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Liz Stokes

First Days


Those first days are a blur. I’m so glad I have some photos to remind me but not many because I didn’t want to be “that mom” and birthmom was still with us at the hospital. I didn’t want to step on her toes.

I do remember walking into the room. Bug was already hooked up with a PICC line, heart monitor, pulse ox, and oxygen. Birthmom was holding him and I didn’t want to offend her but I have been waiting six years for my precious son. I guess she read my body language because it wasn’t long when she asked if I wanted to hold him. We broke protocol. The nurse (I call ignorance because the nurse wasn’t in there and I didn’t know) had to transfer him because of the amount of lines and cords. We made the transfer safely and I couldn’t have been more happy. Rob came over and hung over my shoulder admiring our little boy.

I reluctantly, after a couple minutes, handed him over to Rob with the nurse’s assistance.

Then came the CICU (cardiac ICU) team. Dr. Connor, Chad, came in and introduced himself to us and began explaining Carter’s medical diagnosis. To say it was all overwhelming was an understatement. HUGE understatement. Carter has Heterotaxy Syndrome. His heart is on the right side of his chest, flipped around backwards, has missing pieces, and multiple pieces. He has a virus. They have no idea what the virus is or was. They think that when he was born via c-section he contracted a virus from Mom. (It’s since gone away.). Mortality is very low. Most children don’t live past the interstage (between first open heart surgery (shunt) and second open heart surgery (glenn)). He was on a medicine keeping his pulmonary artery open. If not medicine or the amount isn’t right, he dies.

I lost it. Tears were streaming down my face. My son had only been our’s for an hour. I needed the doctor to stop talking so that I could hold myself together. I needed them to all leave. I needed to reassure birthmom who was sitting right next to me that I wasn’t scared (I was and still am) and that I could provide for her son. There were so many doubts in my mind. I messaged Rob who was two feet away from me. “What did we do?” Rob is so kind and sure “God will get us through it”. No more was said. I went to prayer, silent prayer. I didn’t know what Carter has or what it all meant but I knew I was going to believe that he would be ok.

Due to the virus is his system Carter received a feeding tube, added nears to measure the amount of oxygen reaching his brain and lower extremities, he has an arterial line through his umbilical stump in addition to the oxygen, heart monitor, pulse ox, and PICC line.

So far it is ok. God has blessed us in so many unimaginable ways.

We were blessed with “custody” on June 19th. First open heart surgery? June 26th…


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