How the Year BeganPosted by Thammie Sy on Jan 31, 2013 in Faith, Family, Family Health, Featured, Mothers, Parenting, Personal Faith Journey, Personals, Random Inspirations | 6 comments
Today was somewhat an emotional day for me. I was going through photos of Isaiah’s birth, first weeks here at home, his hospitalization, and his most recent pictures— and I can’t help but cry. It was only after looking at the pictures that I realized how he went from having really chubby cheeks to losing weight to now being really healthy with chubby cheeks again (plus the double chin!). I couldn’t help but recall how it must have been for Isaiah during those weeks of frequent vomiting and so much discomfort. I also couldn’t help but remember how it was for us, seeing our then three-week old baby having to go through all the horrible episodes of vomiting (a LOT), blood extractions, IV insertions, and finally, surgery.
It’s been three weeks since our plight with Isaiah’s Pyloric Stenosis. Pyloric Stenosis is when the opening from the stomach leading to the intestines is thickened, thereby inhibiting food to pass through. Since the stomach has to be emptied in one way or another, milk ends up leaving it by going back up and out through the mouth (and the nose!).
Isaiah’s vomiting started December 28th, just before 2012 officially ended. As the days passed, the vomiting increased in volume and frequency. On January 2, what was just an unscheduled visit to the pedia became an unexpected hospital confinement for us.
We somehow managed to take a few photos that I’d like to share with you here. The first photo, I’m afraid, might gross some of you out. It’s a picture of Isaiah’s vomit, which I took to be able to show the doctors. Obviously, since I managed to get my phone and take a shot (actually, I got to take two shots), it means these were not the worst episodes. These were the tamed ones. Anyway, for the first photo, maybe you can just imagine that it’s scrambled egg….
Oh dear. I just made it worse for you, didn’t I? I shouldn’t have associated it with a breakfast staple. My bad! *grin*
If the milk wasn’t that curdled (as the picture above), Isaiah would vomit around five times continuously (imagine a tiny fountain of milk).
On average, the curdled milk would come out through the nose, too, causing him to have difficulty in breathing since the consistency was too thick. Thank God for aspirators. I never got to take any photos of those– no time to even be able to think of grabbing my phone.
Doctors confirm or rule out Pyloric Stenosis mainly through ultrasound. In Isaiah’s case, all three scans were only “highly suggestive” of the Pyloric Stenosis, since his was not a classic presentation of the condition.
Usually, this would take only about five to ten minutes. In our case, it took us two hours…and three days.
Another way to better rule-out or confirm the initial diagnosis is through the Upper GI test. Isaiah was made to ingest a dye that would show up in x-ray scans like contrast. Supposedly, this would be very definitive already. Again, in our case, it was not a classic presentation– only “highly suggestive”.
Normally, the dye would be seen travelling from the mouth down to the intestines in about two minutes. For Isaiah, transit time was 15 minutes before a small amount of dye passed through to the intestines. However, the amount was too insignificant and the dye didn’t progress any further once the little amount “escaped” the stomach.
Finally, we had to decide to push through with surgery with only 80-85% certainty that it was Pyloric Stenosis. The risks of NOT having the surgery ASAP were far more than if we pushed through with it already. True enough, by the time Isaiah was being wheeled into the operating room, and while he was being prepped for surgery, he already had projectile vomiting which were blood-stained. God’s timing is always, always perfect.
On the way to the O.R…
I could tell you more details of our hospital stay since they are all still very fresh to me, but I’d rather not. I could vividly describe how it was for us physically and emotionally, or how I would guess it was for Isaiah, but I’d rather not. I’d rather take this time to turn your attention towards our Heavenly Father. From the time of admission (well, actually way before that), it was God’s hand evidently at work, already orchestrating everything for us. Seeing how God placed people in our path at just the right time gave me so much assurance that this really was all in His hands. I know it wasn’t His desire to see our baby in pain, but I do know that He allowed it for a purpose. It is really true that our God is able to make everything work for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Our son is loved by God and is called according to His purpose. I have resolved that whatever the outcome of all the tests, God would use our circumstances to serve His purpose alone.
