After a painful labor and a quick delivery, our son, John Peter Rudd was born on May 26. He was a whopping 8 pounds 13 ounces, considering he was two weeks early. He charmed his family Throughout the evening of his birth, our “Little John” found comfort in the arms of his sister, Rebecca, his grandparents, and other family members.
When John attempted to eat during the hours after his birth, he would barely latch on before he pulled free. He lay in his crib and made the strangest wheezing sounds. The last time he tried to eat the nurse assisted me. She began to wonder if something was wrong with John’s stomach due to his lack of appetite. In her examination of him, she discovered that he was not getting enough oxygen to his blood. The doctor ordered chest x-rays and an oxygen hood to help with the problem.
After waiting a while for the nurse to return with John, I walked over to the nursery to see what the problem was. I looked in shock as I saw him hooked up with all kinds of wires and inhaling the oxygen. For the first time, I noticed his very rapid breathing. I felt helpless as I watched the nurse take care of our little one. My husband, not knowing the severity of John’s condition, attempted to sleep. He finally went in to check on Little John after seeing my disturbed state. We broke down in prayer for the health of our little one.
A few hours later, we checked in on our precious bundle. His breathing was still very fast. The nurse informed us that the doctor would be making rounds that morning to check on him. After checking him over, the doctor told us that the chest x-ray showed John’s lungs to be very cloudy. She thought that his problem could be transient tychpnea-fluid that remains in the lungs after birth. Her uncertainty in the matter however caused her to be extra cautious. She decided to transfer him over to the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter’s in Norfolk while he was still stable.
We were bewildered to learn that our little one, that we were just getting to know, would be leaving us. Around noon the transport team arrived to take baby John. His pitiful little body was hooked up to so many machines when they brought him in to say goodbye that we could hardly touch him. He traveled in a type of incubator with a team of transport experts. I tried to kiss John goodbye before he was wheeled out of the room. When they left, I broke down in tears. The one that I had nurtured and held close to my heart for nine months would be staying at another hospital in another city! We knew then we desperately needed the Lord’s mercy and favor to see us through!
Throughout the day our friends and family comforted us as we anxiously awaited the news of John’s diagnosis. As a result of his breathing problems, the doctors at King’s Daughter’s tested him for lung disease and defects. To his parents consternation, they also tested him for heart defects. That night the nurse practitioner told me that John had been put on a ventilator. He had worked hard for such a long time to get enough oxygen so they put him on a ventilator to give him a break. Thankfully, the ultrasound scan ruled out a heart defect. Because the medical team knew that he had fluid in the lungs, they wanted to rule out the possibility of pneumonia. The team started him on a course of antibiotics that would last a week. Unfortunately, the doctors could not completely name his problem. To our consternation they told us that it could take a week to two weeks for him to recover!
My husband and parents, along with our daughter, drove over to the Children’s Hospital that night to see John. His Granddaddy earnestly prayed for his health as he looked at his newborn grandson hooked up to numerous wires. His sister, Rebecca, prayed a simple, heartfelt prayer-“Jesus, make him better.”
We slept in a new hospital room that night. I desperately missed my little one, especially when I pumped milk in anticipation of his feedings. As I would look at the pictures following his birth I wondered, “Why is our baby so far away instead of in my arms?” We named our baby John Peter since John and Peter are two of our favorites of Christ’s disciples. In addition, the special meaning of the two names “God is gracious” for John and “stone” for Peter became especially significant that evening. Jesus, the gracious “cornerstone”, held our John Peter, in His arms when we couldn’t.
The next morning, I eagerly waited for my release from the hospital. It took longer than I wanted, but eventually I was wheeled out of the hospital and headed out to see our precious John. Unfortunately, it took much longer to get to the hospital than desired. My husband dropped me off curbside at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter’s several hours later. As I walked into the room where John lay, I had double check to make sure that I had the right bed. I had so little time to get to know him before he was taken away that I was afraid of not recognizing him. My heart and eyes cried as I took in the multiple tubes coming from his tiny body, including the one that went down his throat. I knew then that it’s a good thing God is in control!
