The past two days have been emotional for me. Unfortunately, I think it is going to continue for the next 7 weeks. I knew it was coming and I actually expected it to hit harder so I am thankful that is not the case, at least as of yet. But I know it's coming. And I am scared. I really think at times that I am suffering from a bit of PTSD.
I should probably step back and explain a little. As many of you know, we had Naya at home with us for 5 days before she was admitted to the hospital. Those 5 days were hell because she wasn't feeding or pooping but at least, at that point, we didn't think she was going to die. According to our pediatrician (whom we saw 3 times), she was just being a lazy newborn because I had an epidural. Obviously, she is not our pediatrician anymore. I'll get more into that some other time though. That's not what I intended to talk about about right now.
Anyway, so yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the day we brought Naya into the emergency room - otherwise known as the day it all went to hell. I obviously wasn't writing at that point in time and I don't know if I have ever spoken of it but that day was probably the second hardest and definitely the most confusing day of my life. Everything just went so terribly wrong so quickly that even now, a year later, I have a hard time comprehending it.
After we spent the first five days of her life force feeding her and not getting any answers from her ped, I got fed up and insisted we take her to the ER at about 5am on July 29th. When we got there, the ER staff didn't really know what to do. They hooked her up to an IV because she hadn't been feeding and ordered tests and xrays. They asked us a bunch of questions and discovered (after an abdominal xray), that she had a blockage in her bowels and ordered a transfer down to a hospital that performed neonatal surgery. While we were waiting for the ambulance, Naya's bowels released all over me as I was holding her and a few minutes later, she began projectile vomiting bile onto Dan. We later learned that this was probably the moment of her demise, as this was the point where she aspirated it into her lungs causing the pneumonia. It could have possibly been prevented if the ER had inserted a simple NG tube when we arrived (and told them she had been vomiting) but they didn't. The poor kid had all of the odds stacked against her.
When the staff finally got her stabilized enough for the transfer, both Dan and I were pretty shaken. We had no idea what was happening and were more terrified than we have ever been in our lives. I also don't know if I have ever talked about this but Dan actually held Naya in the ambulance during the 90 minute trip to Santa Barbara. I sat up the front with the driver. When we got to the hospital, I held Naya in the ER while they tried to stabilize her before moving her to the PICU. This was the last time we held her while she was still alive. I didn't know it at the time but her stats were dipping dangerously low and she was dying. It took them awhile to stabilize her and they finally got her over to the PICU. There was a flurry of doctors and nurses rushing around, yelling at each other and ordering various things while Dan and I stood there in shock, not knowing what was happening to our baby. She had been fine two hours ago! The doctor eventually had us leave the room in the company of a Chaplin and a social worker. We didn't realize it at the time but we now know it's because she was dying and they were trying to save her life and didn't want us in the way. While we were gone, they intubated her, started her on some drips and rushed her to surgery. It was at that point that they finally told us how critical the situation was and that she might not make it through the surgery. We sat there in shock, sobbing and hyperventilating while waiting for the doctor to come back and tell us whether she was dead or alive. When they came back and told us that she had made it through the surgery, we were ecstatic. We thought the worst was over and that they could fix her. We didn't realize how wrong we were.
I wish I could forget the feeling of walking in to see her and she was hooked up to a million IV's with a ventilator breathing for her tiny, little body. I don't know how many of you have seen what a critically ill baby on a vent looks like but it is one of the most traumatic things to see in the world. Your immediate reaction is to start crying. There is a reason we have never shared a picture of what she looked like in the hospital on it out there. My heart breaks just thinking about her like that. My beautiful, perfect baby girl wasn't supposed to be hooked up to machines keeping her alive. It was a terrible moment that I will never forget as much as I would like to. I am still reeling from it. I don't know if I will ever understand. I don't know if I want to. Sometimes I just want this nightmare to be over. I don't want to relive what happened a year ago everyday for the next 7 weeks. I want to forget but I can't.