When God intervenes, miraculous things happen. They always do!
“See? He’s doing it again. Babe, I don’t think this is normal.” Trying not to panic, I turned to look at my husband’s face. I watched his brow crease.
“Yeah, I see what you’re talking about now. The other boys didn’t do this.” He held our little Joshua close as Joshua’s tiny body seemed to convulse, while little repetitious squeaking noises pushed past his lips. Everything kept happening in sync. It was so strange.
“I’ll call the nurse line and see what they say.” I grabbed my phone and punched in the numbers for the hospital nurse line.
For weeks I tried to pretend it was normal. I tried to tell myself that it was just normal newborn twitches. But, I couldn’t pretend anymore. Something was wrong with our baby. We watched as his condition seemed to slowly spiral. He had moments when his whole body would go completely rigid, and his face would turn bright red. Other times, his arms and legs would randomly start pumping in sync with each other. When I nursed him, his head would suddenly start thrashing from side to side. For a good moment, I couldn’t get his head to stop thrashing. It was like he couldn’t control it either. Sometimes I would be looking at him, and his eyes would start rapidly moving all over the place. Then there was the random convulsing as his little mouth made this repetitious squeaking noise. On top of all this, he was sleeping . . . a lot. Yes, newborns already sleep a lot. But, our little 5-week old was having only about thirty minutes to an hour of total wake time in a 24-hour period. This was not normal. None of it was normal.
“Sweetie, I’m not a doctor, but I think you need to take your son into the hospital right away. This doesn’t sound right. I’m not going to say it’s seizures, but it sounds a lot like it.”
My heart sunk at the nurse’s words. She confirmed my worried thoughts.
I told my husband what the nurse said. Since it was already nearly midnight and our other boys were asleep, we decided for me to just go to the hospital with Joshua by myself. The whole way there, I tried to keep the panic from rising in my throat and prayed as best as I could.
When I got to the ER of the hospital, I explained what I said to the nurse. Having barely sat down, Joshua and I were whisked to a private room. Immediately, the room exploded with doctors and nurses. After only twenty minutes, I felt like I had told the situation several times over. Pretty soon, they were doing a bunch of blood work and then said that they needed to do a spinal tap on my baby. When the doctor and nurses came in to do the spinal tap, I tried to stay calm but quickly left in a fit of tears. I leaned against the wall as sobs wracked my chest.
God please help me. Please help him.
One of the nurses called me back in. There Joshua lay, fast asleep on the chest of one of the male nurses. They said he did an amazing job but were concerned because he slept through the whole thing. Babies don’t normally sleep through blood work, let alone a spinal tap. I was just so thankful he wasn’t in pain. I gently pulled him back into my arms, and we snuggled peacefully together as the nurses left the room.
It felt like an eternity before one of the doctors came back in. The look on her face spoke volumes. She was very somber and serious. She pulled up a chair and captured my eyes with hers.
“Joshua’s spinal tap results came back. His ammonia and lactate levels are dangerously high. We’re going to contact UNC of Chapel Hill and see what they recommend for us to do. I’m so sorry,” she quietly reported and then quickly exited the room.
I tried to wrap my mind around what she was saying. What did she mean? What is going on? I called for one of the nurses or doctors to come back in and explain to me what the doctor meant. Someone finally came in. Tears streamed down my cheeks.
“I don’t know what the doctor meant. She said things that were above my head. What are ammonia and lactate levels? I don’t understand,” I sobbed.
The head nurse knelt down in front of me and said, “Your baby is very sick. When the ammonia and lactate levels are high like this, it usually indicates that there is a metabolic condition. With his levels as high as they are, it could be fatal. But, we will take very good care of him. We just got word that they will be flying him to UNC on a military helicopter.”
The tears continued to flow. I was exhausted and scared. I immediately grabbed my phone and called Evan. I rapidly explained to him what was going on and that he needed to get to the hospital right away. He quickly arranged for a babysitter for our other boys, packed up a bag, and raced to the hospital.
