Today is our grandson Samuel’s first birthday. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that this chunky, happy, healthy, playful, sturdy little pumpkin weighed in at 1 pound 8.5 oz. just one year ago today …a micro preemie with translucent skin who looked more like a sci-fi ultrasound come to life than a viable newborn. Samuel means “Asked of God.” Hannah testified: “For this child I prayed,
and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him” (1 Samuel 1:27).
That was the cry of our hearts—most of all Daniel and Brianna’s—for five years. I think sometimes God makes us wait a long time
for things He knows will be very hard, so that when the going is super challenging, we’ll remember that we asked for it. 🙂 But what a wonderful gift Baby Samuel has been for all of us! Last weekend was the joint celebration for our son Daniel’s 30th birthday and Samuel’s 1st birthday, and we had SO. MUCH. FUN! There were lots of family and friends, lots of yummy food, and lots of presents. Every child is precious, and every birthday is special, but I think the harder to come by, the more we appreciate the miracle of life and health. This Thanksgiving, I am just bursting with praise to God, who has blessed us with such an abundance of good things, best of all grace— the wondrous mercy that enables us to persevere through the ebb and flow of life’s joys and tribulations.
“God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work…Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God… Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:8,11,15).
Posted in Around home, Baby Pictures, Family News, Grandchildren, Health Issues, Memoirs, Premature Baby's Journey: Samuel, Thankfulness
Tagged 11, 15, 2 Corinthians 9:8, Baby Samuel's First Birthday, Micro preemie's journey to health, Praising God for healthy children
This is Labor Day in America, but no matter where you live, I hope you have a really happy, restful day! Stephen and Joel are both out east in grad school today,
so Alan and I are celebrating without any of our children…a first in 40 years. I was thinking back to past Labor Days and all the fun we’ve had over the years. God has been so merciful and kind in my family’s life! This year our little miracle man preemie is alive & not just doing well, but great! I was working on a post about our “Roots Tour” stop with Jon’s family at Jilbert Dairy in Marquette and realized our family pretty much makes our own “Brown Cow” sundaes now (which was our favorite sundae at Jilbert’s from 25 years ago). I think Daniel may have even improved the recipe some! (Here’s a picture of Dan’s Brown Cow creation from Labor Day a few years ago.) At any rate, reminiscing about Jilbert’s and past Labor Days made me feel deeply grateful to God, who is the author of every blessing and the source of my rest. It is my prayer that both you and I find our rest, comfort, and joy in God today. My soul finds rest in God alone (Psalm 62)
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.”
(The picture of Samuel is by permission of his mom, Brianna. The Labor Day flag greeting is from the internet…”Thank you, whoever made it!” The rest are mine.)
Yesterday I mentioned that Brianna (and my son, Daniel) served as photographers for a wedding last weekend, but today I want to share a precious story that Brianna wrote last week. Those of you who know our family well have heard many stories about Samuel, their little miracle baby who was born at 27.5 weeks and had a huge struggle for survival. He is now so round and sturdy that he reminds me of a little Winston Churchill (only immeasurably sweeter in disposition). But, without further ado, I’ll share what she wrote: “364 days ago, I was eagerly anticipating/anxiously awaiting my first ‘normal’ pregnancy appointment ever… hoping to hear our baby’s heartbeat at the 10 week check-up, but scared that there wouldn’t be one. That same week, I watched the lilies fade in my backyard and wondered what would happen to the lone one that lay fallen over on the ground, unopened. The morning of my appointment, it blossomed in the dirt. My very favorite flower in the whole world- a stargazer. Daniel and I were delighted. “I sometimes struggle with trusting that the Lord’s plan is good, even when it’s hard. What a sweet reminder from our Creator. This morning the stargazer gave us this year’s bloom.
“‘And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?…’
‘Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?’
– Matthew 6:27-30″
Well, who do you suppose has come home in time for dinner? Samuel came through his surgery with flying colors, so somebody lent him a cap and gown& the doctor approved his discharge without any oxygen, tubes, or extra “stuff!” So, Daniel and Brianna just whisked him away to their home, sweet, home, and little Samuel is a bonafide NICU graduate and glad to be home body!
