Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Good Deed

Blog This Challenge 39

So friends, tell us about a good deed you have done for someone or vice-versa. Or how someone elses' good deed that you have learned about has affected you.. did you learn from it? How did it make you feel?  Was it a disaster?  Did it uplift you?

Fifteen months ago I had a baby, a beautiful baby boy, my youngest child. From the day he was born I have been so overwhelmed with love for this little boy, Jacob, warm and snuggled in my arms. On day 16, Boxing Day 2008, my 35th birthday he was admitted to Neonatal ICU at our local women and children's hospital.

Before Jacob was born I had an AFP (alpha fetal protein) test which came back with abnormal results based on the levels indicative of an increased risk of having a Down Syndrome baby 1:120 and a possible need for amniocentesis. I was crushed.....We decided not to have an amnio with all the risks associated with it and would accepted Jacob as he was. Our dr was very supportive and conducted an diagnostic ultrasound to check for any of the DS markers; spinal defect, nasal bone, etc and there were no abnormalities but he continuously checked on these every time he took an ultrasound. It was a blow to us emotionally when we first got the results as we had gotten to know Jacob thru his 3D ultrasound, esp. seeing him sucking his thumb and feeling him move inside, and so when I gave birth to Jacob and everything went well it was a joyful time for us.

When we brought Jacob home from hospital, his bilirubin test spiked to a high level of 188. It was stressful time once again with daily trips to the clinic for blood tests. We were relieved when his results improved but concerned when his hourly feeds and weight didn't add  up. He was looking thinner each day and I could tell that something wasn't right. He never complained, never cried out of hunger but his body was wasting away losing all his baby fat. We naturally thought at first that it was post baby weight loss and when I got the community nurses at the clinic to examined him they said he was fine. 

At day 12 he had lost 400g and to me that was too much. The days passed and Christmas came and still Jacob grew thinner. My sister-in-law, J, an RN was gravely concerned when we met up for Christmas and asked us to get Jacob re-examined the next day. 

On the morning of the 26th Jacob was taken by ambulance to ICU, he had lost a total of more than  900g since the day he was born, 1/3 of his birth weight. I was deeply worried when he was admitted to the hospital. I completely broke down riding in the ambulance with him and cried for him, feeling so utterly helpless that I couldn't do anything for him. It was an emotional rollercoaster for all of us.

So when Jacob was admitted, we were so taken to heart when we were met by the paediatrician Dr F, and the other doctors and nurses. Some would come by to after their shift to see him and just stop by to talk. The all seem to go out of their way for Jacob and everyone knew about him. They were so giving with their encouragement, kindness and understanding for what we were going through. It made such a positive impact on us and Jacob's recovery.

Jacob was in NeoICU level 2 for 10 days and I was roomed in with the other mothers at ICU. . He never made a fuss when they were taking blood from him everyday or examining him and he always had a smile in his eyes. Jacob was tube feed, and later I was able to breastfeed, and supplement feed him. He had numerous tests, blood cultures done, and xrays to rule out any abnormalities. His little hands and feet were constantly pricked with IV cannulas for antibiotics.... so many tiny holes in such little hands. Daily weighs and the ups and downs with his weight, a cheer for every gram he gained. I think he just knew he was in good hands and when he was diagnosed with "failure to  thrive" he changed that to "thriving to survive".

Several times during Jacob's stay in hospital my sister-in-laws, Josephine, Judy and Bree all took  turns coming in to help with feeds and just be there for us. My SILs took care of everything for my husband and me, the older kids were looked after, home cooked food was brought in and they were my rock for my many melt downs I had in hospital. They took charge amongst themselves and gave so much of their time from their busy schedules to be there for this little boy. I was totally taken aback with all they had done for us, it brought us closer than before.  They had gone out of their way to show us that through their selfless good deeds that family is everything. They never asked for anything, no recognition, they were just helping us out when we needed it the most. 

I look at him now and see a chubby little boy with an infectious smile, and a body so full of energy to taste, see and explore his little world but some times I remember how his young life started out. It is still a raw moment in time and one day I'll tell Jacob his story and all those wonderful people who gave him a start to life. I hope that this will inspire him to cherish the life he has and that all acts of kindness is a light in this world for those in need.

 I started to take pictures daily documenting his every move from the time Jacob came out of hospital, sometimes a dozen at a time. I guess I wanted a reminder for myself that he was doing well each day....that he was ok.


  1. Thanks that means alot..... I wasn't quite sure whether to post this blog. I thought it was too raw and that I didn't explain the good deed enough. But I wrote it for myself and for all those people who helped Jacob. I am truly grateful and moved by their generosity of spirit in a time when I couldn't see the day.

    Another person who deserves much thanks is my hubby. He was so strong and brave for me, seeing my complete meltdown and never giving up. He helped cushion the blow to our older kids when I couldn't see or explain to them in ICU. Jacob simply adores his dad and so do I.....




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