He Likes To Make An Entrance: A Thanksgiving Miracle
Bless his little heart. Apparently the little dude likes to make an entrance, even if it’s just seconds before his entrance would have been an exit.
Till this day, nobody can explain why he wasn’t stillborn.
This is how Warren joined our family.
He’s a miracle baby, but if he ever pulls shenanigans like this again, he’s grounded for a month.
As I write this, it’s no coincidence that it’s Thanksgiving Day. And I have so much to be thankful for.
Just past midnight on Monday, November 23, 2009.
The clock hit midnight too quickly. Exhaustion set in 3.8 seconds later, but it took us 27 more minutes for heads to hit pillows.
Just one week stood between Janica and the day that just never seemed to come, the due date.
We had no idea that it never would come.
We both wanted to have the baby a bit early. Janica was already supremely uncomfortable, all the time.
I was looking longingly at Tuesday. That would be a perfect day so as to not mix with too many family and national holidays. We had them stacked back to back to back to back.
Staring straight in to the last week of pregnancy, time seemed to be an impassable, bridge-less chasm where we are forced to take a life-long detour to walk around it.
Janica and I read from the scriptures and say our prayers together before we go to bed. But this was one of those days where Janica falls into an unconscious delirium.
Might be a better idea to read scriptures in the mornings. She typically beats me to bed anyways.
This time, whether in her delirium or not, Janica wet the bed. All over.
But yet she didn’t.
A waddle to the bathroom.
Uncontrollable leakage in the toilet. To me, it smelled kinda like antifreeze, a sweet smell.
Well, I’d read the book enough to know what just happened.
Sheer excitement set in.
The pregnancy, up until this point, had been text book predictable. But this water breaking business put her in a more elite category of those that have their water break before even the smallest sign of labor.
This was the perfect day to have a baby and it was coming. When the water breaks, the baby comes. Whether naturally or not, the good people make sure it comes within 24 hours.
Janica couldn’t hold in the excitement and neither could I. I turned in to a giddy school boy person,
“We gunna ha’ da baby.” I’d say over and over.
As the dude in all this, the pregnancy doesn’t really hit home until, well, it gets real like this. And it was real. And it started to hit home.
I was excited. Legit excitement. There’s no mistaking the flow of many waters we seen.
Her water done broke, yep.
Janica’s parents were in town. I wasn’t shy about waking up the house.
“We got a leaker!”
Dad-in-law stared at me from under the covers of his bed with a huge smile on his face. They’d been in bed for a while. He didn’t mind getting up.
Since Janica had been going strong and wasn’t dilating much at all, everyone expected her to pass her due date, which was Sunday, the 29th of November.
That day already had a special ring to it. That’s our wedding anniversary. We’d just finished talking not more than a half hour earlier about how perfect it would be if she had the baby tomorrow.
Well… I seriously wouldn’t mind if that trick worked all the time.
We took our sweet time throwing our bags together and collecting our stuffs. This is or first go around, you would think we’d have the pack horse loaded up ready to go. Nope. Had nothing.
I’m chill like that, never too late, never in a hurry. I literally danced around the house collecting the stuff that the good book says to collect.
This was all kinds of fun for me. Janica? Not so much.
She was just waiting not so patiently for the pain to bend her over like in the movies.
The pain was slowly starting to show a little bit in her lower back.
Dad and I took a minute to say a prayer and give Janica a blessing.
Nobody had any idea how important that blessing would turn out to be.
We were all packed up, coats on, car seat in hand, backpacks loaded, when my mother-in-law asks, “Don’t you think it’d be a good idea to call the doctor to make sure we should even go in? Sometimes they send you home to wait for contractions, even when your water breaks.” Janica hadn’t had any major contractions. Made sense to wait to hear from the doc.
We called the dispatch lady (who didn’t answer any of our questions, but did tell us that she had all her children with back labor and no epidural).
Dr. Rees returned the call. He says, “Yeah, you’d better come in.”
I didn’t mind. We were sure her water broke.
I broke the law on the way to Timpanogos Regional Hospital, not because I needed to, but because I could. You only get the “My wife is having a baby” excuse a few times in life so I better take advantage of it.
As we were walking up to the women’s center doors, I broke out the Flip Video Camera and started to record the action.
The door was locked.
Who would have known that at a women’s center, “Water Broke” were the magic words to open the locked doors and not “open sesame?”
We checked in to antepartum room 110.
Janica donned the sporty hospital gown, complaining about the lack of modesty those things have, and we waited.
Wasn’t long before we met Earlene, named after her father Earl and her mother Marlene.
She is a veteran nurse. Her first task was to make sure that Janica’s water actually broke. So, she had her cough. Nothing. Shimmy. Nothing. Cough. Nothing. Cough, cough, cough. Nothing, nothing, nothing. Turn head and cough. Nothing.
Where the heck was that semi-clear slick stuff that seemed to be so abundant just minutes before?
Nothing came out.
This was embarrassing. We couldn’t prove to Earlene that her water broke. So naturally, Earlene wasn’t sure her water broke. Could be mucus. Could be urine. No, it was amniotic fluid and I’m sure of it.
It didn’t make any sense to go back home and collect the fluid sitting in our bed sheets. It was still there.
Earlene took a swab and examined it under a microscope. Amniotic fluid dries in the form of a fern. Cool gee-wiz fact.
She came back in and says, “You’ve ruptured.” Those were the words I wanted to hear.
It’s business time.
Well, it was almost business time. Turns out that Janica was only dilated to a one, still. She’d been that way for weeks.
They had her locked and loaded now. All plugged in to the machines and tubes and things.
