A Birthday Tradition

Posted by Erin Wilson On Thursday, May 20, 2010 10 comments
It's always been a birthday tradition in my family to tell your birth story on the eve of your birthday, my mom still tells me my birth story every year and I've been telling my girls theirs. So I figured I would tell Josiah his tonight and seeing as how I never got around to blogging about the day he was born I thought I would share it here.

Dear Josiah,

One year ago today your mommy and daddy were preparing for the biggest day of our life. We had known for about 4 months that you were going to be very sick when you were born and we knew you were going to need immediate medical attention. So there was a very specific plan put in place for your birth. We were to arrive at the hospital at 5am and so we tried to go to sleep early. Mommy packed a bag of clothes for her and daddy and some things that I hoped you could use like blankets and a hat. We got up at 4am, got ourselves ready, kissed your big sisters good-bye and headed to the hospital. It was very quiet and lonely in the car and on the road. Both your mommy and daddy were very nervous. We got to the hospital, parked in the best parking spot ever (because there was no one else there), you know your daddy was proud of that! We walked into the hospital, which seemed so foreign and had to ask for directions. Little did we know that one day we would know that place better than our hometown. We headed up to the 4th floor, to the main OR waiting room and waited. People thought we were in the wrong place and I had to keep telling them that yes, I was delivering you in the main OR. You see a normal c-section would have taken place on the labor and delivery floor but you were not going to be a normal c-section. They finally called your mommy's name and took us back to the pre-op area. We were put in the tiniest pre-op room there was, which was a big mistake, because I swear the entire hospital stopped in to see us and introduce themselves. The hardest part about that time in pre-op was my begging the doctors to allow your daddy to be in the OR with us. They had said no and then they said yes and took your daddy to another area to get him dressed properly to be in the OR. I was so happy they had changed their minds. About 15 minutes later your daddy came back dressed the same way he was when he left me and had to tell me that the doctors had yet again changed their minds and said no. I was devastated and that's when I lost control of my emotions. I was so scared, I was scared of surgery, I was scared for your safety and I just wanted your daddy with me. They finally wheeled me back to the OR around 7am and things really began to move fast. They wheeled me into this operating room full of people, probably 25-30 people, and everyone was trying to introduce themselves to me. Anesthesia sat me up and told me to be still while they gave me a spinal, all they while people were still introducing themselves to me. I was trying so hard not to cry but that's all I could do. I was so scared. It was loud and chaotic in the OR when someone finally stood up and told everyone to quit talking. She told the people in the room if they were a student or a resident they had to leave there were just too many people.

At that point things began to calm down. It was quieter. I was laying on the table with anesthesia by my head. I remember the anesthesiologist touching something to my face and asking me if it felt cold. I really didn't know how to answer her. I didn't know what the right answer was and I was afraid if I gave the wrong answer they were going to start the c-section and I was going to feel it. She kept touching me different places with this thing and asking me if it felt cold. I felt like I was at the eye doctor when they ask you which one is better 1 or 2. I didn't know if I felt cold or not I didn't know how to answer. I guess I answered right because the next thing I knew she told me they had made the incision in my belly. I didn't feel it! I was able to finally relax a little. There was this amazing nurse anesthetist sitting at my head telling me everything that was going on. She was a gift from God. She was so calming. She even found an eyelash on my cheek, took it off and told me to make a wish and blow on it. She then taped the eyelash to my arm for good luck. I still have that eyelash. I was praying at that point and I told her that what I had wished for was to hear you cry. If you cried that was going to be a good sign. The doctors told me not to expect you to come out crying. In moments there you were, crying. At 7:55 am, May 20th, 2009, I heard you cry. They showed you too me for a tenth of a second. I can't even remember what you looked like then, but I heard you cry and I smiled. I was so thankful for that cry and I relaxed some.

The doctors were working on you on the other side of the room. I couldn't see you but I could see and hear the doctors taking care of you. I realized then that you weren't crying anymore and got very scared again. I asked a nurse or a doctor (I don't really know) if she could go check on you and let me know. She did and she reassured me that you were stable. She also did something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. She took a picture of you on her cell phone and brought it to me. It was the first time I saw you. She also ran out into the hall where your daddy had been sitting just outside the OR and showed him the picture.


They let your daddy sit in the hall where he could see through a tiny window into the OR we were in. Daddy tells me that Dr. Atz kept coming and giving him updates. I know he felt awkward sitting there with everyone staring at him, people don't just sit in the operating suite, in shorts and flip flops, but it was better than having to sit way out in the waiting room. Dr. Atz had told your daddy, "when they bring Josiah out if they go this direction that's a good sign they are headed to the PCICU, if they go that direction that's not as good, as they will be headed right to the cath lab.

In the OR the doctors were now putting IV lines in your belly button and intubating you because you weren't able to keep breathing on your own. Probably 20 minutes after you were born the doctors had stabilized you enough to move you. You came out of the OR a few moments later and daddy got to see you for the first time. He was even able to kiss you. The doctors took you this way, the way to the PCICU, so that was a good sign. What we didn't realize until at least an hour later was that you were only in the PCICU for about 3 minutes and then they had to rush you to the cath lab.

