Saturday, March 3, 2012

When it rains...


First off, here is a picture of my new daughter Alexandra Katherine.  She is 100% ok now, but her arrival was one of the most interesting, and hardest of my life.

Anyone who is a parent knows, that even though we fear things like complicated deliveries and sick children, we never actually believe it will happen to us.  Even when taking your baby courses, they will throw the statistics in your face, but you are positive you will be on the good side of the curve when your little one is born.

Fate surprised us once with our first daughter, who needed an emergency C-section.  We assumed lighting had struck us once and would not visit again.  This was reinforced by the fact that our son, David, came into the world flawlessly, and both our kids were pictures of health.

My wifes third pregnancy was the EASIEST of the three.  Relatively little discomfort and smooth sailing the whole time.  We looked forward to the delivery day(which was to be a planned c-section, as my wife must always have since Lia) and were sure that we would sail right into the next months as easily as the previous 9 had gone.

Eight hours after a perfect delivery, we were happy to be holding our new baby, and couldn't be more oblivious to the situation that was brewing for her.  A routine vitals check found that her breathing was somewhat fast and labored, and she was taken to the nursery for observation.  Just an hour after that she was being wisked away to a neighboring hospital and a Level 3 NICU.  For my wife and I, who had already been doing our endzone dance, this felt like a slap in the face as the on call pediatrician(through teary eyes) informed us that our daughter had some kind of infection in her lungs and would need help to breathe.

I sat up the first night with baby Alex not sure what to think.  She was clearly sick now and getting sicker every hour.  100% Oxygen was not enough to keep her blood properly saturated, so she was intubated.  There I was, sitting someplace I never thought I would be: next to my child being kept alive by a machine.

Eventually I had to leave her to go pick up my other kids, but there was "slight" improvement and the doctors were saying we just needed to wait for the infection to run it's course.  7 days.  The next day I was reporting this to Amanda, when the phone rang.  It was the Neonatologist callingt o say that Alex's lungs had collapsed, requiring them to pressurize her lungs, and that she was to be driven within the hour to Stanford Children's Hospital.

Well, you know your kid is sick when you are at Stanford. And we were the unofficial "sickest baby" in the NICU.  102 fever. 100% O2, 20PPM NO2, and 3 of 4 breaths being given to her by a machine.  She never woke, hardly moved.  Just breathed.  For 10 days I drove highway 17 twice a day to be with her and bring news back to Amanda and the rest of my family.

If I thought this was as bad as it got, I would be proven wrong as news of an absurdly high fever and lung infection had my brother spending the night in an ER.  The next day, my father had a series of blood tests indicating a FAILING liver.  A chest x-ray indicating a DEAD LUNG or Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Oddly, I was pretty numb by now.  Just asking for information, given what information I had, as 3 Locks faced extremely uncertain medical outcomes.

But looking back now, this could have been harder.  Our friends and family rallied around us to make sure this was as easy as possible.  We never needed to cook a dinner.  Our kids were watched at all hours of the day or night.  These little gifts were the things that allowed Amanda and myself to focus on the family health.

Well, it all turned out ok.  Alexandra slowly recovered, and after 10 uncertain days, was release to us and declared 100% recovered from Sepsis and Pulminary Hypertension.  Mike was given antibiotics for his bronchitis, and my dad was informed(by a rather embarrassed doctor) that a culture had return positive for a Mono-like virus that can effect liver function, and that he would be fine.

So my paternity leave turned out to not be as relaxing as I thought.  I can't wait for vacation...