Last night isn’t the first time Jimmy Kimmel has shared a life experience/story during his show’s monologue. I remember when he dedicated his entire opening monologue to his Uncle Frank. His Uncle Frank was well known on the show as he was featured in different segments over the years. Then, last night he shared his experience about the birth of his son and then his son’s open heart surgery that followed three days after.
This story hit way too close to home for me. My oldest daughter will be six this year and the delivery went perfect. Afterwards, we spent some time with her but just like every other baby she was taken to the nursery for test and her first bath. While waiting with some friends for her return to our room, the doctor came in and asked if he could speak with the parents alone. The doctor told us that while she was receiving a bath the nurse noticed her lips were turning blue. She was not getting enough oxygen because she had a hole in her lung. They took her to CHKD, but before they transported her they brought her into our room for us to see her. She was in an incubator type of box with oxygen hooked up to her. We couldn’t even touch her. I had spent maybe 15 min holding her after her birth before going home to shower and get some stuff for the night stay in the hospital. Now I didn’t even know if I would get to hold my daughter again.
My wife had to stay at the hospital since she was recovering from child birth and I went to CHKD accompanied by many friends and family. One person stayed behind with my wife but everyone else left, I felt bad for her but I knew that she didn’t care about that and would want as many people with our daughter as possible.
Seeing her for the first time at CHKD was one of the most gut wrenching feelings I had ever had. Knowing your daughter, who you are supposed to protect, is suffering and there isn’t anything you can do about it. Even though I had only held her for minutes and she had no clue who I even was yet, I would have swapped positions with her in a heart beat. I can’t explain fatherhood, I don’t think anyone really can, but within the first few hours of my daughter’s life I felt what fatherhood was.
She had a hole in her lung and they gave her a plasma transfusion to help with clotting hoping it would close, but at the same time there was blood in her lung which was drying her lung out. If her lung got too bad they would have to give her surfactant to keep them wet and open but giving her that could knock out any blood clot that was forming and we would be back to square one. When the doc told me this information I said to him, “So you are telling me that if we get to that scenario she will either suffocate to death because her lung will dry out and close or she will drown to death because she will continue to bleed and her lung will fill up with blood?” He didn’t say yes or no, which means that analysis was correct, he only said, “Let’s hope we don’t have to make a decision on the surfactant.”
Luckily the hole clotted on it’s own before her lungs got to dry. She remained in CHKD for a total of 11 days and on her third day of life we were able to hold her for the first time since she was born. She now turns six in September and she will have no life long issues with what happened during her first 11 days of life.
Watching Jimmy Kimmel tell his story this morning it took me back almost six years ago and made me remember how grateful I am for CHKD. I donate to them whenever I can, it is amazing what they do and even though I felt like what my daughter went through was the worst thing ever, there are so many more kids at CHKD who have it worse. It is a very sad place but at the same time it is a very hopeful and uplifting place. Seeing the smiles on those kids faces during some of their worst days makes you realize how much we let the littlest things in life effect our day.
Thank you Jimmy Kimmel for helping me remember this, and my prayers are with you and your family.
CHKD donations go to helping families pay for their medical bills at CHKD. Please donate whatever you can because everything helps.