Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Birthday Elijah "Sidge"

He almost died.

That's really all I can think about when I flash back to Elijah's birth. After being in labor for over twenty-four hours and after pushing for three hours, the decision had been made.


John was standing by my head, and he was talking me through the surgery. They were trying to pull him out. They couldn't get him out. One of the nurses was going under the table to try and dislodge him from my pelvis.

He's out. John told me that. But that's all he said. "He's out."

And that's where things went completely fuzzy. Someone was yelling something about meconium. And  I didn't hear any crying. They didn't show him to me. He was just gone. And John was gone. And the door was opening and shutting. I heard someone say something about "Epi" and someone else go running. Another voice called for the pediatrician.

And still, no crying.

I yelled for John. And he reemerged by my head. I remember saying, "He's okay. Right? Tell me he is okay. Say he's okay."

John looked at me and said nothing. I could see his eyes over the green surgical mask. I've known John since I was a young girl and so I could see exactly what he was trying to say just by looking at his eyes. Even though he said nothing, the words came out like this. "I should tell you something to comfort you, but there is nothing I can say to make this better. Things are not good."

I started yelling. I started pulling at my arm restraints. I remember thinking, "This is how it is going to end. This is why I could never picture myself having a baby. Because he's going to die. I'm going to have to go home to Isaac and pretend that nothing happened. Why did I even get pregnant in the first place? I was at peace with my childlessness. I was at peace being just an adopted mother. This pain will kill me."

I remember hearing the anesthesiologist ask JB if she should give me something. He said yes. She said, "What?" And he shook his head. He was saying, "No. I can't be a doctor too. I just have to be a husband right now. That's all I can mange." I felt something course through my veins.

I got very sleepy. But I refused to sleep. I fought it with all of my being. One of JB's fellow residents was assisting on the surgery. She was the closest to me and the one I could speak to. I started asking her questions. And I remember her answers were exactly as they should have been. She said things like, "They are doing the best they can. He's in the best hands. They are working hard."

But I was reading inbetween the lines.

He still wasn't crying.

Later I would learn that Elijah's one minute APGAR score was one. His five minute APGAR score was two. It wasn't until ten minutes that his APGAR was up to seven. And at the fifteen minute mark, it was nine. 

It was at that fifteen minute mark that JB came back up to my head. He was holding the digital camera. He had taken pictures. "He's okay," he whispered. "Really. I mean it. He's totally, perfectly fine." He started flipping through pictures on the digital camera so that I could see our son. 

He was alive. 

I truly believe that Dr. Patricia Goodemote saved our son's life that afternoon. She saved his life and she saved him from significant brain damage. It was the Lord's providence that a veteran doctor, like herself, was working infant resusitation that day. 

Once I was back in the real world, she came to my room and told us what happened. She admitted that the fear of him dying had been very real. "I thought to myself," she recalled, "That this miracle baby is going to die on my watch." 

I would spend the next week in the hospital nursing numerous infections and an ileus. But little Elijah would go from not crying at all to us wishing he would please quiet those lungs down!

And today, he turns five-years-old! 

He decided, a few years ago, that his name was not Elijah. He insisted on being called "Sidge". This was what his big brother Isaac had called him before he could pronounce his name: "Sidge-uh." And it has stuck. We are pretty sure that he will be "Sidge" forever.

Sidge is such an incredible joy to our family. He is funny and silly and he talks non-stop. He loves to eat anything and everything and can erupt in a sea of passion at a moment's notice. He pays more attention to Scrubs than any of the other kids -- giving him hugs and pets whenever he can. He likes to do whatever Isaac is doing and will play with Abigail anytime she asks. He is constantly stopping what he is doing to tell one of us that he loves us. While big brother is incredibly nimble and light on his feet, Sidge is a bull in a China shop. He has never met a stranger.

He has a knack for coming into the room to talk about something, and then he'll spot food. If anyone has some, he spots it, completely stops what he is talking about and says, "What is that? Can I have some?" It always makes me laugh.

He is reading three letter words. He is doing basic math and addition. He is taking tennis lessons and learning Bible verses at AWANAs. He loves to help his teachers and coaches and will tag along with anyone to contribute. Grampa. Daddy. In the kitchen, in the garden, he's right there.

He is incredibly excited about Daddy buying a farm. He keeps telling us "I'm going to be a farmer when I grow up. Me and Daddy are going to be farmers, and Mommy can be the farmer's wife."

When we told him this morning that he was five now he smiled and said, "Yep. And soon I'll be ten."

Too true.

While you may have started off slowly Elijah Luke, your passion is anything but slight now! We are so blessed to have you as our little boy. Thank you for embracing life to its fullest! You are one awesome little boy. 

*To read JB's account of Sidge's birth, click here. 


Kiley said...

I am confused Wendy. I thought his birthday is the 31st of January?

Wendi Kitsteiner said...

This wasn't supposed to go up until then!

carla said...

Friend, This post had me in tears. Sidge, our special friend. A true gift and miracle. We miss you guys greatly. I was reminded of the great gifts in my life when I read this... 1