I love this time of year. I enjoy being able to reflect on the things that I'm grateful for, the things that my family has been blessed with, and even the challenges we've faced. So many of these things are so small, and maybe even seem trite to others.
On my mind lately is the birth of Ethan four years ago yesterday. It was the day before Thanksgiving. (Many of you know this already, but I'm recording this more for my own sake.) I had been on bed-rest for just over a month. During that month I was on meds that made my body constantly feel like I was on a caffeine high, making it difficult to rest. My mind and thoughts were foggy from the meds, and the little baby inside me was restless. I wasn't due until January 5th, so I understood the seriousness of the situation we were in. Our daughter Elly also was preterm. Born at 35 weeks. I was only 33. I figured if I made it just a few more weeks, then we would be out of the any real danger or complications. Unfortunately, on the night of the 22nd, I began losing amniotic fluid. We knew I had to deliver within 24 hours. I had feelings of panic for our unborn child. I also knew that we fortunately live in a time where there was so much that could be done medically to save pre-mature babies. For that knowledge I was very grateful.
On the evening of the 23rd, around 10:30pm, little Ethan was born. Seven weeks early. Five pounds, ten ounces. A giant preemie. Although his size was in his favor, his little lungs were not ready to breathe on their own. The doctors did what they could from AF Hospital, but after surfactant treatments, and other treatments that he could get from that particular NICU, he wasn't responding well. He was transported to UVRMC in Provo, where he was hooked up to an oscillating respirator. I said goodbye from my hospital bed around 2 am, not having been able to hold my baby. It was torture for me. The most I could do was stroke his tiny body from the small window of an incubator. He was connected to so many IV's and tubes. He looked very peaceful and comfortable, and to me that was such a blessing. I kept remembering how so many mothers left hospitals without their babies at all, and I knew that I was VERY lucky. He was in extremely capable hands. So Thanksgiving that year was spent a little unconventionally. Brad was at the hospital with Ethan, and communicating with me as much as possible on Ethan's progress/setbacks. I was able to rest well. I think Miracle on 34th street was being played continuously throughout the day. I probably slept most of the day. I hadn't really slept soundly for over a month. The sleep was bliss, and kept me from worried thoughts.
But Ethan rallied. He was the little giant in the NICU. He was home for Christmas that year. He stayed on oxygen for his first 4 months. And as many of you know, his lungs work just fine! I often look at him in wonder. I know that the prayers of friends and family, desperate parents, and a priesthood blessing from his father, grandfather, and uncles did not go unanswered.