Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Matthea's Story: Part One

I know that each child's delivery story is unique and great. I know this because each of my three kids have amazing stories.  But, since this is the week to celebrate Matthea's feeding tube being removed. I'm sharing her amazing story and how God gave us this little "Miracle Child".

We lived in Wuhan, China at the time of my pregnancy.  But, Matthea was born in Beijing at a hospital with foreign doctors.  When I was around seven months, our mid-wife noted that Matthea was exceptionally small. I was required to spend the rest of the pregnancy in Beijing while my eldest son of two stayed in Wuhan with Uwe.  Uwe, btw, was starting up a brand new school that would be opening around the time Matthea was suppose to be born. A little chaotic when I think back on it all. But, God was good to us.
I stayed with some great friends, Joe and Vivian Peebles.  Marcus did come and stay a few weeks with me, in which he rummaged through unopened dressers....but, we are not talking about him today or me.

Matthea was born in August at 2kg.  She seemed to be fine, so we took her home. She had lung infections at age 3 months and 5 months.  Then when she was 7 months we woke up early in the morning to find her with a very high fever and not really responding well.
Fortunately, we knew three doctors in the city. One was a foreigner and the other two were local Chinese husband/wife.  We called the foreign doctor, and she went with us to the best hospital in town, which was across the Yangtze River and about a 45 min. drive from our apartment.  This hospital confirmed that she had pneumonia. But, they did not have any rooms with oxygen. So, our friend made a phone call to our other doctor friends and we went back across the river to the Women and Children's Hospital.  (only a mile from our apartment).

Let me describe this hospital room for you.  We were told that there was no private rooms and no machines to check oxygen levels. So, we were given a bed in a room that was closed off.  There were three beds on one side of the room and three beds on the other side.  There were three other children in the room with us. All with respiratory infections.  Near our bed was an oxygen tank. It stood about 5foot tall. It was green with rust spots. It had a plastic mask attached to the side. It reminded me of a tank used to fill up helium balloons.
They told us to use the oxygen whenever Matthea needed it. Let me remind you that Matthea was seven months. She wasn't talking.  In our heads we were all thinking, "So, when she turns blue we should give her oxygen?"

That night Uwe stayed with her so I could go home and be with Marcus. He describes that night with this scene. I am feeding Matthea with a bottle while holding the mask to her face. When I see a cockroach scurry across the room towards us. I couldn't get up because I was holding Matthea, so I reached out with my foot and crunched it.  
All three doctor friends were trying to get us out of there asap.
Fortunately, we had insurance for emergencies.  The insurance company sent a doctor and a nurse to pick us all up a few days later.  The morning they were to arrive, we were escorted to the private room that was available with all the machines that were needed.  The nurse that had told us that there was no such room told us that she answered that way because it is so expensive. No one ever wants it. Note, at the time, the room cost about 5USD a day.
We were flown out of Wuhan on a private jet to Beijing.  We stayed in Beijing for about a week. During that time the doctor highly recommended that we go to the US to be tested for Cystic Fibrosis.

So, Uwe's mom came and helped out with Marcus while I took Matthea to the US for testing.

Tomorrow I'll continue with the US side of the story.....

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Lil Eskimo said...

i cannot wait to hear. thank you for sharing her story with us!

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Boy, here I was "close by" and I don't remember most of these details. What a crazy/amazing story! I can totally believe the oxygen tank story, though. Olivia had serious pneumonia at 10 months and was hospitalized in Tianjin. Ugh. Probably the most trying experience of my life so far.


MaDonna Maurer said...

@Dena, thanks! I'm glad I'm finally writing it down. I keep thinking about it, but then forget....

@Amy, yes, you definitely know what I'm talking about. UGH, is right! Hospitals are not fun anywhere you are...and that is all I'm going to say. =)

Heather Hammond said...

Looking forward to the rest of the story....cannot imagine.

Anonymous said...

So good to read the story. I had heard bits and pieces, but it all fits together in my brain now.

Gotta love the cockroach scene - I would not have been so calm!