By the time he arrived, the flight team was already prepping Joshua for the flight. I asked if I would be able to go with him. I initially was told that I wouldn’t be able to, but then the Captain of the helicopter sent word that he wanted the mom on the flight and there was to be no argument about it. Relief washed over me. I didn’t want to be separated from my baby if I could help it. My husband had to drive separately.
I watched as they secured Joshua inside of a big incubator. He had tubes and wires going everywhere. I tried to stay strong, but the tears refused to be held back. We were all then rushed to the landing area, and I was escorted onto the helicopter and buckled into a seat. They handed me a helmet and huge, awkward head gear. I didn’t care. I sat across from the incubator and stared at Joshua’s tiny, still body. Why wouldn’t he wake up? He just seemed so lifeless.
The helicopter jerked as it lifted off the ground. Suddenly, Joshua’s monitors all started going off. (I later found out it was because his IV had come loose, so it threw the monitors off.) I cried and prayed. I didn’t know what else to do. I felt like that’s all I was doing. Crying and praying. Crying and praying. I closed my tired, puffy eyes and exhaustion gripped my body into a restless sleep.
I jolted awake to the touch of a hand on my shoulder. The doctor who came on the flight motioned that we had arrived and that it was time to exit the helicopter. Dazed, I followed the medical team to an ambulance that took us to the hospital. From what I had been told, this was one of the best pediatric hospitals in the Nation. I took solace in that.
Joshua was admitted into the PICU and blood work was drawn again. His levels were still high. In what felt like an eternity of moments, doctors came in and out, asking me to repeat the story over and over again. I was exhausted and just desperately wanted to lie down. Now that Joshua was in good hands, I needed rest but didn’t want to leave him. Unfortunately, his little PICU room didn’t have room for extra people to stay. Pretty soon, Evan arrived and I collapsed into his arms. I was too tired to cry. Too tired to do anything. Just too tired.
We were given instructions for where we could stay. Since the Ronald McDonald house was too full, we stayed in a hotel close by. Though I was exhausted, I didn’t sleep well. I tossed and turned. I wanted to be with my baby. The next morning, we got a phone call from the hospital saying that they had moved Joshua to a regular room and that his levels were starting to drop. We rushed to the hospital and found our little baby being loved on by nurses. His new room had a pull-out couch where we were able to sleep and a full bathroom. We were relieved to be able to stay with our little boy.
As I think back over the next few days of that incident, my mind doesn’t recollect much. I think I was just so incredibly weary and emotionally worn. A neurologist came in and had Joshua hooked up to a machine that would check for seizures. The next few days were spent monitoring his brain activity and his lactate/ammonia levels.
People and churches all over the Country lifted our baby up in prayer. Prayer chains were started. Phone chains ignited. We could feel the prayers. We could sense God’s hand in everything. What happened during those next few days was an absolute miracle! Joshua’s condition speedily got better. His levels lowered back to normal. The seizure-like activity ceased. In a matter of days, he was a perfectly healthy boy!
The metabolic doctor came in to talk to us. (We’ve been told he’s actually the best metabolic doctor in the world!) He seemed bewildered. “I don’t understand. This doesn’t happen. Babies with high levels like that have a metabolic condition that they’re born with. The levels don’t just go down. It’s something they would have for the rest of their lives. This is so strange,” he said.
I cracked a smile and looked knowingly at Evan. “It was God,” I replied.
The doctor shrugged off my comment and then proceeded to try to explain it away. Other doctors and nurses came in, and they all tried to come up with what could have possibly happened, what could possibly explain our son’s miraculous and rapid recovery.
It was God. That’s all we can say. It was God.
I will admit that at the time, I had already been experiencing severe postpartum depression. So, I let doubts slip into my mind. I started to doubt if it really was God. I started to wonder if maybe I had just been an overly paranoid mom. For a long time, I doubted God’s hand in it. But, months after the incident, I couldn’t deny it anymore. All the proof. All the facts. All the events that took place. God’s hand was over it. All of it. God healed our son. I don’t know why He chose to. Maybe it was simply to just demonstrate His power and His glory. But, there’s not denying it. No one can explain it.
IT WAS GOD!
*Joshua is now nearly 16 months old and a very healthy, fun, little boy!*