Nothing to do now but to wait. The monitor didn’t show much in the way of contractions.
So we waited.
Waiting still… but we weren’t bored.
Had no idea this was going to turn in to such a social event.
We got to know Earlene pretty well because Janica’s IV kept yapping at us every five to ten minutes saying there were air bubbles in the tubes.
Earlene couldn’t find any air bubbles.
At times we heard a chorus of different beeps with different pitches and tones. Everything seemed to be malfunctioning around us.
If it wasn’t the IV it was the blood pressure gauge or the air pressure stockings. Something was yapping at us every other minute it seemed like.
That had the nurses in and out constantly.
Dad-in-law read the signs to mean that it would be a while before the baby is born and everything was chugging along, slowly.
Things weren’t happening at a good enough clip so it seemed harmless to step away for a couple hours and get some sleep.
He wanted to be here when the baby was born. We agreed to apprise him of any changes.
I was hungry.
I hadn’t eaten anything since 6pm. My mental audio player had, “I told you so, you should have eaten before you left” on repeat.
Who would have known I wouldn’t eat anything that night or the following day.
I stepped out to go see what kind of grub I could find in Orem, Utah at four in the morning.
I joked with the nurses a bit while making my way down the hall. I was in a happy mood. This was a good day and I couldn’t wait to meet my newborn son.
As I was taking the last two steps out the last door, I heard a nurse call,
I don’t know why I turned my head. I’m just not used to answering to that. In fact, I’ve never been called that.
This was the first time in my life that anyone had called me dad.
When I turned she said, “We need you back in the room for a second.”
Oh, okay. No problem. I probably need to sign some papers or something.
The nurse seemed calm.
I walked past the desk where the four nurses were just seconds before.
Nobody was there.
The door to our room was half open. I heard the bustling inside and I swallowed hard. I could hear Janica crying before I entered the room.
All four nurses and Earlene seemed to be moving about the room like you would in a very orderly and skillful rendition of a chinese fire drill at a busy intersection.
I was half in shock, and half in wonderment, and half scared sheetless.
That’s three halves I was in.
I figured out what was wrong all by myself, because every body was busy doing their thing.
I looked at the EKG monitor and baby’s heart rate was bouncing around 50. Normal heart rate is 120-150.
Ah, he must be pinching the umbilical cord or something.
Flopping Janica around dislodged it and let the baby’s heart rate normalize.
The nurses worked skillfully. There was nothing for me to do but to trust them to do their thing. They accomplished two things.
Thing one: Baby got back… to his 110 baseline heart rate. They placed a node on the baby’s head to check his heart rate more accurately. The ultrasound monitors weren’t cutting it and they wanted to know exactly what the rate was at all times regardless of Janica’s or the baby’s position.
Thing two: while placing the node, Janica was stretched to a three. That’s three centimeters of dilation. Seven to go.
Janica was terrified. And pale.
I tried hard not to show any terrified-ness.
We had a new sound to add to the chorus in the room. We could hear the consistent clip of the baby’s heart rate now.
He was going strong at 110-115, still kinda low but normal enough.
We talked about an epidural with Earlene. Sure. But when do we do it?
Janica wasn’t feeling any pain with her contractions. She was contracting kinda, but was not in labor.
Earlene thought it would be a good idea to give her the epidural just in case there was another emergency and they had to act quickly.
The place was in alert mode.
We gave Janica the epidural based off of that reasoning, and not because she really needed it.
This was my first go around with the epidural thing. It’s fascinating how they applied that thing.
They got that down to a science and it was nothing like I had imagined.
Things settled a bit after the administration of the epidural.
So I found the La-Z-boy again and tried to rest a bit.
But no rest would come. I don’t fit in those stupid things. I’m 6’10”.
And how do you sleep anyways?
I’m about to meet our son.
What does he look like?
How big is he?
Does he have hair?
I hope he doesn’t get my toes. I hate my toes.
But he can have my nose. I like my nose.
Wait… What are we going to call this kid? We hadn’t officially decided on a name.
I kinda wanted to meet the little guy and not arbitrarily assign him a name. We had talked a bit about names and always liked Warren best. That’s my middle name, so in my immediate family we had dibs on it. Comes from one of my heroes, my Great Grandfather Warren Shurtleff. He’s 104 and going strong.
Back at it…
We had an hour of peace, except for the stupid IV which kept spouting off every few minutes saying that there was air in the line when there never was.
Earlene flushed the line a few more times just to be sure, but the IV thing didn’t seem to care if there wasn’t air in the line, it still made a racket.
When the blood pressure gauge wouldn’t inflate correctly, that alarm was a bit nicer sounding.
“Whoever keeps messing with these things, quit messing with them.” I said that outloud.
Little did I know, those “things” would save our baby’s life.
After all, Earlene was actually in the room fidgeting with the dumb thing when the baby’s heart rate dropped that one time. She was able to act immediately.
Time to bring in the big guns. It was time for the petocin.
They don’t mess around. They give it straight through the IV, that same one that harped at us every five minutes. Janica needed to speed things up a bit. She was still not dilating on her own.
Earlene was working the night shift, which ended at 6am. Sad to see her go.
But because she had seniority, she was able to arrange for Crystal Gledhill to be our nurse. She is a good friend of Janica’s who grew up in the same little one-stop-sign town (a really small farming community in rural Washington).
This was brilliant micro-management by the man upstairs. It was extremely comforting for Janica to have someone she trusted and knew as the nurse that would deliver her baby.
And how common is it to have a home town friend deliver your baby when your home town is 700 miles away? That’s exactly what happened.
First dose of petocin.
