By Danielle Cater
North Jefferson News
AN NJN EDITORIAL —
Next week my youngest daughter will be celebrating her fifth birthday, and these are the times when you reflect on your life and how the presence of a child can really change who you are and what you do with yourself.
We were like any other family when we welcomed little Anna Cadence Pelkey to the world five years ago. Her arrival was quite a surprise to her parents, but we were happy that God saw fit to let us have another baby in the home.
If I’m being completely honest, I was a little upset that God threw another baby my way when I felt like I was struggling to raise the 1-year-old who never slept. It was a scary moment when we found out we were pregnant and as a mom, after the first five minutes of speechless stares at the pregnancy test, I went right into momma mode and was excited to welcome the new baby.
When Anna was two months old, she started having trouble breathing one night. I was concerned, but her older sister had asthma and since she had already been diagnosed with the same, I chalked it up to asthma and stayed up with her that night. The next morning she was getting worse, and by the time I made it to the doctor’s office that morning, my baby was struggling to breathe.
When our doctor saw us waiting to see him in the waiting room he immediately stopped what he was doing and ordered an oxygen test on her right then and there. Her oxygen levels weren’t dangerously low, but every breath she took showed her ribs and collar bones from the force of her inhaling. He sent me to Children’s Hospital and informed me that I shouldn’t even take the time to get a diaper bag from the house — just get her to the hospital.
Of course I went into panic mode and drove like a mad woman all the way there. When we got there, the ER was filled with sick kids and she was just another number to them at the time. They did an oxygen test on her, and after giving her a breathing treatment, they sent me home to watch her. They told me to call her doctor again if she was still struggling later that night.
Relieved that the ER didn’t see the severity in the situation that the general practitioner had, I went home watching every breath Anna took. A couple of hours later I couldn’t handle the fight my baby was going through for every breath of air, and we made our way back to the doctor’s office. As soon as we came through the door the doctor saw that it was us and took her oxygen reading. I told him what the ER had said, and after a very low oxygen level reading, he again sent us straight to the ER and called them to make sure they understood the stress she was under with every breath she took.
It was a much different reception when I arrived this time. The nurses were waiting to take us back to a room.
In times like these, you really just want your family there with you, but my parents had driven across the nation to Arizona on vacation and my oldest daughter had a virus, so her dad couldn’t be there either. I sat in that hospital room just staring at this infant in my arms — my mind kept racing back to the moment I found out I was going to have another baby and my immediate reaction of ungratefulness. Now I was holding that miracle and begging my God not to let me lose the baby I loved so deeply.
I found out after four days in the hospital that she had RSV, and it was very serious. I told them that I needed to call my parents to get them to come to the hospital. The nurse asked how long it would take them to get there. I told her it would be two days before they could be there and her response was, “Then there is no reason to call them for this. She can’t make it that long at this rate. She is struggling too hard for every breath and an infant at that age doesn’t have enough fight in them to make it two more days.”
That nurse had just told me that I had less than 48 hours left with my baby, and I can’t even express the emotions that flowed through my body. I was furious that she had been so cold in telling me this heart-wrenching news. I didn’t know how to tell the family. I didn’t know how to react and all I could do was pray and cry and hold my baby as close to me as humanly possible.
Sobbing, I called my parents and told them and the prayers went up immediately. Anna couldn’t even open her eyes at this point, but my God began to move in that hospital room.
Within two days from the announcement that she wouldn’t live past 48 hours, we were getting ready to pack our bags to leave. She made an “amazing recovery,” according to the doctor, who said he expected our visit to end very differently.
During that time in the hospital I learned quite a few things about life. I figured out who would be there for me in tough times, and who wouldn’t care enough to visit. I found out who to call on for prayers. I found out the healing power of God. And I found out just how strong my little Anna bug really was. When the world had given up hope on that little angel, she stepped it up and fought to live. She hasn’t quit fighting since.
She is my most outgoing and loving baby in the bunch, and I can’t help but to go back to that hospital visit in my mind when her birthday rolls around every year.
We may forget a lot of things in our lives, but don’t forget to continue to thank God for answered prayers. He saved my baby’s life that day, and I know that He has great things in store for this little, talkative 5-year-old girl.