Yesterday morning. Sunday, November 3rd.
Lucielle woke up extra early because of Daylight Savings. She had already been up once at 4am so when she woke again, I fed her laying in bed, like always, and let her stay there sleeping because Brian was out of town at a Mens Retreat with church and there was more than enough room in the bed. Later, Viv woke and I got up to get her. I let Lulu continue to sleep. At Vivi's request, we snuggled in her bed and listened to Christmas music (is she my daughter or what?!?). Then I got her ready for the day and we went to have breakfast. Viv was getting awfully whiny, which I assume was in part from teething and in part from going to bed late and waking up early. So I decided to put her down an hour early for her morning rest. She doesn't nap anymore, but we lay her down for an hour in the morning anyway to rest. As I was tucking her in bed, I heard a voice in my head, "Lulu has been sleeping too long. Go check on her. She is face down in bed." I rushed through putting Viv down so I could go check on Lucielle. I opened the door and to my horror she had rolled over from her back to her stomach and was face down on the bed, not moving. I believe without a doubt that the Lord had whispered that into my ear. Lulu has never rolled over before. Not even close.
I rushed over to the bed and rolled her over. Her face was blue. She was limp and unresponsive. I was shaking as I tore off her swaddle and jammies. Her body was so pale. I don't know how I remembered what to do. I had infant CPR to get my babysitting certification in 5th grade and a class or two in High School Health. I refreshed with a little internet research when Viv was born. Again, I believe the Lord was guiding me and keeping me calm. I gave Lucielle a couple chest compressions with my fingertips. I put my mouth over her nose and mouth and breathed. Nothing with the first breath. With the second, I heard the air go in, but she wasn't breathing. I did a couple more chest compressions and then two more breaths before they caught and she was breathing on her own. With each breath she wheezed and moaned. She was still limp and her eyes were closed. I called 911. They sent an ambulance. I called Brian who didn't answer because he was at the retreat, so I texted him, "Call me ASAP! 911!".
Within minutes the police were knocking on the door. I let them in and they came back to take a look at Lulu. A couple minutes after that, the ambulance and firetruck arrived. As the EMT examined Lu, I answered a bazillion questions. I started crying. Lucielle puked on the bed. They wrapped her up to take her down to the ambulance and told me to get Viv up and ready. I tried to control my tears so as not to scare Vivienne. Viv came out of the room to find a half dozen uniformed men in out apartment holding her sister. When they left with Lulu, Viv ran down the hall after them saying, " Lulu! Lulu!" I told her Lulu was ok and we were going to get our shoes on and ride in a big truck. I was in my pjs and flip flops. Viv was ok with everything until the EMT guys strapped her into the harness in the ambulance. She was scared and cried. I was scared and cried. The EMT gave Viv a kitty beanie baby and she calmed down and enjoyed the ride playing with my keys and pretending to drive. I called Brian. The second he said hello, I lost it! I tried to explain between tears. He was crying. He left camp right that second with his friend, Eric Evans, driving. He was 2.5 hours away. Lu opened her eyes and I felt a slight relief. She was stable and didn't need any oxygen or extra care in the ambulance.
We arrived at Children's Hospital in St. Paul. I carried Viv as they wheeled my tiny Lucielle strapped onto a huge bed. Lulu was being monitored. Her temp was a little low so they bundled her in heated blankets. Her heart rate was really high. They took some blood for testing. It didn't bother her much. That bothered me! Our friends, Laura Evans and Vilma Mendez, came. I was so thankful for them! Laura is a nurse and made me feel a lot more comfortable with all the hospitalness. They were able to play with and care for Viv while I could focus on Lucielle. We took her for X-rays to make sure that I didn't do any CPR or mouth-to-mouth too hard. They came back clear. Yay! The nurses gave Viv a bag filled with goodies. She kept saying, "Trick or treat! Sucker!" because she saw some tootsie pops in the bag. She ate three while we waited. She also loved the funny glasses, stickers, crayons and coloring book. It was a life saver. She was amazing the whole time: very flexible, easy going and entertaining. She easily took the stress off a bit because she was so funny. Brian's good friend Lukas came by. He's a single guy who lives 2 blocks away. When I texted Brian, he couldn't get a hold of me and panicked so he called Lukas to come to the apartment to check on us. We had left for the hospital so he came bringing water and snacks. Very very sweet.
