The Transfer (From St Cloud to St Paul)

Continued from “The Waiting Game and The Power of Positive Thinking.”

Why did I leave? Maybe if I left right now I could beat all the morning traffic. But it’s still dark. And I’m really tired. And it’s a hour and 45 minute drive…maybe I’ll just call. Am I a bad mom for not being there with him? Ugh – I wish he was closer.

My mind was spinning, as always. Each night I left, I always felt guilty. (But, I’m sort of selfish and I knew that I needed to take care of myself, too, or I would be worthless for Jax. Looking back, I’m glad I took time away from the hospital to shower, exercise, eat, and just breathe.)

I called about 18 times that night to check on Jax. Good news! He was stable and his oxygen was down to room air! His nurse was very happy with his progress.

Even though Jax was almost a month old, I was still never prepared to see how small he was laying in his incubator. Everyday, I would do a healing touch ritual where I would try to clear the bad energy from his isolette, the tubes, the wires. I would do something called a “pain drain” to help him heal and feel better. I learned how to do this from my Healing Touch practitioner and Jax’s night nurse, Diedra, who was going to school to become a Reiki master. (More about this in another post.)

The nurse finally made me take a break. (They were good like that.)

When I got back from lunch, the social worker was at Jax’s bedside. She said “Jax is transferring tomorrow!”

Wait. What?! I thought we had a week!

Even though Jax was doing better, his doctors were still worried about his heart. The PDA was “moderately large” and getting bigger every day. It was very likely that he would need heart surgery to correct the problem. He needed to be at Children’s Hospital…now.

Paperwork. Paperwork. Paperwork.

And STRESS!

A transfer is a really big deal. An entire team of nurses and Respiratory Therapists was coming to St Cloud to take Jax to St Paul. The nurses were working very hard to get him as stable as possible for the move. I wasn’t allowed to hold him because they were worried that might cause a spell, which could set him back even more. The last baby I saw transferred was Ashton, and that wasn’t a very happy occasion.

The transfer was scheduled for 8:00 am on August 23, 2012. We weren’t going to be allowed to ride with Jax in the ambulance. Should we come to St Cloud in the morning? No, they said. It would be better if we were at Children’s Hospital waiting for Jax when he arrived.

So, this was it. This was going to be the last time I would see the doctors and nurses that saved Jax’s life. This was the last time I would step foot into the hospital where we lived for the last month. Nurses were coming to say good bye to Jax and to me. There were tears. Jax’s primary nurse, Mary Ann, promised to call the second Jax was in the transport isolette. (And she did.)

I left the hospital that night at 9:00 pm, with my arms filled with frozen breastmilk and crayon drawings from Jax’s cousins. And a mind filled with worry…heart surgery. A new hospital. New policies. New nurses and doctors.

I didn’t sleep a wink.

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The days leading up to Jax’s transfer were the second most stressful and scary days of his life. (The scariest time was when Jax was a couple of days old and fighting sepsis and losing weight. His lowest weight was 1lb 3oz.)

We are thankful that the transfer happened so quickly. Once he got to St Paul Children’s Hospital, doctors there immediately recommended a course of action to heal his heart. Tylenol! Just two weeks prior, a study had been released from the University of Minnesota that showed high success rates with using Tylenol, instead of heart ligation, to close PDAs.  Doctors warned us that a side effect of the medicine was bowl perforations. We weighed the pros and cons and quickly agreed that Tylenol was the best course of action for Jax.

Four days later, on my birthday, we got the news – his PDA was gone! Talk about a great birthday present!

As soon as the PDA was healed, Jax showed signs of being ready to come off the ventilator. This tiny 23 weeker was beating the odds! He was gaining weight and he was thriving! That kid was showing us, again and again, that he was a fighter. It’s an amazing thing…

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