A window into my heart

We had a crisis this week. I was giving updates on Facebook but decided for your benefit (and mine) I'd write out what happened.

This week started like any other Sunday included church, home and rest. Clara was warm when she went to sleep but, that wasn't cause for alarm. Monday she woke up with a cough, the kind that doesn't do anything but annoy, and she coughed all day. Monday night I put her down and every 30 minutes or so she'd wake up coughing, crying herself awake and breathing weird - very unusual. I did all I knew to do...put a mist machine in her room, did a neb treatment with last year's leftover Albutiral and gave her Tylenol for her fever. She seemed to settle. When Matt came home he checked on her and he didn't like the way she was breathing so he slept with her. At 5am I took over and he got some sleep. I did another neb and decided we needed to go into the Dr. that morning. We got in at 11am, he checked her oxygen and found out she was low (85 instead of high 90's) and he gave her adrenaline mist and her levels came back up. She had a fever of 101 and tested positive for RSV. He explained what the virus was and sent us home saying most cases they get better on their own but if she sounds "worse or different" to come back that afternoon. Now I was sooo annoyed by that...what does worse sound like? And what is different? How am I supposed to know her oxygen levels at home? Very frustrating.

When she got up from her nap she was whimpering with every breath...that was different enough for me. She fell asleep on the way to the Dr. and I was scared...if knew something wasn't right. We got into the office and they tested her oxygen levels and they were back down to 85, they did the same adrenaline treatment and she didn't improve so the Doc suggested admitting her to St. Francis. He made it sound like it was just a precaution so I wouldn't have to keep guessing through out the night cause kids usually are worse at night. So I agreed.

We got settled into our room and the Respiratory Therapist came in looked at her for 3 minutes and said, "she should be at Children's Hospital." Matt and I looked at each other and I thought, "That's a bit over the top!" But, after trying two different types of oxygen masks and neither bringing her levels to normal they ordered an ambulance to take us to Children's. At this point, I'm just trying to keep up. You have to remember that morning I think my daughter has a cold Tuesday night I'm riding in an ambulance to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at one of the best children's hospitals in the country...it's a bit of a leap right?

Clara was limp, white and breathing hard the whole way there. I kept re-playing the doctor's last words in my head, "She's working really hard and at some point she's going to stop working." Not possible. She's MY baby. Needless to say, I was praying, crying and praying some more. I reached out to friends and family through Facebook...asking people to join with us. It was so encouraging to read everyone's comments. I'd talk to the doctor, text the update, and read about people praying. Amazing! Matt and I knew we're weren't alone.

When we got to Children's 5 doctors and nurses were waiting for us...not a good sign. We had x-rays and blood drawn immediately and everything looked very bad but not awful. The lead doctor came to talk to Matt and I to tell that if she got any worse she would need a breathing tube and she would have to be sedated. I didn't understand want that meant until later...he was talking about putting her into a coma so they could regulate her breathing. Now, things are getting very serious and still all we could do was pray and wait. All night she woke up in a panic from the strange room and tubes attached to every limb. She hated the oxygen mask and kept pulling at it. I slept in the same bed with her and cried. I felt that feeling...the one where I want to take her pain on myself so my precious baby wouldn't hurt anymore. But, I was powerless, all I could do was pray.

Wednesday she improved so much that they downgraded (or upgraded depending on how you look at it) us to a ICU room down the hall. She wasn't critical anymore. AND they had started weaning her off the oxygen. Still not eating or drinking or sleeping...she wasn't a happy camper. At the end of the day they let her have liquids and I was so relieved to see her doing something "normal." That night Matt came and I went home. I hadn't slept since the whole thing began and I was emotionally spent. She needed her daddy and I needed to go home and hug my other babies.

Thursday morning I came back and she started to get mad which medically speaking is wonderful but emotionally is so hard on me. They wanted her to scream and cry because she has loosen everything in her chest but I wanted to comfort her. AND I wanted to do was walk up and down the halls explaining what the doctors said to all the other parents taking care of sick kids listening to my almost 2 year old scream bloody murder! Plus, she would have a full on temper tantrum and pull at every cord attached to her body. It was awful. She was better but not well enough to take the tubes off. Eventually she calmed down and slept. I kept asking them to turn down the oxygen knowing that if she could prove she didn't need it we could go home sooner. She did went without oxygen for most of the day...and then into the night. People were praying and so was I. At 4am the nurse came in to check on her and because she'd been off oxygen for so long I asked about removing the tubes. It was a wonderful moment to see my babies face again. Friday morning I saw the doctor and he signed our release. They said it would 5-7 days...we were out in 3. Prayer works.

The last image is Clara playing the Doctor...waiting for Daddy to drive through the show storm and come get us.

At home Friday night she slept 13 hours straight and today she took two 2 hour naps. She is on the mend and being home is the best thing for her.

We're laying low for the next week so we don't spread this nasty bug. I don't mind. This will be a week of resting, cuddling, and thanking the Lord for all my blessings.

I know there are mom's who have suffered worse and my heart goes out to each one. It is truly painful to watch your child in pain. I was so thankful for the network of friends and family all over the world who stopped for a minute and prayed for Clara. What a gift.

This is our story. Thank you for reading...blogging is therapy for me. Someday Clara can scroll back and read about her trip to Children's Hospital!

Noemi Hedrick

Noemi Hedrick is a passionate wedding and portrait photographer based in Minneapolis. Noemi loves capturing the beauty inside every person. Her vibrant energy for life, love and family are grounded in her own values and loved ones. Noemi has been proudly serving as a wedding photographer for over 15 years and also offers a wide range of photography workshops for professional and amateur photographers.