Thursday, November 7, 2013

Grid Placement: Day 10- A NEW HOPE

"Mommy? Mommy? MOMMY!"

"Good morning, Renn."

"Is today surgery day? Is today the day we get rid of seizures, Mommy?"

That is how my morning started. I'm not going to lie, I was exhausted, but ready. Renn was ready. I put on my Star Wars shirt, greeted each medical personnel that came in our room to wish the Jedi good luck, and waited for the hubs, Easy E, and my father to arrive.

An attending surgeon came in to mark the right side of Renn's skull... I made some lame joke about not marking the wrong side. She didn't laugh. I didn't either. My stomach was starting to hurt.

The hubs, Eli, and my dad came in, then the technician (whom we've grown to love) came in and removed all the leads. Renn just about jumped out of bed. He could move his neck... He was free!

But then it was time to go. It was a hazy walk for me, as I don't remember even doing it. So much was riding on this... Would he still be Renn? Would he remember me? Would he still laugh the same infectious way, care for little children like he does, love nachos, or be able to see? Was this the right choice? His seizures weren't that bad... were they?

As we swung his giant hospital bed into the waiting area, we met up with all the appropriate people...
We answered all the same questions, but I could tell that I wasn't even listening to the nurses ask. I simply answered out of habit and memory. I wasn't there. I was numb.

The Mighty C. helped get us down there, and gave Renn an assuring pat. He promised he'd be there when he woke up. Renn smiled wide. Soon, Dr. Incredi-Surgeon walked through like the celebrity he is. I swear, mini confetti cannons follow that man around. He'll enter a room, and everyone in it is in awe of the sheer compassion he has for his patients. Renn lit up. Dr. Incredi-Surgeon gave us the pep talk. The hubs and my father seemed to listen. I vaguely remember asking the good doctor if he went to bed at 7pm as I'd demanded he do. But I was too busy thinking about the baby I carried within me, and how the brain that formed in my womb was about to be changed forever.

Before I could snap out of it, we were all kissing Renn goodbye. He'd already been given a calming medication. He was pretty loopy. I held it together for him. I kissed him, and prayed, Father... stay with him. Stay with him, because I can't. Renn asked if we were leaving him forever (thanks, drowsy med). I swore I would be there, that I'd never leave, and he disappeared behind those infamous doors. We've watched him be wheeled or walked back through that entry way four times now. Today was the first time I had to be asked to "go ahead and exit this way, ma'am". Didn't that nurse know what they were about to do? Did I even know??

We headed to get breakfast. I wanted to hit everyone close to me. I hated that my husband was upset.
But I honestly wanted to be left the hell alone. I wanted to call my mother... I needed to hear her say, "Bethie, he's going to be alright." It broke me to know I couldn't even do that.

Thankfully, we managed to have short conversations about I-don't-even-know-what. The hubs, my dad, and myself all handle life-altering circumstances a bit differently. I was grateful for that, today.

My father took Eli to the park while the hubs and I went to wait in silence. We found that silence just left us to our own morbid thoughts. It didn't last long. We couldn't hold still. We got our second (or third?) round of extra strong caffeine and found a balcony to sit on. We started to talk about what we wanted to get the kids for Christmas. It was a glimmer of happiness... but eventually, the nurse called. They were beginning the resection. They were removing a portion of our baby's brain. There was no coming back from that blow. We sat. We didn't speak. I watched a napkin flitter on the floor in the breeze. Rick closed his eyes to pray. Eventually, we started talking about all the ways God has led us here... And before we knew it, it was 1pm, and we were hungry.

After lunch, we waited with my father (E got to go to the playroom with ChildLife, but eventually got sick with worry, and came to join us). It felt like minutes before we got the call. They were done, and
just putting our Jedi back together again. It'd be another one to two hours, but he was steady. He needed NO blood transfusion. He was okay.

Doctor after doctor, the Mighty C, and then two other nurses, all came in to announce that their our kiddo was done, over the course of the following fifteen minutes. And I can't explain it, but we felt... Free. 

Dr. Incredi-Surgeon bounced in about two hours later. He was beaming. He explained precisely what he did, how much tissue he removed, and gave us our odds on MANY different questions we asked. Then he asked if we wanted to see pictures... We (because I'm the daughter of a realist, the wife of a scientist, and just one curious, probably insane mother) said yes. He brought out his camera. I saw the first picture of what looked like a Halloween decoration I've wanted to buy for years (which I will NEVER buy, now). He showed us what he was talking about, and then showed us the "after", with the 50% of our baby's Temporal Lobe missing. I have to be honest... I got sick. I collapsed, on the inside. I felt no peace. I felt tormented. I felt guilt. I felt like I'd lost him. Like it was my fault.

