In memory of Shane Torrence (1/28/93 - 9/11/99)
A mom on a mission raising awareness of the condition that took my only child at age 6 and a half - Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia CDH takes the lives of 15,000 children every year and harms 15,000 more.
Will you care?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Shane's Story - Chapter 3

Jeremy and a nurse helped me off of the table and into a wheelchair. They wheeled me down the hall to a small room that contained an incubator, IV poles, a respirator, monitors, and my son. I was only allowed to see him from the doorway, he looked so tiny at 6 lbs 9 oz. Tubes and wires covered him. He had black hair and looked as if someone had given him a crew cut, but that was how his hair came in. He looked perfect on the outside, but on the inside he was struggling to survive. The nurse said "We're putting you in a single room so you have privacy." I knew the real reason that they were wheeling me to the geriatric ward. Only one other baby had been born and I could have had a room on the maternity ward all to myself but the staff had decided it would have been better to separate me from the other mother so that she wouldn't have to hear my cries and screams if my son, Jeremy "Shane", didn't survive. I wanted to yell that this wasn't fair but I needed to stay focused on Shane.

My sister, Trisha, and her boyfriend at the time took Jeremy home so that he could grab some clothes and take off for the trauma center to be there when Shane arrived. The pediatrician came into my room, surrounded by our family, to tell me that the trauma center he had ordered the helicopter from had called to tell him that their helicopter was broken. He then called the next closest trauma center, in North Carolina, and ordered their helicopter. I asked if I could see Shane before they took him and he told me no. After my family bombarded him with questions, he left. I called my neighbors, who were the dearest landlords we will ever have, to ask them to stop Jeremy and send him back to the hospital. They already knew; small town word of mouth had already started and Shane was only 3 hours old.

The helicopter crew arrived at the same time Jeremy did. I asked them a million questions as I filled out the consent forms. "What are his chances?" "Have you ever seen a baby with his problems?" "Is the weather safe for flying?" They comforted me, assured me, and gave me a chance to tell my son how much I loved him as they wheeled him into my room in his incubator. He was awake! He looked at me with those intense blue eyes that most newborns have. It was as if he was asking me for help. He looked directly at me, out of a room full of people. He knew that I was his mother. I felt my heart breaking. I will never forget that look or how wonderful the helicopter crew was, especially one of the flight nurses, Ed. He was an angel sent to us in our darkest hour to give us the hope that the hospital hadn't. Around midnight, my son was taken away as I listened to the helicopter blades break the silence of that cold night.

That night I couldn't sleep. Jeremy's brother, James, drove him to the trauma center. My mom stayed at the hospital with me. The rest of our families went home to prepare for the long days ahead. I called the hospital P.I.C.U. where Shane was taken to check on him and to give the staff permission to perform procedures. I was young, ignorant, and on pain killers, yet I was in charge of making decisions that would save or end my son's life. I thank God my mom was with me. I started the ritual of pumping my breast milk every 3 hours. I barely had any strength left to operate the manual pump, my arm muscles were weak from pulling up and pushing during labor, but I was determined to do this; to give my son the best nutrition and to do something for him that the medical staff couldn't.

My father came the next morning and picked up my mother and me to go to the trauma center. I left the hospital 18 hours after giving birth, despite protests from my doctors. As I was being wheeled out of the hospital, the other new mom who had delivered that night came to wish me the best and offer her prayers. I don't remember her at all, but I apparently nodded and thanked her; at least that is what I am told happened. After a 2 hour drive, we made our way up to the P.I.C.U.. I could barely walk and sitting was almost impossible. Labor was nothing compared to the bruising and sutures I had from the episiotomy and forceps. But the pain in my heart was worse than any physical pain.

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