When my son stopped breathing and had to be rescued, and yet, once again, was left without any help…I sat next to him. I had already spent all evening, from 9pm until 5am, shaking him every 10 seconds so that he would be reminded to breathe. And, yes, I was in the hospital.
But then it happened. He stopped. Completely. He had no more breath left in him.
And I had to run into the halls screaming, while his alarms were going off, because no one was coming. I had to run into the halls and yell, “My son! My son! He is not breathing.”
Finally two nurses came and got him breathing again. They did not call a doctor. They never did. They got him breathing and then left me alone, again, with my son.
And I saw his light begin to disappear. He had already been fighting for three days. And for three days, very minimal was done to keep him alive. When we told the doctor the night before he wasn’t breathing, she looked at him, shook him, and said, “Oh, it’s sleep apnea. It’s common in infants.”
And she left again. For the entire night. From 9pm until the moment I ran into the hall screaming, not a single medical professional came to check on my premature, listless, graying baby, who also hadn’t eaten in 3 days.
And so I knew. I knew as I sat next to him that he had very little time left here on earth. I called my husband to see if we could Air Vac him out of Poland, but they said that the medical doctors would have to declare that they were unable to care for him. If you have ever met a Pole, there is no way one will declare that they are unable to do anything. At all. They are a country of great pride. In many, many, many areas, they should be. But not in the care of my son.
Then we debated going to the US Embassy in Warsaw and demanding help. But that would take 3 hours one way. And he didn’t have 3 hours left.
We were tired, dejected, and left without anyone fighting on our side.
I sat. I sat next to my son and I watched as he began to slip away. And I could only cry. And cry. And cry.
My mom and dad had gotten to meet him. But the rest of our families had not. And I knew now that they would not.
My heart was broken. My sister called this baby, Maxwell, her baby-and she had never met him. But she prayed for him from the moment of our announcement, she ran a Triathlon for him, she wept for him. She was his biggest champion. She loved him. And yet she never had the chance to meet him.
And I knew that day. I just knew she never would.
So not only did my heart break for my son that was lying next to me with mere moments left to fight for his life. But my heart broke for the fact that my family would not get to meet our son. Our beautiful and miraculous baby that we had to fight to even bring into the world.
And I did the only thing I had left in me to do. I sat there touching my baby and weeping.
Then she entered. A miracle. An angel. The new doctor on shift. The nurses, they tried to explain away my baby, but she wouldn’t let them. She didn’t even listen to them. She took one look at Maxwell dying and said, “There is nothing I can do!”
An ambulance was called, and my son was escorted down 4 flights of stairs, into the waiting ambulance and brought to the nearest ICU. I was kicked out and he was intubated. He was put on 100% ventilation. His body was put into a full coma. And he was put on antibiotics to now fight the pneumonia that was also ravaging his body as well as congestive heart failure medicine, because the hole in his heart had doubled in size—the lack of oxygen caused his heart to work overtime, resulting in a heart that was also now at risk of failing.
He was given a blood transfusion. And we were given the news.
It was bad. There was no news if he would make it. It was now a waiting game. A waiting game for life. A waiting game for death.
And my sister. She again took charge. An ocean away, and yet she was able to somehow help lead me through this time in my life. We were only allowed to see our son from 11am-7pm. Otherwise, we had to wait. Every evening, we were allowed to call at 10pm and ask if there was a status change. And every morning at 8am we were allowed to call and ask if he made it through the LONG hours of the night. If he was still alive.
And my sister, God bless her soul, she would wait for our evening and morning calls, her phone bill, I am sure, ran into the 4 digits of expense, and we would give her the status update. He was alive. He was getting a blood transfusion. His ventilator quit on him and they had to bag him for about 6-10 minutes. He squeezed his daddy’s finger today, and so forth.
Every morning and every night she called so that she could share with the rest of the world if our baby was alive. If there was progress. If he was going to make it. And, as she shared, the rest of the world prayed.
After all, she considered our baby her baby.
My sister…There is no comparison.
She is the woman I wish I was. The woman that I would like to be.
Compassion never fails her. Money never stops her. And love never leaves her. Even if an ocean separates her.
Today is her birthday, and I couldn’t wish a more deserving person 100 years, Sto Lat! I couldn’t wish a more giving person a life of health, happiness, and love. And I couldn’t ask God for a greater friend and supporter.
And so I’ll leave you with this…our son did fight with all that was within him. And he did conquer every demon that wanted to keep him from us here on earth. And he did survive.
And because of it, he finally got to meet my sister. His auntie. And my best friend…
Happy birthday, Darby.