If I had to write this post on December 22nd, the tone would be quite different than it is today, Christmas Day (technically the 26th). I had a specific vision in my head as to how Joely's first Christmas would be. We would travel to Nana and Papa's house in Kansas. Joely would attend Christmas Eve church service where everyone would ooh and aahhh over him. That evening we would open one gift and my parents (Nana and Papa) would fuss over getting a good shot of him tearing at the wrapping paper. Those dreams were dashed when we discovered that Joely had RSV....
On December 22nd, Joely woke up with a slight cough. We didn't think anything of it because he had been battling an ear infection (more about the possibility of tubes in another post). I sent Joely to daycare so that I could do some packing as we planned to get on the road early the next morning. Later that day Christy texted me saying that Joel was coughing and wheezing. I rushed over there to pick him up and quickly made an appointment to see Dr. Ramirez. Dr. Ramirez's nurse did an RSV test and it came back positive. Dr. Ramirez felt badly because we had been in her office on Monday for an ear infection, and she thought he may have picked it up then. Since Joely is so young, she went ahead and put him in the hospital. She thought that it would help him get over it quickly, but after we got there we realized that any hopes of leaving the hospital before Christmas Eve were quickly dashed.
Murad and I were so scared. As new parents, we didn't know what to expect. Was it life threatening? Is he in pain? Can we do anything to help? The answer to all questions is yes! The biggest thing we could do for Joely was be there for him. There really is no way to treat RSV, but he had the undergo breathing treatments, nose-suctioning and just being in a different environment. Anytime we got Joely to calm down and rest, we were interrupted by respiratory therapists or nurses. He was on an every three-hour treatment schedule. There were a few times when we got Joely down to sleep only to have him stir slightly, wake himself up and start screaming after realizing he wasn't in his nursery. There was even one time after a nose suctioning session when he sat up, looked angrily at the nurse and started pointing his hand. It was so sad, but too cute!
We woke up Christmas Eve day hoping to go home, but Joely still sounded wheezy. his oxygen saturation levels were 100%, but Dr. Ramirez worried that he'd go home and end up back in the hospital. We trust her completely, so we saddled up for another night on the twin hospital bed (yes...Murad and both slept on a twin bed). Through it all, we were thankful to have each other. We quickly learned to lean on each other for support, take turns comforting Joely, and picking our battles with the nursing/RT staff (don't get me started on them!). I don't think I realize how much of a partner I have in Murad. I think I sometimes feels as though as a mother I do most of the parenting, but being in the hospital really showed me that we do a good job of splitting our parenting duties. I think Joely looks to Murad for comfort just as much as he looks to me for comfort.
I also think I really understood the meaning of Christmas (or maybe Easter?). Joely is the most important person in our lives. His health supersedes any grandiose Christmas fantasy I envisioned. I now look back at our experience with RSV a little differently than I did when I learned our Christmas was ruined. Our Christmas wasn't ruined because I had all the family I needed and I got the best Christmas gift ever...taking my baby boy home! Woo-hoo!
In true Nana Babs fashion, my mom found someone to deliver Joely's Christmas gifts to him. My parents' neighbor has a son who lives in Plano. On his way back from visiting his mother, he and his wife are going to drop Joel's presents by. Fortunately, we had bought him some gifts, Christy and Abuela had bought him a gift and the staff at Presbyterian Plano hospital got him a few gifts. So, yes Joely is definitely spoiled....rotten!
While we got to leave the hospital, it was hard seeing the families that had to stay. Murad saw the hospital Santa walking around to different little kids and felt really sad for them. I, too, felt the same way. Here I was worried about a ruined first Christmas, when I should be thankful for my baby boy. Joely brings so much joy to our lives. I didn't think I could love someone as much as I love Joely. He truly is amazing. What would I do without him? I don't want to know. Right now, I want to thank God that I have him as my son!
I leave you with a few Christmas quotes:
He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ~Roy L. Smith
There has been only one Christmas - the rest are anniversaries. ~W.J. Cameron
I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. ~Charles Dickens
I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month. ~Harlan Miller