by Linda Mullenix
Sometimes it is hard to know where to begin this story… from the time I was little all I ever wanted to be was a ice cream man (I would be a ice cream women) and a mother. I used to dress my cat up in baby clothes and walk her around the block in a stroller. She did not care for it… but I loved it.
I got married in 1988 to my husband Greg we both wanted children. Right away I found out that I was pregnant… I was so happy the only one home was my cat… but I told him anyway. I carried the little cube around with me. I was so excited. I told everyone that I knew since 1st grade… “Hi! Remember me? I sat next to you in 3rd grade… I AM HAVING A BABY!”
Well by the time I was 10 weeks pregnant I had lost the baby. I was getting congratulation cards and ‘I am sorry’ cards at the same time. It has been 11 years and I still have the little cube in a zip lock bag. If the baby had lived he/she would be 11 now. My son David wanted to know if he had an older brother or sister many times, so we named her Lindsey.
Then about a year later I was pregnant again. I was not going to tell anyone… but couldn’t help myself. Around week 10, again I started having all of the signs of another miscarriage. My doctor told me to go into the hospital and have an ultrasound. I did and the Doctor said there is still a baby in there and his heart was beating. They said that I might have been carrying twins and lost one of them. David was born February 8, 1990. He is the joy of my life and one of my best friends. He is ten years old now.
We longed to have another child. In July of 1997 I found out that I was again pregnant. We could not have been happier. I felt so lucky. I didn’t care if it was a boy or a girl… just healthy please.
When I was 7 months pregnant we found out that there was something wrong. I would need to have my son in Indianapolis so that they would be able to take him to Riley Children’s Hospital ASAP to do surgery on him. He was born on February 10, 1998 a few weeks early. He was so beautiful. Lots of dark hair. I didn’t get to hold him. I only saw him for a minute got to touch his leg and they took him away to Riley.
He was born without communication between his windpipe and his food pipe, which after repair surgery, began to recover amazingly fast. Then complication after complication worsened his condition. And after three months hospitalization brought him to the very edge of life and death. I never ever gave up. I stayed at Riley, just moved to Indianapolis and lived in a Ronald McDonald House. I spent all of my day telling my son Paulie about home and his dad and brother.. and how we would go there some day.
There was a night when all of the Doctors told me that he would not make it though the night. He did… and was a lot better by the next day. One of his doctors told me that it was not medically possible that a child could improve that much in 6 hours. I felt and still do, that I saw a miracle happen that night. Paulie did get better and after 3 ½ months my husband took over Paulie’s bedside care. He was in a NICU unit but the nurses could not give him the love that we could – he needed us. He lived at Riley for 5 months and 2 days with one of his parents always by his side. He was able to come home in July after a very long stay. Bringing him home from Riley was a bit scary we had enough medical supplies to start our own Med point. He needed oxygen and he was still tube fed. He also needed to have breathing treatments every 3 to 6 hours. He was going to need one more surgery.
My husband quit his job to stay home full time and care for Paulie. My job had the insurance and I had been there longer. We took care of him alone 24/7 getting up at all hours to feed him and give him breathing treatments. We believed that the worst was over. He didn’t have any brain damage and they said by the time he was 2 he would be like all 2 year olds. We held on to that hope. In October just short of Paulie being 8 months old, he got the flu. And because he had been on a respirator for so long at Riley his lungs filled up. And this caused his little heart to give up.
On October 5th 1998 we lost the fight that we had fought so desperately to win…. Our Paulie was called back to heaven.
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