Crystal checked Janica’s progress. Dilated to a three still, but 90% effaced, whatever that means. That’s a step in the right direction.
Except for the one little hiccup, the heart rate dropping, everything is going as predicted. It’s not uncommon for a baby’s heart rate to drop in utero.
Janica wasn’t in labor quite yet, contractions weren’t consistent.
God bless the stupid IV machine. Yapped again.
Crystal came in to check on it. We knew the drill, we were really at a point where any one of us could just hit the red button to shut it up.
For some reason, we never did. We always let the nurses do it.
Crystal entered, stage right. Just as before, there was nothing to do but to hit the reset button. Baby’s heart rate was going at a steady clip. That was such a reassuring sound to everyone.
In a moment, without warning, the heart rate plummeted to 40 and stayed there. Crystal was staring at the machine when the heart rate dropped.
Instant action everywhere.
It happened so quickly. As if in one swift, determined motion six nurses poured in to the room. There wasn’t just four this time. Each immediately went about doing something.
Janica burst into tears. The terror on her face was obvious and I was paralyzed in fear.
Just as before, she was thrown to her right side. Left side. Hands and knees. No position allowed the heart rate to rebound.
Crystal made a split second decision.
I don’t remember what was said. It seemed that every nurse knew what needed to be done without any verbal cue. A half a moment later, the nurses were unplugging the machines and wheeling Janica out.
“Call Dr. Rees Now!”
He was 10 entire minutes away.
At that exact moment, I had a clip board handed to me with a paper on it that said “Consent Form” in big letters at the top.
A body suit was dropped on the chair in front of me.
I consented to an immediate Caesarean section just as Janica’s bed left the room with her in it.
I asked if I could follow.
“Put on the suit.” Someone yelled. “We’ll come for you.”
Janica was terrified. She heard me ask if I could follow. She heard the response.
She was all alone.
Crystal was an angel to my babies. She abandoned whatever nursing protocol she had to grab Janica’s hand. Just as you would rotate defense in a three-two zone as the offense swings the ball across the court, a nurse flawlessly stepped in place to take her spot. Help side defense.
What happened next is magical. What happened next just doesn’t happen.
Our room was literally right next to the operating room, another unanticipated blessing. We couldn’t have been any closer.
In a quick moment, Janica was in the operating room.
The critical element in an emergency C-Section is the doctor.
Our doctor? He was paged moments ago and 10 minutes away.
As Janica was wheeled to the OR, a doctor approached to see what was going on.
“What’s up?” Dr. Allen says.
“Where did he come from?” Crystal thought. He was not our doctor. We’d never heard of him. And there are no resident doctors at this hospital.
What was he doing here this early in the morning?
This miracle worker, Dr. Allen, didn’t hesitate. He was dressed and prepped in what seemed like seconds.
Janica was strapped to the table with her arms out wide. A curtain was thrown up at her torso.
“Is she clean?” Someone asked.
“Yes.” Someone answered.
A splash of iodine.
A male nurse came to her side.
“Do you have an epidural?
“Wiggle your toes.”
Her toes wiggled. A nervous look crossed his face.
“Okay, we’re going to start. Let us know if you can feel anything.”
They start the incision.
“Can you feel that?”
“GO! GO! GO!”
All that was going on in the OR. I wasn’t in there.
I was struggling mightily to don the body suit as fast as I could. I couldn’t fit in it. I’m 6’10”.
I finally stuffed myself into it, threw on the hat, and fastened the mask. I was sporting a full wedgie.
“Okay, you can come in.”
I hurried around the corner to the OR. I will never forget the unmistakeable cold, sterile smell. There were at least 16 people in the room. Everyone busy.
I stepped in. Noise everywhere. Nobody said anything until I heard two words…
I saw our limp, red baby passed across the room and placed on the examining table, motionless.
I crumbled to my knees.
I crawled to Janica’s side and held my head close to hers.
She was terrified. Crying uncontrollably. “Is he okay? Is he okay?”
I said nothing.
I fought back tears. Trying to be strong.
“It’ll be okay. It’ll be okay.” I said with barely a whisper. I stroked her hair gently.
Four eternities passed in one minute.
Where is it?
No sound… Still no sound.
Where is it?
I strained to hear.
Amid the noise, a faint whimper. Then a muffled cry.
“Do you hear that? That’s a good sound.” A nurse said.
Janica heard her son. Her firstborn.
My tears fell on her face.
I kissed my angel wife and stood up.
They were cleaning our baby. He was pale; like a ghost.
His cries were sweet music that melted my heart instantly. His body convulsed and strained to breathe.
He fought for every breath. His nostrils flaring and chest compressing.
“How is he?” I asked. Nobody answered.
I heard someone say, “He’s pinked up.”
Someone else said, “He’s had a few concerning movements.” I found out later what that meant. Those words were code for, “He’s having a seizure and we just don’t want to tell you.”
The room was still full of motion.
“What’s his blood gas?” Someone said. “Pull an APGAR,” another voice said. “Weight?” A dozen questions were asked and answered by people with masks on.
I didn’t understand.
I wouldn’t find out till later what blood gas or APGAR was.
Our baby’s first APGAR test was a 2. Ten is normal. His blood gas was right on the line between danger and dead.
The next moments were a blur. I watched our baby laying on the table.
He was diapered and swaddled and shown to Janica for half a moment. She was still on the table with her arms out wide.
The site of him…
She saw her son.
She hadn’t stopped crying.
Robyn, the nurse in pink. Asked if we had a name. After I mentioned we were still working on that. She said, “I’m going to call him Lucky until you tell me otherwise. You guys must have someone watching out for you. This baby was meant to be here.”
