I’d like to *really late* introduce the youngest member of our tribe. The one who was born a month after Mike’s knee surgery and four and a half months from this moment. To say that I am behind in posting about life’s events would render the same I’m so behind circle I’ve spun before. So, let’s just not delay game any longer.
This precious little bundle is Ryan Michael. He entered the world on a Sunday afternoon following the most intense hour of labor and delivery I have had. I would have rather been sawed in two then push for a second longer. He was a whoppin’ seven pounds, fourteen ounces and came out twisting his Mama’s heart around his finger.
He had me at hello. Or whatever it was that he breathed out in that first moment.
Have I mentioned how desperate I was for another little boy to love? There is just something about little boys who come in sweaty at their temples, hair ruffed up, smelling of sunshine, dirt and sweat, that makes me melt. Don’t get me started about the days they smell like sunblock, beach and tired boy…I’m already tearing up. Another boy. God is good.
Ryan found two adoring parents, one extremely proud big brother, an older sister who is the best second Mama I could ask for, and one little older sister who would love to poke his eyes out, I’m sure, all ecstatic about his arrival.
The first evening went off without a hitch. He breastfed well, slept like a champ, and seemed to know that God had placed him in an experienced home. The next morning I showered, blew out my hair, put on makeup, and saw my toes for the first time in months. I was flying high and waiting to go home, hopefully that day, with my baby.
Seven AM- I had Ryan between my legs on the bed and was just finishing changing his diaper and snapping him up. He started to spit up a little and I said, “Oh’ dear, you are spitting up, aren’t you?” I turned his body to the side while I grabbed a little cloth and when I looked back at him I saw a mouth full of goop. Thick mucous. I swiped with my finger and kept him on his side for a moment. He wasn’t clearing it. He wasn’t breathing. I flipped him over and started patting his back while he struggled in my hands. Fighting for a breath. Both of us desperate.
“HE’S NOT BREATHING”, I shouted to Mike about ten seconds later. Mike, my precious man who had just had knee surgery and spent a month and a half on the couch, took off running for the nursery.
Ryan turned blue and then he turned gray and went limp in my hands.
I screamed with everything in me, “HELP US! PLEASE, HELP US!” Screaming and crying and patting. Good GOD, DO SOMETHING. Please help me, Lord Jesus.
I heard them call a code for our room. Code blue, I think. Several times. In flew a nurse who grabbed Ryan from my hands. She yelled at me, “Just give me the baby!” And then she left as quickly as she came. And I sat there. Trembling and sobbing. While close to thirty other people descended on my room, nurses and doctors. Then all but four of them headed to the nursery to help with Ryan. The other four sat with me, trying to help put me back together. But how exactly do you put someone whose child stopped breathing back together at a moment like that.
They couldn’t. Truth is I wouldn’t be put back together for over a month.
Several minutes later one of the nurses holding my hand and watching me breathe got a call letting us know that Ryan was breathing again. Mike was with him in the nursery. It would be almost ten more minutes till I could convince them I was okay enough to go see him.
Trembling, they walked me down to the nursery. Makeup I had so care freely applied this morning now streamed off my face. I couldn’t care less. The child I had known for only 12 hours lay ahead of me in a nursery surrounded by a team of people bent on helping him breathe again.
They said it was just thick mucous out of his lungs. But they needed to keep him there for a while. I could touch him and kiss him and then I needed to let them do some blood tests and monitor him. They kept him there for only three hours and returned him to us on a monitor that made sure he kept breathing. But from that moment, for a month of moments, I would not rest or tire of making sure he was breathing. Ryan turning gray and stopping breathing was all I could think about. He would choke and sputter up thick mucous for another 24 hours. I was terrified.
My very best friends would come and love on us all and try to remind me that life would be normal and we would all be okay. And you know what? I would try to gather strength from those words, things would be okay. But in the back of my mind, I knew that God might take Ryan from me. My Everything might demand my child. Could I survive such a thing?
Holding Ryan, loving him, nursing him, rocking him, I just clung to every moment in fear of what might be required of us. I found myself pleading with the Lord to please just let me have this baby.
It would only be a few hours till the Holy Spirit would reveal a truth now seared inside me. God is Ryan’s sustainer just as He is mine. Ryan’s days are numbered by the Lord, just as mine are and I will not be able to add one day to either of our sums. I must trust and walk forward in the grace given for this day.
Ryan came home just a half day later than originally planned. I would watch him inhale and exhale for weeks, but now as I type I hear him screaming his sweet lungs out letting me know my time to journal is drawing closed. Screaming. A sound that still makes my heart glad. Who would have thought?