Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Angels watching over us

One year ago tonight, I was sitting in a busy ICU room, holding the hand of my pastor's wife and dear friend, Erika, praying like crazy that God was not taking my son from me already.

One year ago tonight, Dusk was scrambling to find someone to stay with Sierra and get up to the hospital as quickly as he could, in case our son was out of time.

That night. That scary, scary night. I don't know that I ever blogged the details about it, but I think it's time. This blog will, God willing, be a scrapbook for Bodie someday, a chance to look at his miraculous life through our eyes...a constant reminder of how far he has come...and how much further our Lord will hopefully take him.

Bodie had been having a really rough day. We had brought him into the ER 2 days earlier for slight lethargy during a feed and lower sats than usual. We had been in the ER less than an hour when his sats really dropped and they couldn't bring him up even with high levels of 02. They bagged him and admitted him to the CTICU. The next day, he slept in my arms almost the entire day on 8L of vapotherm (about as high as you can get) while a huge medical team tried to figure out what was going on. They threw out theory after theory (maybe aspiration? likely shunt narrowing?). No one really knew. All they knew was he was satting in the 60's and they had no idea why. We were worried.

Then came April 20th. They decided the most likely culprit was a shunt narrowing. They didn't see it on the echo, but sometimes, depending on where it narrows, you can't see it on an echo. So they sent Bodie to the cath lab that morning. He coded on the table before they even began. He required about 30 seconds of chest compressions before his heartrate picked back up. The procedure otherwise went fine and it showed no shunt narrowing. Still no answers. They brought him back to his room and he coded again, requiring a few seconds of chest compressions. The rest of the day was spent trying to stabilize him. They'd get him stabile, using a myriad of meds and a paralytic, but as soon as the paralytic would wear off (it lasted about an hour), he would decompensate, so they'd have to push more fluid, go up on his epinephrine and do another dose of paralytic, which would stabilize him for another hour or so. The docs were in his room all day, talking about what on earth was going on and if they could even fix it. We were scared, but they were still able to stabilize him with their arsenal of tricks.

Then, at about 9pm, things really started spiraling downhill and quickly. All of the sudden, the doctors were in Bodie's room every 15 minutes, pushing fluids...and he would stabilize for about 15 minutes and that was it. Then, his sats and heart rate would drop and his pressures would rise. At one point, the doctors weren't leaving at all, but just staying there. He was full of fluid and maxed out on epi, plus an extra 2 bolus doses. Code meds were drawn. I was terrified.

I had been sitting by Bodie's bedside all day. Because they had been able to keep him more or less stable throughout the day, Dusk had stayed home with Sierra and I was by myself for a majority of the day. The nurses kept asking me if I had had a chance to rest, or to eat, but there was no leaving his bedside. I just sat there, silently crying and praying for most of the day. Thank God our pastor's wife Erika came up to sit with me that evening. I think I had even told her she didn't need to, but luckily she totally ignored my request.

So, we were sitting there at 9pm, watching the doctor's expressions, me pumping under a blanket in my chair. The attending doctor, Dr. Rivera, walked in. I knew from her expression that things were grim. I finally asked the question I had been dreading the answer to. I said "I need to ask you something. I've been watching what's been going on all day. I know things are not good. Is this the time I need to call my husband and have him come up?" I'll never forget her response for as long as I live. She paused, looked at me and then said "you know, that's a really tough question to answer. I will tell you that your son is very sick and we are very worried about him. I would hate for something to happen and your husband not to be here. So yes, I would probably call him."

I called Dusk and, as he was scrambling to get someone to watch Sierra, he started calling everyone in his cell phone, asking them to get out of bed and on their knees, and pray for a miracle for our son. Shortly thereafter he was in route, continuing his calls for prayers on the way up to the hospital.

Within a very short time after he started making those calls, Dr. Rivera said "you know, your son has been having a LOT of arrythmias today (that was nothing new for Bodie). CHD kids, particularly single ventricle kids, like a very steady bump-bump rythmic heartbeat. I'd like to try externally pacing him to see if that helps him at all." Mind you, the "to pace or not to pace" question had been delved into numerous times over the previous 2 days with the general consensus that pacing had not helped him considerably in the past so there wasn't much point to trying it now. But Dr. Rivera did it - it was her Hail Mary.

