Monday, August 8, 2011

Familiar Environment, Part 2

We sat there, observing the technician who was performing Lincoln's ECHO, trying to figure out if the prognosis was good or bad. Never a good idea...but you can't help it. The tech finished up and the images were sent to the Pediatric Cardiologist. We knew him. It was the same doctor who had diagnosed Savannah. His newest assignment: Review Lincoln's images immediately and get the results to the head of the NICU, who would then deliver the news to us...good or bad.

Lincoln continued to be prepped for transfer as we waited for the ECHO results. Suddenly, the doors to the NICU swung open and the transport team entered. This particular experience was new for us. There were two ambulance drivers, a lead NICU doctor and a lead NICU pediatric nurse, as well as an additional nurse. Then there was the "NICU On Wheels". It was essentially an infant incubator on wheels, decked out with every single piece of medial equipment one could imagine. It was quite the sight. Lincoln was placed inside of it with all kinds of monitoring equipment attached to his tiny body. We had never seen anything like it. After much discussion, we decided not to follow the ambulance to the hospital Lincoln was being transferred to. We wanted to wait for the ECHO report...and we were anxious for the results.

Lincoln was nearly ready for his transfer when the lead NICU doctor came out to speak with the technician. The Cardiologist wanted one more set of pictures of Lincoln's heart...from a very specific angle. Rob and I looked at each other. This couldn't be good. My heart was pounding and my stomach was in knots. One of nurses sensed our tension and fetched us a couple of food trays. He escorted us to the nurses break room, which was within the NICU, keeping us close by, but a few steps away from all of the commotion. We closed the door and ate.

We sat there, inhaling our food and talking. Could we deal with another heart defect? Could we hand off another child for heart surgery? How could the great God we loved with every part of our being possibly ask us to do this - again? And yet, as we set there before the Lord, we were at peace. We knew people were praying for us - it was the only explanation to the peace that we felt. The situation was still scary and unpleasant, yet manageable.

We talked about the people we were meeting. We talked about how we hoped our faith in the Lord was being shown to others through this situation - specifically the hospital staff. We prayed together. We were quiet. We told the Lord if this is what it was going to take to bring even just one more to Him, then ok. We would face another CHD head on. We would embrace whatever was going on within Lincoln's body - a little body that the Lord Himself had created. If he needed to use Lincoln as a disciple for his work, so be it. We didn't like it, but we were willing. There was no doubt it wouldn't be easy, but we had never know the luxury of why start now? We couldn't help but really is the best medicine.

We finished our meal and waited for the ECHO to wrap up once and for all. The images were sent over to the doc - they were exactly what he needed to make a final diagnosis. We prayed over Lincoln, so tiny in that "NICU on Wheels", and off he went. As we watched him leave, we were overcome with every possible emotion. The doors closed and we took a deep breathe - ECHO results were expected within minutes.

The NICU doctor came out. We were certain that something was wrong - certain that a CHD was present. The doctor spoke. Lincoln's heart was PERFECT. There was NOTHING wrong with it. Nothing. Yes, Lincoln had a lung infection and was dependent on oxygen, but - at least for that moment - they believed that was ALL that was wrong. We were speechless. That was it - round one of waiting was DONE.

Even though we knew our boy wasn't out of the woods yet, we had overcome a huge hurdle. Now it was time to tackle the next one. As we left one NICU for another, we hoped our testimony would linger in that room full of nurses and doctors. We prayed that we'd left a mark on each of their hearts and sparked their curiosity as to what gave us the strength to endure such an unpleasant time in our life.

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