Much has happened since my last actual post...we took a trip to Fort Caswell with our Youth...I got another tattoo...and Oliver was born.
Just so you know...Oliver is not mine, but he is my sister's nephew. And his being has been a significant part of my thoughts for the last several weeks.
Several months ago my sister sent me a text...I don't remember the exact words...but I do remember her telling me that they believed that her nephew to be born had a heart condition. I found out later that it was also determined that he has Down's Syndrome. He was to be born on March 19th at Chapel Hill where they were expecting to do immediate surgery to put a shunt into his heart to "fix" it.
Let it be noted that I think Oliver already has a mind of his own...
On Saturday, February 23 my sister called to tell me that her nephew had been born...not at Chapel Hill, but in Wilmington (where his family lives). Her sister-in-law had gone into labor late on Friday night and had him very quickly early in the morning on Saturday. Also, he was to have been born by C-Section because his older sister was delivered in that way...but he couldn't wait to be part of this world and he was delivered "the old fashioned way". It took the doctors a while to get him stable, but soon...he was OKish.
For almost 4 weeks he was in the NICU at a hospital in Wilmington and they were hoping to put off his heart surgery until he was 6-9 months old. They even prepared to take him home...ironically on March 20th (the day after he was to have been born)...but his condition changed and he was airlifted to Chapel Hill, where he underwent open heart surgery on March 21st.
His recovery has been up and down since then...mostly down. It's been heartbreaking to hear from my sister and to read Oliver's dad's blog regarding his condition. The thing they most feared was that he would have to have a second surgery...which he did, yesterday.
Prior to that, Oliver's mother was given a gift...the opportunity to hold her sweet baby on Monday for the first time since his surgery on the 21st. As a mother, I can't imagine watching my child, day in & day out...knowing that he is hurting...and knowing that I can't cuddle him to me to try to soothe his pain. But for an hour on Monday, his mother had the opportunity to do just that...to hold him and love on him. My sister sent me the picture...the joy was evident on his mother's face.
The last news that I got from my sister was that Oliver was stable & that his stats after this surgery compared to the first surgery are much better. This is encouraging...and give us all what we need most in the midst of this...hope.
I have tried to understand how my heart has become so involved in this little life that is in no way related to me. I have cried and cried over him...prayed and begged God to be with him and his parents. I know that part of it is compassion...and I'm not an uncompassionate person. But at the same time, I'm also not the one to be found weeping over people so far removed from me.
I just know that God has burdened me to pray over this little life. I began to think about the prayers I have lifted up in the past...and I honestly am not sure I've ever prayed so consistently and so passionately for anything in my life.
Which may just be what God wants from me in all of this.
I have been humbled & amazed to see how God is answering prayers for Oliver. One of my specific prayers was that his parents be given some kind of hope...something to hold on to in the midst of his ever changing condition...something that they could believe in. I truly feel that God answered that prayer on Monday when his mother was allowed to hold him. For an hour on Monday, Oliver was not just a sick little baby...he was his mother's child. Just being able to hold him had to inject some hope that this was all going to be OK. I have also been encouraged by the news of his bettering condition.
And I know that this all must be God's loving touch on Oliver's little body.
I don't know what the next few days holds for this baby...but I'm praying & believing that this second surgery is what was needed to improve him...and to allow his parents to bring him home...to bring their little family back together.