Since my mother’s death in July, I have written several posts of her home-going including A Grief Observed: Missing Mother and Crossing the Bar.
This time I’m focusing on a birth, our grandson Ian’s miraculous birth seven years ago this week. According to the doctor’s calculations, he was scheduled to arrive on January 9, his Grandpa Beaman’s birthday. Instead he made his appearance on his mother Sarah’s birthday, October 5.
All births are miraculous, really, the tiny embryo maturing into a marvelous baby with millions of synapses making connections within the brain, a sense of rhythm and an ability to breathe and suckle at the same time. One study mentioned that babies can pick out the gender of other babies even when they are cross-dressed, something adults cannot do.
But Ian’s birth at 26 weeks gestation weighing a mere 2 pounds, 5 ounces meant many un-connected synapses and a severely undeveloped breathing apparatus. For weeks it was touch-and-go, and we weren’t certain that we would be bringing him home from the NIC Unit at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Aside from the frightening awareness that Ian had a hole in his heart, we were introduced to a whole new vocabulary of problems: bradycardia, retinopathy, hip dysplasia. Translation: Slow, interrupted heartbeat requiring a nose cannula, undeveloped blood vessels in retina, and an immature hip ball and sock requiring a harness to hold legs in a frog-like fashion. Here is his photo-story:
My journal records that on November 29, 2007 Ian weighs 4 pounds, 3 ounces and is taking three bottles a day. He is also employing the services of a speech therapist and an occupational therapist along with physical therapy.
How would a speech therapist help a premature baby who can’t speak or an occupational therapist assist a child whose main job was trying to survive? Speech therapy facilitated the transition from tube feeding to bottle feeding and the occupational therapy improved the range of motion inhibited by hip dysplasia.
After a 14-week stay in the hospital, Ian is brought home. Glory, hallelujah! Though still on a breathing apparatus, he resumes a more normal life with his family, under the watchful eye of his brother.
Praise God – At age seven, Ian is now at the 98 percentile in height and weight for his age and is taking an advanced course of study in first grade at his school. There are delays in behavioral development though, possibly attributable to his prematurity. But who can be sure whether it’s prematurity or personality.
I wrote a letter to each of my grand-children before their first birthday and sent it to their home address so it would have a post-mark. In Ian’s case, I waited until the one-year mark to write and send his letter. Call it a welcome-to-the-world, a blessing from Grandma/NaNa in writing. Here is a copy of the letter he received:
Ian has not opened this letter yet though he is able to read. In fact, none of the grand-children have opened and read their letters and I’m wondering at what age they should be read. It seems the opening and reading calls for some special occasion. What do you think? I welcome your suggestions!
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful . . . .
Psalm 139: 13, 14 NIRV
Your advice on letter reading welcome. Other comments or suggestions from your own experience. You will always get a reply from me and maybe from other readers. Thank you!
“Every child is a story yet to be told.” Sesame Street