I followed the baby to the nursery. I made sure they added his identification bands and security anklet.
He was still using his whole little body to breathe. He threw his arms and legs around wildly.
I have a son. We have a son. That little baby is our son.
Just a minute or two in the nursery. It was calm in there. I found out that he weighed seven pounds and eleven ounces and was twenty inches long.
I was told I could hold him and to follow a female nurse down the hall.
I picked him up.
I didn’t know it but I was taking him to the NICU. I walked down the long hall to the NICU. Per chance I passed my mother-in-law, who was terrified, waiting to hear or see anything. We snapped a couple pictures on the way to the NICU. Once there, I placed him on the examining table.
Right about now, I wanted some answers.
How the heck is our son?
Will he be okay?
In the NICU, I found the nurse practitioner. Her name is Kari. Over the course of the next forty minutes I grilled Kari for all the info I could get.
As is typical in these cases, she sugar coated everything.
I think she realized I didn’t really appreciate the boiled down version. I was able to get a translation of what was meant by “concerning movements.”
He had what appeared to be a seizure. But truthfully, there is no way to tell for sure if it was a seizure. His concerning movements meant that his body was under an extreme amount of stress, which points to brain damage.
The extent to which he went without oxygen was just unknown. He was without oxygen for at least 7 minutes.
The signs pointed to catastrophic damage to his brain. The seizure signified to them that there was an acute amount of brain trauma.
Kari finally relented the fact that we’re looking at a very sick baby. He could be permanently brain damaged or even become completely dependent for the rest of his life. They just didn’t know. Only time would tell.
I found out the meanings of APGAR and blood gas.
Our baby’s APGAR was a 2 at one minute old. The second test was a 7. The third, an 8. The longer I spent in the NICU, the better he got.
He responded really well and his blood gas bounced back quickly. Those were all good signs. He had a special oxygen mask that made it easier to get him oxygen.
As we watched him closely for what seemed like hours, he had no more “concerning movements.”
Kari placed two lines in his umbilical chord to feed him and keep him hydrated. His body slowly calmed and he was able to breathe easier.
I went to go see my other baby. My heart turned to my angel wife. She must be distraught.
Janica was now in a room, all stitched up. She just wanted to know if her baby was okay.
Her parents and sister were there too. A lot of questions ensued. I didn’t have all the answers so I went to get some more.
I learned of a procedure called “Cooling.”
This was a new practice. Babies that suffer trauma and are facing potential brain damage are offered cooling. They’re set on a cooling bed for 72 hours. The bed keeps their core temperature at 33.5 degrees celsius. That’s 92.3 degrees fahrenheit.
That’s only a couple degrees about stage 3 hypothermia. They purposely give them hypothermia.
Why the cooling? That’s torture.
Cooling the body’s core temperature restricts the blood flow to the brain. If there is any swelling or bleeding in the brain (which they all assumed our baby boy had), the cooling would lessen the spread of the swelling and constrict the bleeding.
They found that drowning victims from cold water recover quicker and with less brain damage than warm water victims.
Makes sense. But it’s still torture.
The problem was that there was only one cooling bed at the hospital we were at and time was critical. The neonatologist contacted Primary Children’s to see if our baby qualifies for their program.
The qualifications of Primary Children’s were a bit less conservative than those of Timpanogas Regional. (I found out later that Primary Children’s had only done cooling four times in the last year. This wasn’t a common thing).
The first answer from Primary Children’s was that our baby didn’t fit their qualifications. The neonatologist approached me again about twenty minutes later to let me know that Primary Children’s had called back and said that they had reconsidered. They wanted to treat our baby.
I went back to my family and pulled my father-in-law aside to tell him what I had found out. I just couldn’t bring myself to tell Janica that our baby is facing brain damage and that he had had what seemed to be a seizure and now they wanted to take him away.
Janica would ask me how he’s doing and I would say he’s getting better and responding quickly, which he was. She’d been through enough. We’d been through enough.
I wanted to give my boy a blessing. Um, I kinda need a name to do that. I came in to Janica and asked her what she felt we should name our boy. She said, “I don’t know. You’ve seen him the most what do you think.”
I’d always liked Warren Jay. It finally felt right.
I brought my father-in-law in to the NICU to give our baby a blessing. Time was of the essence and they were minutes from bringing the AirMed team in to get him ready to be flighted to Primary Children’s.
He was so wrapped with wires and tubes that only our fingers could fit through to be placed on his head.
The blessing was short. He was blessed to be made whole.
Within about twenty minutes, the AirMed team brought the baby by the room. We were now in room 118 where we would stay for the next several days.
This was the first time that Janica got to really see her baby.
She reached out and touched his little fingers.
He was boxed and strapped into the life-flight self-contained incubator.
Janica couldn’t hold her baby.
And the wires…
He had wires everywhere.
We mustered a couple smiles for pictures… our first family photo. But my heart was aching to watch my wife say goodbye to her little son.
They wheeled him away.
I fought hard not to lose it.
It hurt. Hurt bad.
They rolled him out and he was gone.
It was at this time that I leaked the word to my parents and siblings about what we were facing. I had called my mother in the middle of the night after Janica’s water broke. I couldn’t help it. I was excited then and knew my mother wouldn’t mind me waking her up to tell her the news.
This time, the phone call was to explain the situation and ask for a family fast. Nobody had any idea what we were going through up until this point.
I was emotionally spent already. Tears came in waves. I fought constantly to get a hold of my emotions. I felt like I had to be the strong one, but I just didn’t know what to feel.
I was bearing the burden of knowing that our son could face a difficult life of mental challenges. The severity of which was unknown.
