Friday, October 29, 2010

Don't tell me Savannah wasn't a miracle.

I am sure most all of you have read Savannah's story. The story of her birth, the story of her death.


But this is the story of her life.
{It may seem unreal, but I assure you everything is true.}

As we all know, Savannah had only her left lung. I've been asked lately if she ever breathed. If she ever cried. That is hard to answer. And the reason is this.

When Savannah was first born and still in the room with us, she did make one faint squeek. Her only noise, ever. When they had taken her to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, they had her hooked up to the resperator, that pumped air into her lungs quickly so they wouldn't have a chance to both collapse. But the thing is, what good was it actually doing if she didn't have the lungs to resporate? Savannah didn't leave with the UC Davis air support team until around 12:30am. She had been alive for six hours. Six hours on a resporator giving oxygen to her one raisin sized lung. On the ambulance ride to the airport, she went code blue. The team had to defibrillize her little body, which stablized her. She made it another hour and ten minutes more back down to Davis. 

When we arrived at the hospital, Savannah was in surgery. The NICU has their very own operating room with glass windows. We could see them working on her. It was comforting to just see my baby again. We sat in a room, and across from us was a glass wall with giant giraffes etched in frost. My husband and I caught each others glance as we noticed what we were both being stared at by.
When they told me that Savannah has sustained her own life during the surgery I was so thankful. They said that never happends. 

When they transported her up to the PICU department, now being on the ECMO machine, we were explained in more detail of the risks involved. The ECMO machine required that Savannah have a high dose of Heprin, {A blood thinner} to prevent blood clots, and to keep the circut flowing. But because of the high dose of Heprin, this meant that she could spontainiously bleed out anywhere in her body. Mainly her brain. Savannah had daily head ultrasounds to check for such. Other risks also included strokes, seizures, or infections. Which they began giving her seizure medication to prevent such an incedient. {And she would have had to stay on it her entire life.} 

Savannah had what is called "right sided CDH."  Which what that means, is the hole in her diaphram was on her right side. Left sided CDH is more common, and that is why it took so long to figure out what was wrong with her when she was first born. The doctors and nurses at Davis had never treated a right sided case, for they say it is extreamly rare. They described Savannah's heart to be "in her armpit," rather than centered in the chest like it normally would be. Savannah sailed through most all of her days. She had her ups and her downs, but no matter what happend, she always pulled through. 

One afternoon, Laura asked Dr. Pretzlaff to help lift Savannah's head to place it onto a special yellow memory foam pillow she had ordered for her. This was going to help prevent the skin from breaking down. Being the cannulaes {or ECMO tubes} ran into the right side of her neck, she had to stay laying on her left side. Just lifting her head for the pillow was going to be a three person team effort. Dr. Pretzlaff slowly lifted Savannah's head, Laura placed the pillow underneath, and another pump nurse watched the ECMO stats to make sure her flow stayed stable. Which it didn't. And we were there. 
They kept trying to position her head to bring blood flow back to her heart, but they just couldn't find it. Koady and I just sat patiently... very calmly, waiting. The Doctor threw the pillow at the trash can, and called code blue. And we sat there patiently... calmly, waiting. The room in an instant filled with three doctors, and another six nurses. {I also sat counting.} We tried to make ourselves as small as possible. I asked if they wanted us to leave. The nurse said no, and asked if we wanted to. I told her I just asked because I didn't want to be in the way. They gave her a shot of epinephrine to bring her heartrate up again. They began heart compressions awaiting the defibrillizer. And just like that she was fine. Her flow had resumed, and her stats were good. 

After the chaos has diminished, someone came in to talk with us. They were expecting for us to be shaken. Tramatized, you might even say. But we said we were fine. And I proceeded to say, "we know that whatever happens is part of His plan." And she mustered a smile through tears and left. Laura stared at us in a state of disbelief. My mom said she was probably thinking, "here are two people, so young, going through something so horrible, and yet they are grasping on to more faith than most people ever find."  Maybe so mom, maybe so. I hope it inspired her if so.

Savannah continued doing just fine. They were concerned the loss of flow with the ECMO machine would be the lead to bleeding in the brain. Nothing. They just couldn't figure out why her lungs weren't building tissue. When they decided to to the CT scan, they were hoping there was fluid around them that was constricting them. If so, they could drain the fluid and her lungs would expand. When they told us they were going through with the scan August 30th, they warned us of what this entailed. To be able to do so, this meant they had to clip the tubes to the ECMO machine. They had to lift Savannah's body onto the CT machine. And then return her back to her bed, and reclamp the Cannulaes. We were so anxious waiting to hear how everything went. The last time they just moved her head she went code blue, this time they were cutting her off of her life support. 

When we did recieve the call, it was nothing but wonderful news. Savannah did excellent during the procedure. They clamped the tubes, and moved her for her CT scan. Her stat's stayed completely stable. Her heartrate didn't drop. Her blood pressure didn't drop. They were able to change her sheets. They finally got her yellow pillow ready for her. They even swapped out her ECMO machine. Not a hiccup. This all only took a few minutes, even though it sounds like something it might take normal people thirty minutes to accomplish... but I am telling you, these aren't normal people. And Savannah sustained her own life.

The next day, we all know was the day we found out the results of the CT scan. Her not having a right lung meant the respirator was never doing anything for her, except for in her tiny left lung. But really wasn't enough to sustain life, not as long as Savannah had lived on them. The doctors were even baffled as to how she made it this far. And when we took her off the ECMO machine that night she survived for almost an hour. Her eyes were open. Her heart was beating. We know this because we could watch the blood pumping in the cannulaes still connected to her neck. She would gasp for air. But an hour? The doctor assumed she would only last a minute or two. Again, another medical mystery to the doctors. But really... it isn't. 

Now hearing all of this, let me ask you?...
How long can you hold your breath?


On the day of Savannah's funeral we woke to grey clouds outside. It had been 90degrees the day before. We hadn't had a rainy day all summer. When Koady and I got out of bed, the rain drops started pouring. When we left for the funeral service, the sky had opened up and the sun shined through. It stayed sunny her entire service. It wasn't until we were driving in the funeral procession to the cemetary that the skies turned black again. The air got cold. We stood around a little while until they told us that they wouldn't bury her until we left. I said that I was not going anywhere. As everyone was leaving, the rain drops started once more. They allowed my mom, and Koady's mom to sit with us. The second the two men reached down and picked up Savannah's casket the lightning and thunder sounded at the same time. A huge flash right in front of our faces. This continued the entire time they were burying her. And as soon as they were finished, for the very last time the sun opened up and it stopped raining. It was 100degrees the next day. And didn't rain for a long time after that.

Don't tell me, Savannah wasn't in everyway a miracle. 

4 comments:

Serenity's Mommy ♥ said...

Savannah IS a miracle! And she was yours, because she KNEW you'd tell the whole world how amazing she is!

Charis said...

that is such a miracle! wow. i love how God does things all the time that amaze us who watch. thank you for sharing all about it.

Tina said...

Dear Megan,

Savannah sure was a Miracle! She touched so many lives, especially her Mommy & Daddy's. God used her so much during her 8 days of Life. He will use her even more in Heaven! Along with the Lord, and our heavely Father, the Angels were rejoicing when she arrived in heaven! With the Lord reaching out to her to hold and cuddle her until the Lord calls you and your husband home to be with her again!

God Bless you! You are an encouragement to so many!

Thank you for your encouraging comment on my blog post tonight.

Love & prayers,

Tina

Amy C said...

What an amazing little girl! And mom :-)