Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from Fox News Channel anchor Bret Baier's new book, "Special Heart: A Journey of Faith, Hope, Courage and Love."
June 29, 2007, 4:32 PM, Friday
Subject: It’s the THREE Baiers NOW!!
Papa Baier, Mama Baier—and NOW…
Paul Francis Baier HAS ARRIVED! And he’s just right.
He was born here in Washington at 12:34 PM at Sibley Hospital. He’s 6 lbs., 12 oz., and 19 1/2 inches long.
Mama and Baby Baier are doing great…and Papa Baier is amazed at the whole process!
Thanks for all of your kind words and wishes.
Paul was staying with Amy and me right there in the room, and it was awesome. I felt like I was walking on air the entire time. Over the course of my career in journalism I had traveled on hundreds of trips to some really exotic locales all around the world, even some recent ones on Air Force One with the president of the United States. But I never, ever had more excitement flowing through me than I did that day as I anticipated spending the night with my wife and son in the cramped confines of our little nest of a room in the Sibley maternity ward…
Also, on that first day at Sibley with Paul and Amy, I had a few opportunities to show off everything I had learned from all those position papers on swaddling and diaper changing. The swaddling went perfectly fine—it was even fun. But that first diaper change was—how to put this delicately—disgusting! There is no book, training session, or position paper that can prepare you for something like that. There were colors in that diaper I never imagined existed anywhere in the known universe…
Entering the room to check on mother and baby for the first time, nurse Beth Kennedy took one look at Paul and said she thought his color seemed off…
Beth suggested to Amy that Paulie’s pale color might be the result of some kind of bacterial infection. She thought he should have a few tests just to be safe. So she took him to the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) so he could be checked out…
I was back in the room with Amy for a short while when Beth came in to let us know the bacterial infection tests had all come back negative. This was a huge relief. Amy had been told that newborns with any kind of bacterial infection often stay in the hospital for as many as ten additional days. After all the excitement of Paulie’s birth and the wonderful overnight we had with him there in the room, Amy couldn’t fathom the idea of leaving the hospital without her son, let alone not taking him home for another ten days.
While Amy and I were thrilled with the news that Paulie didn’t have an infection, Nurse Kennedy wasn’t. Still concerned about his color, Beth told us she wanted to run some more tests and page a doctor to come in and take a look just to be safe…
After hearing Paulie didn’t have a bacterial infection, Amy and I were eager to get him back in the room with us so we could continue with that warm and wonderful Three Baiers bonding process. Amy was enjoying the salad I brought her from Sweet Green, and the mood in the room was upbeat as I filled her in on what her folks had to say about the house I took them to see.
Amy was a little miffed at me for being gone so long and not around to help her deal with the nurse reassignment issue and the bacterial infection scare. I reminded my dear wife I was out with her parents and not exactly quaffing beer with the boys at the nineteenth hole after playing a round of golf.
Amy, of course, knew that. But I realized then how worried she had been about the possibility of not being able to take Paulie home for ten more days. She was so looking forward to that day—tomorrow—when we would finally be able to put Paulie into the empty car seat that we had been goofily grinning at for the past two months…
Over the years, I had done several stories about the mountain of medical litigation cases hospitals face every year. If they needed to run a few extra tests on Paulie so they could dot all their i’s and cross all their t’s to keep their lawyers happy, that was perfectly fine with me. There was nothing to worry about. We spent the entire night with Paulie right there in the room with us and there were no problems of any kind. Still, we were a little anxious about the situation. We chalked it up to having a new nurse who was probably just being abundantly cautious…
Before long we heard a knock on the door and a doctor came in. He was someone we’d never laid eyes on before. Wearing civilian clothes, he apologized for not looking the part, explaining his children were soccer players and he had been to a couple of games earlier in the day. With that, Dr. Gerard Martin introduced himself as the cardiologist who received the call from Sibley to come take a look at Paulie. Amy was lying down and I was sitting on the edge of the bed as Dr. Martin entered the room and flipped on the overhead lights.
“I need to talk to you about your son,” he said.
My mind was racing two hundred miles per hour and in fifty different directions at once. Now operating on a seven-second delay, I realized Dr. Martin had introduced himself to us as a cardiologist. Why would a cardiologist be talking to us about a bacterial infection or the results of some precautionary tests?
My heart dropped as I started to put two and two together. I knew instantly and instinctively this was going to be exponentially worse than simply having to keep Paulie in the hospital for an extra ten days because of an infection. I quickly rewound the tape in my mind, now hoping that Paulie actually did have an infection.
Ten extra days? No problem! Keep him for twenty if you need to. We can deal with that. Piece of cake. Keep him as long as you need him. Let’s just get our boy home healthy. An infection is nothing. Happens all the time. Please God,let Paul have this bacterial infection.
It’s amazing the number of thoughts your mind can process and the speed at which it can process them in that frozen split second of a moment when you realize the comfortable reality you have known your entire life is over and you are now entering a place of uncertainty and fear from which you may never return.
I looked at Amy and she had sheer terror in her eyes. I moved closer and held her hand as Dr. Martin continued to speak. In a very calm but serious voice he said, “Your baby has heart disease. Heart disease can be simple or it can be complex. Your son has a complex heart disease. He has a very complicated heart.”
Excerpted from the book SPECIAL HEART: A Journey of Faith, Hope, Courage and Love by Bret Baier with Jim Mills. Copyright © 2014 by Bret Baier. Reprinted by permission of Center Street. All rights reserved.
Bret Baier currently serves as anchor of Fox News Channel's "Special Report with Bret Baier" (weeknights 6-7PM/ET), the top-rated cable news program in its timeslot. Based in Washington, D.C., he joined the network in 1998 as the first reporter in the Atlanta bureau. Click here for more information on Bret Baier.