Within less than an hour of starting to pace him, he had stabilized. In fact, by the time Dusk got to the hospital, the critical danger zone had passed. It would be days before they would completely piece together a treatment plan that would include a shunt revision and pacemaker placement less than a week later. And he was medically supported by a LOT of different medicines. But it was his turning point. He started coming back that night. Praise God.

When I thanked Dr. Rivera afterwards for saving my son's life, she responded that she prayed every day for God to give her the wisdom to find the best ways to treat her patients. There is no doubt that is exactly what happened that night. When my mom asked the resident later about the miraculous turnaround we had witnessed, my mom asked if she saw that kind of thing happen often. Her response was that she saw kids get really sick, some of them got better, but rarely did she see them turn around like Bodie did. I think her honest opinion was that Bodie had some divine intervention. I could not agree more.

So today has been a heavy day for me. Just remembering so many emotions from a year ago. And looking at this sweet face, thinking about how hard he has fought to be here. I could not be more grateful.

And, as things often work out in ways we don't expect, today was a milestone for a whole other reason as well. You see this?This is Bodie's last bag of frozen breastmilk. As I type, it is thawing out in preparation for his morning bottle tomorrow. (Yes, I'm pretty proud that my breastmilk lasted him all the way until 14 months!) How fitting it is that one year later, to the hour, of almost losing our son, I am thawing out his very last bottle of breastmilk as we transition him to big boy things like whole milk and sippy cups. Praise God indeed!!!

I know that this has been a pretty heavy post, so I thought I would close with some lighthearted sweetness. In between climbing up and down the stairs (and up and down and up and down and up and down) oh and the coffee table now, this is what our sweet boy treats me to these days... I am so lucky. :-)



  1. oh amy, i remember so well. addie and i were right next door. i didn't know half of what was going on, but i knew it was not good. he is such a superstar and so are you. thank you, G-d!!!

  2. Oh Amy, the scenarios a heart mom lives through is undescribeable. You did it though, so eloquently. Thank you for sharing Bodie with us, with everyone. (And, I'm jealous over the 14 months!!!) Great job Mom and Bodie!

  3. Well that made me cry! It brings back so many memories, including pumping under my shirt in the midst of ER chaos.

    God is amazing. There is no other reason other than HIM as to why Mason is still alive.

    Bodie is a true miracle, and a wonderful little boy!

  4. Congrats Mama for getting your milk to last him 14 months! Even better on such a milestone of a day that Mr. Bodie showed you his mad climbing skills and scaled the coffee table. He said "Take that doctors - I may be a single ventricle kid - but I'm mighty" Lol...forget the stress of the first few months, he's going to give you gray hairs with everything he gets into from here on out. Enjoy!!!

  5. Beautiful, Amy. Thank you for sharing. Praise God for His miracles and for answering all our prayers for Bodie!

    ~~Bodie continues to be part our family prayer time each night~~

    Kimberly Borgeson

  6. God is amazing! He continues to use you and your experiences to bless others. Don't stop writing.
    Love you all!

  7. amazing story.. made me cry sitting at my desk.
    He is such a fighter, and he will continue to be one!

  8. I too remember how much you all went through with your little man. I prayed like crazy that God would provide the answers to save his life. I am so thankful God answered your prayers. Bodie is such a strong little man!

  9. Oh, goodness. This post gave me chills to the point that I literally needed to grab a blanket! It's amazing what God has brought your little warrior through! Praise His name!

    I was totally looking forward to watching the kisses video, but it's listed as Private so I can't... Boo!

    Yay for Bodie!!!

  10. Wow! How great is our God! Touching post Amy and what a milestone Bodie has reached to be transitioning to bigger boy things!

  11. What an amazing tribute to God's grace in our lives! As parents, just having the grace to peacefully sit by as our children fight for their lives is a gift. God bless you as you continue to share your story...and this was so appropriate on Resurrection weekend.

  12. You are AMAZING!!!!! In so many ways it's almost too much to count. Thanks for sharing the story. And the video was too too precious!!! Many hugs n kisses to you all from jean & Liam