Thursday, October 27, 2011

Never Eighteen, Mary Bridge Children's Hospital, and saving lives

I already told you I've opened up a Cafe Press store full of Never Eighteen gear.  All the profit will benefit Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma, WA. 

I just haven't told you the why, and it doesn't just have to do with Never Eighteen.

The hospital has an awesome staff and  many wonderful programs for children.  They've also won bunches of awards.

This hospital also happened to save my daughter's life, so I hold them close to my heart.  At five weeks old, my younger daughter Rachel contracted RSV ( Respiratory syncytial virus).  This virus can be deadly for infants, and is actually attributed to many SIDS cases.

I noticed one night she wasn't breathing very well.  I took her to her doctor who told me to count her breaths.  If it got below a certain count, I should take her into the ER.  There was no word about "this is really really serious" or "she could die" or anything like that.  I didn't really understand it.

But I counted.

She breathed, but not well.

I finally decided to just take her in.

The ER docs were great.  They said, if they had any beds open they would have admitted her, but they were full (it was winter, lots of sickness going on).  So they told me exactly what she had, what to watch for, and again if her breathing was labored and her reps were down, to bring her back in.

I honestly don't remember if it was the next day or a couple days later, but I continued to watch her breathe.  I was obsessed about it as I'm sure any parent would be. 

I sat and watched.

Her breathing became labored.

Her breaths were shallow.

It came down to her only breathing about once ever few seconds.

My dad took the both of us (Older daughter and husband stayed home) back to the ER. 

She was dying.  They started work on her right away.  They wouldn't let me in the room, they said it's too disturbing for a mother to watch.  My dad went in with her.  I heard her screaming.  I thought I was going to faint or throw up or both.

Someone stayed out with me and explained what they were doing to her.  They had to loosen up the gunk in her lungs and suck it out.

When she was stabilized, they took her to the ICU where the doctor there (I wish I could remember his name) explained what RSV was and what they would need to do to Rachel while she was in the ICU.  He's the one that told me about the RSV/SIDS link.  A nurse, his name was Steve, would come in every couple hours and pound on her chest with a little pink rubber mallet to keep the gunk loose in her chest.  He taught me how to do it, because I would have to continue for weeks afterward.

If I hadn't brought her in that night, I know she would have died.

I couldn't stay the night in the ICU.  They gave me an empty hospital room to sleep in.  After two days they moved her into a regular room, where I was able to sleep with her.  We were there for five days.

I am so grateful for the entire hospital staff.  They not only saved my daughters life, but also attended to my needs as a mother.

I'm sure you understand why I want to give back to them.

So, if you're in the market for some Never Eighteen gear, visit my shop, look around, and know that if you buy something, the profits are going to a very worthy organization.

You can find more information about the hospital here.
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My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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