Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oink Oink

As a teenager, all I wanted in life was a Volkswagen bus. To me, they epitomized all things cool. I dreamed of the day I would own an Old English sheepdog that could ride around with me in my eagle-nosed, 23 window VW bus. Then I met my husband. He told me that although they might look great, their engines were crap. Not one to be told what to do, I completely ignored him. I ran out and bought a 1998 VW beetle to tide me over until the day I could own my own bus. Although new, just like the old bugs, my cute like VW was a money pit that never ran right. After months of dumping a ton of money into repairs, I finally traded it in for an all to reliable Ford. To this day, however, ever time I pass a VW bus something in me aches for one of my own....

In other news... The swine flu is not just some vicious rumor. It is all to real and totally terrible. I speak from experience and I speak for all of us. The nightmare started about a month ago. Actually, the story begins the day Lola was born and Richard's throat started to hurt. By that night Richard and I both felt horrible. If we had been smart we would have been proactive and put some masks on around our wee ones, but we weren't...lesson learned. Two weeks after Lola was born, we were sitting on our couch one Saturday afternoon recovering from what we thought was terrible cold and flu. As Lola lay by me on the couch, I mentioned to Richard that her breathing seemed really fast and really shallow. I decide to do a little investigating on Web MD to see if I should be worried about her breathing. As I surfed the Internet, I happened to look over at her laying on the couch and saw that she had turned completely blue. I picked her up and her head flopped backwards. There was no breathing and I felt no pulse. I started screaming at the top of my lungs. All reason left my mind, and I completely freaked out. I believed that Lola was dead. Richard raced to my side already on the phone with 911 and holding the baby bulb nose syringe. He grabbed her, suctioned out her throat and nose, and then began to give her CPR. I could not believe what I was seeing. I could hear myself still screaming as the ambulance pulled up to the front of our house. Rex and Olive came to the front room to see what was going on. They saw the paramedics all kneeling over what appeared to be their dead baby sister lying on the floor.

Moments before they arrived, Richard had gotten her to take a small breath on her own. Immediately, they put her on oxygen and put us in the ambulance. We rode to the hospital, where just twelve days earlier she had been born. It was the worse 20 minutes of my life. I thought I had lived through hell before with the things we have experienced with Olive, but nothing could prepare me for the feelings of terror I had when I thought I was holding my dead child. By the time we had reached the hospital, Lola's oxygen saturation levels had reached 40%. I was worried that she might have suffered brain damage. (They tell me now, that she shows no signs of brain injury.)

Hours later we found ourselves sitting in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) Our baby was finally diagnosed with double pneumonia most likely caused by H1N1. Her lungs were almost completely filled with fluid which had caused her to tire out struggling to breathe. This resulted in her respiratory arrest. For the next two weeks Lola was kept in isolation in the ICU as she underwent intensive respiratory treatments and medication to heal her little body. Born at a whooping 10 pounds, she dropped nearly two pounds during her stay. Today she weighed in at 10 lbs 4 oz. At two months of age she has only gained 4 ounces more that her birth weight. This is a terrible way to start life here on earth and I don't recommend it. After 14 days in the hospital, we were finally allowed to bring our Lola home.

While in the hospital Lola was diagnosed with a heart condition called Wolf-Parkinson-White. This is a condition in which the electrical pathway of the heart can short circuit causing the heart to beat abnormally fast, never allowing the heart to rest between beats. This condition was discovered one night when Lola's heart beat reached 250 beats minute. She now is on a medication that controls her heart rate with the hopes that as she gets older her heart will repair itself. If it does not then a relatively simple heart surgery (as if any heart surgery is simple) can fix the problem.

So, we bring her home thinking that things could finally get back to normal. We were wrong. Three days later, a trip to our pediatrician revealed that both Rex and Olive had the swine flu, and Richard and I were suffering from another strain of influenza. We masked up and called my mother. She came and took Lola to Pocatello where she stayed for the next ten days. The rest of us sweated through 103.5 degree fevers and coughed all over each other. As of today, Lola is her to stay. She is 8 weeks old, and I have only lived with her for 3 weeks. I feel like we are just now being introduced. She is darling. The rest of us are also feeling better. Olive barley dodged the bullet of having to be hospitalized with her swine flu. She began suffering severe dehydration from all of her vomiting. Luckily, her anti-nausea chemo pills got her vomiting under control, until she was able to keep some fluid in. I write this now feeling confident enough to say that we are all finally feeling better.

Richard and I have started to joke that our children are like my beloved VW buses. They are darling to look at but their motors are crap and they are always in need of repair.

In all seriousness, I have to end this post by giving all the credit to my husband. In my greatest moment of need he was there to save the day, and save Lola's life. I know that if I had been home alone that day, the ending of this story would be very different. He saved her life. I watched him do it. As I stood there totally helpless, he breathed life back into my baby. Days before, I might have brought her into this world, but he gets all of the credit for keeping her here in it. Richard, I love you, and everyday I thank God for you. Thank you for saving my baby.