New Year’s Eve 2013 was not your typical fun evening. I spent it holding my then 2 year old has he ran a 103º fever with a cough that would make him throw up. By the next day, I began to really worry. He received a priesthood blessing for the healing of the sick. But by Thursday, January 2nd, he was so lethargic, I called the doctor first thing in the morning. This happened to be our first time with a new doctor, they tried suctioning him out, but that still wouldn’t help his oxygen level to come up. So as I held my sick little boy, the doctor looked at me and said she was sorry, but Jared would need to be admitted right away. I tried really hard not to start crying and worry Jared.
So, they walked us down the hall to be admitted. I obviously was tired, having been caring for him constantly for several days, so I was a bit emotional. My first thought was, he doesn’t have his favorite blanket or stuffed animal. He won’t be able to sleep in the hospital without them. But our hospital had a Primary Children’s unit, so I shouldn’t have worried. After we got into the room, the nurses immediately gave Jared a new blanket, stuffed animal and a car. All in order to help him focus on those- instead of the fact that it took 4 times to get the IV in, and draw his blood. It didn’t really help, he still cried and cried. But it did help for after they were done poking.
Later that afternoon, the doctors informed me that he had metapnemovirus. What? I had never heard of that before. Apparently it is the big brother to RSV. But they felt confident that they had admitted us soon enough that he would be released in a day or two. So I felt peace, and felt my Heavenly Father telling me that everything was going to be ok. We decided that I would stay with Jared all day and night, but that Mark would relieve me for a few hours after he got the kids fed each day. That way I could go home, shower, and prep all the food for the next day for Taylor- who at the time was dealing with several food intolerances. My mom came every day and helped. I had amazing neighbors, The Mousely’s, who drove & picked up my oldest two kids to their charter school every day for the entire month of January and part of February. Talk about service! We had many, many more people that visited and helped out with our kids.
Well, Day one turning into day two. Still he would take no food or drink. By day three, Saturday, he began to look much worse. He could barely move. Now he had pneumonia too. Watching them strap him up for a chest x-ray in his bed was a helpless feeling. I just felt over and over again that there was nothing I could do to help comfort my child. So I just prayed, and prayed, and prayed. I don’t think I ever stopped praying.
By Sunday, day four, the doctors decided a feeding tube was necessary. If you have never watched someone put a feeding tube in your child, I pray you never do. It was so hard. He cried the saddest cry. And I could just watch. Not too long after getting the tube placed, he coughed and threw up, and of course out came the tube. So I had to watch them do it again. Still he continued to decline.
My oldest daughter, told me that our bishop asked our whole ward to fast and pray for our son on Sunday. What AMAZING strength I felt that day. Through this whole experience I felt peace. I never knew I could feel peace so tangibly. Yes, I still worried because I didn’t know what was going to happen. But I KNEW that we were in God’s hands. That he was profoundly aware of my son. And that I could trust Him.
By Monday, Jared’s coughing was still so severe, he was still not eating or drinking. He threw up his feeding tube again. I finally learned that if I held the bowl in one hand, and held his feeding tube in with the other hand, as I had my arm wrapped around him, that I could keep the feeding tube from coming out.
We really needed to figure out how to stop the vomiting. So I suggested that we slow the feeding rate down. I said I thought his tummy just couldn’t handle that much food yet. And would you know- it worked! Listen to your hearts mama’s!
By Tuesday night, they told me his IV was failing. And if we couldn’t get him to eat and drink on his own, that “new options would need to be evaluated”. He had already lost 10% of his body weight. It was also important for him to move more to help with the pneumonia and get him off oxygen soon, his respiratory therapist said, so we got him a longer oxygen cord and sat by the window and played play doh/cars/or read books. By now he had stopped vomiting all the time since he was finally getting some nutrition to stay down from the feeding tube. So that was one good thing!
