God blessed us with Baby Alexander on January 24, 2019 at just 26 weeks in gestation. He weighed 1 pound, 15 ounces and despite his prematurity, we were optimistic that it would be just a matter of time before he would come home with us. But sometimes things just don’t go as planned…
His first day in the hospital was as routine as could be considering his situation but hours into day two, things took a turn for the worse. The day started rather uneventful as I kissed Stacy goodbye in her recovery room with a plan to visit Alex in his room on my way home to freshen up and check on his big brother, AJ. There was a small commotion when I entered his room but nothing that was too alarming. His vitals were dropping but being a bit naive, I chalked it up to just inaccurate monitors. What ensued, however, would change our lives forever.
Alex’s vitals plummeted before my very eyes and the room was suddenly filled with medical professionals. In an instant, they called a code cart and began using an “Ambu bag” to resuscitate him. Stunned, I asked if I should get Stacy and my heart dropped when they said yes. I ran to her room and did my best to show a sense of urgency without panic as she was still recovering from her emergency C-section as well. The whole time I wondered if Baby Alex would still be alive when we returned.
When we arrived, the room was full and they asked us to sit outside. We both sobbed not knowing the fate of our child. Our doctor emerged and informed us that Alex was stabilized as his vitals miraculously improved but we were nowhere near out of the woods. They brought us to another room to gather our thoughts and I immediately started reaching out to family and friends asking them to just come and be a shoulder to cry on. In a matter of hours, the waiting room was full of our loved ones, which lifted us up immensely. One of the most comforting faces in the room was that of our priest and we asked him to come back to Alex’s room to pray with us. We then chose to have him baptized and ultimately confirmed as the doctors were not sure if he would make it.
The next few hours and days were agonizing as all we could do was wait. The physicians did everything in their power for Alex but ultimately his fate would be in God’s hands. Alex made some small improvements in the days that followed but he had a persistent heart murmur that doctors felt prevented him from making significant progress. He needed a procedure called PDA ligation, a common heart surgery for preemies but a complex one for him given that he almost lost his life days prior, not to mention that he still weighed under two pounds. We elected to move forward on the advice of the doctors and for the second time in his short life, we had to say goodbye to him not knowing if this would be the last time we saw him alive. After what seemed like an eternity, our surgeon came out and told us the surgery was a success.
Since that procedure, Baby Alex has continued to improve. We won’t know for months or years the impact (if any) of the episode when we nearly lost him but we know our child is a miracle baby. He continues to have setbacks but we also celebrate milestones and feel blessed he is with us each day. We have been in the NICU for over 80 days and counting but we have faith that he will come home and join us and his big brother when he is ready.
We have faith that this story ends happily but Alex is here to make a difference in this world. Alex was put on this planet to not just bless us but to share our blessings with other babies who are not as fortunate. Through the March of Dimes, we will save other babies in Alex’s honor.