Happy Mother’s Day
When I started this post it was to simply wish all the moms out there a Happy Mother’s Day and to maybe reflect on some of my favorite memories of being a mom to Jessika & Ryan….but when I realized the date the post became more, so much more.
I do hope every mom who reads this has a wonderful day and to those who may not be a mom, I trust you will do everything in your power to make your mom feel loved and appreciated today.
If your mom has passed, I would like to encourage you to pull out some old photographs and relive some beautiful memories the two of you shared. She is still with you, as she will forever be a part of who you are.
Today is May 14th. I don’t know what this date means to you, but its a day that I will never forget and a day that I view as my son’s second chance at life. Eighteen years ago today, Ryan was one day shy of turning a month old and we had no idea that occasion would unfold within the walls of Dallas Children’s Hospital.
The following is a slightly condensed version of the events that occurred on this date eighteen years ago. As moms we encounter countless experiences, some good some not so good; but no greater responsibility has ever been entrusted into our care than our children.
I share this part of our lives with you for several reasons. 1) We have looked straight into the face of the possibility of loosing our son. 2) We have been brought to the place of complete and total surrender of our child. 3) Prayer is a must no matter the outcome. 4) Miracles do happen.
By the way, I believe there is not one experience that God allows to enter into our lives that He doesn’t want/expect us to use it to help someone else along the way. I hope and pray God takes this story and uses it to help someone, someway, somehow.
Robert was out of town on a business trip in Colorado Springs. Being a young mom with a two-year-old and a soon to be one month old, sometimes his trips left me feeling completely drained and lonely.
My oldest sister lived in Anna, Texas at the time and had invited me down for the weekend. As I prepared to head out the door that Friday morning, I noticed Ryan didn’t seem to be feeling well. He wouldn’t eat and seemed restless. Since there was nothing alarming about his behavior, I continued to pack the van.
After tucking away the final essential item, it was time to place both children into their car seats and head off down the road. My mom joined me for this trip as it was an opportunity for her to see her oldest and two of her grandsons. Ryan slept the two hours it took for us to enter the Anna city limits.
Upon arrival, I immediately unloaded all his items and begin to try to feed him. He hadn’t had anything to eat since the night before and I was beginning to feel a little anxious. It was at that time I notice a change in his skin color as well as his little head was burning up while his lower extremities were cool to the touch.
In my mind I was doubting what I was seeing and begin to question my abilities as a mom (why do we do that?).
I wrestled with these thoughts as if I was making things up. I asked my mom if she noticed anything and to my relief and biggest fear, she too recognized the same symptoms.
One of my nephews called his mom at work and before I knew it a bright red flash of color sped up the driveway and she came barreling through the back door.
She had far more experience as a mom and I trusted her judgement to take Ryan to the nearest ER.
Now, if at times it seems I am making fun or light of the situation, trust me I’m not; but later as we were able to recall the whole story, somethings that happened were down right comical.
Such as when we entered the ER my sister being the “take charge” type person that she is, rushed through the double doors proclaiming, “we have a baby turning blue here!!”
You would have thought her to be the mom, but she was bound and determined there would be none of this give me your insurance card and take a seat business.
Kudos to the ER staff that day, because they jumped up out of their seats as if they had been poked with a hotshot. I’m not sure if it was because of the situation or because of the matter-of-fact tone my sister took with them. I’d like to think it was the former, although I too was a little intimidated by her at that moment.
We were rushed into an area where a nurse attempted to get Ryan’s vitals, but I could tell by the look on his face something was wrong.
Not just wrong, something was seriously wrong.
Before we knew what was happening we were whisked into a large room and swarmed by a medical team as if we were the only ones in need of treatment. As I stood by the bed trying to soothe my son, my sister was pacing just outside the room trying to call Robert on her cell phone.
If I close my eyes I can travel back to that very room and hear the ripping of paper from packaged medical supplies…
snapping latex gloves….
voices shouting out instructions and information.
I can also here my sister as she finally reached Robert by phone and her voice turning into blubbering sounds while she tried to take in a deep breath.
I recall her saying, “Rob, it’s bad!” and that was all I could understand and if that was the case on my end of the conversation, I knew Robert had no way of processing what he was hearing.
