Call it the Ryder Baby Curse, if you will. Whatever it is, exactly, it's not good. It's not us this time, but Daddy's sweet cousin in Indiana. She and her husband had a baby a couple of weeks before Christmas. He wasn't so early...like our babies were...and they already knew they were in for some medical challenges because their little boy had been diagnosed with omphalocele. And things went well at first.
But as soon as his planned surgery rolled around, things started getting complicated. Now, they're downright ugly. They got to take their baby boy home on Christmas Eve, only to have his condition rapidly deteriorate at home. By January 2nd, they were back in Indianapolis at the children's hospital there. Their son (my second cousin-in-law, I guess) was in critical condition with a severe infection. They used CPAP to help him breathe, then went to a ventilator. His kidneys weren't working and fluid kept building up in his body. Last night, the ventilator was no longer sufficient, he was in respiratory failure and his heart was starting to fail. The doctors began to prep him for ECMO, a heart and lung bypass procedure, as a last ditch effort to save his life.
Somewhere in there someone decided to try treating him with nitric oxide...something that was given to Mam when she was first born and had a severe case of pulmonary hypertension. Apparently, it was just what he needed and the magical gas suddenly kicked his kidneys back into gear and helped him get enough oxygen to his tissues again.
We never quite got this close to the precipice of life with our babies. There were certainly "death seeking episodes" by both of them, but it's so much different when you're watching someone else go through something like this with the "benefit" of experience. Experience just means that you know how easily things can turn on a dime and hope fails to drown out the lingering feeling of dread. It's hard being so far away, but I'm glad she and her family are surrounded by positive people who aren't so battered by reality. They need that.
I've been reading my cousin in-law's blog and I'm blown away by her ability to stay positive in the face of her son's struggles to stay alive. But I also know how much she and her husband are leaving out when they write. I know they know the score. It's so hard to absorb the reality of a baby in trouble...and even harder to convey it to a hopeful audience.
I'm so appreciative that my kids both made it. They may have an issue here and there, but they're here. Sometimes, like after my total parenting meltdown last week, I need a pointed reminder not to take that for granted. Between the earthquake in Haiti and our family's struggles in Indiana, I can't imagine having more reason to feel grateful. I hope that the Law and Ryder families in the Midwest will be feeling the same way before too long.