Wednesday, September 03, 2008

grateful for the calm

"Do I look sick to you???"

It was going to be an relaxing evening. J and I were getting ready to head out to the ReAl soccer game, and Baby G was walking in and out of our closets, having fun opening and closing the doors. Earlier that day we had made a quick visit to the hospital lab to get Baby G's blood drawn-- we had decided it would be good to get his blood checked for lead because we live in an old house and have been doing some remodeling. We just wanted to be cautious and make sure we weren't exposing our boy to anything harmful.

Our pediatrician called us minutes before we were going to walk out the door to the soccer game. I answered the phone, we exchanged pleasantries, and then he asked, "Has Baby G been acting any differently over the past few days?" I told him that he had actually had a low-grade fever off and on for the past week, but that it hadn't been anything significant. He had perhaps been very slightly more lethargic than normal, but mostly just seemed to be acting extra sweet, giving lots of cuddles, stopping to rest his head on my back and reach his little arms around me while I sat on the floor, and just generally being exceedingly good natured and loveable. Nothing I was worried about, to be sure.

Dr. M then went on to inform me that the blood tests from earlier that day had returned with some alarming numbers. Baby G's red blood cell (RBC) count was extremely low. "How low?" I asked. "Can you tell me the numbers?" Dr. M explained that a normal percentage of RBCs in a baby his age is 40%. Baby G was at 17%. "I don't want to alarm you," were the doctor's words, "but this is not something I am comfortable with waiting on. I have already called the emergency room at Primary Children's Hospital, and I want you to take your baby there now to have his blood taken again and have some more tests." I calmly told him we would leave right away and we hung up.

Then I went into the bedroom to pass along this information to my husband. As I was walking in the room I had a brief moment of panic. What if I am about to tell my husband that something is seriously wrong with our baby boy? What if our lives are going to change because of these next few sentences that will come out of my mouth? What if our baby is sick? I took a minute to collect myself because I didn't want to be a crying mess and scare my husband. J called my dad to tell him that instead of joining my family at the game that night we would be driving past the stadium, just a little further east, to the hospital.

To make a long story short, we were at the hospital for four hours. Baby G and his daddy spent lots of time pacing the halls,

and Baby G continued to be so stinking cuddly and cute that we could hardly stand it.
Then the baby had to get some more blood tests and while they were at it the doctor decided to have an IV put in (in case the results came back with bad news and they needed to start treating Baby G right away). Our boy was a champ-- how many people do you know that try to do handstands and sommersaults with an IV in one hand? We realized that in our hurried state to get to the hospital we hadn't eaten dinner. Baby G and I got to share the crackers the nurse gave us.

After a long wait the doctor came in and jubilantly exclaimed, "I have some great news! Your baby does NOT have leukemia!" I guess you could say we were relieved, but the truth is, aside from that brief moment of worry right after I hung up with the pediatrician, I had felt an extreme sense of peace and calm. I felt like everything would be okay, and even though I was fully expecting the doctor to return with good news, if it had been bad, I was feeling peaceful about it all. This experience has caused me to spend many hours in deep thought over the past week. I wake up each morning and in the still quietness of our bedroom my mind churns over the events of the past week. These are some of the thoughts in my heart:

As we were driving to the hospital J and I were calmly discussing the Worst Case Scenario. "Would you regret anything?" he asked. I very sincerely and honestly said, "Absolutely nothing." I feel so blessed to be Baby G's mama, and have loved every moment of taking care of him up to this point. I am so grateful I have been able to devote so much of myself to ensuring that he is safe, growing, loved, and happy. Of course, that's not to say that I am perfect and that I haven't needed a break here and there. But this experience has made me so enormously grateful for the things I have done right, and the overwhelming feeling that I have done the best I can up to this point.

One of the first thoughts I had was that I was so grateful that I am still nursing Baby G. He is almost 14 months old, and he still lays down in my arms at least 3 times a day to nurse and cuddle with me. He still sometimes falls asleep in my arms, and I still get to rock him while he sleeps. Oh how grateful I am for those sweet moments! I have wrestled with the question of when I should stop nursing him, and though I still don't know when the time will be right for us, I feel deep gratitude that it hasn't happened yet.