But that night there was still no marked improvement in his desire to eat or drink. So I remember praying in that quiet hospital room to my Father in Heaven. I told him how much I loved my little boy. That I knew he was suffering. I knew things didn’t look good. For some reason, he just wasn’t fighting. I remember telling Him that I didn’t want him to suffer anymore. That I would be okay if he needed my son back in heaven. I knew that we were a family forever, and that death was not the end. I knew that He heard my prayer, my heart was comforted that night. But I still had hope that a miracle would happen tomorrow and Jared could come home by Taylor’s birthday on Thursday.
About 5am Wednesday, that was when the docs liked to give updates, they talked about how important it was for him to drink today. Every other morning, the doctor’s were very optimistic- he’ll turn the corner any time now. But today, for the first time, I could sense that they were worried. Jared needed to drink on his own today. His IV would fail tomorrow, and because his veins were weakened, another option would be discussed the next morning. They also talked about how important it was to get off the oxygen soon. Every time we had tried to use less, his oxygen rate would still drop too low.
Every day, we would only have until 10am to drink a certain amount, and if he couldn’t do it, we knew that he would still be there another day. Jared wouldn’t eat or drink more than about 3 sips that day. I would try and tell him, if you drink, we can go home for Taylor’s birthday tomorrow. But I just couldn’t convince him. So by 10am, I knew we would be there anther night. I would not wake up to say Happy Birthday to my son Taylor.
This pictures shows when we would play by the window. Jared loved to sit here and play playdoh. It also meant a break from tubes. We were supposed to blow bubbles to help his lungs get stronger, it was so sad to see that he couldn’t even blow one bubble. It is eye opening when you realize your child who last week was a bouncy two year old, and then today can’t even blow enough air out to make one bubble come out.
When my husband, Mark, came to relieve me that night, I felt so low. I just didn’t want to face what the next day would bring. Not just in regards to how to help Jared get better, but we wouldn’t all be together for Taylor’s birthday. So, I showered, prepped Taylor’s special birthday dinner. Made his cupcakes. And then drove back to the hospital.
Words can’t fully express how I felt when I walked into the hallway of the hospital wing where Jared was and saw my sweet little boy riding in a car in the hallway with my husband and our Bishop, Bishop Seguin, standing by him. My Jared, who not hours ago couldn’t even muster the strength to stand, was sitting in a car, moving all around with his feet.
When I asked how this miracle happened, my husband told me that Bishop Seguin had come to visit. As they were talking, he offered get Jared some french fries. Thank heavens the cafeteria was still open and that they had FRENCH FRIES! So off he went to get them. Jared ate several fries, and drank a good amount of water all on his own. Then he wanted to go for a ride in the car. I just couldn’t believe my eyes. It was truly a miracle. And our doctor’s couldn’t believe their eyes either when they checked on him that night.
Thursday morning around 10am Jared was discharged and we were home for Taylor’s birthday. I can’t explain how good it felt to be all under the same roof. All together as a family. It was the BEST. FEELING. EVER.
Jared wasn’t out of the woods, and the next few weeks were rough. But he is a healthy, happy 7 year old.
I’m so grateful for the lessons in faith that I learned that week. For the blessing of friends, family and neighbors who sacrificed their time to come visit us and take care of my kids so I could be with Jared the whole time. I know that miracles happen. I know that God’s hand is in every aspect of our lives. And I also know that if it was Jared’s time to return home, that I would have been strengthened through that as well. I am so glad it wasn’t him time.
Life is Good. Share the Good.
PS If you ever feel like you can donate to your local children’s hospital, please do. It really helped Jared to not be scared to go back for a check up, because I could remind him of all the kind things the nurses and doctor’s gave him instead of letting him only remember the pokes, the pain, the sickness.
If you’re local, here’s a link to what Primary Children’s Hospital needs:
Seriously, Jared still loves his blanket and remembers where he got it. And every time we drive by, he says, that’s where the doctors helped me get better.
I am eternally grateful for the kindness of those who donated the items he received.