Yesterday was the scariest moment of my life, so far. I say so far because I’m only 21 years old, Will is my first child, and I have a long life ahead of me. I don’t doubt that there is more in store for our little family.
Ben and I had taken a trip to Rexburg on Friday in order to see our dog, and drop some things off, and pick up some things that we needed from our apartment. We were nervous to leave Will but my sister was able to stay with him for the day. We didn’t get back home until late Friday night, probably around midnight. We stopped by the hospital, said prayer and read scriptures with Will before we left. We said to each other “we are going to sleep in tomorrow and try to get some rest.” because this is the most sleep deprived we have ever been. We didn’t go to bed until late around 2am because we stayed with Will, talked with some nurses, and honestly didn’t want to leave him. 7am the next morning we got a call from Primary Children’s saying; “Will’s surgeons are concerned about his head and are wanting to take him down to the OR.” Ben and I haven’t showered in 2 days, we quickly grabbed some clothes we found off the floor and were at the hospital in a couple minutes. He was taken to the OR shortly after, the only reassuring thing helping me was the words from the anesthesiologist after I had asked him how they planned on putting the breathing tube in for Will. He said; “I will figure it out, that’s my job.” Ben walked with the doctors and Will down to the OR while I sat outside the NICU doors waiting for Ben to come back. As I sat there I remembered once when I was younger, I had meningitis and my parents rushed me to the ER. They had to do a spinal tab, which they put me to sleep for. My mom told me later how she needed to leave the room because she couldn’t see me the way I was in that hospital room.
Not many parents go through what Ben and I have from the moment Will was diagnosed at 23 weeks in my pregnancy. But that’s just it, this is our new normal. I didn’t wake up one day, look at Ben and say; “Let’s have a baby with medical problems.” of course not. This wasn’t something we chose, this is something that happened. Nothing caused this, it was no one’s fault. This is life, this is what we need to do, and we can’t compare our situation because its not like anyone else’s.
Ben and I are staying at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in Salt Lake. People donated money and built this house for families that go through many different things. A lot of families in this particular RMH have children at Primary Children’s Hospital, but they live far away like us. One morning I remember getting overwhelmed by the children I had seen. They have a community kitchen, and I was sitting at one table as Ben was getting our breakfast. I saw a mother grabbing some toast while her daughter sat in her stroller with a feeding tube down her nose. I saw a father helping his son play a game while his daughter sat in a wheel chair unable to control her movements with casts on both arms. I saw a mother sitting next to her son who sat in a wheelchair, a blanket draped over his legs, his head had no hair from his cancer treatments and I hear the mother say; “We are so excited for his bone marrow appointment next week!” If you never have to see your child in any kind of distress like this, get on your needs right now and thank Heavenly Father for the healthy child you have. I don’t know how many times I thanked Heavenly Father that Will is as healthy as he is.
“For reasons usually unknown, some people are born with physical limitations. Specific parts of the body may be abnormal. Regulatory systems may be out of balance. And all of our bodies are subject to disease and death. Nevertheless, the gift of a physical body is priceless. A perfect body is not required to achieve a divine destiny. In fact, some of the sweetest spirits are housed in frail frames. Eventually the time will come when each ‘spirit and … body shall be reunited again in … perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame’ (Alma 11:43). Then, thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can become perfected in Him.” -Elder Russell M. Nelson. Quoted from Ronald A. Rasband’s talk “Special Lessons.”
I have a personal belief that there isn’t always a cause for everything. I believe that William had the abnormality that he does simply because we live in an imperfect world, and have imperfect bodies. I know that Ben and I did nothing to cause this impairment to our son’s head. And because of this I ask myself why it had to be him, why we had to watch our baby suffer from an imperfect mind and body. And the answer I get every time I ask myself this is simply because this is an imperfect world, and we are all imperfect. As I watch Will battle the struggles and trails that his body gives him, I ask myself what an extraordinary, strong, wonderful spirit he is to push through his imperfections. He is only almost a month old, and he is the strongest person I know. My testimony of Christ has been strengthened every single day as I watch William overcome every single obstacle that is in his way. My testimony of the Atonement has never been stronger, as I am strengthened myself by Christ and many angels He sends our way. Jefferey R. Holland says; “there is help from both sides of the veil.” This is not the end! This is not what forever will be like.
“I testify of the holy Resurrection, that unspeakable cornerstone gift in the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ! With the Apostle Paul, I testify that that which was sown in corruption will one day be raised in incorruption and that which was sown in weakness will ultimately be raised in power. I bear witness of that day when loved ones whom we knew to have disabilities in mortality will stand before us glorified and grand, breathtakingly perfect in body and mind. What a thrilling moment that will be! I do not know whether we will be happier for ourselves that we have witnessed such a miracle or happier for them that they are fully perfect and finally “free at last.”12 Until that hour when Christ’s consummate gift is evident to us all, may we live by faith, hold fast to hope, and show “compassion one of another,” I pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” – Jeffery R. Holland, Like a Broken Vessel.
I also testify of the wonderful Atonement that has been made available to all of us from the selfless love of our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that Christ atoned for our sins, our afflictions and our sufferings. I know that as I stared at my son in fear, scared for him and what could happen to him Ben and I were not alone in that room. Christ was there and he was with us from the beginning. I know the love that God and Christ have for both Ben, me, and Will. I know that this is not the end, that we will one day be freed from heartache, suffering and pain. I know that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as saved me, has helped me, and has continued to strengthen me even when I feel there is nothing else I can do. Life is not easy, not for anyone, but continued faith in the Lord is what keeps us going to bigger and better things.