During all of this, Lucielle was still very limp but she would open her eyes when disturbed. I tried to nurse her since it had been nearly 5 hours since she ate. She wasn't interested. They decided to give her an IV to make sure she was getting enough fluids. She squeaked once as they put it in. I so desperately wanted to hear her cry! I laid on her bed and held her against my chest while she slept for an hour.
We got back to the room and Brian's cousin, Mom and her friend arrived. Viv was so excited to see Grandma Dina. They took Viv to walk around when she got a little restless. Brian arrived. He saw Viv in the hall and started crying. He grabbed her, hugged her and came in the room where we all cried together. It was such sweet relief to see him! Poor Viv knew something was going on but is just too young to understand. But I know she could feel the tension. It was nearly 1pm and Viv hadn't had lunch so Grandma took her to eat. We were finally moved to "our room". Brian went home to pack a bag of essentials and to get our car and car seat for Viv. I fed Lucielle. It didn't go well and she puked all over me and herself. The nurses came in to get Lulu for a CAT scan. I carried her there. She cried during it. Not a full robust cry, but the fact that she had enough energy to cry made me so happy!
Grandma took Viv to her house for the night. Most of the rest of the day was spent holding Lucielle, comforting her and attempting to nurse her. She nursed a couple times successfully before she puked again. Apparently when I breathed into her, the air went into her lungs and her stomach which caused a lot of excess air that needed to come out. So it came out in the form of burps, puke and diarrhea. The Neurologist came to check out Lulu. She was getting more alert, was smiling and recognizing us and even beginning to coo. But she did seem sleepy and weak still and was a little "floppy" like a newborn. The Neurologist said that her CAT scan was clear. Her first blood test came back acidic indicating a lack of oxygen. When there is a lack of oxygen certain organs begin to shut down in order to preserve brain function. This causes acidic blood. So she was without oxygen, but no way to know how long. Her second blood test was less acidic. That's encouraging. She was improving. Her reflexes were good. They only way to ascertain if there was any brain damage was to have a MRI. But this would require Lucielle to undergo anesthesia. A big risk. The Neurologist said that he was encouraged by what he saw and she was definitely improving. So he said to come see him for a follow up appointment in a month and we can discuss the MRI more if necessary at that point. Luis and Vilma came and prayed with us. Brian went home so that he could rest because we both couldn't stay on the tiny hospital pull-out couch. Stacey came to bring me dinner and watch a movie. Lucielle was getting more and more alert, smiley, and chatty. She puked for the last time that evening, but for the most part was becoming more her normal, albeit a little more sleepy, self.
We love the way that the Lord knit this story together. He planned it and guided us through it. It's not over yet. Lulu seems great, but who knows if there is any brain damage from the lack of oxygen and if so, to what extent. Only time will tell. We are so thankful for all the love and support from friends and family. Please continue to pray. Pray for Lucielle to heal and for there to be no issues. Pray for Viv who knows something big happened but doesn't get it. She has been very clingy to me since she got home. Pray for Brian and I as we deal with the trauma of the most stressful days in our lives. And pray for me. I am feeling nervous about sleeping and letting Lulu out of my sight. I know that the Lord is in control and it has nothing to do with me being awake or near the baby. So pray for peace and rest. Last night I had a hard time falling asleep, as I kept seeing her limp and laying on our bed. A friend sent me this verse which has already given me peace: Psalm 4:8 "In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."
Thankful doesn't even come close to describe the gratitude we feel to The Lord for sustaining her life! Oh praise HIM! Lam. 3:22-23 "The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Amen!
I always loved the name we chose for Lucielle. We chose it for the meaning. Lucielle means light. Her middle name is Juniper and I think it's become even more fitting this week. We chose this as her middle name based on Isaiah 41:19-20, which says:
"I will put in the desertA Juniper tree needs lots and lots of water. So, for it to be flourishing in the desert, it would be obvious that the Lord had done it. We have seen the hand of the Lord guiding and protecting us through every inch of this story. Lucielle Juniper Johnson: Light; the Lord has done it!
the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers in the wasteland,
the fir and the cypress together,
so that people may see and know,
may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
that the Holy One of Israel has created it."