This morning, Dr Starnes at Childrens’ Hospital of Los Angeles walked into the waiting room and told me that the repair done to my 2-month-old son’s heart was a success. He said he should be in great shape for years to come. I’ve documented my feelings about the medical system that has helped my son multiple times in his short life. They deserve blessings and have my complete gratitude.
The events that led to the operation this morning were a bit less mundane than a successful operation. You see, Jacob was lifeless on Sunday.
I was downstairs working in my office when my youngest daughter ran in and said that my wife needed me. I rushed upstairs to find her frantically trying to get Jacob to breath. He had just had a bath and was just getting dressed when she noticed he not only stopped crying but also stopped breathing. By the time I got upstairs, he was starting to turn purple.
We rushed downstairs. My oldest daughter called for an ambulance. It wasn’t going to be fast enough. I ran for the car followed by my wife. She drove as if she’d had EMT driver training, honking her way through intersections while being careful enough to keep us from getting into a collision. Meanwhile, I was with Jacob in the back seat. I checked his breath – nothing. I checked for a pulse – nothing. I reached into his throat and felt no obstructions. His body just stopped.
When I was 16-years-old, my nurse practitioner mother made me take a summer job working at a nursing home. She wanted me to appreciate life and see what it was like at twilight. I learned many valuable lessons as a CNA at two nursing homes in Oklahoma City. One lesson I had never had to apply was CPR. I remember vividly doing chest compressions on plastic figures, including several hours learning how to do it differently on infants. 27-years later, that training came into play.
For four minutes in the back of the vehicle, little Jacob was lifeless. His body was limp. His eyes showed no recognition, no movement. No life. Blow, count, blow, count, chest compression, count, chest compression, count. After the third round of CPR, the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard come painfully through his lips. It was subtle, so quiet I wasn’t sure at first if it was just a result of me pressing on his stomach. He let out a slight whimper. Then another. Then another.
We got to the emergency room. They were waiting for us. My daughter had canceled the ambulance and told them to expect a man with no pants, shoes, or socks running in with her baby brother. They acted quickly and admirably. Within ten minutes the whimpers were replaced by full-throated cries. We answered several questions, got his old doctors connected with his ER doctors, and after about half-an-hour they got me to put on some hospital socks and thin hospital cloth pants.
We’re now at our third hospital in five days. Along the way, the CPR story has made its rounds. That really isn’t the story, though. I know. I was there.
Nothing in my hands or breath brought my son back to from the brink. In God’s plan, Jacob had more to do. How he reached down and made Jacob breath and made his heart beat again is beyond me. It could have been the jolt of a memory to cover his nose and mouth with mine rather than just the mouth as is done with adult CPR. It could have been a driver in a hurry who had a feeling he needed to slow down before entering an intersection that my wife was crossing. It could have been God protecting Jacob’s body from harm I could have brought to him by pushing too hard during compressions.
I don’t know what brought my son back to life. All I know is that it was the will of God. I am humbled and grateful for this blessing that I do not deserve.