Saturday, February 25, 2012

Coming Home

Been awhile.  Sad that most of my posts start out with that statement.  This time, however, I may just have a reasonable excuse.  I had a baby last month!  Number five.  People usually respond to that with one of two exclamations:  "You're crazy!" or "You're brave!"  I've accepted the truth probably lies somewhere in between. 

So, the last month has been a time of finding a new "regular" in the Jung home.  We're getting there, but I will admit, it has been a bit of a bumpy ride. The first week especially.  More so than you're regular first-week-with-a-new-baby bumpy.  Our sweet baby boy spent the first week of his life in Intensive Care. It was what they call a step-down unit...Intermediate.  So he wasn't the sickest of babies, but he had to be under constant observation.  It was hard enough that he couldn't be in the room with me.  I couldn't nurse him that first night even.  He was all the way on another floor and in another wing of the building.  It seemed like miles to get to him. 

Then I was discharged.  They actually told me to go home without him.  How could I leave without my baby? My sweet, brand new, baby boy.  He was helpless.  He needed his mom.  And they want me to leave him here all alone? Sure, the nurses in the NICU were amazing, but none of them love him like I do. A baby needs his momma. How can I leave him so young?

We knew this was going to be a possibility since the second day. In my mind I had been working out how I could get through it...the things I would tell myself.  But I honestly wasn't sure if I could physically make myself leave the building. Everytime I would think about it, my legs would get weak. I could sleep in the chairs in the waiting room (actually security would have chased me out.) I could find an empty room in a quiet wing and hide in a bed. But on the other hand, I had three kids at home that needed me, too. And they all needed their mom to be healthy and strong. I asked for prayer, and by God's grace I was able to walk out of the building.

The next couple days were a whirlwind. I wish I could say I moved through this trial with grace, faithfully trusting my Heavenly Father every step of the way.  But that'd probably be a lie.  I did my very best to get to the hospital every three hours to nurse him. My mother and husband were probably about to check me back into the hospital...but this time, not in the maternity ward. I slept about 2 hours a day.  No joke.  Between the drive to and from the hospital, eating and drinking healthy so my milk would come in, giving the other kids at least a little attention from mom, pumping when we missed a feeding, and a shower every other day or so, there just wasn't much time for sleep.  My main focus was getting back to Kai. I didn't even have time to realize how tired I was.

Then it happened.  I was nursing him Saturday night.  Dad was there with me.  We have him right in front of his little incubator and he was still all plugged up to his monitors and IV.  Test results had come back.  His billirubin level was 19.  The charge nurse practically ripped him off my breast and said we have to get him back under his light.  They even went and got two other special lights, one to go under him and another in front of him.  Now I couldn't even hold him.  I didn't understand. The nurse explained to me that if his number gets to 20, he goes to the higher level ICU and they start discussing options for blood transfusions.  WHAT JUST HAPPENED?  I thought he was just jaundiced? 

I went into a tailspin.  It was happening again.  The doctors and nurses assured me he was going to be fine as long as we let them do their job. They quoted statistics to me. So did my husband.  All in his favor of course.  But statistics and logic don't do much good for a mom who's already lost one child to a very RARE heart defect that happens less than .2% of the time. Statistics had not been my friend. The heart is not logical. I don't want to hear how good his chances are, I want him to be in my arms and home.  I just wanted to take him home!  And now, I have to leave again?  When he's even sicker?  Why, God?

My husband struggles when I'm in the midst of an anxiety attack. I imagine it's partly because he wants to fix it, and can't.  And partly because the whole guys-not-dealing-with-tears-well thing.  He tries, bless his heart.  But he was also hurting and sleep-deprived.  We were a mess.  I called my friend, Crystal.  She prayed with me on the phone as I walked out of the hospital.  And then I found out afterward, she unleashed the prayer warriors!  I came home for another two hours sleep and then back to the hospital. 

His numbers weren't down, but it wasn't the steady climb of the last couple days.  We prayed more.  And the next test, they were DOWN!  And then down some more!  Could it be we might be going home soon?  Kai's brothers and sister were beside themselves wanting him home too!  We all wanted to be home.  The craziness of the last couple days was starting to wear on us all.  I actually begin having hallucinations Sunday afternoon. I'm sure it was sleep-deprivation.  I decided I better try and get at least 4 hours sleep that night. 

Tuesday afternoon the news came...he was released!!  We were sooo excited!  Finally, our family could be together!  I will never forget the feeling riding in the car on the way home. Pure joy. And that night, we didn't really do anything special, just ate a family...and watched some tv together...all of a family. It was SO nice to just be all together in the same room.  It made me think of heaven.  I mean after all, this earth is not our home.  We're all here, waiting until the day we get discharged, so we can go to our true home with God.  And sometimes, just like a stay in the hospital, our stay here can be rocky. Full of uncertainty.  Sometimes we're even away from the ones we love.  I wonder if those loved ones who've gone on before get excited about us "coming home." I wonder if they're waiting patiently and watching as we go through our struggles here, rooting us on, pleading and intercessing for us when we're in trouble. Longing for that day when they can bring us home and we can all be together.  What a glorious day that will be. 

Kai is doing wonderfully now.  Had his 1-month check up yesterday and all looks good! He's tough. Runs in the family :)  And if you were one of those prayer warriors out there covering us last month, we are SO grateful for you!  What a beautiful thing when God's people come together in prayer!

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