At that moment, a familiar face walked in and asked if we wanted to come be with Renn; that he was waking up. Not wanting to miss the opportunity to remind our son who I was, I got up, hugged Dr. Incredi-Surgeon, mumbled some form of "thank you", and RAN.

I got to the door of Renn's room in the PICU. The same room we'd been in for nine nights. I pushed through somebody to get to him... I grabbed his hand, and began to sob. He looked perfect. The hubs came in within seconds as I said, "Renn? I'm here. Just like I promised. Daddy's here, too. Can you open your eyes for us?"

He opened his eyes.

He took a breath, opened his mouth, and CLEAR AS DAY asked, "Mommy, is the surgery over yet?"

Praise you, Father. Praise you on high...

He remembered me. He turned and said hello to Rick. He remembered Daddy. Then, he asked, "Can I play the Wii?" We laughed... it felt so good to laugh. We asked him his favorite movie. "Star Wars, of course."

Our Jedi was still... Him.

He blew us all away. He was awake fifteen minutes, and he was up and playing video games with the hubs. He was begging for food, he wasn't swelling, and when asked about his pain level? "Zero." he promised. There must have been about twenty-three different nurses, doctors, and staff who came in wanting to see if the rumors were true. This kid was like nothing they'd ever seen before. I couldn't help but think about what Dr. Genius had said yesterday, "I've never seen a case like his. Ever. And if any one of the Neurologists I know all across this country and into Canada had had even one case like his before, I'd have sent you guys to them."

Well, I suppose Renn is going to continue to baffle you... He's going to show you what the power of God can do.

The rest of the evening went smoothly. He ate five popsicles, tons of ice chips, chocolate milk, and was then FURIOUS he couldn't order pizza for dinner. The steroid he is on (anti-inflammation reasons) makes him belligerent. Picture a young, extreeeemely intoxicated, sorority girl whom has just found out her boyfriend is cheating on her. That was Renn. He felt fine, but was so very emotional! He got unbelievably upset that his blanket dare leave its spot that was covering his toe. And he also said, "Mommy, I'm so mad you won't let me go on the airplaaaanneee! Whyyyy won't you let meeee???" Then he asked if I'd brought the croutons.

I only saw the humor (not at him, of course, but merely the situation). Again, I felt so free. It felt amazing being able to laugh and not feel guilty for doing so.

He is sleeping peacefully after wanting to make a few phone calls to loved ones. And I am in awe of God's gifts. God's splendor. God's miracles. Renn hasn't even begun to swell (he WILL, but it hasn't started yet... nothing like this time, last week). Our heavenly Father did this. I have no doubts... Never, ever again will I second guess His plan.

I realize how premature that statement may be, because surely, we are not out of the woods, yet. But we will be going to bed tonight with all this behind us. Now, the hope begins. And just like in Star Wars, a new hope starts what will become a legendary tale...

Here we go, young Jedi... Here we go.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11


  1. Tears, tears of joy for you all!

  2. Happiness for you all. I hope his recovery continues to be astounding and you can all go home soon!

  3. Hooray! My kids have been asking about him. I'll tell them the "good' news.

  4. Hooray! And whew! So glad it went well! Sending healing prayers. :)

  5. Oh, I've just cried and cried reading this. (Seriously.) It's so beautiful. As a mom who has sat with her son in PICU for days before, held her son while he raged after coming off those steroids, too, and praised God because her son woke up... I hear you (at least partially since our situations are different). Oh, just beautiful. Praise God. Thanks for sharing all this with us.

  6. I'm so happy things are going well!!! I hope this day is also full of grace, healing, and love!

  7. Sobbing tears of joy for your family. So blessed to be able to follow Renn's journey (thanks to Erik W.).
    Praise God for today's journey! May Renn continue to heal miraculously.

  8. I am so, so tearfully happy and relieved for you all. Savor the victory. Praise the Lord!!!

  9. Thank you Jesus!!! I have not spoke in tongues in awhile :) while reading it just happened what a beautiful reading, May GOD continue to bless your family!

  10. Praise God! So very grateful for these words and the hope they represent. May your sweet, brave family know much joy in the days to come.

  11. So excited for the great news. I got goosebumps. Very happy for Renn and and the rest of you that the surgery went well. Renn is proof that miracles do happen and that God hears our prayers. Love and prayers to all of you.

  12. Oh, how absolutely wonderful that he woke up so perfectly! So happy for you all! And continuing prayers that the swelling is minimal, the recovery swift, and the seizures gone forever! :)

  13. Bethany, I just cried. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  14. Thanks so much for keeping us updated, Bethany! So glad things are looking good. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

  15. :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :D :) :) Yay Renn! :) Good luck with the beyond! :)

  16. This is a happy story with a happy ending that is really a happy beginning. Yay! Prayers continue.