I was so excited that I couldn’t wait until next Saturday to share the good news!
Thank you once again for your prayers, love, and concern during this journey!!!
“But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.” (Psalm 59:16)
(P.S.—Starting next Saturday, Lord willing, I may start sharing from a book I wrote called Bless Your Baby, which will give weekly ideas for how to be a blessing to babies during their first year of life.)
Good things have been happening in Samuel’s tiny world. Here’s what Brianna shared last Tuesday: “Word on the street is that Samuel’s eyes are ‘mature.’ He will have an outpatient follow-up exam in two weeks to verify. Considering how extensive his disease had become, this is remarkable news! Thanks for the many prayers on behalf of the little man. Thank you Lord for answering with a ‘yes’.” Because Samuel’s eye exam went so well, he had surgery on Wednesday to repair his inguinal hernias. Here are a few “family photos” from the last time we saw him before surgery. Brianna and Dan have been real troopers throughout this whole ordeal! This is Brianna comforting Sammy before he was prepared for surgery. He’s gotten quite attached to his pacifier! Ready to roll? His surgery went very well, and recovery has been so rapid that there’s talk of his being able to go home this weekend! It may be that we’re close to the end of Baby Samuel’s scary hospital journey! Wouldn’t that be nice!So, Samuel and his traveling buddy, D.J., are both safely home, but we’ve connected with yet another preemie family. Tiny Elin Faith was born just a couple of weeks ago at 24 weeks and 15 oz. So far, she’s hanging tough. Here are her mom and 3 older sisters, who (along with their daddy) are also trying to hang tough. If you have any interest in following Elin’s progress or praying for her, her family is posting on Facebook under “Elin Faith Updates,” and they welcome you to follow there.
“O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.” (Psalm 34:3)
Alan and I just celebrated our 42nd anniversary, and it was especially happy and special for us because our anniversary was the due date for little Samuel, although—as you probably know—he was born 13 weeks early, back in November after Brianna had an emergency C-section due to a dangerous pre-eclampsia. Here Samuel is on Thanksgiving Day, and I was thinking about just how much has happened in the past 13 weeks, and how much he’s changed. Here he is on November 30, after Brianna had recovered enough to love him up. By December 1, he was allowed to go from a ventilator to a C-PAP, although the next week he developed pneumonia. Poor Baby Samuel was hooked up and wired every which way! 😦 By Christmas Day he was beginning to recover, but life was still really tough. By New Year’s Day, we were all beginning to feel very hopeful that he’d survive. However, then Sammy started developing eye problems, and eventually it was decided that he needed to be transferred from his NICU to a more specialized children’s hospital in case he needed eye surgery. Thankfully, his eyes have been improving (although they’re still at risk), but now he has inguinal hernias that will need to be surgically repaired before he can go home. If all goes well, they’re hoping to be able to operate by the end of next week. If Samuel had been born at 40 weeks, he might weigh over 8 pounds today, the way his daddy did when he was born, but with all his extra struggles, we’re just delighted that he’s passed the 5# mark!
(Dan and Sam are starting to relax and have some fun together!)Last Saturday, Brianna’s sisters threw a wonderful baby shower for her. We had tons of fun, and Brianna got tons of presents, toys, clothing, and stuff one needs to take care of a baby, so now all Sammy has to do is grow enough to fit into his new clothes! Well, I guess he will also have to endure and recover from his hernia repairs, learn to eat and breathe well enough…so lots of challenges yet.But, the doctors are encouraging us that if all goes well, he’ll be able to go home in 2+ weeks. We’re not crossing our fingers, but we’re all praying it will be soon!
By the way, if you’re willing, there’s now a new baby in the NICU: “Elin Faith Gillis was born on 2/12/15 at 12:13pm after a placental abruption and rupture of membranes. She was 24 weeks and 2 days. She is being treated at the Helen Devos Children’s hospital in Grand Rapids. She is 15oz. Her due date was June 2nd.” Thank you!
“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” (Malachi 4:2)