I was talking with my dad, who at this point was in Phoenix, Arizona. I walked outside the women’s center to get some privacy.
I wish I hadn’t.
There’s no mistaking the sound of a helicopter…
On the phone, I told my dad,
“There goes my baby.”
I completely lost it at that point. I hung up with my dad and since I was already outside, I didn’t know where else to go. I went to the car. I cried violently. I don’t remember ever crying like this. I needed it. I needed to cry.
After that phone call, my parents caught the next flight from Phoenix to Salt Lake.
I called my local church leader and asked for faith and prayers. My parents-in-law did the same. Many people answered with their faith and began to pray and fast.
We were so blessed.
I wish that I could have had the emotional stamina to explain what we faced to those who offered their faith on our behalf. Especially my siblings. I just couldn’t get myself to explain what was going on to each sibling, one at a time.
I asked for our parents to spread the word.
Now, to wait…
There was nothing I could do other than console my wife, be with her, and pray. The baby was gone and in good hands. The staff at Timpanogos had been so good to us.
I don’t know how we made it through that day. But we did. Somehow I felt a calm reassurance that our son would be okay.
No, I knew he would be perfectly healthy.
He was my son.
I sought out a couple other nurses for their opinion. I wanted some straight answers.
I found Robyn. She was the nurse that named the baby “Lucky.” I tracked her down and we talked for a bit. She said to me that never in all her years of nursing had she ever seen or heard of a C-section that happened that quickly. C-sections don’t typically take that long, but this was an unplanned, emergency C-section to save a baby’s life.
Again, she reconfirmed that it’s obvious somebody was watching out for us and that our baby is supposed to be on this earth. He was minutes, maybe seconds from being still born.
From her point of view, the chilling truth was that I should expect to make some really important decisions in the next few days because our son is really sick. I was given some encouragement to stick it out and be patient because it would be a long road to recovery, if he ever recovered fully.
I learned that typically when a baby goes without oxygen and then seizes, you can expect there to be brain trauma by default, but the long term effects are never known fully until they unfold.
I asked if there was any way to know if the motions he did were actually seizures. No, theres isn’t, she said.
“Those weren’t seizures.” I said to myself. “Those weren’t seizures.”
What Robyn mentioned to me concurred with what Kari, the NICU’s NP, had said earlier during one of our Q and A sessions.
They said our baby is sick, real sick.
The precautions we are taking are to limit the damage done to his brain. We can expect some difficult decisions. That was the consensus.
My consensus was that our son would be just as normal as any son.
I felt my faith bolster.
He has the power of God working in his behalf. I knew he had the faith and prayers of so many who loved and cared for him.
3 days later.
I went to see him every day.
So far, little Warren has exceeded everyone’s expectations. Everyone except those who exercised their faith in his behalf.
Having spoken with a dozen different doctors and nurses about our son, they were all dumbfounded that his labs have all come back completely normal. He’s strong and vital. He’s a fighter.
Janica came home from the hospital. She moves really slow, but feels good. She had a C-section in under five minutes. They weren’t soft.
We brought her home in the evening to have a little party and get Janica ready to go see her baby boy.
38 miles separated us.
He’d spent 72 hours at a stage 2 hypothermic body temperature. This broke my heart to see him fight through the cold and starvation. I’ll never forget his little full body shivers and high pitched squeals for respite from the cold.
The nurses hated doing it to him. They hated it. He was under constant watch.
He couldn’t be fed while undergoing the cooling treatment either. He hasn’t been fed but through an IV.
They began warming him up half a degree an hour starting at noon today.
Janica couldn’t hold him until he was steady at normal body temperature, that wouldn’t be until late.
We slowly lowered Janica in to the car and headed north to see her baby. She didn’t want to see him until she could hold him close.
That reunion was something I’ll never forget. And on this day? Wow.
We’re with Warren now. He’s finally warm and comfortable. So peaceful and un-tortured by the cold.
Janica’s holding her baby boy for the first time.
It’s her birthday.
It’s Thanksgiving Day.
No, he wasn’t stillborn, but he was still born first.
There were many.
First and biggest miracle is my angel wife. She has my heart and was so strong through this whole experience. I hope to prove my love, respect and admiration for her over many years to come.
In retrospect, I’d like to recount the miracles, small and large, that I saw during the birth of our son to allow for some perspective about how faith, prayers, and fasting move mountains in our lives.
- We have a son.
- Earlene. She is a mage and deserves a raise.
- Crystal Gledhill. Nuff said.
- Janica’s water broke way before labor started. That got us to the hospital way before we normally would have, and in time to be within the care that Warren needed. If Janica hadn’t ruptured, the baby probably would have died in the womb.
- Janica had her epidural when there really was no reason to. Earlene was brilliant to raise the issue. I felt strongly that we should have the epidural even though it made me nervous. If things had progressed normally, it would have been several hours before labor started and several hours before she really needed the epidural. Also, the nurse was nervous because she could easily move her toes, yet their was no pain.
- The stupid IV, blood pressure gauge, and air stockings. Though annoying as they were, if ALL THREE weren’t frequently malfunctioning the nurses wouldn’t have been so close. Both times Warren’s heart rate dropped the nurse was in the room fiddling with the machines. In my opinion, we had some unseen friends messing with the machinery. The IV was tricked over and over in to thinking that there were air bubbles in the lines. There never were.
- Dr. Allen. This is perhaps the biggest miracle. What are the chances that a random doctor would be immediately available at the exact moment he was needed AND react in seconds. He was there, and despite liabilities, he didn’t hesitate. Regarding the fact that he was there and immediately available, Robyn said “that just doesn’t happen.” If Dr. Allen would have deferred and waited for our doctor, Dr. Rees, our son wouldn’t have made it. He performed a C-section incredibly fast.