One of the themes for the past few months in our family has been experiencing calm while loved ones around us are passing through some extreme difficulties. Our home has been a haven, and the three of us have felt much happiness. This experience has reminded me that one day the tides will change, that the beautiful peace of soft ocean waves against the shores will at some point be replaced with turbulent seas that our family will have difficulty negotiating. I am so grateful for the calm right now, but feel motivated to fortify myself and my family so that when the winds and storms come we will be prepared.

And lastly, sort of on that note, I can't seem to shake the thought that this experience was a trial run for the real thing one day in the future. I am not sure what that means, or if it is just me being slightly paranoid. But it doesn't feel irrational, and it doesn't feel scary. It just feels like a quiet acknowledgement that something like this may be my cross to bear during mortality. I am not really sure how to articulate it, but nonetheless, I feel peaceful about all of these thoughts, and grateful for the experiences of the past week that have led me to such pondering.

For now, we will continue to enjoy our healthy boy and the calm of this time.


Sassy Rachel said...

LIZ!!! Oh my gosh is he ok??? Yah, no leukemia (eeegats!), but what is it?? Liz, you are so calm...I started tearing when I saw that pic of J and G pacing the halls. Your precious son! That must have been so scary and I'm glad things seem to be ok now? Whats the latest diagnosis? I will pray for him. I love him and I love you:)

Kevin, Danica, & Claire said...

yikes, what an ordeal. you seemed to have handled all of it remarkably well. were the doctors able to pinpoint the problem in the end? any probs with lead? keep us posted!

Rachel said...

Wow Liz, I'm so glad everything is all right with Baby G! You always have such a clear mind and you express yourself so well, I absolutely LOVE reading your blog, it makes up for the long pauses in between our visits. :) Love you!

Jess and Derek said...

Wow that is pretty intense! I'm glad everything's ok. You seemed to have handeled it extremely well. Did the doctors ever figure out why his RBC count was so low?

CGhica said...

In Relief Society today the teacher talked about how she and her sister seem to go through the same trials, but at different times in their lives. They have decided that they take turns being the first so that they are prepared to help the other through it when it is her turn. Their motto that they sign letters with is: Be of good cheer-Have Faith. I just kept thinking about that reading your comments. Thank you for sharing.

KaCHeRS said...

After reading your post I had to go kiss Riley while he was sleeping. You are so good at articulating your thoughts and experiences. I am so happy to hear that Baby G's okay. He's darling.

The Anderson's said...

Hey guys, I am really happy everything is going okay for you. We will keep you in our prayers. Keep us posted.

ls said...

I am so sorry for leaving you all wondering what really was wrong with Baby G-- I meant to include that in the story, but obviously got too preoccupied with my other thoughts. Here is the deal:

He is FINE. All signs point to him being 100% healthy right now. We have no clue why that initial test was so low. The doctor is looking in to it to see if the lab made some sort of error. There is a small chance that his RBC levels are really fluctuating (though that would be a HUGE amount of fluctuation), so we are watching it and will get his blood drawn again in the near future to check the levels again. But for now everything seems to be totally normal.

Thanks for wondering and being concerned. I love you guys.

Camie and Juan Figueroa said...

I'm so happy he is ok. You are such a rock and example. Aren't you so grateful for the gospel and the understanding of gods plan for us? I hope everything continues to go well for you guys. We're gonna be visiting for sure in November for Thanksgiving. Hope we get to see you guys. I just wanna squeeze and kiss your adorable little boy! Love you guys!

Lemme said...

you are incredibly incredible!! I wish I had your perspective sometimes. have you started teaching yet?

Thistlerose said...

and boy do we love you, too, ls. so glad all is well for now.

Lucy, Marc and Katie said...

WOW Liz! Times like this I am reminded of the part in the song where it says, "Finding strength beyond my own" isn't it amazing when we trust in the Lord how strengthened we can become!

em&m said...

I'm so glad that he is o.k. I'm also glad that you have had such a peaceful and uplifting experience out of it. Thank you for sharing.

GregR said...

Oh boy! Are we ever grateful that George is okay. I'm thankful for his precious giant spirit even in that little body of his you can feel his wonderful gentle spirit. I hope he comes and gives me a hug soon.