Eight years ago today, on a day very similar to this cold, wet, spring day, I was in a hospital room awaiting the birth of our son, Ian. He was born early at 32 weeks.
We had excitedly gone to my ultrasound in January to find out if we were having a boy (I knew we were) or a girl. We found out almost immediately, we were having a son! Then the ultrasound tech grew uncomfortably quiet. Almost two year old Katryn, somehow knowingly, hopped down from Eric's lap and held my hand. Eric and I just looked at each other. A doctor came in, looked closely at the ultrasound and explained to us that our sweet baby that was happily kicking in my womb, had Holoprosencephaly (HPE). After much explanation, we were told, he likely would not live much longer. To say my world just stopped, would be an understatement.
Over the next few weeks, Eric and I became literal experts on HPE and quite frankly could have given a medical school discourse on the subject. Acquiring the knowledge only reaffirmed what we had been told. Our time was, in all likelihood, short with Ian.
The previous few days in that April of 2003, I had been full of inexplicable anxiety and a strong desire for more family to be with us, so I asked my mom if she could come out to visit. Her work told her if she took her vacation then, she would not be allowed time when our baby was due to be born. We asked my mother-in-law. She was told the same thing. My dad was working and it would be very difficult for him to get someone to cover his shifts. My father-in-law agreed to come the next day (the 15th). I was feeling a bit foolish about my anxiety and strong desire to have someone else out to help, but he was happy to come. Two hours after his arrival, my water broke. We left Katryn with a bewildered Papa and left to the hospital. :-)
My wonderful doctor, Ranjan Dasgupta, had asked a particularly special nurse to assist us, Ruth Micari. Both Eric and I commented how much Ruth reminded us of his mom, both in looks and demeanor. Such a blessing. Unbeknownst to us at the time and we didn't find out until many months later, the previous year, Ruth had been in labor at the same hospital and had birthed and lost a son, Michael. She was a literal Godsend. All the right words.
I went into labor around 5 pm and sweet Ian Bradford was born after a tightly wrapped cord scare, at 5:40pm, 3lbs 5oz, and 17 inches. Eric and I were blessed to spend the next two hours, holding him and singing to him. Two hours. Too short of course but a precious and literal miracle to be sure.
Although eight years have passed, Ian is in my daily thoughts. I am so grateful to God that Eric and I shared those fleeting moments of Ian's life and that because of His Son's sacrifice and resurrection, our family will be together again someday. I'm forever changed.
A couple of months after Ian's birth, while riding the train alone, this poem and many tears literally poured out of me in just a few minutes.