- Warren’s vitals bounced back really quickly. His first APGAR test was a 2. His third was an 8. My father-in-law’s sister was a nurse for 40 years. She had never heard of nor seen an APGAR test bounce from 2 to 8. His blood gas improved just as quickly.
- Warren has passed all his tests and has maintained solid vitals. There has been no abnormal activity and no sign of any.
- Our families have been brought together. Our hearts have been stretched. Our faith has been strengthened.
- Technology. Without it, Warren wouldn’t have had a chance.
- The power of the collective faith of humanity. Hopefully, by being able to see the fruits of faith, you will know as I know that God lives and loves us. He watches over us in our time of need and sends angels to attend us, both seen and unseen.
Through this whole experience, faith and prayers have moved a mountain in our lives and parted a Red Sea of sorrow to reach a shore of happiness we had never known.
This is what faith made possible… This is what faith makes possible… There is a God in heaven who listens and answers our prayers. I know that to be true.
I’m so indebted for the overwhelming empathy I gained through this experience. My heart breaks for those who watch their children, at the sunrise of their lives, battle through sore affliction just to keep their feet on this earth. There’s not much more you can do than to wield your faith and love your children.
We’re one among many who have experienced similar miracles. God is good. I have a new respect and love for life and family and what it means to be a father, a husband.
Family is all that matters. Just days ago, I had no idea what family really meant. I know a little better now.
This gig is written from my perspective, I’m Warren’s daddy and he’s our firstborn.
Of course, mine was not the only perspective, it’s just the one I know the best. There were many other people who experienced deep emotions and heart ache during this experience, but hopefully you get an idea of how things happened.
Special thanks to my sweet mother who was at Warren’s bedside almost constantly. When Janica and I couldn’t be there, she was able to give him the sweet sound of her voice, the love and encouragement he needed as he battled through. Love you mom!
Thanks dad for being at mom’s side.
And to my parents-in-law who experienced most of what you just heard right along side Janica and me. Their support has been nothing short of amazing.
Love to all,
P.S. Warren is now a thriving young lad. Smart as a whip, strong as an ox. Happy and considerate of others. He loves to create and play with his baby sister and brother.
Thank you for sharing the whole story. We are praying for baby Warren to continue to marvel and amaze everyone around him and to be able to come home soon.
Mi inglés no es tan malo, y pude entender lo que escribiste, estoy helada, y al mismo tiempo recordando mis propias experiencias. Los felicito en verdad y la fé y oración hacen milagros, tengo un testimonio enorme de eso, y si, la familia es lo mas importante, quienes no quieren ser padres se pierden de lo mejor de la vida. A disfrutar al pequeño bebé, a llenarlo de amor, y a darle lo mejor de la vida, despues de leer tu experiencia, escribí en mi facebook “La vida es bella”, porque eso es lo que siento. Felicitaciones y bendiciones mil !!!!!!!!!!!
Ahhh Seth thanks so much for sharing the whole story that was amazing! Wish I could have been there, I’m so excited for you and so glad Warren is okay. He is so handsome! Love you and can’t wait to meet him!
Thank you for posting this, it is so wonderful to see God’s hand in every moment of Warren’s story! What a miracle !!!! We have so much to thank the Lord for, Thanksgiving will never be the same, will it? Our prayers are still with you, I hope you know how much we LOVE you all !!!!
P.S. I’m SO glad you named his Warren, that was my vote all along! When I first told the kids baby Warren’s name, Ethan said, “baby OWANGE?” (I think we’ve finally convinced him the baby’s name is not Orange ;)
I have known Janica and her family for a long time. She has always been an awesome example to me of spirituality and goodness. I cried happy tears for you and Janica reading your story. It is obvious the Lord loves you both VERY much. Thank you for sharing this. It’s moments like this that rebuild our faith and love for Him. I am grateful to have been touched by the Spirit while reading this. I know that I haven’t met you Seth, but you are part of a great family. The Wood family has been good to me for the past 19 yrs. I love them all. I have been praying for you all and will continue to do so. Please give Janica a hug for me. I am grateful that Warren is improving, and I hope you will be able to bring him home soon.
This was perfect! Thanks Seth! Although it was all what I already heard…it is amazing being all written out! You guys are amazing and such an example to me. Thanks so much, and for letting me come spend time with you in the hospital! Warren is a fighter, and a blessed one at that! I can not wait to meet the little guy! Love you all!!
I am amazed at how well you write. I love to read your stories. I love this story! Very well done! As I was reading this it brought back many memories of when I had my 3rd baby, Ben. My water also broke in the middle of the night, 2 am, with no contractions, he was 2 weeks early. When we got settled in at the hospital we started going through the phone book to pick out a name that seemed right. I also had a nurse keep coming in to check the monitors, particularly the baby’s heartrate they kept “losing” it. About 9 am I thought to myself that something is just not right. My regular nurse came in, looked puzzled checked me and said I am going to get the head nurse. With every contraction the cord was gettng pinched. All I heard was emergency c-section and started crying. My doctor had just finished a surgery and met us in the hallway. From the time they discovered the prolapsed cord until Ben was delivered was 15 minutes. My doctor said this hasn’t happened to him in 15 or 20 years. Miracles. So I know some of the pain from the c-section that Janica is feeling. Take care of her, don’t let her do anything she is not suppose to do even if she feels good. Sorry this was long but you brought back a lot of memories. Thank you for the story!
