Thursday, September 9, 2010

Seven Years

We were posted to Kazakhstan when Aidan was born. When he was about 6 months old, we flew to the States to get him baptized. During the course of the ceremony, the priest asked what we wanted to ask of God for Aidan. We both responded at the same time: good health.

Ironic then, that he grew ill the next day. He appeared to have an ear infection of some kind, and so we took him to the doctor in nearby Cooperstown, NY. "There's something wrong with his head," she told us bluntly, "He needs to be seen by a neurologist."

And so it was that we went from having a perfectly healthy, if somewhat skinny, baby boy to having a boy we feared might die.

We flew to Washington instead of returning to Kazakhstan. Aidan was admitted to Children's Hospital in DC, where he was examined by neurologists and neurosurgeons, nutritionists and genetic disease specialists, all looking for a reason for his sickness. I wrote about it some years ago: click here if you want more details.

They were concerned about all sorts of things: his brain, his skull, his stomach... I stopped nursing him so they could measure every ounce of food he took in. They talked about feeding tubes and IV lines as they weighed and measured him every day. And through it all, I prayed, and prayed, and prayed some more. I was so afraid that we were going to lose him. All around me I saw other mothers who were in the process of losing their babies: to cancer, and kidney ailments, and other awful things that were just no fair at all. So I knew, really knew, for the first time ever, that I could lose him, that there was no guarantee I'd get to see him grow up.

But we were lucky. His problem was caught in time, and he got better. We asked for good health during his baptism, and it took awhile, but we got it. He's a regular, healthy little guy now, with no idea at all how badly he frightened his mom and dad.

Still, I think about it sometimes. When I watch him sleep I remember those nights in the hospital. Whenever we return to that church in New York, and I hear the priest talk, I'm transported back to that baptism day, and I get choked up every time, remembering.

Why am I bringing this up now? Well, it's his birthday. As I decorate his cake and wrap his gifts, I am just so grateful to have him in my life. He's funny and kind, with an infectious laugh that draws people to him. He's smart, and strong, and beautiful. He's healthy, too. Thank God for that. He's healthy.

Happy birthday Aidan.


Elaine said... [Reply]

I finally realized I would never, ever forget those experiences (NICU, CCU, PICU, Surgical Waiting Room... etc.)...and perhaps it's not such a bad thing. We never stop being grateful for that most ordinary of things: a normal day. Our elder child did not achieve perfect health, but we learned not to let Chronic Illness sit at the head of the table. In November, we'll travel to her home and celebrate her 30th (!) but it still takes just one whiff of Hibiclens to transport me back to One South, the NICU.

I'll Take Mine... said... [Reply]

Happy birthday to Aidan. What a touching post. And your article in the WP made me cry. Thank God for his good health. Have a great birthday celebration.

FSO Hopeful said... [Reply]

عيد ميلاد سعيدا

A Daring Adventure said... [Reply]

Happy Birthday, Aidan!

And - oh my heavens, Donna. What an emotionally painful experience.

Erin G said... [Reply]

this just brought back a flood of my own memories when my son Nathan (now 3) was hospitalized at 7 months for sudden and rapid weight loss. He's fine now. And what a relief. I think about it every year, and I can understand why you relive the blessing of Aidan all the time!

Happy birthday Aidan! :)

Erin G said... [Reply]

and I just read your Post article and it brought back all the same tears (no nursing, you have to measure everything that goes in!) because of my own fear that my milk had caused the problem in my son too. Wow. I don't think I was ready for this emotional roller coaster today!

So glad to read Aidan's story though. :)

Bfiles said... [Reply]

happy birthday to your precious boy. What a story. So glad he is happy and healthy now.

Bfiles said... [Reply]

happy birthday to your precious boy. What a story. So glad he is happy and healthy now.

Connie said... [Reply]

Happy, Happy Birthday Aiden!!

And hugs to you for all that you've gone through to reach this day. It is so hard when our children are sick, esp. when they are sick enough to involve a hospital (and yes, Children's hospital is a beautiful place. The staff are amazing!) Aiden might not remember any of it, but I know you will never forget.

Kami said... [Reply]

Just further proof that our kids birthdays are really more for us than for them...happy bday, Aidan. You're a lucky guy to have such awesome parents. And Donna, you're a lucky lady to have such a great 7 year old kid.

Jill said... [Reply]

Happy birthday Aidan!

Please. Write your own stuff.