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  • Writer's pictureJessa

Into the unknown

Updated: Jan 7, 2022


June 8, 2021

will forever be a day etched into my memory.


It started typically, there wasn't anything unusual about this sunny June day, we woke, ate, dressed, played, headed outdoors, and prepared for some camp Mimi time as Pete and I needed to drive to Iowa City for several follow up visits with specialists for Jude.

We had just had a very busy weekend, as Jude had turned 1, and we celebrated with a "donut grow up" party complete with water slides, cotton candy, sno cones, grandparents, matching outfits, everything a mother's heart could desire for her youngest and last baby to celebrate being 1. All the things I could want, except a baby who enjoyed it. Jude was "off" during the celebration, fussier than normal, refusing to calm no matter who was holding him, sleeping more than normal, refusing to eat. I decided to chalk things up as growing pains, or perhaps he was coming down with something.


Hindsight is always 20/20.


Looking back today, and knowing everything that I now know, I wish I had listened to myself a little bit more. Mom guilt is real. I knew something was wrong, I just didn't know what. I chose to believe it was nothing, because who would possibly jump to the immediate conclusion that their child had a serious medical condition and needed to be hospitalized?

Alas, I digress. I will forever be eternally grateful to Duong Trang who ran that Basic Metabolic Panel that found Jude's Calcium to be at 14 while a normal 1 year old's calcium should never be above 10 at the highest, and typically should lie in a range of 9-10.


Her voice on that phone call will be one I will remember for the rest of my days.


As a nurse of 12 years now, I've had a lot of hard days. I've held hands of those taking their last breaths, I've seen the light go out of their eyes, and I’ve comforted families in those moments as well, but it's never been my child. I've never been on the receiving end of those conversations.

Ms. Trang very calmly asked me to pull my car over, I'm shaking as I write this, she waited patiently until she knew we were safely parked, and she proceeded to change our lives.

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