Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Eleven Years Ago Today: Then and Now

On July 22, 2013, much of the world seemed to celebrate the birth of the new prince in Great Britain. Hooray for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge! I mean that, even though I'm American and don't quite grasp the concept of a royal family. Congratulations are in order, nonetheless.

Yesterday, I was remembering eleven years prior - July 22, 2002 - when I went for a routine doctor appointment while pregnant with my second child. There were no rose-colored lenses while walking down Memory Lane this day.

He wasn't due until August 1st, but I was tired. I wanted him to be born yesterday, if you know what I mean. The doctor said, "The baby isn't doing well and neither are you. I need to induce you today." That jolted me out of my lethargy. I started making excuses like, "I need to go home and get my husband. I need to arrange child-care for my oldest son. I don't have any extra clothes." The doctor was kind but firm, "I'm sorry, but I can't in good conscience let you go. It's time to go to the hospital." We only had one car at the time, so my husband had to make arrangements with my sister to come babysit and with a neighbor to bring him to the hospital.

I went to the hospital shortly after 1:30pm. Since my first pregnancy had been induced I already knew what to expect. Despite this experience, I was in for a rough night ahead. My blood pressure spiked dangerously high and I was given some medication to bring it down. About 6:00am the following morning I was given an epidural. Finally, I could get some rest. Or not. By 6:25am he was ready, except that because of the epidural, I was not. Because of this the doctor had to initiate a vacuum-assisted delivery. If I had only known.

The first thing I noticed after he was born was that he didn't cry. I don't even remember if I got to hold him because I passed out. When I came to about 11:30am, I went upstairs to the ICU to visit him. I wanted to hold him or at least stroke his arms and face. At this point, I thought it was just a precaution that he was in the ICU. Before I realized what was happening, the seizures started. My baby was enduring seizures and all I could do was watch. He was having trouble breathing and there was nothing I could do. Little did I know he was experiencing a brain hemorrhage.

That evening, he was transferred to Seattle Children's Hospital where he stayed for nearly two weeks in the NICU. At the end of his stay, we were told that there was nothing more that could be done for him and that we should take him home to enjoy what time was left. In all likelihood, he would soon die. By the grace of God, that did not come to pass as we are celebrating his 11th birthday today!

My heart was happy and subsequently broken on July 23, 2002. Words like "Grade IV intraventricular hemorrhage", "seizures", "cerebral palsy", "developmental delay" and "cortical visual impairment" were not yet part of my everyday vocabulary, but they soon would be. Every year I remember this and thankfully the grief becomes less and less as I see the progress that he makes. But I digress. His party is this weekend, but we're still going to celebrate today. We're going swimming after lunch. We sit in the shallow end of the pool while he splashes. We're going to McDonald's for dinner because that's his favorite. After dinner, we're going to Whole Foods for dessert because they have the bomb brownies that he loves. Later this week I have cupcakes to make, more presents to buy, and a party to plan for this weekend to celebrate the birth of my little prince who has come a long, long way.

Happy birthday to my sweet little prince!


The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18


  1. Claudia, Thank you for sharing your journey with Alex these 11 years. God picked the perfect Mother and family for Alex. I am honored to call you my friend.

  2. Awww thank, Arlene. You are too kind. You are a great influence in my life and I'm glad to call you my friend, too.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...