November is a month for awareness, the big one being breast cancer. Several of my Facebook friends have changed their pictures to have the pink breast cancer awareness ribbon; others have tinted theirs pink. November is also the month for prematurity awareness, and its color is purple. Premature birth is one of the major causes of death and problems after birth.
Premature birth is not just an abstract for us; Namine was born four weeks early. Of course, we had a lot more to worry about than your average family expecting a child, but the premature birth complicated matters further. With her extra tiny size, they probably would not have been able to operate on her heart. (As it turned out, it was a non-issue; Namine’s heart was strong enough to support her for another two weeks before needing that first operation.)
I remember the day of Namine’s birth and almost frantic baptism with perfect clarity. It is, though bittersweet, one of the memories I keep closest to my heart. It was not the calm scene of a pastor baptising a child in church; she was surrounded by doctors, trying to get a breathing tube down to her lungs, to keep her alive. I stood there, crowded, terrified, barely able to think the words of baptism. The doctors did not expect her to survive. Did I dare to think God would allow her to live? Shaking, I dipped my fingers in the water, not even able to say the words. I thought the words, crying and hoping – praying – that God would understand my silence and see His new daughter.
Namine is healthier now – by an almost immeasurable amount, judging by her prognosis at birth – and we are thankful for every day. What she faced, and still faces, is not something any one person could face alone. But together, we are stronger. With each other to lean on, we can get through anything.