They finished sewing me back up and then brought me out of the OR where your daddy got to hold my hand. He told me that he got to see and kiss you. I was so grateful for that and then I don't really remember much after that for a couple of hours. The timeline of events is pretty foggy. I know that eventually I got settled into my own room. I remember the nurses arguing about where to put me. Apparently, they have wings of the labor and delivery floor with rooms for moms that have had their babies, rooms for moms that are on bed rest or having labor stopped, and rooms for moms whose babies have died or had miscarriages. I honestly don't know where they ended up putting me. But I got settled into my room and we began receiving hourly phone calls getting updates on how you were doing. Your Grandpa and Grandma and Nana and Papa were all at the hospital with us. Anxious to see their beautiful grandson and just praying that you would be okay. We got one phone call to tell us that they had tried one way to get through your atrial septal wall and failed. Dr. Baker was going to try another way. About an hour later we got another call and found out that attempt failed too. We were told at that point that they were going to try one more thing but if that didn't work there wasn't going to be anything else they could do for you. That was not news we were expecting. I never expected to hear those words, not on the day you were born. Your daddy and I mainly sat in silence. There were no words to say. I know we were both begging God for a chance to see you alive. The phone rang about 20 minutes later (thank God we didn't have to wait longer than that) and the news was wonderful. This time Dr. Baker was successful. You were going to make it through that surgery and we would get to see you alive. Praise God. Your daddy and I worshiped God in that moment like we had never before. We just felt God's presence so strongly as we gazed at the cell phone picture the nurse had given us.

It was still another hour or so before Dr. Baker came into our room to speak with us. When he walked into our room he had the biggest smile on his face as he told us that you were in the PCICU and stable. His smile struck me in such a way that my unfiltered mouth blurted out, "you did a good job today and you are pretty proud of yourself aren't you?" I have know idea what he said in response, I just know I made him feel awkward. But I was proud of him. What Dr. Baker did that day was save your life and grant us 8 months to get to know you, love you, hold you, smell you, read to you, sing to you, love you.

We were finally able to go see you for the first time at about 6pm. Daddy wheeled me to the PCICU and I got to see you for the first time for real, I got to touch your hand and your toes. I think I was too scared to touch much else. I was so overwhelmed and exhausted from surgery that I couldn't stay very long. Your daddy spent the night by your side and began to learn all there was to learn about you. We learned then, but I don't think realized for quite some time, how sick you were at that point. You were very sick and barely hanging on. It took two nurses to stay by your side constantly to take care of you. But you kept hanging on. We learned later that you probably suffered two strokes while in the cath lab, you lost function of one of your kidneys, and for a couple of weeks you had very limited blood flow to one of your legs. But you kept hanging on. Thank you so much for hanging on as long as you did.

Your birthday was a very scary day, one of the toughest your daddy and I will probably ever face, but May 20th gave us you and you are amazing! We love you and miss you so much Josiah. We love you all the way to heaven and back. Happy Birthday sweet boy.


-A heart that holds on

10 comments to A Birthday Tradition

  1. says:

    Kristine Tears. I love the birthday eve tradition. Thank you for sharing Josiah's birthday with us. I have chills up and down my spine. Will be thinking of you tomorrow. Sending you much love.

  1. says:

    bctripletmom Happy Birthday precious Josiah.

  1. says:

    Ginger Owens Happy Birthday little man!!! I hope all of you have a wonderful day in celebrating such a special person's life that you call your son. Just know he is very special to a lot of people, including me, even though we never got to meet! I can't wait till the day we do meet. I have lots of 'Thank Yous' to say to him, but until then, I will THANK YOU!!! His and your journey has opened my eyes to sooooo many things...but most importantly it has taught me to BELIEVE in Our Lord and HIS WORD!! I can't even begine to imagine the roller coaster of emotions you must be experiencing today. I hope you can feel the love and prayers from all of us in the 'cyber world' as we ALL are celebrating Josiah's 1st birthday. ((user winkin'))

    I have one request...Don't forget about us Wilson Heart Followers...PLEASE. I am sure it is hard to write on here as you once did...but I miss it soooo much. I miss my alerts that ya'll have posted something. Just because Josiah is not with us today doesn't meen he has been forgotten. His spirit will live on FOREVER in all of us Wilson Heart Followers as Our Hearts Hold on To his memories! Again, THANK YOU Erin and Milo for allowing all of us to be apart of Josiah's 1st Birthday! Have a GREAT day in rejoicing one of of God's many blessings in your lives!!
    *God is Good*

  1. says:

    Nancy What precious memories. Thank you for sharing your little boy with us. Happy Birthday, Josiah!

  1. says:

    Anonymous Happy Birthday Josiah. We love you Wilson family!! The Brady's

  1. says:

    ali happy 1st birthday josiah!!
    and big hugs to all of you. you are still in our prayers every day.

    ~ali

  1. says:

    Anonymous Sweet Erin,
    Thank you for sharing Josiah's very personal and precious and intimate birth story. Happy Birthday in heaven, Josiah...
    Tracy Sorrells

  1. says:

    Anonymous Happy Birthday Josiah, I can only imagine the celebration in heaven. Alvin Timm

  1. says:

    Shawn Maze Praying for grace for all of you... Josiah is still touching hearts here in Charleston

  1. says:

    Anonymous Really really beautiful. Tears in my eyes...bless you.

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