July 10 at 8 am I called my doctor and explained to him my symptoms and he told me to go to Labor and Deliver because we need to take him out or my life will be at risk. At that moment, I was so scared. I knew that something was wrong but didn’t know what. They prepped me for C-section and while being on the operating table, the anesthesiologist played a cd by Need to Breathe and the song came on “oh if God is on our side, than who can be against me. cause in this wasteland where we’re living, there is a crack in the door filled with light, and it’s all that I need to get by”. (A week before this delivery, I purchased this cd and played it nonstop on repeat in my car and at home). Coincidence? no.. It was totally God.
Finally, 45 min into the delivery, we hear the most amazing sound in the world, the sound of a high pitch cry, it actually was more of a raspy squeal. All I can hear is doctors saying “wow he’s really small. Smaller than we thought. Wow he’s tiny” my heart stopped, I didn’t know what to expect when they handed him to me. After 5 min, they brought him to me and I saw his tiny fragile body. He was the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen, a 2 lbs 9 oz baby with a button nose and measuring 15 in. in length.
My body went numb from all of the worries and pain (maybe the epidural had something to do with that too..) But when I saw him, I just knew that he is something special. He has been the answer to our Prayers, which was for the Lord to use our family in such a way, that many will come to know Him. And that was the beginning of Him using our family.
After about 20 min of not seeing Jude, Drs came in and gave us the heart stopping news. That Jude has multiple heart defects and if he doesn’t have the pulmonary ducts, he will not survive! I’ve never felt such a shock to my body. It felt as if a train hit me at 100 miles/hour. I couldn’t tell you what was going on around me, because those things didn’t matter. All I can think of is, why God? why did you let me carry this baby for 7 months and not tell me through ultrasounds that he has a complex heart defect? So many questions I had, and no answer. Just restless night crying myself to sleep and not knowing if I’m going to ever see him again. I’ve never felt such jealousy towards other moms when I saw them pushing their babies in their beds around the hospital. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even walk 10 steps in the hallway without breaking down when I heard other babies crying in the other rooms. Why God? Why did you give, and now you want to take away?
Throughout Judes stay in the Nicu at Loma Linda University, I’ve learned so much. God has taught me patience, to be more loving, to care for others more, to make the most out of every day, and in all circumstances to give Praises to Him. That’s something that was hard for me to wrap my head around, why give thanks and praises to God when we face trials? Because just like Paul when he had a thorn in his flesh and he asked God to take it away. And He said “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Then Paul goes on to say “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor 12. This is all I needed to hear! This whole time, questioning God and asking him why this? Why that? And He spoke to me and said “Be still, and KNOW that I am God! I am the Great Physician! I am Jehovah Rapha!” I found such comfort in our heavenly fathers arms, comfort and peace beyond human and earthly understanding. Something we, as people, will never be able to explain, but we, as his children, take refuge in it!
When we first found out that we were going to have a baby boy, and without knowing his condition, we settled on the name “Jude Rowan” and Jude means “to give praise” and Rowan me “strong little red one” (his heart). So to this day, we give Praises to God for allowing us to go through this. I feel Honored to have went through this journey and not alone. With so many supporters and prayers and warriors fighting this with us, I will never be able to fully express my gratitude and thankfulness for all who have been there for us. 2014 was a year of a crazy, chaotic, but yet a beautiful battle that our Commander in Chief, the Lord, lead us through… And though there were a lot of pain and crying, our Father carried us through so that we will not be broken. He never leaves us nor forsakes us… And constantly shows His Grace upon us.
On October 23, 2014, Jude had his first open heart surgery.
That day was nerve racking for us. So many mixed emotions; we were excited for his heart to start getting better but at the same time scared we would loose him in the process. It was an 8 hour open heart surgery that started first thing at the break of dawn and lasted until 3-4 pm… Finally they called us back into the Pediatric ICU heart unit and we saw him we couldn’t keep back from fighting tears. His heart was beating on his own and at the moment, we saw Gods promise being fulfilled for our family. Four days later, Jude was doing so well that doctors decided it was safe for Jude to come home.
Let me tell you, the first night was restless. I remember waking up every 30 min just to make sure he’s still breathing and not turning blue. He was on oxygen at this time and a feeding tube through his nose, so I would make sure that his feeding tube and nasal cannula didn’t come off or fall off. The following nights got a little worse… Jude couldn’t tolerate any of his feedings and would throw everything up. He was home with us for only 1 1/2 weeks until we had to readmit him back into PICU. They were a little worried that he was dehydrated so they decided they want to do a Gtube placement and try to feed him through the stomach. At this time, they saw that he didn’t really need much help with oxygen, so they gradually took him off and saw that he can hold his oxygen levels On his own, which became a major blessing for us.
He stayed in the hospital for about 2 weeks and came home the Monday before Thanksgiving. Jude spent the holidays at home with his family, and we couldn’t of asked for a better way to celebrate it. We really had something great to be thankful for and saw the importance of family being together on the holidays. By far, this was the best Christmas ever!
The cold winter air and the spread of the flu virus got ahold on Jude’s little body after the new year. We had to take him back into the PICU where he spent 4 nights there to be monitored. His body was fighting a respiratory virus. They couldn’t give him anything for it but just let his body recover itself and after being released, he came home and that’s where we are today.
As of today, Jude had his first open heart surgery on 10/23/14 and he awaits 2 more. His next surgery will be scheduled between April-May of this year and his last surgery will be done at 3 years of age. He is here at home with us and is constantly smiling and happy.
God showed us that he stays faithful to His promises. Long road ahead but we have God as our Guider.
Thank you Lord for 2014 and we ask that you carry us through 2015. Use our lives and especially Jude’s life to impact others, but mostly to make Your Heart known to the world.
– the Perde Family.. Danny, Laura, Jonah, and Jude.