There was a picture on Facebook the other day of a baby who has heart problems. Those close to the family were asking for others to fast and pray on behalf of the baby, the family, and the medical staff who will be performing surgery shortly. I don't know the family, but immediately my heart went out to them, as it always does when I hear of little ones suffering. We have been there.
My first pregnancy was very difficult. I gained 80 pounds, and it was not because I was eating. As a matter of fact, about the only things I could consistently keep down for nine months was Jello and raisins. Meanwhile, the doctor was yelling at me for eating "fried foods." Yeah, right. Whatever! If it had not been my first pregnancy, I would have known something was wrong. Molly would kick me until I would double over in pain. I didn't know that was not normal. Two weeks past (the doctor's) due date (only three days past mine), my water broke, and it was green. I didn't know that was not normal either, but soon found out that meant trouble.
To make a very long story short, Molly had a lung cyst the size of a baseball. Unfortunately, only one in 100,000 babies has this problem, and the symptoms are the same for a diaphragmatic hernia, so she was originally misdiagnosed. A diaphragmatic hernia is caused by the lack of a diaphragm so the bowels move up into the lungs. They go in, put everything where it belongs, and then try to form a diaphragm. They originally gave her a 50/50 chance of survival. Before she was 12 hours old, she underwent two separate surgeries. They took her in for surgery originally for the diaphragmatic hernia, but after five hours of surgery, came back and told us that she had the lung cyst. She was still under the anesthesia, and they were about to do the second surgery. They told us that they might have to remove part or all of one lung, but that the other lung would probably grow to twice the size to compensate. It turned out that they were able to remove the cyst without removing any of the lung. The recovery process was long and hard, but she is now my rocket scientist with a family of her own.
Hannah was my most healthy child, but when she was four months old they almost put her back in the hospital because she wasn't gaining weight (which was a problem with all my children). They waited one more week, and then she began to pick up a little. There is actually a note in Hannah's medical chart that says, "Nonthriving child; good mom." (In other words, don't call Child Protective Services.) Like Molly, Hannah too survived, has a career and a family of her own.
After Hannah, I had a miscarriage. I wasn't very far along, but I still think about that baby. I wonder if we'll have the opportunity in heaven to raise the baby. We don't know, because it is one of those things that Heavenly Father has not yet revealed. I hope I'm prepared for the answer when it comes.
I was borderline diabetic when I was pregnant with Ezra, so he was born addicted to sugar. I wasn't even allowed to hold him when he was born. They ripped him away and began pumping sugar down him. He was followed by an endocrinologist until he was 15 years old because of his odd growth patterns. He was short for a very long time. There was a point where they wanted to give him growth hormones, and we said no. I'm so glad we did, because he finally caught up. If we had given him hormones, he might have been eight feet tall! Ezra also grew to adulthood, and he also has a family of his own.
I had the flu when I was pregnant with Kaylonnie, and the amniotic fluid was contaminated. When she was born, instead of taking a large breath and getting all the fluid out of her lungs, she took a tiny breath and left most of the contaminated fluid in her lungs. We almost lost her to pneumonia. I had never heard of a newborn with pneumonia. I came home from the hospital on Mother's Day, leaving Kaylonnie in the Nursery Intensive Care Unit. Kaylonnie is a fine young woman--now 21 years old and will soon be off to serve a mission in Brazil.
These little babies are much too innocent and precious to have to deal with all these problems. There were obviously some lessons that we needed to learn as parents. Someday, one of the first questions I'm going to ask Heavenly Father is if there might have been a better way to teach me those lessons without my children having to deal with all that. I know there must be a reason that I can't now comprehend.
So what did I learn from all this? I learned that my marriage can withstand anything if my husband and I stick together through thick and thin. I learned that every tiny baby is a fragile and precious gift from God. I learned to rely on Heavenly Father when there is nothing that I can do on my own. I learned that life is not easy, but well worth it.