It has been a while since we updated our blog. You know, life and children happen. However, I felt I should share our recent experiences with Mollie.
Our little Mollie will be two months old on June 4th, which means it has been nearly a month since we came home from Huntsville Hospital after our two week stay. But I need to back up a little.
On April 4th, 2014, Mollie Katherine Cooper decided to show up 11 days earlier than expected. I was not prepared for her surprise decision. My water broke that Friday afternoon and we made the long car ride (5 blocks) to the hospital. We arrived a little before 5:00 pm and she arrived a mere 2 ½ hours later, at 7:28 pm. Despite having almost 9 months of warning, this was still very little time to prepare, and as I soon found out, it also didn’t allow a lot of time for the epidural to be given. The good news was, everything went quickly and smoothly (enough), and my 7 lb 2 oz baby girl with a head full of dark hair was beautiful and healthy. In the days at the hospital after she was born, the only problem was a slight case of jaundice, which subsided shortly after we took her home.
Fast forward to April 19th and my 2 week old girl was having a very fussy day. She wasn’t happy when she was eating and she wouldn’t rest unless I held her. If I moved at all while holding her, she screamed as though she were in severe pain. My initial thoughts were “she must have a bad stomach ache today.” After a couple of hours her demeanor hadn’t improved, and she would also go limp whenever I held her. She didn’t feel very warm, but just to be safe, I took her temperature. It was 100.5, not too high of a temperature but still a fever. I called our on call pediatrician who told us to go ahead and take her to the ER since her office was closed for the day.
After arriving at the Helen Keller ER, we waited about an hour before we were called back (which in my opinion was way too long for an infant with a fever). She was poked, prodded & stuck. She had her blood drawn several times and was given urine tests, etc. . . During all of these tests her heartbeat was sitting steadily above 200. She screamed as loud as any 2 week old baby possibly could. This went on for hours and my heart was past the point of breaking. My helpless baby girl was in pain. She had a fever and didn’t know what was going on or why people were sticking needle after needle into her arms and legs. For a Mom, this was torture. Watching my daughter in pain, I didn’t know what was making her sick, and I couldn’t make it go away.
The blood tests showed a high white blood cell count meaning there was an infection present. She would need antibiotics and a spinal tap to test for meningitis. Hearing the words “spinal tap” and “meningitis” when referring to my 15 day old daughter made me sick to my stomach.
As it turned out, Keller didn’t have a small enough needle for an infant spinal tap. After calling ECM and Shoals Hospital, we were told that none of the area hospitals carried the right size needle. The decision was made to start her on IV antibiotics and send her by ambulance to Huntsville Pediatric ER for the spinal tap. At first, I was upset about the idea of having to go by ambulance to Huntsville because it sounded so much scarier. In hindsight however, I see just how God orchestrated the whole situation so she would end up exactly where she needed to be – Huntsville.
After starting her IV around 11:00pm, I left with Mollie in the ambulance. Beau drove separately and met us in Huntsville because only one family member was allowed to ride with the EMT’s. Being by myself with a very sick baby in the back of an ambulance was scary and unnerving. I haven’t told a lot of people about that ride because it was such a private experience for me, but I feel I need to share what happened as a testimony to my God.
I was very upset that only one person could be in the ambulance because I felt desperate to have Beau there with me. I felt I needed his strength and support in that situation. As I sat in the back of a speeding ambulance with lights and sirens blaring, it grew oddly quiet. Mollie had exhausted herself from screaming for over four hours at the Keller ER, and was finally sound asleep. The EMT was doing paper work, and I was left to my thoughts. Despite the chaos from the last few hours and the heartache and fear I was experiencing, I felt like I was truly able to listen to God and hear the answers he had for all my questions and thoughts. Obviously God’s answers weren’t spoken out loud, but the following is the way I felt our conversation went:
Me: ”I wish Beau was here. I need him here.”
God: “You don’t need anyone but me. Tell me what you’re feeling.”
Me: “I don’t even know how or what to pray right now. I’m too overwhelmed.”
God: “I know, and I understand. I love Mollie more than you ever could. As much as this is killing you to see her like this, it is even worse for me because I love her perfectly”
Me: “I know there’s a reason for all of this. I know you are teaching me to trust you and love you no matter what may happen. But God, please let this be the extent of whatever you require me to learn from this. Please let me keep my daughter.”
