Currently on this Thanksgiving Day, my two loves are napping. We all ate a lot at Jessica’s sister’s house, and are sufficiently full. I can’t nap – I get a migraine if I do. (As it is, I wake up every day with a headache. But enough of that. You’re here to read about Namine, not me.) So as I sit and reflect on the day and its meaning for me, I’d like to talk about what I’m thankful for.
I am thankful for, in a word, life. (Start small, right?) Giving birth to Namine nearly killed both my wife and my daughter. The C-section performed was screwed up badly by the hospital, and it took going to a completely different O/B doctor to recognize that Jessica needed three months of wound care post-delivery. Of course you probably know about Namine’s complications: the most immediate, when she was born, being the inability to breathe. Of course I am thankful for the doctors that rushed her off to save her; I am also thankful for the opportunity to baptize her. Not the ideal circumstance by any means, but most parents just watch their children get baptized. I am blessed to have participated.
I am thankful for Namine’s caudal regression. What a weird statement – but let me explain. Namine has double inlet left ventricle heart defect, and such a condition often requires immediate attention at birth. They certainly predicted that she would need to be rushed away to heart surgery immediately after birth, and even more so if she was born prematurely (which she was). But she didn’t need to be, because they didn’t account for the caudal regression. You see, its primary visible effect was her tiny legs. As a direct result of this, her heart didn’t need to pump as much blood – or work as hard. Namine’s cardiologist explained to us long after she was born that if not for the caudal regression, she might have died.
What a strange way for God to save her life! But she is alive, strong, and getting stronger every day.
How can I explain the love we have for our daughter? It is a fierce thing, almost a terrible thing. The first several months of her life, we lived in almost constant fear of death, her death. Through two heart surgeries, multiple transfusions, blood draws, measurements, two broken leg bones, a trach, a g-tube, and more, we were afraid, in a way, to love her. The line between life and death is such a thin boundary, such a small step into the abyss. Loving her now meant more pain if she died. But how could we help it? She is ours, all ours. As each day passes, we love her more. And we thank God for giving us our precious Namine, our little one, our miracle baby.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”