September 11, 2008 A Day of Significance

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling;
One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all,
and through all, and in you all.

Ephesians 4:4-5

We arrived early because we were sure it would be a long day. Walking through the door, past the nurses station, I caught a glance of the surgeon. He had on a suit. Noteably a good sign. I commented that the suit must mean good things. We went back to room 4. We had become intimately familiar with room 4 over the past 24 hours. Gavin had made it through 2 surgeries and was resting in what we considered a comfortable yet drugged state. He was small. Really small. 14 oz of small at that point. Less than a pound.

We visited for a moment and then decided to let him rest. He needed his rest to grow and heal. On our walk to the exit the surgeon stopped us. It started out as a normal update sort of conversation. This was a good sign. He still had on a suit. No sign of scrubs for him anywhere.

His conversation took a sharp turn to his observations of Gavin that morning. He took great time to explain that the abdominal drain he had placed the night before did not quite seem to be working as well as he would have liked. It was draining, just not with very good output. He explained that in looking over a recent X-Ray, Gavin's abdomen was beginning to look worse. His blood results from the morning were indicating he was becoming more acidodic. A sure sign of infection of some sort. He offered up the last resort. An exploratory laparotomy. They were going to have to open up my sweet boy. My small, helpless baby. There was no further option. The surgeon was convinced that Gavin had NEC. NEC or Necrotizing Entercolitis is a fatal thing for almost all infants. In our case however, if it was NEC Gavin did not stand a chance. He was too small. This infection spreads rapidly and kills off the intestines. There is no cure or fix for it. He handed us the consent, asked us to sign it. With much fear and apprehension we signed after reading the prognosis of a 20% chance of survival.

The surgeon encouraged us to leave. Go home and get some clothes. Get some food. We won't start surgery for several hours. You will have time. Driving out of the parking garage, my mind racing, I made that call. The one I had been holding off on...because afterall, our baby was going to be ok. I couldn't bring myself to talk. I had to hand the phone to Colin. He explained to Pastor Ron that we desired for him to come before they performed surgery. We wanted Gavin to be baptized. The Lord works in mysterious ways. Pastor indicated to Colin that he had a feeling that morning that he needed to pay us a visit. He was already in the neighborhood and would meet us on the 3rd floor. We turned the car around.

I paced the floor. I seriously doubted my faith at that point. I could not believe that my God would let this happen to me.....let this happen to my baby. I was angry. I was scared. I was angry. This is stuff that happens to other people. The kind of story you read in Good Housekeeping or Parents magazine. This was not the story we would write. WAS our story. It IS our story.

The elevator doors opened. He embraced me and I fell to tears. I told him I was angry. I told him God had surely confused me with someone else. He had me mixed up with a much stronger person. I asked the "why me" questions over and over again. We walked down the hall. Entering the unit, we were stopped. The sign on the door clearly indicated the unit was closed for surgery. I didn't care. This was my baby and he was going to be baptized. It was the only thing I could cling to at that point. They allowed us back....but were sure to indicate our time was limited.

A small beaker, normally used for first feedings, was now our font. Water from the faucet was now our "holy" water. We stood over this small, helpless child of ours. Pastor Ron laid his hands on him and blessed him. We prayed and prayed some more. We were finished and our child was placed in God's hands. For real. He was now a child of God. I felt some relief. The anger and scared feelings still circulated however. Upon our exit we were informed of a scheduling change. Surgery would begin in a matter of moments. The surgeon felt it important for Gavin to do it as soon as possible.

We walked out to that UGLY waiting room. I do want to affirm the UGLY part. The door closed behind us. The unit was now officially closed. Closed for my baby. For our story. Those walls....they were dingy. The carpet was dirty....obviously a long standing unit that had served many people in the past. The couches were vintage at best. Definately not the sort of thing you want to look at while pondering your child's life existance. Perhaps someday, they will make a change to a brighter, more cheery sort of room for these sort of things. My parents were with us. They came to offer support. I walked the halls with my mom. She did her best to distract me. Walking past the unit and Lynn, our nurse, emerged. "Dr. Ponsky wants you to know that when they opened Gavin up, he found no signs of NEC. Surgery should be complete in about 30 minutes and he will be out to talk with you"

Answered prayer will always shut your doubting heart up. It was silenced in a moments notice. This God of mine. He was there. He was there all along. He heard me. He heard my anger. He heard my fears. He heard OUR prayers. It was as if he placed his hand on my shoulders in that moment and said "walk with me!" I will confess to you in this moment, here today, I am not sure I will ever doubt again because my God....he proved me wrong! He proved to me that even when I am at my darkest point and feeling no way out....he is there. He hears me and he walks with me.

The surgeon emerged with his report of a double bowel perforation. He had performed an illeostomy on Gavin and he would have an ostomy bag for several months. They could not consider putting his intestines back together until he reached, at minimum, 2 Kilos. I know hospital jargan...but for those of us who need lay terminology, that is roughly 4 1/2 lbs. Gavin had a lot of growing to do now. He had to grow and get strong. The next few days would be touch and go. He could begin feeds 10 days after surgery and it would be a slow process. With that brief explaination, he departed from our presence. Answered prayers. That's all I could say in that moment. Answered prayers.

We left shortly after surgery. We had been in the same clothes now for close to 36 hours and truly we did not look nor smell desirable. Gavin was resting and would continue to do so with the help of pain medication. God was with him and we knew it. We left in peace and with peace in our hearts that he was surely a fighter and we needed to fight with him.

It was on the car ride home that day that we learned of Makenna's birth. She had been born early in the morning to our friends Scott and Beth. They tried for hours with no success to have her on the 10th....but the Lord had plans for Makenna too. She was destined for September 11. Gavin was destined for September 11 too. After showering we stopped at the hospital. We rejoiced with Scott and Beth and admired their bundle of joy!

So, today, this September 11 we remember a lot of things. We remember those who so valiantly fought to save lives in buildings as they crashed to the ground. We remember those people who fearlessly gave their lives. We remember their families. We rejoice with Makenna and celebrate her 1st birthday. We celebrate with Gavin as our journey continues. We continue our walk with the Lord. The road is bright before us and as they say....the future is so gotta wear shades. I have my shades, do you have yours??? Today I want you to remember the word Baptism. The day we are born anew into the body of Christ. A day of celebration for sure!

Peace and Love-
Colin, Juanita, Ian, Brooke and Gavin

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