Only one more day to post your input. Answer the questions for the next section "Patience." Come back tomorrow for the last opportunity to offer your thoughts on what will happen with Jules, Jasper, and Destiny.
My Christmas Baby Girl
Jasper peered down at his beautiful baby girl. A Christmas miracle who survived an emergency caesarean birth after they crashed on the icy road coming home from his parent’s home where they had spent Christmas morning. His wife Julie was sleeping soundly in the hospital bed. White bandages wrapped her head where she had to have her skull drilled into so that pressure could be released. Bruises and swelling made her eyes and nose blur into one black and blue mass. Doctors said they would not know the extent of her brain damage until she woke up. Jasper silently berated himself for not getting the passenger airbag fixed when the alert light came on two weeks ago. He had let excuse after excuse get in his way, and now his wife and baby girl where in the hospital. When the car skidded off the road and crashed into the tree, Julie’s body lurched forward hard. She had loosened her seatbelt because it was cutting into her swollen belly, so when the accident happened, the seatbelt offered little protection. Her head slammed into the dashboard causing a massive haemorrhage and breaking her nose. When the ambulance arrived, Julie was unconscious, and the baby was in distress. Jasper somehow came out unscathed with only minor scrapes and bruising from his seatbelt and airbag. Once they arrived at the hospital, the medical staff immediately took Julie back for the c-section and brain haemorrhage. Now here we are five hours later spending the last few hours of Christmas in this sterile hospital room.
I named her Destiny. Jules would approve, I think. The hospital is discharging Destiny five days after her dynamic entry into the world. I’m not ready! How am I supposed to care for this tiny, beautiful angel by myself? Every time I touch her, I think I will break those tiny little bones. What do I even know about babies and little girls? Jules is the one who knows what to do! This just feels wrong…
Jasper holds Destiny close as he leans over the hospital bed to kiss Jules’s cheek. Don’t worry about us, Jules. You rest and get better. I’ll take care of our Christmas miracle until you can be at home with us. Destiny begins to squirm in his arms, and Jasper knows he can’t procrastinate any longer. Placing Destiny in her carrier, Jasper gazes upon his wife dreading leaving her behind but knowing he had no choice.
Over the next six weeks, Jasper juggled caring for their newborn, sorting through the growing stack of medical bills, and visiting his wife daily with Destiny in tow. All on about 4 hours of sleep each night. His parents helped when they could, but with his dad’s own health issues, they were not able to offer much help. Jules’s parents had died in a tragic accident three years earlier, and with no siblings for either Jasper or Jules, it all fell on Jasper’s shoulders. However, Jasper never complained because God had blessed him with Destiny and because Jules was staying in stable condition. She had not woken from the accident, but doctors were optimistic. She was breathing on her own, and her vital signs were good. It was a waiting game now.
Jasper had finally found a nanny he trusted with Destiny allowing him to return to work. After a few weeks of working, unfortunately, Jasper’s visits to see Jules had dwindled to twice a week. Between work and caring for Destiny, there just wasn’t enough hours in the day to keep seeing Jules every day. And, if he was being honest with himself, Jasper had begun to dread the visits. Jules was not improving. She wasn’t getting worse, but she still had not opened her eyes. Sitting in the silent hospital room watching his wife lay there not responding to him or Destiny was breaking Jasper’s heart more and more with every visit.
While in a meeting, the hospital had called, and Jasper sent them to voicemail. He wasn’t in the mood to talk about the increasing bill he owed or about how Jules was not showing signs of waking. He would listen to the message later. Around 6pm, Jasper walked through his front door to be greeted with Destiny making bubbling noises while sitting in her swing. Instantly, the stress rolled off Jasper’s shoulders. Destiny always had that effect on him. Brenda, the nanny, left around 6:30, and Jasper spent the next two hours feeding, bathing, playing, and putting Destiny to bed. It wasn’t until he settled in on the coach to watch the ten o’clock news that Jasper remembered the call from the hospital.