I can say that those ten days of seeing our baby having a hard time were the longest days I have had so far. I haven’t fully recovered from the labor of giving birth and we were barely getting any sleep, when all this happened. To say that it was tiring would be an understatement. To help alleviate Isaiah’s discomfort, I needed to place him on my chest and stay in an upright position the whole time. The sleepless nights at home during his first two weeks were restful compared to the sleepless nights in the hospital. Despite the lack of physical rest, however, we were not restless. In fact, God’s peace and comfort were so real and abundant during those times.
It’s funny how Dennis and I would try to hide our tears from each other, both of us trying to be strong for each other. Of course, we were genuinely trying to stay strong and not just appear strong. But honestly, to see your newborn go through all that– helpless and unable to express himself, and as parents there is nothing we can do to alleviate the pain/discomfort either– it is just heartbreaking.
Perhaps most of the time God looks at us the same way– helpless and usually unable to express ourselves. Only, unlike us, He knows exactly what it is we need even if we don’t, and He is always more than able to be who we need Him to be. He is the great “I am”, after all.He is all we need Him to be. I don’t have to hide my tears when I come to Him. I can be weak before Him because He is my strength. I can be sad before before Him because He is my joy and comforter. I can run to him with all my questions and confusion because He is my peace and my answer. He is our healer, our ever-present help, our counselor, our stronghold, our deliverer, our redeemer, our savior…He is our all-powerful God.
He is also our sweetest, sweetest Abba Father.
The night before the surgery, Dennis decided to turn on the TV. We’ve prayed all the prayers we can think of, and he said he needed to be distracted to be able to sleep. I said I wanted to sing and worship. When we turned on the TV, it was on a channel that was showing one of Hillsong’s worship concerts. At the exact moment that we turned it on, this is what we heard:
“Find rest, my soul, in Christ alone.
Know His power, in quietness and trust.
When the oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with you above the storm.
Father you are king over the flood.
I will be still and know You are God.”
…..That’s our God. Beautiful. Faithful. Powerful.
Sovereign. Lord of all. Maker of heaven and earth. Creator of the Universe.
….And yet, He knows us by name. He knows our lying in and our going out. He is mindful of us. He knows our deepest thoughts and emotions.
And He responds. He saves.
Beautiful, beautiful God.
I remember telling God at the beginning of the year that I wanted to know Him in a deeper way this year. I was in faith that God had exciting plans for our family for 2013, and that He would do greater things in, through, and for us. I was looking forward to getting to know Him in a deeper way. I was all set to say yes to whatever it is He would be pointing out to me that He wanted to work on and mold in my character.
I had no idea He would give us this privilege of experiencing His power, presence, and grace in a greater measure this early. I had no idea He would answer my prayer so quickly.
Truly, this year is a blessed one already.
After surgery: very tired, yet very thankful…
Because you are my God, I will ALWAYS have a reason to sing…
I would like to once again thank everyone who stood with us through all this. Random messages from friends and even from people we didn’t really know that well greatly encouraged us and lifted our spirits. Thank you to friends who always made sure we had something to eat and brought food early in the morning and even until late at night (yes, very important to me, obviously!); to friends who braved the traffic just to pray for us, who visited us right before surgery to encourage us, during surgery to keep us “entertained” and help keep our minds off whatever was going on in the operating room, and after surgery to keep us company while waiting for the outcome and to keep us company while waiting outside the NICU….that is the love of Jesus in action. Thank you to those who woke up in the middle of the night/early morning to pray fervently for Isaiah. When I learned about this, I know it was God who woke you up, and that gave me so much assurance that God really was moving on our behalf. Thank you, thank you, thank you….for being generous to us and really overwhelming us with your support and love. Thank you for showing us God’s love in tangible ways. We are blessed to have each of you in our lives (You know who you are).