt like i had run a marathon.  i was exhausted.

and now those minutes haunt me.  i close my eyes and there she is again.  laying there breathless.  six sets of hands working to bring my princess back to life.  i can't sleep.  i walk into her bedroom, trying not to panic, but scared that my nightmare is reality.  i check for her breathing.  i lay beside her and watch her chest go up and down.  i listen.  it all sounds good.  but it sounded good before.  and then it was bad.  really bad.  i'm scared.

those 30 minutes have changed my perspective.  they have changed me.  and not the least of those changes has been my renewed and incredibly deep sympathies for my sweet cousin rachel and her husband cameron.  who can never open their eyes and wake up from their nightmare.  they will never walk into their little makiah's room and be able to see that she is okay.  my heart breaks for you in a whole new way.

we see the cardiologist tomorrow for our first follow up visit.  maybe then i can gain some peace.

***for those who have been following rachel and cameron's journey, their baby girls were born last tuesday!  abigail kaitlyn (6 lbs) and alena kaitlyn (4.13 lbs)  were healthy and went home with mom and dad on friday!  the family continues to grieve and miss makiah but is thankful for full arms once again.



muvie said...

Praying that your cardiologist appointment goes well. So happy to hear that you and SarahJoy are home and doing better. Thank you for the update on Rachel and her little girls. It makes my heart sing to know that she and her family will have some joy in their life!

ashley said...

Ashleigh, I've been following your harrowing journey from China to home to the PICU and home again. Your posts have moved me to tears many times, but for some reason, today's post really got to me. There is nothing more precious than a mother's love: unconditional, nurturing, constant. I can't imagine what is must have been like to be pushed to the corner by the team working to revive SJ. It must have been so painful to watch them, all the while standing there helpless. I imagine this memory will come to you for a while. Know of course this is normal given what you've experienced and given how hard you and your support system worked to bring her home, only to nearly lose her. I know you'll always have a special place in your heart for SJ and will never be too far from her grasp. You and the whole family are in my thoughts and prayers. I pray that peace will eventually overcome the fear and that you all will settle in as a family of 7, in due time.