Our first BIG, REAL family vacation in 14 years.

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I’d worked anything I could for 2 years to afford this.  I had planned the perfect location, the perfect house, google mapped all the directions, made arrangements for anything and everything, and checked with all 3 of Baby Boy’s doctors to get the go-ahead to go. 

It was to be 10 days of sheer HEAVEN!  A chance for us to reconnect with each other and play…with no stress, no worries, and no WORK!  A once-in-a-lifetime trip!

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We did amazing things like beach walking, swimming in the ocean, dolphin watching, NAP-TAKING, seashell hunting, crab fishing, and sting ray hunting…..and eating.  {ICK}  (Yes, they filleted stingray, and I cooked it.  And we ate it.)  But it was a chance for my boys to be boys, and to live out any fun adventure they wanted to.

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Wednesday, we drove to the “historic” Apalachicola to see alligators.  We turned right instead of the normal left to Port St Joe on the highway, and within 5 minutes we pass a hospital.  Wow, that’s pretty cool….a hospital in the middle of nowhere!  Good to know!  And we carry on to our adventure at a sketchy restaurant with dirty utensils but great food…..and no alligators.  We laughed a lot about our complete “mis-adventure” in Apalachicola!

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We had 5 days of unbelievable heaven….and then, life happened.

Or rather, death tried to happen.

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Thursday, we all took a little sunset cruise out into the Gulf of Mexico to watch the dolphins play, and the sun set over the water.  It was beautiful….the kids laughed, Brooklyn drove the boat and wore the Captain’s hat, and Baby Boy fussed a bit, but was pretty good to quiet down in the little front carrier I wore to keep him safe and close while we were out on the water.  And the sunset was amazing.

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After the boat tour, we ate at a little seafood restaurant with amazing food, and we talked and laughed over our day, and planned for our last day.

We left, and stopped at the gas station to fill up, when Chandler reached over the backseat to take Baby Boy’s hand.  He does it all the time.  My boys are always touching him, tickling him, and trying to make him giggle.  He’s one of our family, and my kids adore him. 

But this particular night, Chandler reached over to take his hand, and something was different.  “Mom, why is his hand doing that?”  Looking back, I see his left hand rhythmically clenching and unclenching.  Such a slight movement, barely noticeable, but realization slammed into my chest immediately:

Seizure.

We had forgotten his keppra at home in Oklahoma, so he hadn’t gotten it at all this week, but the drs reassured us he’d never had a seizure….we thought he would be ok for the week.  And now, he’s having a seizure, and it’s our fault. 

Let me tell you, guilt of this magnitude can cripple a person.

Within 10 minutes of the seizure starting, we were standing in the hospital (we’d discovered on the way to Apalachicola only the previous day….God is good, huh?) and with Baby Boy cradled in my arms, tears streaming down my face, and my family standing around me, I told the receptionist I thought he was having a seizure. 

Things happened so quickly, Mike and I were whisked away with him still cradled in my arms to a small room where nurses tried for 45 minutes to put an IV in……with 7 attempts.  He screamed until there was no voice left, just odd-sounding croaks.  Mike and I were small comfort, but we tried, holding his other hand, stroking his head, whispering prayers and loving words in his ears.  And just trying to stomach such an awful moment without losing it.  We both cried.

We explained about his horrible injuries suffered at the hands of his mother, and the daily injections of lovenox he had, and the keppra to prevent the seizures we had left at home. 

The dr was so nice, he’ll just give him IV meds to stop the seizure and he’ll refill the keppra for him, and we can enjoy the last days of our dream vacation!  “Wait, let me take labs just in case…..” Those infamous words.

The lab results were confusing with what the dr was witnessing in front of him, he said.  He said he sees an incredibly happy baby, cooing with his mother, and trying to grab the nurses stethoscope, but inside his body, his white count is high, his red blood cells are dangerously low, and he has a massive brain hemorrhage happening inside his brain.  The radiologist explained Baby Boy didn’t even have enough time for the 2 and half hour ambulance ride to Tallahassee, he had to be Life-flighted immediately.

He was less than 2 and half hours from certain death. 

If Chandler had not reached over, in that loving gesture he did so often, he would have fallen asleep like normal, and we would have laid him in his little bed next to us….

…..and he would have died quietly in his sleep.  He would have been gone by morning.

This was told by the neurosurgeon and nurse in Tallahassee after his emergency brain surgery.   They extracted 75 ccs of blood from his brain during the surgery, and his blood level was so “critically low” he required an immediate blood transfusion.  There was no time to think, no time to pray, no time for a second opinion, it had to be done immediately. 

When I arrived Saturday morning to Tallahassee where Mike had been since early Friday morning, I was unprepared for the rush of emotions:  such deep feelings for Mike, and fear for the baby, and such deep sadness.  We almost lost this sweet Baby Boy we’ve only known for 2 months and love so deeply.  You bond when you are trying to heal a broken body.

DSC_5893 copyDSC_5895 copyDSC_5898 webDSC_5901 copyWe were states away from our family, our church, and our friends, sitting in a PICU praying life into this baby.  His head was grotesquely swollen.  No picture could adequately describe what I saw.  He resembled a character from the Coneheads. 

But he was alive. 

Yet again, God saved this tiny Baby Boy!  He should have died from the original injuries he suffered 2 months before, confirmed by the drs in the ER here.  God directed us on a mis-adventure, to show us the hospital the day before we needed it.  God used a 13 year old boy, with a heart of gold, to notice the seizure that was hours away from killing him.

But the biggest kicker of all was to hear that if he had been on the keppra, he wouldn’t have had the seizure, and we wouldn’t have known he needed to go to the hospital.  That was out of the mouth of 3 doctors and 3 different nurses. 

We didn’t cause this. 

In every avenue, God was there.  In every situation, He directed us.  In the middle of this devastating time, God was working to save this beautiful Baby. 

He will grow up knowing just how much Christ loves him. 

And just how much his new family loves him too.  Even if he doesn’t end up staying with us, I believe God will always have His hand on him. 

I cannot praise Him enough. 

And we are hoping for a re-do on our vacation next year.  God is welcome on that one too. Winking smile

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(For more information on how you can know Christ too, feel free to email me.

For information on the beach house we stayed at, check this out.  It couldn’t have been more perfect!)

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