We are all inspired by different things at different times. Love, money (or the lack thereof) art, family and faith all come to mind for me. For me my greatest motivation is my family. I have a wonderful wife and two adorable sons. Everything I do is driven by a need to make them happy and better our lives together. I am blessed to have them in my life. Over the next few weeks I will relay some of our family stories here on my blog.
June Fourteenth of 2006 changed my life forever. I nearly lost my wife and unborn son. Instead I received a blessing and witnessed what is a miracle in my opinion. This is Jacob's story. Expecting a child is one of the greatest joys a couple shares in life. It wasn't like that for my wife and I. Three miscarriages, two of which were around twenty weeks, made pregnancy an experience of terror. Every moment passed in anticipation of a tragic ending. Having had one son after a long journey that lead to emergency C-section didn't build much confidence for the success of our latest pregnancy. The morning of the fourteenth my wife told me she wasn't feeling well and I prepared for the worst.
Arriving at the hospital my wife was seen by our on call doctor. She was running a high fever and the threat of infection was a major concern. We were consulted about the risks of amniocentesis but decided it was the only choice. After the procedure our fears were confirmed, an infection threatened both mother and child. Immedite c-section was the only choice. We were at twenty-five and a half weeks gestation.
I was briefed by our doctor while my wife was being prepared for surgery. He told me that the prognosis wasn't good for our son. The chances of his survival were low given the extent of the infection. If he did survive he would most likely be severely handicapped. This was devastating news. He rushed into surgery and I was left in the antechamber to hope, wait and pray.
After what seemed an eternity the neonatal team emerged from the surgery room and rushed for the intensive care unit. The doctor informed me that my wife was fine and headed to recovery but things hadn't been as good for my son. It took eight minutes to get him to breathe when he was born. The ramifications of this alone were enough to bring me to tears. I asked the doctor what his opinion was. It was simple....Jacob had about twelve hours to live.
In the neonatal intensive care unit a team of no less than eight doctors and nurses worked to stabilize Jacob. He was tiny, one pound fifteen ounces. Cords, wires and tubes were being added at a dizzying rate. Monitors followed his every body function while I stood and watched helplessly. My son was fighting for his life and there was nothing I could do to help. Thoughts of what I would tell my wife were going through my head. She would be tired and recovering from her part in this. Explaining to her that Jacob had little hope didn't seem the correct choice. Looking at him lying there so small and frail I knew that I couldn't lie to her either. Several hours later I told her that Jacob was fine. I didn't lie.
Twelve hours. It doesn't seem like much time. When you count every minute that passes it becomes longer. This was our new life. A life where we counted the small measures of time. Twelve hours came and went and Jacob continued his fight for life. My new goal was twenty-four hours. Soon my wife was by my side watching over Jacob. We prepared for a long fight.
Jacob hung to life with a tenacity that was remarkable. We adjusted to the hospital environment and semi-regular life resumed. I had a business to run and we had a two and a half year old son to attend to. Mornings began with a six o'clock call to the hospital to check on Jacob. Some days were good, many weren't. My wife spent days split between the hospital and home. Our entire focus became Jacob and through Jacob our family. Prayer groups were set up. Charity came from unexpected sources and time marched on. Our hope for Jacob grew with every new day.
One hundred days. That was the length of Jacobs stay in the St. Lukes NICU. It was a remarkable journey for everyone involved. There were many trials during that time. A heart valve stitched shut, a brain hemorrage, eye development complications and hernias. His lungs nearly failed him at one month. Infections. It seemed that every obstacle overcome only presented another. I could write volumes on the hospital stay. It truly was a marathon.
Today, Jacob is over two and a half years old. He is a healthy young boy. Walking, talking and mischeivous. There have been no complications since leaving the hospital. He is a living testament to the strength of life, faith and family. I try to keep in mind an important lesson I learned during Jacob's struggle. Count the days, the hours and even the minutes. They are all miracles.