So, I calmly walked over to her, held out my hand and said, “give me the phone and you go stay with Ryan.”
I laugh about this now because I am the baby of four, the one whose children were born several years after all my siblings’ and there I was telling my oldest sister what to do.
We knew Robert had to get on the next flight to Dallas, but we had no way of knowing if that was even possible. It was then I was approached by the tending physician who proceeded to tell me what he had discovered and what the next step had to be. Ryan was diagnosed with a heart condition called SVT (for short).
His heart rate was setting at 320 beats per minute when we entered and they were only able to get it to drop to 280 with meds. At that time the doctor said something to me that I will forever be grateful for.
He said, “Mrs. York, I know what is wrong with your son, but we cannot help him here. I am sending you where I know they can help. The medi-flight team is already on their way to transport your son to Dallas Children’s Hospital so he can get the best possible care.”
This doctor knew his limitations and was not afraid to admit to them.
So, with that info I called Robert with the update. It was then I learned he was able to get a seat on a plane out of Colorado Springs to Dallas if he could make it to the airport in time.
As they prepped Ryan for departure, I asked if I was going to be able to ride with him on the helicopter. I remember the nurse quickly turning her head towards the doctor as if to say, “help me here.”
They told me it would not be possible because of the weight adjustment they would have to compensate for. I later learned it was because they were not sure if Ryan would make it through the flight.
My sister and I followed the medi-flight team out of the hospital and across the parking lot until a nurse told us that was as far as we could go. When you watch a scene like this unfold on television, this is one Hollywood gets right.
The noise from the helicopter blades is deafening and the strong gust that whip around demand you to yield to its force.
My sister put me into the vehicle and it was then I let go. My body shook with emotion, my insides ached with fear, and the realization hit me that I may not see my son alive again.
As I watched the helicopter disappear into the horizon I sensed a strong presence near me.
God spoke to me of this I have no doubt. He said, “No matter what is about to happen, he is Mine, not yours, Mine.”
I knew then if my time with Ryan was to be one day shy of a month or for years yet to come he belonged solely to God, not me.
Dallas rush hour traffic, need I say more?
But on this day those lanes of traffic parted like the Red Sea and we arrived at Dallas Children’s Hospital in record time.
As the pediatric cardiologist set me down to explain to me what she was about to do, Robert walked through the big double doors of the special unit they had Ryan in.
It was at that time I was able to relax a little because I knew we would finish this journey together. They let us spend a little more time with Ryan and then escorted us down the hallway to a waiting area. To fix this problem, they would need to stop Ryan’s heart and then shock it back into rhythm.
My dad (the man who seldom leaves the east side of the hill in Lula) remained at the double doors holding one slightly ajar. It would do no good to tell this grandpa to join the others. He stood their praying and waiting to hear Ryan’s little cry one more time. And that he did! Once he heard that beautiful sound, he carefully released the door until it clicked and walked the few steps to join us in the waiting room.
We would end up going through that same unnerving process with Ryan again the next day.
Those five days in Dallas Children’s Hospital were filled with more anxious moments to come, but we were in good company as we met some incredible children and families who inspired us as we shared one thing in common; we all wanted to walk out of that hospital with our families still intact.
I won’t even go into how Robert was a “runner” in the airport, or how he made it to the plane just as they were preparing to close the door. There is also a story about the man who sat next to him on the plane and how Robert feels he was one of God’s angels.
I could also tell you that was the last flight for the day to Dallas and it only had one seat left on it on a Friday afternoon. Over and over God revealed His Mighty Hand at work and eighteen years later He continues to be the driving force in our lives.
There is not a time that goes by when I catch a glimpse of a medi-flight helicopter that I don’t stop and say a prayer for the crew and the families involved, because I know how that feels. Every milestone we celebrate with our children has a deeper meaning because of the events that unfolded on this day eighteen years ago.
So, please don’t think of me as selfish as I include a Happy Mother’s Day wish to myself as I wrap up this post; because once again by the grace of God I get the privilege to celebrate yet another Mother’s Day with the two who call me Mom!
To my two gifts from God–I love you beyond measure-Hope I hope to inspire you to meet someone at their greatest need