How Almost Losing My Son In 2022 Helped Me To Define 2023 Goals

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September 18, 2022, was like any other late summer Southern California day. The weather was nice, and my family and I were excited to use our Disneyland annual passes. As we prepared to leave, we noticed our then 15-month-old son was extra clingy and kept wanting to be held, which wasn’t unusual. But soon, clingy behavior turned into favoring one leg, and then he wasn’t willing to walk.

At first, we thought he strained his right leg trying to climb out of his crib. He was normally our little Tasmanian Devil, climbing up on furniture and running around. So, the fact that he suddenly wasn’t willing to walk was worrisome. We almost went along with our plans to go to Disneyland, figuring he would spend most of the day in his stroller, anyway. But we followed our parental instincts and took him into the emergency room. We had no idea what was in store for us. My husband and I expected to be in and out of the hospital, possibly with a prescription for pain meds. We hoped it would be nothing more than our son being needy. While my daughter was advanced and an early speaker, our son was born premature by 6 weeks. He was trying to communicate with Mommy and Daddy as best as he could. He was telling us something was very wrong, even as he couldn’t speak.

Everything happened so fast. One minute we were in the ER, and the next, our son was transported via ambulance from South Bay to Anaheim Kaiser Permanente hospital, over an hour away. The ER doctor had explained to us that X-rays were negative, but blood tests showed septic arthritis in his hip, a serious infection. An immediate procedure was necessary to drain his hip and begin determining what bacteria was in play.

Later that night, our baby had emergency surgery. We spoke to multiple doctors and specialists who indicated surprise at how much puss was present. It ended up being a staph infection caused by streptococcus pneumoniae. When not addressed immediately, the blood-borne bacteria can often lead to not only amputation of limbs but also death. The infectious diseases doctor said that our son had turned septic. If we hadn’t acted as fast as we did, our son, barely over 20 pounds in weight, would’ve never survived. In many cases, adults 10 times my son’s size die within 24 hours of turning septic because the bacteria spreads so quickly, eating away at organs. Your body begins to shut down and can die within days, if not hours.

What we originally thought would be a quick in-and-out visit ended up being a 7.5-day, in-patient stay at the hospital. While there are other worse-case scenarios of children staying at the hospitals for much longer, the entire ordeal was quite trying and traumatic. In the era of COVID, some of us are still adjusting to lifestyle changes. But what we’ve learned from the pandemic is that we have nothing without our health. Good health is chief to our success in obtaining our goals. This was just four months ago, and our son has made a full recovery. But it has made a lasting impact on how we view our 2023 goals.

As a writer and an aspiring author, I’m a mother first. My kids are everything to me. My husband and I are now back to being winded as we chase our little Bubba around. At night when he’s asleep in my arms, I often reflect on just how close we came to losing him. I had dealt with secondary infertility to have my son and had 16 losses before him. The fact that he was born at all after so many failed pregnancies is a testament that miracles do happen. But the biggest miracle of all was the fact that he had survived staph infection and septic arthritis.

When the infectious disease doctor called to check in with us once we were finally home, I’ll never forget how he kept repeating to me over and over just how glad they were that we acted as quickly as we did. This new year, being thankful doesn’t even cover what I feel. I am beyond grateful every day our son takes a breath, that he’s here with us, and we still get to run after him.


The Bottom Line

Despite my son’s health issues last year, I still managed to revise my previous manuscript while finishing a new WIP. I even managed to continue posting on social media and also helping my seven-year-old daughter start a kid’s YouTube channel called Happy Girl Reads, where she’ll be mostly reviewing children’s books. We’re doing it just for fun. Being a content creator and juggling life definitely hasn’t been easy. With anything, you must prioritize. I put posting blogs on hold to complete my manuscript, the YouTube channel, and several contract projects while also taking care of my son. That’s why my last post was in August 2022. My son got sick the following month.

Aside from my continuous publication efforts, my goal this year is to get back to a blogging schedule where I’m posting at least twice a month. People often have lofty writing goals, but we forget to account for situational and unavoidable circumstances that life throws our way. We also forget to be kind and compassionate toward ourselves. In my next blog, I’ll discuss how I managed to still write and edit through my family’s health scare.

Remember, if you dealt with hurdles in 2022, instead of seeing them as setbacks, view them as opportunities for progression and development in 2023. We grow through our trials and can succeed as a result. When we appreciate our obstacles, it humbles and strengthens us as writers. Allowing our challenges to be a part of the canvas that inspires us makes our characters more 3-dimensional. Hopefully, it also helps us become stronger storytellers because we’re channeling our personal experiences into our work. Readers can feel it when you’re writing from an authentic place.

If you’re not quite where you want to be in 2023, don’t discount where you once were and how far you’ve come.


28 thoughts on “How Almost Losing My Son In 2022 Helped Me To Define 2023 Goals

    IanC said:
    January 9, 2023 at 6:31 AM

    Thank you for sharing this 🙏

    Liked by 2 people

      S.Z. Estavillo responded:
      January 9, 2023 at 9:04 AM

      I appreciate you stopping by and reading. Hope you reach your 2023 goals!

      Liked by 1 person

    creelife said:
    January 9, 2023 at 7:43 AM

    Firstly, its fantastic to read that your family is back together again as a unit and healthy. Secondly, I was wondering why I kept getting bounced from your mailing list. It wouldn’t go through. So I gave up. What you shared explained how life just shows up. Family always comes first. Looking forward to your blog posts again. I’ll try a little later to get on your mailing list. Be well.