After a long conversation with God about everything I was thinking, I felt like He finally asked me the question I had been avoiding the whole time. “If you don’t get to keep your daughter, how will you respond?” I immediately thought “Surely this isn’t something I need to worry about yet. I should wait to answer that question until I at least know what she’s sick with. “
God wouldn’t let me off the hook. I couldn’t stop thinking about that question, and I knew I had to answer it.
That is MY little girl who is sick and hooked up to an IV. That is MY daughter that I grew in my stomach for 9 months, and went through an intense labor to have. That is MY Mollie with her dark black hair and her penetrating eyes that relies on me to protect her, keep her fed, keep her clean, keep her safe and happy, and to keep her alive.
And yet, she’s not.
She’s not MY daughter. She’s God’s daughter. He generously chose to give her to me. He trusted me to raise her in a Godly home, to know and love her Savior, for however long or short a time that might be. Oh, that realization hit me harder than a ton of bricks. Sure, I always “knew” that was the right answer, but to be faced with it head on was new territory. It hurt so badly to say, but through lots of tears I was able to tell God, “Yes I trust you. Yes, if you choose to take your daughter home to you I will still love you. You are still my God and I will praise you. I will grieve and I will hurt and I will never have a day that I won’t think about what she would be like growing up, but if this is what you choose, God I will trust you.”
After arriving in Huntsville, I had an opportunity to calm down and think a little more clearly. Even though I was still afraid and hurting for my baby, my trust was in my God. My cousins John and Kathy Tanner – who live in Huntsville – met us at the ER at midnight just to be there for us and pray with us. What a blessing family is in a time like this! The doctors and nurses in Huntsville were immediately on top of things. They took her to a room, asked us the right questions, and began checking her over. I felt relieved after only being there a few minutes, and I instantly knew why God had sent us to Huntsville. The spinal tap went very smoothly. The doctor who performed it made me feel much better than I originally had. After waiting a while for results, we were told the spinal tap did not show infection, but we would need to wait for cultures to be sure. At 4:30 in the morning we were admitted to a room. We slept on a couch for 2 ½ hours before the doctors making morning rounds woke us up.
After a couple of days in the hospital we were told that Mollie was infected with Group B Strep. No, it is not strep throat. It is a fairly common bacteria for adults to carry without ever knowing because it isn’t dangerous to us. It is something pregnant mothers are tested for before they give birth, because for newborns it can often be deadly. I tested negative for it, but Mollie still got it. The doctors said she could have gotten it from me or from someone coming over to visit after she was born. The pediatrician we spoke to told me, “It’s a really good thing you got her to the ER when you did. This is a very fast growing bacteria and very dangerous for babies her age.”
I felt sick to my stomach. I realized just how close I might have been to losing my daughter, but I also felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude to my God who chose to spare my daughter. He chose to open my eyes just enough to feel the need to take her to the ER. He chose to have every hospital in the area be out of the right size needle for Mollie’s spinal tap, forcing the doctors to send her to Huntsville – where she needed to be. Within 24 hours she began showing drastic improvements, and despite the looming 14 days of sleeping on a couch in the same hospital room, I had no reason to complain.
For the next two weeks we stayed in the hospital while Mollie was hooked up to IV antibiotics, but my daughter was going to be ok. She was growing and responding to medicine. She even smiled for the first time while we were there. I would not even consider complaining about two weeks in a hospital. I would not consider complaining even though I desperately missed my 22 month old son who was back at home being taken care of by his grandparents. I wouldn’t complain because my God let me keep HIS baby girl. I believe I was, and am, the most thankful person in the world. 🙂
She is still doing great. She is growing and smiling and cooing all the time. She’s a great sleeper, currently at 8 straight hours a night. She’s a Momma’s girl and likes me to hold her, and I’m perfectly fine with that because Deegan is slowly becoming a Daddy’s boy.
As difficult as the whole situation was with Mollie – and still is because hospital bills aren’t cheap – I am thankful God chose to give me the opportunity to come to Him broken and helpless. I had to be strong for my baby girl, for my son who was confused about his parents not being at home, for my husband, and for all those around me. As a mother, I don’t have the luxury of having a breaking point, but I can run to God. I can be as broken and fragile and tired as I need to be when I come to my Savior because He is all I need. He is the reason we can find hope in trial, and I will always find my strength in Him.