The fourth in a six-part series chronicling the birth of Michelle and Dennis Teravainen’s second child, August, who was born with Down’s syndrome.
In an age when parents let their kid float away in a hot-air balloon in the hopes of securing a reality show, I was slightly paranoid of whispers that we may have overstated the Gus-man’s health status. But anyone who knows me realizes that I much prefer to write about fart jokes than write about one of my children confronting a potentially life-threatening medical situation.
The past week has been an emotional roller coaster ride—with a track in the shape of a Jackson Pollock painting. On Wednesday night, Shell and I went home with the understanding from Gus’ cardiologists that surgery on his aorta was happening on either Thursday or Friday, barring the less-than-one-percent chance that he improved.
Considering that Down’s syndrome occurs in about one out of every eight-hundred live births in the U.S., we should have known better than to rule out small percentages.
We also neglected to account for the fact that every relative, friend, acquaintance, and friend of friend who heard about our situation was sending prayers, positive thoughts, and good vibes toward the hospital room that held our little fighter.
By Thursday, the newest echocardiogram forced the Ivy-League-educated team of doctors to pause—Gus’ pulmonary pressure was suddenly improving.
They decided to wait twenty-four hours before green-lighting surgery. Still, they reminded us to be prepared—they may have to take immediate action if necessary. During this time, our support network was dialing in favors to saints, and others were asking deceased loved ones to pull some strings. The tide was turning.
On Friday night, our cardiologist came back to us smiling and scratching his head. Gus’ latest echo indicated not only that surgery was no longer an option, but that they were going to taper his oxygen immediately and discharge the G-man out of intensive care.
On Saturday morning, I was able to hold my son for the first time in I don’t know how many days.
Last I knew, Gus had been off of oxygen for several hours. He was eating, peeing, and pooping—just like all the other babies born on July 23, 2010.
We’re hoping to get August Thomas home some time early next week.
I cannot adequately express the gratitude that Shell and I have for every single message or gesture of hope, encouragement, kindness, love, and support that we received over these last few tumultuous days. My faith in humanity is restored a hundred times over.
While some may have preferred not to publicize these personal events, this small blogging project became a therapeutic outlet for me. I had a lot bottled up inside and I needed to get it out.
Thank you for reading along and being there with us. At this point, I’m looking forward to making light of the little things in my family’s lives again.
I’m spent. I haven’t felt this range of emotions in a single week in my entire life. I hope never to experience anything like it again. The only emotion I hope to experience now is the sheer joy when I’m pulling into my driveway and lugging my baby boy’s car seat into our home.
When that happens, I’ll be happy to tell you all about it—followed shortly by the ensuing chaos of raising two beautiful children born seventeen months apart.