I’ve been so shellfish, only thinking about how Jules has left me to deal with everything. I pushed back my visits. I ignored calls from the hospital. I’ve been simmering in my resentment and anger, but last night was a wake-up call. When I listened to the message from the hospital, I could hear the urgency in the nurse’s voice. They needed me to come to the hospital immediately. Something had happened with Jules. By the time I secured a sitter for Destiny, it was after midnight when I arrived at the hospital. Jules was no longer in her room. She had been moved to the ICU. The nurses couldn’t tell me much since it was the night shift and doctors wouldn’t be back to speak with me until the morning rounds. I held Jules’s cold hands while looking at the new wires monitoring her vital signs and the ventilator breathing for her. Please God, I know I have not reached out to You for a long time now, but please give Jules the strength to overcome her struggles. Please don’t let Destiny not know the feel of her mother’s hugs, laughs, and love. I’m giving it to You, God.
The next morning, I feel the gentle shake of my shoulder when the doctor says my name to wake me up from where I had fallen asleep holding Jules’s hand with my head resting on the side of the bed. The doctor is explaining something, but my brain is still in a sleep fog. After a few seconds, I shake my head and ask the doctor to start over. Jules had a stroke yesterday, and they had to take her back into surgery to locate and dissolve the brain clot. She is stable again, but they wanted to help her body to rest and recover which is why she is on the ventilator. If she continued to improve, they would remove the ventilator and transfer her back to a regular bed.
Jasper kissed his wife’s forehead and told her he was sorry that he had not been here. He would be better. He would do better. As he begins to release Jules’s hand, he feels a tiny squeeze that was so light he thought he imagined it. There was no other reaction or movement from Jules, so Jasper chalked it up to wishful thinking on his part and headed home relieve the sitter. He already told his boss what had happened and that he wouldn’t be back to work until Monday. He needed time with Destiny and his wife.
Children were not allowed in the ICU, so Jasper left Destiny with her nanny a few hours each day to go sit with Jules. Finally, on Friday, the doctors decided Jules was well enough to be removed from the ventilator. If she remained stable through the night, they would transfer her to a regular room where Destiny could come visit.
Sunday morning, Jasper buckled Destiny into her car seat and started the trip to the hospital. Along the way, he came upon their church which he had not attended since the accident. Feeling a strong pull in his chest, Jasper turned his car into the parking lot. He sat there for a few minutes contemplating what to do when the pastor spotted him from the doorway where he was greeting the congregation. He raised his hand as a gesture welcoming Jasper in. Taking a deep breathe, Jasper stepped out of his car and gathered Destiny up to head inside. A well-meaning lady offered to take Destiny to the nursery, but Jasper wanted. . . needed her with him. He took a seat in the last pew and continued to feel the pull in his chest. Throughout the sermon, Jasper felt the pastor was speaking directly to him. Reminding him that he was not alone. God is always with him. He just needs to let go and have faith. At the end of the service, everyone stood for the final prayer. Jasper heard the pastor speaking, but he began his own prayer. God, I have turned away from You because I was angry. Angry that You let Jules get hurt, and angry because I felt so alone. But, God, I realize now that is when I should have turned toward You. I should have given my struggles to You. Now I am. I know that I cannot control what will happen, but I will have faith that You have a plan. Thank you, God, for being here. Amen.
When he entered Jules’s hospital room with Destiny in tow, Jasper felt a lightness in his heart that had not been there for so long. He smiled down at Jules and let her know Destiny was with him. Destiny, being the vibrant baby girl she always is, begins babbling baby talk, and much to Jasper’s surprise, Destiny says “Mama” while she reaches towards Jules’s face. As her tender fingers stroke her mom’s cheek, a single tear rolls down Jules’s face.
Three weeks. Three weeks since Jules seemed to respond to Destiny’s voice and touch. Three weeks of waiting and analysing every twitch, eye movement, and whimper. The doctors are optimistic because there have been no more complications. Brain scans are normal, and Jules is responding to physical stimuli. Even her hair has begun to grow back where they shaved it for surgery. Patience, I need to remember to have patience.
Exhausted, Jasper laid his head on Jules’s bed while Destiny napped in her carrier. It had been a long week with work, Destiny’s shots and check-up, coming to visit Jules multiple times. . . Jasper just needed to rest his eyes. God, thank you for carrying us this far. I’m struggling again, but I am trying to keep my faith and my patience.
Something is rubbing his head. Jasper drags his mind awake to the sounds of Destiny playing in her carrier and something rubbing his head. Groggily, his raises up and turns towards Jules who weakly whispers, “There you are.”
Jules is now awake. Will she remain hospitalized? What long term complications will they face?