oday is the day we hand our boy over to the good folks at Seattle Children’s hospital. At 2 weeks old William was diagnosed with Metopic Craniosynostosis. Surgery has been planned ever since.
Feb 2nd, 2017 | 10:30 AM
Check-in time. We arrived early at Seattle Children’s (SC) and walked around looking for a nice big SC sign to take one last group photo of William pre-surgery. Mission accomplished and now it’s time to go and check-in.
In the pre-op check-in area where William is evaluated before he is transferred back to the operating room. We have met the entire team and feel very confident that William is in good hands. We noticed a periodic cough in William yesterday morning and throughout the day. We’ve mentioned it to the team but they feel that since all his other vitals look good we can move forward. This is a relief as his surgery was initially scheduled for January 6th but had to be rescheduled due to William getting sick.
One of the hardest parts of surgery for us has been the anticipating the unknown. We were dreading the moment that we would have to “hand over our boy” to the surgical nurse who would then take William to the OR. We envisioned a slightly confused William crying for Mama or maybe even worse contentedly waving to us as we shipped him off to his “doom.” In Psalm 27, David cries out, “When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the Lord will take care of me.” In some ways we see this surgery as Elizabeth and I “forsaking” William and the verse brings comfort because we know that even then the Lord will still take care of him. However we were given a visible measure of grace when the attending anesthesiologist suggested it would be best for William if Elizabeth suited up in a surgical gown to take him directly into the operating room. Even better than that was the fact that William had fallen asleep in her arms and didn’t even wake up when they received him in the OR. Dr. Hsain (Shay) told Elizabeth it was “the greatest parent-assist he had ever witnessed.” I’m sure he wasn’t even slightly exaggerating. 🙂
God is kind.
This has been the hardest part so far. We were told that once William went back to the OR it would be “up to an hour” of prepping him before the surgery would actually begin but that they would call us when it started. We have been given a pager and we were anxiously waiting for the thing to go off. Finally at 2:00 I called and asked for an update. The receptionist didn’t have one yet but asked me to call back in a half an hour and if they hadn’t notified her then she would call into the OR. This was hard because it had been an hour and half since they took him, we had been told it would be “up to an hour” to get started, we would get a call when it started, what was going wrong, etc. etc. etc. With our minds running wild 14 minutes later Elizabeth decided to be done waiting a call herself. To our relief we were told the surgery had begun 15 minutes ago and that it had “taken a while” to get William hooked up to all his lines. But we were also reassured that everything was going great.
My dear sister Jamaica and Obed came to sit with us while we waited. It was fun to catch up with her and watch Obed, who is Williams age, crawl around on the floor and try and eat spilled cafeteria food. 🙂 During this time we had no news other than the surgery had started. Providence however decided to again shine on us when we saw Dr. Lee (the neurosurgeon) talking with a group of other surgeons near the cafeteria. Her role in the surgery was shorter than the that of the plastic surgeon Dr. Birgfeld and she was done with portion of work. She left her colleagues and explained to us that William was doing great and that everything was going according to plan. What a relief to hear directly from one of the surgeon during surgery.
Jamaica had gone back home and Elizabeth and I had just met with a friend of a dear friend who’s son was in for his 30th surgery! This is actually Williams 3rd surgery so to try and wrap my mind around doing this 27 times more is unreal. This set us to thinking about the beautiful thing about a hospital like Children’s. Even though it is by no means a Christian organization, even though there is likely a majority of non-Christian darwinists that punch in and out each day, as a hospital they are doing kingdom work even if they don’t pay homage directly to the King (Phil 2:10). These are people dedicating there lives to the exclusively Christian idea that human life has intrinsic value which no other life possesses. Being made in the Imago Dei (image of God) means that even though this hospital is filled with some of the world’s sickest, weakest, and least likely to survive kiddos on the planet they won’t be left to the grinding death of “natural selection.” Because Christ came, died, rose again, and is reigning at the right hand of God, even those who don’t fear Him are carrying out His work and are bringing about heaven on earth by, in their small way, reversing the curse and defeating, if only for a time, death. I believe this will continue until all the enemies of Christ are put under His feet and he comes again to put to death that last enemy, death itself, once and for all. (1 Corinthians 15:25-26)
Praise God for His patience in working with both vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy to accomplish His own glory.
From Elizabeth: “At 2:00 pm Will began surgery. Right now, at 5:30 the bones in the front of his head are being pieced back together like a patchwork quilt. It’s a wild surgery–so terrible and wonderful at the same time. We are waiting on the Lord. We’re exceedingly grateful that our boy is doing well, by the grace of God! Thank you to friends and family for praying!
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”
We were in the middle of a salad bar dinner when the pager went off and we were told that William was done with surgery and that we were needed in the OR waiting room area. We rushed over to the waiting room and immediately met with both Dr. Birgfeld and Dr. Lee who brought the great news that not only was William done with surgery but that it had gone exceptionally well. They answered all of our questions and let us know it would still probably be an hour before we got to see William as he was back getting a CT scan and needed to be placed and situated in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit).
Disaster! Okay not really disaster but a cruel tease at best. We were waiting to see William when an infant medical bed went rolling by. Both Elizabeth and I just saw the tiniest glimpse of poor William being wheeled through a set of doors. As they went by we recognized Dr. Hsain who said over his shoulder “He did great!” Poor Elizabeth told me that as the bed came rolling past, her thought was “whose poor baby is that? I’m so glad my baby didn’t have to go through anything so terrible!” then when Dr. Hslain cheerfully said over his shoulder “He did great!” the realization hit her; that was her poor baby!
For the next 20 minutes fear tried to take us.
We were moved to a new building and sat waiting in the PICU resource room for the team to let us go back and see our baby. Our dear friends Joby and Paula came to visit and it was great to see them while we waited.
The call finally came to go back and see him. As we entered the room, we were shocked and dismayed we rejoiced and mourned all in a window of about 20 minutes while we said goodbye to what we remembered William once looked like and embraced the brave new look he had graciously been given.
For the rest of the night in the PICU we stayed by his side, prayed for him, and studied his new face.
What an age to be alive!
“The Lord is righteous in all His ways,
Gracious in all His works.
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
He will fulfill the desire of those who are in awe of Him…”