The drive to Marshfield seemed to take a year. On the way we called everyone we knew and asked for prayers and told them the news, Alex probably wouldn't make it to Marshfield.
We spent the drive in silence. The radio was on but the only song I heard was "Jesus take the wheel" since it was repeating over and over in my head. I kept using it to push out the thoughts that were trying to invade, the thoughts of my baby being dead. How was I going to do this?!
About 30 minutes outside of Marshfield Craig's phone rang. I looked at the number and didn't recognize it. I knew what that meant, it was the hospital. Frozen with fear I handed the phone to Craig. I don't think I took a breath until he hung up and told me the news. Alex was at the hospital,. intubated and doing FINE! I again called everyone to let them know the good news! Hope started to creep in again and I don't think I stopped grinning and talking Craig's ear off the rest of the trip.
We arrived at the hospital and found our way to the NICU. We were greeted there by a very tall doctor who introduced him as the neonatologist caring for Alex tonight, he told us that he had gotten him intubated with no problems and started a medication to help his heart. The cardiologist was in with him now doing an echocardiogram on his heart and would see us in the waiting room as soon as she was done.
We went to the waiting room and spent 30 nervewracking minutes waiting to hear for the first time, what was really wrong with our son. Again time seemed to stand still.
Finally she came in and drew us a picture of what was wrong with Alex's heart. She told us our options and we made arrangements to transport him to the U of MN since this hospital he was at didn't preform pediatric cardiac surgery any longer. We were led into Alex's room that he shared with 3 other babies, at 4 lbs 14 oz he was the biggest baby in the room and the only one in an open bed. Aside from the ventilator he looked actually out of place there. His color was much better, the medicine they had given him opened his ductus arteriosis which allowed him to get the oxygen to his blood that he needed. My brother arrived and we spent some time with him before getting some sleep, the hospital was nice enough to supply us a room in the maternity ward just down the hall for the night.
The next day my mother arrived with the children so they could see thier brother again before we headed to Minnesota the next morning. It was probably the least stressfull day of the whole adventure since they didn't do anything to Alex, only let him rest and spend time with us. We got a room at the Ronald McDonald House that night and were urged to take advantage of what would be our last night of decent sleep in what turned out to be a very long time.
Monday morning we arrived at the hospital at 7am to spend time with Alex before his scheduled 8am flight. Unfortunately the flight team arrived EARLY and we got nothing more than to say goodbye to him and stand back as they worked to prepare him for his flight. Equipment had to be changed over, sedation begun, reports read, checklists checked. They loaded him once again into an incubator and Alex left for the airport for a ride on his "private" jet.
Craig and I left to start our own journey. We drove to my moms to pick the kids up and bring them home to get clothes and belongings for what we figured would be a couple weeks' stay at grandmas house and Craig and I loaded up our clothes and stuff. We brought the kids back and hurried back out onto the road to go to Minneapolis. The trip was fine but we eneded up getting lost and ending up across the river from where we needed to be because everyone assumed that a newborn would be in the NICU, he wasn't he was in the PICU which was about a mile away in a complete different building! We finally arrived at the right place at I beleive 6-7pm. Unfortunately we had by then missed the doctor but another cardiologist offered to go over with us Alex's condition and the game plan for him. We learned more details about the extent of Alex's defects and were told that they would do a procedure called heart catheterization the following day to get an even better look and then surgery would be scheduled. Alex would be the one in charge of when surgery would be, they would follow his lead but the sooner the better.
The hospital made arrangements for us that night for a hotel room nearby and put us on the waiting list for the RMH, we were told that people sometimes wait WEEKS to get into RMH. We didn't really care, we'd sleep in the car if it came down to that. We just couldn't worry about anything aside from Alex's life at that point.
At this point in Alex's life I began his caringbridge journal.