    Liked by 2 people

      S.Z. Estavillo responded:
      January 9, 2023 at 9:15 AM

      Hi Creelife, I manually entered you on the mailing list. Let me know if you got on it. Sorry if you’re getting a bounce-back error.

      Life definitely shows unexpectedly. It came out of nowhere in our case. I appreciate the kind words and I’ll check out your blog as well. I’m all about reciprocity. I hope you reach your goals this year.

      Like

        creelife said:
        January 9, 2023 at 10:27 AM

        I’m subscribed now. Thanks. Looking forward to reading your posts. Be well.

        Liked by 1 person

    macabeliam said:
    January 9, 2023 at 9:43 AM

    Very inspiring story and so glad your son has made a full recovery. It is so surprising how things like this can happen to us. Health is definitely a key goal for all of us. If we don’t have our health, we can’t go after our goals. It’s a domino effect.

    Liked by 2 people

      S.Z. Estavillo responded:
      January 9, 2023 at 9:46 AM

      Good health is so very important for all of us. Hope you have a healthy 2023! Thank you for reading. We’re grateful our son is much better.

      Liked by 1 person

    jennylynnangelo said:
    January 9, 2023 at 10:01 AM

    Oh my goodness…he is just so precious. What a sweet boy. It is so inspiring that you manage to juggle so much. It’s a testament to your project management skills. So, so glad he pulled through. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

      S.Z. Estavillo responded:
      January 9, 2023 at 10:26 AM

      Thanks, Jenny, I appreciate your empathy and enjoy your comments as always. It definitely takes project management skills. Hope your new year is off to a great start.

      Liked by 1 person

    chrisr74 said:
    January 9, 2023 at 1:21 PM

    How scary! What an adorable little boy yet so heartbreaking at how scared he looks! So glad you acted immediately and that you are able to use the experience for both personal and professional growth. True, we are parents first but we also have accountability for ourselves and are own identities. This very much includes our chosen crafts. Best of luck to you and your little boy in 2023!

    Liked by 1 person

      S.Z. Estavillo responded:
      January 9, 2023 at 1:24 PM

      Thanks Chris, it was definitely scary and it’s so true we are accountable in terms of how we use each of our experiences. Thanks and happy 2023 to you!

      Like

    johncoyote said:
    January 9, 2023 at 3:59 PM

    Happy New year dear friend. I learn a long time ago. Our children give us reasons to be alive. I hope you and family have a safe and fun 2023.

    Liked by 1 person

      S.Z. Estavillo responded:
      January 9, 2023 at 4:09 PM

      Thank you so much John, so true. I love your poetry. Happy New Years to you and your family! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    Monch Weller said:
    January 9, 2023 at 5:41 PM

    Glad to hear your kid’s doing fine now, SZ!

    Liked by 1 person

    thomasstigwikman said:
    January 9, 2023 at 6:29 PM

    What a scare. I am so sorry you had to go through that but I am happy it ended well. You made a very smart decision to go to the ER instead.

    Liked by 1 person

      S.Z. Estavillo responded:
      January 9, 2023 at 6:39 PM

      Yep, I’m so glad we skipped the Happiest Place On Earth. Relieved we didn’t dismiss it because at first his infected leg was not that noticeable. It took the doctor’s trained eye to notice that one leg was slightly more swollen than the other and then that’s when they caught the infection.

      Liked by 1 person

        thomasstigwikman said:
        January 9, 2023 at 10:45 PM

        So close to disaster but with all the keen senses, yours and the doctor, it was avoided. That’s profound.

        Liked by 1 person

    Didi's Art Design said:
    January 10, 2023 at 5:49 AM

    I am very happy that your sweet boy has survived these awful bacterias. It also indicates how precious life is – indeed, then we become very thankful…

    Wishing you all that is good for you 🙂
    Didi

    Liked by 1 person

      S.Z. Estavillo responded:
      January 10, 2023 at 9:26 AM

      Thank you for you kind words. Wishing you a wonderful 2023.

      Liked by 1 person

        Didi's Art Design said:
        January 11, 2023 at 12:00 AM

        Thank you very much 🙂
        Also for you and your family 🙂
        Stay happy and healthy 🙂
        Didi

        Liked by 1 person

    Wynne Leon said:
    January 11, 2023 at 11:04 AM

    Wow wow wow. Thank goodness for your instinct to go to the hospital. I’m so glad he’s healthy as are all of you. Love how you used this story to reinforce your priorities and values. Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

      S.Z. Estavillo responded:
      January 11, 2023 at 11:43 AM

      Thank you, Wynne! It was definitely scary and we’re so glad it turned out okay. It certainly did help us realize our priorities. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    Michele Lee said:
    January 11, 2023 at 3:09 PM

    How terrifying! Thank goodness your son has fully recovered. He’s adorable. Circumstances like these will definitely put priorities into proper perspective. Best to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    David Linebarger said:
    January 12, 2023 at 9:19 AM

    Responding quickly! A good lesson for all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    stolzyblog said:
    January 13, 2023 at 2:27 PM

    god that’s scary

    Liked by 1 person

    Rae said:
    January 14, 2023 at 5:32 PM

    Ok I at first had to skip through to see how he was doing as a mom my heart broke. I’m so glad he better and so glad you listened to him even when he could speak up! That speaks volumes and you and dad are amazing. 2023 is gonna be a great year 💖 bless you all

    Liked by 1 person

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