Introducing Tim. He is my second of three boys. Tim is 24 years old. He was born on April 20th 1987, the day after Easter Sunday. He was born two days after my older son and I was involved in a car accident in front of our home. I was turning into our driveway and an ambulance broadsided my car. It was pretty frightening and I was nervous because I was 6 months pregnant. My son TJ had been with me and he was upset so I put on a happy face and continued on with my plans for Easter dinner. Dinner went off without a hitch and things seemed to be okay. The following day I woke up and knew that I had to get to the hospital. My husband had already gone to work which left me no choice but to get in the car and drive to the hospital. Tim arrived 13 minutes after I got there…via an emergency C-section. It was such a crazy day. Not only were we not expecting Tim, but a puppy was arriving at the airport on the same day. The poor puppy was waiting at the airport for his new owners while we were waiting for doctors to tell us if our son would make it through the night. So many thoughts ….so frightening. Tim was smaller than most Cornish hens at the supermarket. You could see right through his skin. Tim’s gestational age was 28 weeks. The doctor said if he made it through the first three days, it would be easy sailing. A priest came on the second day and performed an emergency baptism and a nurse who happened to be there was now his godmother.
I remember just praying for a miracle and thinking that I wouldn’t be able to get through this if we lost him. Well, he did pass the three day milestone (which seemed like an eternity) but easy sailing never entered the picture. Tim had so many problems. Doctors would come, then go and shake their heads. We just wanted answers and all the doctors could muster up were bills. I was medicated most of the time so I would sleep a lot. I’d wake up to find invoices on my night table….invoices from doctors I had never even met. Thousands of dollars in bills and I had no idea how to pay them. Each morning the pediatrician would come in and give me a brief run-down of Tim’s health. It was always solemn but he was still with us. His lung had collapsed and emergency surgery was performed to insert a tube to help him to breath. He was so tiny and so fragile, in an incubator with so many tubes and wires connected to him. Doctors would huddle around him, write some things on his chart and then leave him to the care of the nurses…the angels of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I don’t know what we would have done if not for the nurses. For sure, we would not have Tim today. Tim was in the hospital for three months. He had 13 blood transfusions (when AIDS was rampant), 3 surgeries and countless blood tests. His tiny little feet looked like pin cushions. One surgeon (intern) took it upon himself to perform a “cut-down” so that an intravenous line could be put in place without having to change it all the time. Tim almost lost his leg in that battle. Nurse Kathy came and told us what was going on and my husband stopped him from operating again. Lots of drama…but the nurses saved him every time. Things started to look up in June and the doctors told us that he could come home when he reached a weight of five pounds. The nurses told us that they needed us to take him home before July 1st because a new round of interns were coming in and they didn’t want Tim to be there for the new regime. On June 30th Tim was released from the hospital weighing (what everyone thought was) five pounds…nurse Kathy had put 3 quarters on the scale when she weighed him and sent us off into the world. He came home in a Cabbage Patch preemie outfit and was the same size as a football…that was 25 years ago. Seems like yesterday…..