LOVED that!! How neat to share in your experience. I love to see all the tender mercies of the Lord. You and Janica are AMAZING people! I can’t wait to meet this little fighter!
Holy crap! that is one special baby, with special parents! Love you guys and hope to see you soon!
Dear Janica and Seth,
You don’t know me, but I went to high school in Blackfoot with Janica’s mom. She was a special young woman, and I can tell she raised another special young woman. I have followed your story on facebook, and added my prayers to everyone else’s.
I have been an NICU nurse for over 20 years, and worked at Primary Childrens for 17 of those years, until my health made me unable to work anymore.
I have seen many miracles take place with these sweet babies, and felt the presence of the Savior as they came to us, and sometimes left us. I know that your little Warren had angels attending him, here on earth and through the veil. Thank you for sharing your story and testimony. You both are blessed to be parents to this choice little boy, and to have witnessed these miracles, and the miracles to come in your lives. Stay strong, and stay humble, and God will continue to bless your lives.
I stopped by PMC Hospital this afternoon and was happy to have not found y’all there. The MattRhoda bell’s Love Y’all
Beautifully written. What a great story of pray, faith and miracles for your family.
Seth and Janica —-Wow, wonderful job with this story Seth, This brings back frighten memories from 27 years ago when our first son was born in a similar fashion. – Emergency C-section, the cord was wrapped around his little neck 5 times. We were scared to death!!!—(first few tough days followed by years and years of happiness. –our Casey is fine) – I am glad the frighten part is over for both of you, now you can just enjoy your little boy and know the lord has a purpose for him here on this earth. We “the 121st ward” will keep all three of you in are prayers. Take care of yourselves and oh yea!!! Congratulations!!!!!
Beautifully written. Congratulations for so many things in facing with love and faith the trials of life and most especially for the blessing of a baby boy. There is nothing more profound than becoming a parent and nothing more heart wrenching than loosing or facing the treat of loosing a child so many emotions in one experience. But, hey the ride and journey is just beginning of parenthood. Welcome to the club.
I’m in a staff meeting, trying to be nonchalant as I reach into my pant pocket and check my phone. I read three miscalls as my phone goes off in my hand. “Not good,” comes to mind as I promptly excuse myself. It was Dad calling, but I could not get to it in time. I check my voicemail, and well that sickening feeling you get when you shoot an innocent bird with a bee-bee gun for the first time, that feeling came over my entire body. I saw both of your faces so vividly as I tuned out from the message left by an emotional Grandfather. As I read the full story, I recalled experiencing that same fear as your bride rushes off to that “white, sterol room.” Funny that you picked up on that as well! The support that baby Warren has had up to this point in his life is tear jerking. The eruption of God’s Army I’m sure was electrifying. I can’t wait to be with you, and yours this up n coming holiday season.
I love my family!!!
First of all–Seth you are a great writer! We really felt like we were right there with you guys.
Second–thanks for making us cry this morning (really though–very touching story).
Third–Thanks for a powerful example of faith and prayers. Not very many people get to see the fruits of their faith and prayers. This has strengthened our faith.
Fourth–we love you guys and can’t wait to meet baby Warren.
Fifth–Maybe he’ll grow up to be as successful and wealthy as Warren Buffett. ;)
I am seriously speechless at the miracle you have experienced. God surely does work in mysterious ways. I know, without a doubt, that we have angels among us (seen and unseen)! Congratulations to you all.
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! for sharing this tear filled, heart braking, faith strengthening, spiritual story of the birth of Warren. I love how you write, you definitely laugh and cry, and cry and cry some more. It is amazing and I love how God works miracles in our lives. All of those little things that took place in order for little Warren to be with us now. HE IS TRULY A MIRACLE. I am so excited to get to meet him and hold him very soon. I only wish I could have been there to comfort, but praying and fasting from a far is the best I could do and I know that all the prayers and fasts did work. Thank you so much for being such a wonderful husband to my sister and for being a worthy Priesthood holder. It is times like these where we learn to appreciate the Priesthood power more and more. I LOVE YOU BOTH SO MUCH AND AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU TO BE PARENTS :)
This has been one of the most emotional faith-promoting weeks of my life! I didn’t know if I could read it, since I experienced much of this firsthand as Seth mentioned. It has been wonderful to see the family bond this has created, not only between you, Seth & Janica, but between both sides of the family. I’m having a hard time sleeping since Warren has a big day tomorrow (actually today). I too am confident that the testing will go well, but it’s just the anticipation of this last hurdle & what else my precious little grandson has to go through. Seth, you have expressed yourself well, you always know how to say things perfectly. It has been extremely hard watching you & Jaica go through this & to have seen your pain, but we know great learning & growth come through experiences such as this. I’m confident you will be wonderful parents to Warren & as his grandmother I can’t wait to cuddle him & spoil him & do all the fun things grandmas do. I love you both more than you realize & hope I can give the proper help & support that you need.
I wanted to make sure that I mentioned that I do know that God’s loving arms have been consistently with us as we have witnessed the priesthood work in this miracle, & as we have felt the mighty prayers & fasting of our family, friends & ward members. We express “MIGHTY GRATITUDE” to our Heavenly Father & to all of you who have been by our side & have supported us through this difficult time.
Seth, thank you for taking the time to tell little Warren’s story. We send our love and prayers for his continued improvement. Enjoy every moment with him!
Oh Seth, so many tears of joy for your sweet little family. It was hard for me to read, but I’m so grateful that I did. I was reminded that tender mercies are all around us and lives are changed in amazing and unexpected ways. What blessings await your family. Much love to you and your little family.
