Elijah, My Tubie
My first born son is an amazing boy named Elijah. After several years of trying to have a child and being told I could not have any children, I was overjoyed that I was expecting. Little did I know what was in store for me.
When I gave birth to Elijah, I had every expectation of a normal birth. I expected the doctor to hand me my amazing new baby boy, while Dad cut the cord, and we all celebrated a new life. Those expectations were quickly dashed, and what was supposed to be a happy day turned to one of horror and despair.
Elijah, the name we gave him, was not breathing. We had learned that there was meconium and he may have inhaled it. It seemed like an eternity went by before we finally heard a faint cry. It wasn't really a cry. It was more of a short sigh every few seconds. Within minutes, our room was flooded with people. They rushed my precious Elijah away to the intensive care unit. At this time, Elijah went through many attempts to increase his oxygen levels. With intubation and other forms of treatment, his oxygen was still only 60 percent. The hospital was no longer able to care for him, and he was moved to two other hospitals, ending up at UVA, a two hour drive from our home. Shortly after he arrived there, the doctors discovered that he had a very serious heart defect. There was nothing I could do. I was stuck two hours away from my son, and he was dying.
The next day, the doctors let me leave, and my husband and I made the two hour trip to UVA to be with our son. I will never forget seeing him for the first time. He was filled with fluid and almost completely blue. Doctors stood in front of me arguing with each other whether Elijah's heart was worse, or his lungs. Finally, they decided that Elijah needed a last ditch method to try and save his life; ECMO. ECMO stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. This machine is the size of a home office desk and is an artificial heart and lung. It allows the body time to heal while the machine does all the work needed for survival. They place the baby on a high table, where they then place tubes into the jugular and carotid. They drain the blood from the body, run it through the machine, and pump it back into the body. It is not without risks and complications. Every day on the machine, chance of survival decreases. After Elijah had been on the machine for three days, the doctors decided to do open heart surgery, on Mother's Day, of all days. The heart defect Elijah had is called Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return. This basically means all of the blood from the heart was being pumped to the lungs, and then back to the heart. Only a small amount of oxygenated blood was reaching the rest of the body by a hole at the top of the heart that never closed at birth.
Due to God, and God alone, Elijah survived all of this. He did however suffer some long term effects. Today, he is ten years old. My amazing miracle baby. He currently is diagnosed with autism, and epilepsy. Due to the lack of oxygen, the nerves in his stomach and intestines were damaged. He is not able to digest food. For this reason, he is one hundred percent dependent on tube feedings. There is no cure for this condition, and he will likely be tube fed for the rest of his life. Elijah also has autonomic dysfunction, that causes his body to not regulate like others when it comes to body temperature, heart rate, and emotions. He is followed by several specialist, and takes fourteen medications daily to manage his symptoms. He is a very smart boy with a higher than average IQ. He is currently in 5th grade and attends school online at home. He loves to solve problems. He enjoys science, with weather being his subject of interest. He loves Mine Craft, My Singing Monsters, and Pokemon Go. He also loves to read, and the Bible is his favorite book. He has been through so many hardships, but he is the sweetest boy you will ever meet. I am so excited to see what God has in store for my amazing boy, Elijah!