That week my brother was so generous as to allow us to stay at their apartment so we could be closer to the hospital. Since the hospital only allowed two visitors in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit at a time, we took turns to see John. On Sunday, we were shocked to see a sign posted above his bed stating that he required light touching and limited audio stimuli. We were supposed to refrain from touching our little one too much while we had noticed he responded to it with decreased rapidity in breathing! My husband attempted to fool the nurses every time their back was turned. We eventually realized that we could still touch him, but our daughter Rebecca’s visits and others that might be too disturbing should be limited.
From the night he was born, John had been fed intravenously. The nurse practitioner was unsure how he would react to food in his stomach. He was finally allowed to eat some milk through a tube on Sunday. The nurses had been commenting on his fussiness, but a lack of food would cause a lot of people to be grumpy!
Only through God’s grace did we endure as we slowly saw John recover. I stayed by his side for the most part. However, the shift changes, the need for food and time away, and pumping times limited the time spent by his bedside. On Tuesday, my long awaited desire was fulfilled when the nurse placed John in my arms once again. I rejoiced as I held him 3 separate times for an hour each time! I didn’t care that my arms were about to fall off-I was holding our baby again! I even got to feed him two bottles of my milk. When the nurse let me change his diaper, I finally started to feel like his mother. Wednesday brought even better news as I nursed him for the first time. He readily took to nursing and, to the nurse’s surprise, ate until he was quite full!
Strangely enough, we didn’t find out the actual diagnosis of his condition until the middle of the week. Due to the persistent problem in his breathing rate, the doctor knew that it was not just fluid in his lungs. John was diagnosed with infant respiratory distress syndrome. This condition is caused by the lack of a necessary substance in the lungs called surfactant. Without this substance, the lungs collapse and insufficient oxygen is obtained from breathing. It rarely affects babies born full term, but 10% of all premature babies develop the condition. 1
Throughout these days of looking at our sick son, my husband and I glanced around the room at other premature babies the size of baby dolls. We listened as parents talked of their babies being in the hospital for months at a time. We counted ourselves truly blessed by God with a full term, soon to be healthy, infant. The possibilities of what could have been kept us thankful for what we did have! Our blessings also abounded in the prayers, financial support, and fellowship of family and friends.
When Thursday rolled around, we received some joyous news…the nasal canulin that had forced extra oxygen into John’s lungs had been taken out and he would be coming home the following day! That Friday, we arrived at C.H.K.D. to pick him up. He lay ready and waiting for us. Finally, we were going to be a family! We joyfully said goodbye to the hospital that John called home for the first week of his life. He left the hospital fully recovered and fully ready to grow and develop. He even gained most of his birth weight back (8 pounds 6 ounces the day before he left)!
God foreknew the trouble that awaited us during my pregnancy. He knew what we would experience and how difficult it would be. Even better than knowing, however, was the fact that he stayed faithfully by our side through it all. Today John is an active toddler with no after effects from his illness. He loves to get into everything and explore his the world. Praise be to God for watching over his turbulent entry into this world!
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Powerful moving anointed Beautiful testimony of God's Great Love for your son John Peter and for You and your Family!!! "He is a Faithful Holy Loving God and His mercy is new each morning" Praise God for His Faithfulness towards you and your family for healing your son." "As I would look at the pictures following his birth I wondered, “Why is our baby so far away instead of in my arms?” We named our baby John Peter since John and Peter are two of our favorites of Christ’s disciples. In addition, the special meaning of the two names “God is gracious” for John and “stone” for Peter became especially significant that evening. Jesus, the gracious “cornerstone”, held our John Peter, in His arms when we couldn’t." Such Beautiful moving words!!!" In Christ Jesus, Dee "Numbers 6:24,25,26"
this is an intense testimony written with detail. Thank you for sharing it.
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