Seth and Janica, congratulations on the arrival of your little miracle Warren Jay! Thanks so much for asking our ward family to join in your fast. Such experiences are powerful and faith-promoting, strengthening each one of us in countless ways. It reminds me of when our sweet Candice was challenged with a bleeding brain, and how the fasting and prayers of so many blessed our lives as we saw miracle after miracle take place. The power of God working through priesthood blessings, faith and prayers is truly amazing. Mazeltov to you all!
Thank you for sharing such a faith-promoting and special story. We have been praying so hard for Warren and your family at our house and we know that Heavenly Father answers prayers. Thank you for the reminder that He knows and loves us and watches over us in our hour of need.
Dude… your post almost brought me to tears… Holy crap! I hope little man comes home tomorrow. I want to see some pictures!
Seth and Janica–
What a terrifying experience to have to go through as first time parents. I’m so glad things have slowed down and that little Warren is doing much better.
I tell you what, you have definitely got the gift of writing, it’s like we are right there on the ride with you. Thanks for sharing. We love you and can’t wait to squeeze you. The angels among us have been busy this week haven’t they. Take care and go easy for awhile. We hope Warren gets to come home tomorrow. Happy Birthday Janica and happy Anniversary.
You were very blessed to get Earlene. Out of the 12 or so nurses we had at Timp in the labor and delivery unit, she was by far the most knowledgeable and experienced. Very congenial too. I am glad things are going better. Let us know if we can do anything for you.
Thank you for sharing such tender sweet moments of your life. You need to consider being an author. Between this and the engagement story, i felt as though I was there watching it. We are so glad that everything turned out okay. You have a special boy with you.
Congratulations Janica and Seth!! I have to tell you what an amazing miracle Warren really is. I am Crystal’s sister and also a nurse. I work with sick babies and I just can’t tell you how lucky you are. Crystal called me to ask what my opinion was on Warren’s blood gas and APGARs. I immediately called Shanae (best friend growing up) to give her my sympathy for your family’s inevitable loss. I can’t believe this little guy is alive, let alone eats, breathes on his own and has a PERFECT MRI!! I have been taking care of babies like Warren for a long time and have become a little jaded. Thanks for renewing my faith in happy endings!!! Warren is truly a MIRACLE!!
Thanks Seth for sharing the miracle with us. You said you wanted the reader to laugh but the only time I laughed was picturing you suiting up and your “wedgie”. Other than that I couldn’t help but cry. But now tears of joy. Our prayers are still with you and your family.
Wow! That’s quite a miracle that you have all experienced. We are so relieved that little Warren is doing well.
Last time i read your story was the propose story a yr+ ago. but this is by far better! I cried, happy tears.
You, Jan and your families are good people, I truly wish lil Warren will recover fast and stay strong as he is these couple days!
im proud of you, jan and ur little baby, meanwhile, so sorry that you guys are gonig through this.
What Tamara Gledhill Campbell said above proved that you are really experiencing a miracle.
Enjoy the parenthood.
Warren’s story is amazing, and I hope you remind him daily what a wonderful miracle he is! Congrats Janica and Seth! Im so happy you have your sweet baby boy home and well! My prayers are with you!
Seth and Janica,
I’m so happy to know all turned out well. I was definitely alarmed when I saw the news on facebook. Rand was in El Salvador at the time and we both were praying for you! Seth…you can’t start a story like that by saying ‘no crying’, that’s impossible! So, so happy with the way it all has turned out! Since we still have your batting glove and need to return it, it’s a great excuse to come see you guys! Thanks for sharing this story! Great story telling and detail Seth!
Seth and Janica,
I am now home in front of my computer for the first time since Warren was born. I want to add my testimony that God has truly blessed us with Warren. What a blessing life is. I love you and feel blessed to have been able to be with you all at home for the last while. We are grateful for family hospitality and love. What a blessing family is. We have enjoyed being close to you and Janica’s parents and have got to know them better. What wonderful people they are.
Warren is truly a miracle. Watching over him in the NICU it was obvious he was a fighter. I was amazed at his patience as well. I am sure God has much in store for him.
What an incredible story. I almost lost my little boy to RSV when he was six weeks old, he was at primary childrens for 22 days, and let me tell you it really changes you to watch your baby hanging onto their life day after day. He truly is a miracle. congrats on being a dad
I finally cried when I got to the helicopter part. I’ve watched my 1-year old taken away in a LifeFlight to Primary Children’s. Thankfully he made it through just as your son did! Thank you for sharing your story!
Thanks for stopping by Katie! Glad you liked it. Children are miracles.
Every time a woman has a baby it is an opportunity to get a glimpse into the power of creation. Thank you for sharing your experience of faith. It was wonderful to see you the other day… and you are SUCH a good writer… keep it up… thelma
My face has two leaks. Thanks.
The moment a man truly understands what it means to bring life into this world . . . humbling . . . Full of awe . . . he can’t feel the morning sickness, he can’t feel the relief the same as his wife when she feels the baby moving inside her, he doesn’t have to hope that his spouse still might find him attractive after his body goes through it. The words “I hope he really appreciates all of this,” that run through a woman’s mind multiple times during pregnancy.
The word woman has meant someone who smells good-laughs freely-turns heads with her curvy lines, often loves children, . . . that word and understanding forever changed as he sees his wife labor with his child and give birth. Tears come from his eyes when he sees the divide of bringing life into this world and at least for a brief time understands something powerfully intangible and sacred. Nearly indescribable.
I loved reading this. Thank you for journaling this experience. I can feel the love and appreciation you had for your spouse in that experience. Those moments you burn in your brain for as long as you can. So lucky you journaled this. I only wish I had written about mine. The most powerful and humbling and eye opening experience on earth.