Wednesday, November 21, 2007

5 years ago.

On Sophie's birthday post last month I wrote a little about her meningitis. When Corey read it he said, "I wish I could just forget all about that time." We realized...
we should never forget.
We should always remember.
When we get frustrated with her...
When we are angry with her...
When that strong willed personality is getting the best of us...
We need to remember...
how differently things could have gone.

I wrote this for Sophie's scrapbook when she was 8 months old. I wanted it here also...
so that we will never forget.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Our church Care Group was making and serving the meal at church that night. We took you with us and you were such a happy little thing while we were there. We were busy serving, so you were getting passed around and were out among all the people eating. We got home from church around 8:00 pm. At 9:00, you started getting really fussy. We tried everything and you just kept fussing and fussing until after midnight. This had been the first night we laid you in your bassinet and said, “She’s just going to have to cry.” A little after 12, Corey threw off the covers and said we could at least change your diaper. Maybe that would help. We both went in to do that and as we undressed you, we commented how warm you were. We took your temperature underneath your arm: 102.7. We were pretty sure you’re supposed to add a degree and couldn’t believe that your temperature was that high. We waited about 20 minutes, then took it again. Still 102. At this point, we’ve dug out all our parenting/baby books and are searching for something to tell us what to do. We didn’t want to be “those parents” that call the doctor for every little thing, but every book was saying, “Any fever over 100 degrees at less that 2 months old, call the pediatrician immediately!” You were 5 weeks old. You had calmed down at this point and had fallen asleep in the recliner with me. We decided to go ahead and call the Maternity Ward and hope that they could tell us whether or not this was anything serious. They transferred us right away to ER, who then transferred us to the pediatrician on call, Dr. Patron. He said he would meet us in the ER right away.

By the time we got to the ER, you were completely lethargic. You were so pale and just laid there during all the horrible tests and procedures they did to you. Our ER nurse was Sara Compton, who goes to church with us. She recognized us right away and said, “Didn’t I just see you tonight? Isn’t this the baby that was out in the hall?” We had never met her before, but were so grateful for her caring and compassion. Dr. Patron ordered a variety of tests, x-rays and exams, all of which were inconclusive. As soon as he mentioned “spinal tap,” we realized what we were dealing with. His instincts had been telling him meningitis all along, and a spinal tap would confirm it. We felt very blessed that Dr. Patron was the physician on call that night. We were confident in his abilities and comforted by his words. He prayed with us and prayed for you before he did the spinal tap, then encouraged us to leave, saying if it were his child, he wouldn’t want to watch.

By 4:00 am, we were admitted to ICU and you were hooked up to so many monitors and wires. You looked so tiny in the hospital gown and in your giant crib. The ER and ICU nurses and staff were wonderful and were so concerned with not only you, but us as well. I would just have pulled myself together and a nurse would come put her arm around me and ask how I was doing. That was usually enough to make me start crying again. The thought of you being so tiny and so very sick was the worst thing I had been through. We prayed for so long for a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery, we never dreamed we could lose you at this point. Dr. Patron had explained to us that with meningitis, the bacteria travels up the spinal cord and eats away at the brain. I still wonder what would have happened if Corey hadn’t gotten up to change your diaper that night. If we had just let you cry, you would have eventually gotten to that lethargic point, and would have stayed that way all through the night. By morning, it could have been too late. God was definitely watching out for you.

Around 6-6:30 am, we started making phone calls. Mom had just left the morning before to go be with Kristin in Ohio. She was due to deliver her little girl anytime. That was the hardest phone call I made. I only managed to get out, “We’re at the hospital. They think Sophie has meningitis.” Then, I lost it. Mom immediately called Aunt Aletha, who left Oklahoma right away to come fill in for her. Having been in Ohio less than 24 hours, Mom grabbed another flight headed back to Wichita. Corey had called my Dad and his mom and sister. Both were already on their way to be with us. I also called Eric and Kristi, thinking they could cover both church and school. The staff at Slate Creek was floored when they heard the news and several of them gathered in a kindergarten room to pray. My principal, Kevin, was the first person at the hospital, arriving shortly after 8:00. He prayed with me and insisted on going to our church to notify them. Several staff members showed up throughout the day, coming over their lunch or plan times.

The way news spread and the outpouring of love and support that we experienced was incredible. Within hours, you had hundreds, if not thousands, of prayers being sent up for you. People from Kansas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Nebraska, and Texas moved you to the top of their prayers lists. There was even a lady from Walgreens that organized a city wide prayer chain for you. Jana had stopped there after visiting the hospital, and being visibly shaken, the lady had asked her if she was OK. She told her about your situation and without even knowing us, this lady called all the churches in town, asking them to pray for Baby Sophie, who was sick in the hospital with meningitis. We also had a constant stream of visitors, phone calls and flowers being sent to the hospital, everyone wanting to know what they could do to help us. Corey and I had never felt more loved.

After 48 hours, we found out that Dr. Patron’s instincts had been correct. The cultures came back, identifying you as having bacterial meningitis, caused by a Group B streptococcal bacteria. They had tested me for this during my 37th week of pregnancy, and although my test was negative, somehow you still contracted it. Since it was caused by a bacteria and not a virus, it was treatable with medication. The doctors had guessed correctly, and the antibiotics they had been giving you were the correct ones. Throughout the whole experience the doctors had remained positive and were confident that we had caught your fever soon enough, they didn’t expect any permanent damage. Praise God!

After spending 4 days in ICU, we were transferred to a regular hospital room. The longest days of our life ended on Wednesday evening, November 27, when we were able to take you home. Just in time for Thanksgiving. And believe me, we had a lot to be thankful for. You still had your i.v. catheter and required twice a day antibiotics treatments. A nurse from home health came for the next 6 days until I insisted that she remove your very painful catheter. Your treatments had been cut to once a day, but they were unbelievably painful for you. You screamed the entire thirty minutes, then would collapse with exhaustion when they were over. Absolutely heartbreaking for Corey and I. Two days of intra-muscular shots were required to complete your full 14 days of antibiotics.

Eight months later, you appear to be developing perfectly! By looking at you, no one would ever know what a sick little girl you were and how horrible the final outcome could have been. We thank God for you everyday and will never forget His incredible healing powers.

We love you, Sophie.

I promise to always remember.

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