I got to the hospital about 11pm last night. I was really excited to hold and feed Seth his bottle of milk. The nurse said she expected him to wake up hungry anytime. Finally, at 12:45am she changed his diaper (rather vigorously, I thought), and he woke up. It was wonderful to hold him. He was so alert. He was definitely trying to figure me out. I felt like we finally had our baby back.
The nurse let me hold him for an hour, and sent me off to the sleeping room. It was 2am and I didn't have an alarm or any way to get a wake up call, so I rested fitfully, (afraid I'd wake up at quarter to 11) until 5 o'clock. Then I went down and held Seth a little more.
During this time I got the good news that Seth is leaving ICU today and will be transferred to what everyone calls "the floor." (I think they used to call it "the ward" but that has a bit of a "crazy" connotation).
All through this process I have had questions nibbling at the back of my brain about how to care for Seth when this drama is over. Questions like: What will his life be like? What will we do to care for him in the first week at home? The first month? Year?
I've asked several nurses, doctors, and even the surgeon these questions, but no one gives a very satisfactory answer. The surgeon was most succinct when he said, "That's something we'll worry about at a later phase."
As I held Seth this morning, I let these questions roll around the front of my mind. All I really know is that "Seth will lead a normal active life," an "He'll have to keep in touch with a cardiologist." That's not really an active plan for what to do with him when we finally get him home.
At 7am, I got kicked out of the hospital for shift change. As I straggled down the stairway, I passed one of Natalie's oldest friends. Jen and Natalie were very close growing up. Since 6th grade, they were 2 of the only LDS members in their middle and high schools in California. They became such good friends they came to BYU together, where they shared an apartment for all 4 years while Natalie worked on an education degree and Jen became a nurse. Then Nat and I got married and we saw much less of Jen. We went to her wedding, and we knew that she was a nurse at Primary Children's Hospital.
Jen recognized me on the stairs and asked what I was doing there.
"I have a boy in CICU. He just had coarc surgery," I replied.
"Oh my goodness! I have a 9 month-old that had coarc surgery right after he was born, too."
"How's he doing?" I asked.
As she started to talk about her son walking and talking, I realized this was another miracle.
"Can Natalie call you?" I asked.
Of course, she could. Suddenly, I felt like someone had handed me a flashlight before I venture out into the dark. Not only is Jen a nurse, she is almost a year ahead of us in her coarc experience. I'm sure she and Natalie are about to become close friends again!