I've been thinking about Naters a lot lately. Little Nate is my nephew. He's one cute kid, and I feel especially fond of this guy 'cause he kind of likes me...plus, I'm excited for Sammy and Callie to have a "Green" cousin. Long story short, Nate's had some breathing issues and had surgery to "fix" what they could. This past week, Nate got a cold...and stopped breathing. He's been in the hospital for the past few days. I went and saw him the other night, and even under that mask, he's one cute kid.
I've also been thinking a lot about Samantha. I know Nate's going to be ok -- or have a hunch that he will be. But, that doesn't make things easier NOW. Well, sometimes it can, but still.
When Samantha was born, we knew she had a small head. We knew the doctor in the hospital said she'd be a vegetable. But 3 months later we met with a geneticist who had researched the diagnosis and all things said she'd live a pretty normal life and we were specifically told that she wouldn't have seizures. I thought I'd just have a delayed baby...when I cried leaving the geneticist's office, it was because I thought Samantha wouldn't go to the Prom or play soccer...or get married or wahtever, because she'd be developmentally delayed. Shallow, but whatever. 4 months later, our lives went out of control. For 7 months we took shifts sleeping on the coach with her at night -- we were functioning zombies during the day, and at night we were on duty. Every other week we were giving her Diastat (valium) because her seizures wouldn't stop (at about $600 a pop). We had many hospital stays. Marcus couldn't take time off work and so I was there alone often. I didn't see Marcus much, and he was worried sick about Samantha because he couldn't be with her. Once, I had to give Samantha CPR on our family room floor because I could not get her to breathe after a seizure. I'm not sure how I knew what to do...but she started breathing again. Once, in the hospital, they couldn't stop her from seizing -- this is an experience that reminds me of Nate just this last week -- and a team rushed in to try to get her to breath. I'm not sure how many doses of medication they gave her to try to get her to stop. She ws blue. And you know it's bad when they say we may want to leave. I'm not sure why, but my mom was in town. Marcus was rarely in the hospital with me and so I think it was easier for me to hold it together. But with my mom there, and watching they give Samantha CPR with so many people in the room that I coudln't even see her anymore...that scared me. I thought we were done. I really honestly did. I thought I was watching her final moments. I lost it, and my mom had a hard time keeping it together herself. That pediatric unit knew us well. From that point on, when we looked at housing, I always made sure we were only a few blocks from a hospital because I knew we couldn't afford an ambulence, but I also knew we had taken too many trips to count of rushing to the hospital while she was having a seizure. It's stressful and tiring and scary. But, it also creates this deep deep love and you realize that there's not anything you wouldn't do for your child.
While talking about Nathaniel, I told Marcus, while crossing my fingers, that I'm glad our hospital days are over. Samantha's seizures are improving and relatively under control, so I'm just hoping we're done with that phase.
What's my point? On some level, we get it. It's exhausting and painful and so so sad to see any little baby -- and your own for goodness sake -- go through something like this. Neal A. Maxwell went through many trials in his life. While reading his biography during college, I was struck with something in there that he said. He made the statement that sometimes the only reason we go through trials is so we can empathize with others. That struck me. And I have never forgotten it. In the midst of some trials, sometimes I stop and think of that...and I wonder who I will empathize with later in life. While we were going through the craziest part of Samantha's life, I was just trying to emotionally survive and get Samantha to physically survive. Later, as families and other parents talked to me about their situations, I realized that our experience could help others, just by listening and being able to nod my head in that "I know what you mean" kind of way. I never once thought that I'd be empathizing with my own family. I never suspected my cute smiley little nephew to be rushed to the hospital in an ambulence and staying in the hospital because he couldn't breath. There's not much I can do to help them right now, but for me, experiencing what we have, it makes me kind of feel good that I'm here -- just in case they need me to nod.