Today was my Ben’s checkup at Riley Children’s Hospital. If you are new to the Wades or just don’t remember quite clearly why we were there, at just a day old Ben was diagnosed with respitory distress syndrome. It meant that because he was a c-section baby he still had a lot of fluid in his lungs. They called it “wet lung.” That was causing all of our problems. At Riley things got worse. Ben went into pulminary hypertension. This is were the lungs get stressed and decide they are going back to how things were in the womb. (Where mommy made all of the oxygen). After 2 1/2 weeks Ben was cleared to come home but check ups at Riley had become the norm.
Fast forward 4 years….. I don’t really think about Riley much these days. In fact, it usually only crosses my mind in 3 different situations.
1. When I check on Ben at night. I still count his breaths and check his pulse. I’m not sure if I will ever be able to quit.
2. When I get the reminder phone call that Ben has a check-up.
3. When I see the kid’s show “Imagination Movers.”
Number 3 throws you, doesn’t it? You see those sweet blue jumpsuits the Movers are rocking? Well, when Ben was transferred from our hospital to Riley they sent the Riley Ambulance. The Riley crew who got him ready to go, rode with him in the ambulance, and made sure he made it safely to the NICU wear jumpsuits almost EXACTLY like these. I can’t help but flinch when I see them. I am taken back to sitting in my hospital bed, telling my baby goodbye, and hearing their reassuring words that they will take care of him.
Today was a very important day in our Riley journey. Ben got his routine EKG and then we met with his heart doctor. He looked at me with his wise, wonderful eyes and said, “Well, since he has done so well these 4 years, you don’t have to come visit us anymore.” We were free! We were done! I was floating on air as we walked out of that office today.
To say goodbye to our wonderful Riley, Ben and I walked around and I told him about all of the memories we had. We visited the gift shops, rode the glass elevator, and talked about the huge stuffed animals in the lobby.
When we were done, we had to walk back to the outpatient wing of the hospital where our car was parked. I was soaring. We did it! We were officially done! We might have been skipping a tiny bit. Then we rounded the corner….
And ran straight into the blue suits.
I tried to keep my eyes on their faces. I tried to will myself not to look down. But I couldn’t. I gazed down at the tiny, plastic isolette they were huddled around. I saw the tiny hands, the tiny feet, the tubes, the machines.
This is someone else’s day 1.
Somewhere there is another mother on her way to Riley to meet her child just like I did 4 years ago. I know how scared she is. I know what lies ahead for her and her family. I know how broken she feels at this exact moment.
“Mama, why are you crying?” my sweet Ben asks. “It’s just something Mamas do sometimes, my love.” I prayed the whole way home for that Mama. For her child. For their family. I pray that they will grasp onto God and let Him carry them through like he did us.
If you are ever looking for a charity to donate to, Riley is wonderful. They are saving lives today. Everyday. It’s easy to forget them when life is back to normal and easy. Everyday there is someone else who is beginning their Riley journey. I’m so thankful ours is finished. Now it is time to ask, “How can I help?”
For more information about our guest blogger Lori Wade be sure to view her website