Sunday, August 05, 2012

Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles

It's hard to believe that Benjamin is two months old—he was born the first Sunday in June and tomorrow is the first Sunday in August. The first Sunday of the month is a relatively important day in our religion because it's Fast Sunday, a day when members of the church all over the world join together in fasting and prayer.

I can't even begin to say how blessed I feel that Benjamin was born, of all Sundays, on a fast Sunday, and that his problematic birth story began early enough in the day that by the time he was born we had literally hundreds of people fasting and praying for a miracle—not only our own ward family, but also my parents' ward, Reid and Karen's BYU ward, various friends and family members, and the entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir (my mom's coworker Janet sings with the choir and asked that they keep me and Benjamin in their prayers that day—and when they had their group prayer, before beginning the Music and the Spoken Word program, they prayed for us then).

Benjamin's birth, though still shocking and traumatic for our family, was completely uncomplicated. He was born about as big and healthy as he could have been, given the circumstances. We had a wonderful team of doctors and nurses (and every other medical professional title in between) making sure everything ran smoothly—they were prepared for every imaginable situation and did a great job intubating Benjamin and shipping him off to the NICU.

I really didn't want Benjamin to be taken away in that ambulance. (Note to self: Next time I'm in pre-term labour, be sure to go to a hospital with a NICU. Duh.) I really wanted him to magically start breathing on his own and be stable enough to stay in the regular nursery at American Fork Hospital. I wanted him to be healthy enough to come home in just a couple of weeks, like the doctor projected he would. But that's not the miracle I got.

Instead we got to spend the next five weeks in the NICU where we'd watch our sweet son struggle to do things like eat and breathe and stay alive. We were surrounded by nurses and doctors and therapists who all were doing their best to help Benjamin get strong enough to come home.

Those five weeks were kind of a blur.

My mom hit it right on the head today when she said she felt that we needed to celebrate (she threw me a baby shower today) because everything about his birth was just so weird. It was like I had the baby, but I didn't really have the baby, but then when I had the baby it was like old news that he was here. I mean, what do you say to someone who has a sick baby in the NICU...congratulations? It was nice to get to celebrate his birth today when everything was happy and right with him.

Anyway, those five weeks were kind of a blur. It was certainly a trial that I didn't want. It's a trial that I wouldn't wish on anybody. But it was a beautiful trial. A baby's birth is always a miraculous thing, but every baby in the NICU is something a little more than a miracle. I got to hear so many amazing stories of courage and strength. I got to watch women and families go through similar things that we were facing and it helped get through it all. We were buoyed up and supported by our families and our wards. And somehow we made it through this trial that, truly, I don't think we would have or could gotten through on our own.

At baptism we take upon ourselves the name of Christ and covenant to "bear one another's burdens, that they may be mourn with those that comfort those that stand in need of comfort...and to stand as witnesses of God."

That was my miracle—that so many people surrounding us (both here at home and all over the world) were willing to help bear our burden, to mourn with us, to comfort us, and to remind us to have faith.

We had meal after meal after meal brought to our home. Our children were farmed out to neighbours, friends, and family to be cared for when we could not. Multiple priesthood blessings were given, in addition to hundreds and thousands of prayers being offered on our behalf—both by those of our faith and those not of our faith. Letters of encouragement were written. Phone calls were received. Neighbours called on us just to make sure we were alright. People drove me to the hospital when Andrew could not. My mom sat with me at the hospital when Andrew could not so I rarely had to be alone with scary, fragile Benjamin. Gifts were dropped off. Cards were mailed. Facebook status updates were liked by dozens. Hope was given. Hugs were offered. And every little bit of it added up to be one great big miracle in my life.

Not having to worry about dinner, not having to worry about Rachel and Miriam, knowing that no one was going to let me face this on my own—that all helped make my burden light.

If you were part of that miracle, thank you. Thank you for not letting me do this on my own. Thank you for being my angels.

For me, it is quite unimportant what your beliefs are—I truly believe that all should be able to worship how, where, and what they may—and I wanted my friends who don't share my faith to know that you were part of my miracle as much as anybody. I believe that every good thing comes from God (even if you don't believe in him, I do) and I appreciate the thoughts and prayers from my friends in the Muslim corner of the world, and from my Jewish friends, and from my Christian friends, and from all of my friends and family.

My cousin's baby is still in the NICU (has been since June 17)—she goes into surgery on Monday to reconnect her small intestine (she has Cystic Fibrosis and when she was born she had some intestinal blockage and part of her intestine had died and so she had to have surgery to take the bad part out and now she needs surgery to put it back together). Anyway, I think her story is pretty amazing, too. My cousin hasn't gone to church in years. In fact, she's never gone to her current ward—and she's lived in that ward for more than a decade—but when her mom told her that her family was burned out and that she needed to get some outside help and suggested that she call her Relief Society president, she did! And her ward has stepped up to the plate and has gotten busy bringing in meals, arranging childcare for her other children and are taking care of things at the house while she and her husband are busy making the forty minute commute to see their baby girl.

If you have time to say a little prayer for their sweet family, please do. Because prayers don't go unanswered and just knowing that people are praying for you helps make your burden lighter.


  1. This is such a beautiful post - so nicely written, generous, full of grace. To be able to take part in your story makes me feel very blessed, and you are so right: this is a wonderful miracle - the support, the prayers, the faith, and your amazing little baby boy! Did you know that there's even a little candle lit in St. Peter's cathedral in the Vatican for Benjamin? This might be food for conversation one day if he ever meets a Catholic friend :)

  2. I loved this post. You captured everything I've felt before and expressed it much more eloquently than I even could. After my hospital stay and Martin's NICU journey, I have such a firm knowledge of the power of prayer.

    I'll be sure to include your cousin's baby in my prayers.

  3. I agree! You brought me to tears. The power of prayer is amazing!

  4. You are so eloquent with your words- speaking (writing) how you feel so it is understood and taken to heart by so many!

    I'm so glad you have been able to have the chance to celebrate Benjamin's birth and arrival home. You all deserve this happiness!

    Blessings to you and your family.

  5. It is a miracle! Glad everything is going great.

  6. For me, the most powerful part of your post was when you said, "That's not the miracle I got." So often we think that just because the miracle we desired didn't come through, God doesn't love us or doesn't answer our prayers. But He, in His infinite grace, gives us the miracle that we need. Bless you for your faith and testimony, Nancy, and for seeing the miracles in every part of your experience.