Fifteen years ago tonight, right around this time, Mike and I rushed our three day old baby to the ER. He was extremely jaundiced, he had barely woken or nursed all day. We'd been to the pediatrician and the lactation consultant where we finally got him to drink some expressed breastmilk from a bottle. It was a little too late. He began having seizures while we were still there. When we got to the ER, his blood sugar was so low it was undetectable. His bilirubin was very high and he was dehydrated. His hemoglobin was high (which is healthy and normal in newborns), but that combined with the dehyration made his blood very thick and it slowed to a stop in the right rear corner of his brain resulting in a stoke. It's not terribly hard for me to remember this. Both in the sense that I remember it like it was yesterday, and it is not really a painful memory anymore. For one thing, Jonathan is pretty near perfect (in the way that any 15 year old can be) right now. For another, he quickly changed from the tiny infant that he was to a chubby baby and toddler to a preschooler obsessed with the garbage man and so on and so on until he became the (dare I say) man he is today. When I look at his face, I can't even see the baby that he was. In my heart, though, I will never forget. Those early days of parenting made us what we are today, and without those days who knows where we'd be. Those first few weeks, we spent a few days in ICU followed by a few more days in a regular hospital room. We learned how to bond with our brand new baby in the hospital. On the first night back in the hospital I tried to imagine everything turning out OK. I realized we didn't just have a sick baby, we had a baby! While part of me was frantic, I distinctly remember another part of me daring to dream that our baby would grow up. In those days the vision I had of him "grown up" was a toddler running in the waves on the beach. Little did I know he wouldn't stop there, he'd keep growing, I never even dared to imagine how awesome parenting would be. (awesome is not really the word I was looking for, but it seems to be the best I can come up with, I don't mean awesome just as great, as much as I mean full of awe)
Tonight we had a nice family meal (a roast with potatoes and carrots that cooked in the crock pot all day). Then Jake and Madi went outside to play cops and robbers with the neighbors. The sun was setting. I talked to Jonathan about some of his schoolwork, I chatted with Mike while I cleaned up the kitchen. Mike and Jonathan then went to Lowes to order the materials for our future fence (for our future dog). Somewhere in the middle of all this I remembered that night 15 years ago. This life right here is the one I couldn't even dare to imagine back then.
Three years ago we were in the middle of another major health crisis. That memory is still not an easy one for me (even though I remember it like it was yesterday too). That one I still can't write about (go to the beginning of my blog if you don't know what I'm talking about). Even though to this day I want to throw up when I think about it. That experience is also part of who and what we are as a family. On Monday night a small group Catholic faith study will start at our house. Mike and I will be the faciliators. I'm pretty sure that wouldn't be happening without that horrific experience. Whatever stuggles you are going through right now, whether they are major or minor, they are forming the future you. It might really stink in the middle of it, but just wait to see what God has in store for you on the other side.
Incidently, October 2nd (Jonathan's birthday and the date that Mike almost died) is the Feast of Guardian Angels. Coincidence? I think not!
Guardian Angel Prayer
Angel of God, My Guardian Dear
to whom God's love commits me here.
Ever this day be at my side
to light and guard and rule and guide.