I mainly am going to write this story on here because I want Sawyer to know how strong he was through all of this; I want him to know how grateful we are for his life because of this experience.
Yesterday I woke up after being at my parent's house for one night and felt like I literally had been hit by a semi truck. I took a shower and put on this same grey sweater that I had been wearing since Tuesday (because I don't have any clothes here) and looking at the sweater in the mirror it just made me relive everything we had been through this last week. I lost it. I cried for hours. I cried because of what we had been through and I cried because I was reliving this nightmare. I cried because I was so incredibly happy that I was watching my son run around, hugging and kiss us and laughing out of happiness. I cried because I am fearful for our future. I cried because I do not want my son to ever suffer like that again. Needless to say I am going on an emotional roller coaster and it all hit me yesterday. I feel like I held up pretty well through the actual crisis and I think that I am finally coming off of the adrenaline that the Lord graciously blessed me with this last week.
Sawyer has had several asthma attacks since he was about 14 months; One hospitalization and the others were scary but we seemed to manage them with doctor visits, steroids and his at home care that we had been trained to do. So when he started wheezing on Sunday night we of course started our regime of breathing treatments, inhaler puffs, taking it easy, etc... When he sounded worse Monday morning I called the doctor took him and once again they said keep doing what you are doing and they prescribed him an oral steroid (7th time to be on these suckers) and sent us back home. I felt helpless because deep down I knew that it wasn't going to be the last of it because it never has been that simple with Sawyer's attacks. So we continue to stay up with him all through the night doing breathing treatments every two hours and listening to him like crazy. Tuesday after a few hours into the morning I noticed that it was sounding better, he was playing more, eating more and it seemed that we were actually maybe breaking it up a little. He went through out the day sounding better and we even planned a night out for my best friend's birthday. Our babysitter knew what to do if he started sounding bad but really before we left for dinner he sounded fine.
We get home from dinner and he started waking up because he was coughing so much. Now we know that coughing is actually a sign that the asthma is becoming worse but at the time we just decided to stay home and stay up doing breathing treatments. He fell asleep around 5:00, woke up at 7:00 and still sounded really bad but was still playing and eating. After breakfast I noticed that he was working really hard to breath so I decided to call the doctor again and take him in, I made the appointment for 9:00. I put him in the tub thinking maybe that would help and while he was in the tub he started panicking. I had never seen him do this before but he couldn't catch a breath and started flailing his arms in panic. I immediately got him out of the tub, put a diaper and a shirt on him and ran out the door with no bra and took him straight to our doctor. I didn't want to go to the ER b/c I knew that our doctor would help us faster. I walk in the doctor office and they see that he is not doing good and rush us back and immediately start doing a breathing treatment. After we told the doctor that we had been doing that for three days and nothing is helping he immediately admitted him to the hospital. This is when it got really scary...
We had to take him to the hospital which is just across the street. I rush him to the car as he is still struggling to catch a breath and after I get him in the car he literally stops breathing and starts gagging on air. I freak out put the car in park run him back into the doctor and they say to hold him in the car and not to put him in his car seat. We rush to the hospital and they get us up to a room really fast and by the time we are in the hospital room he is vomiting, his oxygen levels got down to the 70's and his asthma was slowly getting more restricted. The next hour we watched Sawyer's little body get worse and worse as nothing they were doing helped. Finally thirty minutes after they got us in a room our doctor informed us that he needed immediate care in the ICU and told us that he called Arkansas Children's Hospital to come pick us up. This is when I realized that it wasn't just in our heads how serious his state was. They took him up to ICU and by this time he is incoherent and could care less what people are doing to him or giving him. We had over 15 nurses, doctors, etc.. in our room prepping him for a ventilator, pricking him, giving him tons of meds through an i.v. and working on him to get him to breath. My sweet husband had been holding him in the hospital bed since we got there and I will never get the image out of my head watching Andrew hold the breathing mask, crying as Sawyer was working so hard to hold on. He literally was getting more and more limp as each minute went on and there was nothing Andrew and I could do except trust and wait for God and the doctors to rescue him. Once we were in the ICU they did several different rescue meds and put him on Helium Oxide. They wanted to give it a few minutes to see if his lungs were opening up at all before they did the ventilator. After about an hour we watched his oxygen levels go up a little bit and we watched his body relax a little bit more so they held off on the ventilator (Thank Goodness!).
The helicopter from Children's couldn't pick us up because there was ice in the forecast so they scheduled their plane to come pick us up. Around 4:00 the med flight crew from ARCH (which consisted of a respiratory therapist, nurse, doctor and a paramedic team) came and picked me and Sawyer up. They were absolutely wonderful! Sawyer was a little more stable by the time they got there and they came in with a big stretcher. His big eyes were looking around but he still wasn't trying to say anything. I looked at him and said "Sawyer we are going on a little ride. It's going to be so fun and be like a golf cart ride." I said this because his favorite thing in life is to go on golf cart rides. "Golf Cart" was one of his first words. So he let them strap him in with out making a single peep and then they swooped us off to the ambulance. We rode in an ambulance and then got on a plane at Drake Field and then forty minutes later arrived at the airport in LR. One more ambulance ride later and we arrived at ARCH. We got out of the ambulance and Sawyer's lungs had finally opened up and he was trying to talk. He said "Mama! I'm on golf cart!" as they were wheeling him in the hospital on his stretcher. He said "golf cart" from the time we got on the elevator until we got to the PICU. I can't even explain the feeling of joy and relief I felt as we got out of that ambulance and I heard him talk. I was about to jump out of my skin.
Andrew was driving with his mom from Fayetteville and couldn't get to the hospital for a couple hours. He said it was the longest drive of his life but was so glad to have me call and tell him the good news that Sawyer's lungs had finally opened up and hear that they weren't going to have to do a ventilator. It was such good news for him to hear.
I slept with Sawyer in his crib in the PICU that night and I barely slept because they were coming in checking on him every couple of hours and continuing to do his breathing treatments. We both kept getting tangled up in his ten different cords that he was hooked to but I loved being able to sit there and hold him, feeling him breath. I was so overwhelmed with joy that night.
From the time that this all began Sawyer has been so brave and so tough. All the nurses and doctors couldn't believe what a trooper he was and what a fighter he is. They ran tests all day on Friday and he was perfect through all of them. If you haven't read some of those stories then definitely read back here.
We are thankful that Children's did an in depth education with us and now we are looking forward to learning more about what we can do to keep him healthy as we meet with a specialist in NWA. We are still waiting to hear about his cystic fibrosis test and we are also waiting to hear about his allergy testing. We are PRAYING very hard that something shows up in his allergy test so that we can have some idea to what his triggers are with his asthma. He is on 4 different medications long term and on his oral steroids for one more month (uggghh!!). Hopefully with the combination of the new inhalers and new oral medications we will get this under control.
We are so thankful for the strength, peace and protection that God provided continuously through this last week. We are so thankful for our families and friends who have provided endless encouragement, prayers and help. Lastly we are so thankful for our son who we love more than words can describe.
Even though this was by far the worst day of our lives it is one more way that God has used Sawyer to show us the power of his Love and Peace. God is always good and we see that more clearly now than ever before!