Thursday, April 20, 2006
"Elijah’s Gift," by Ellen Hsu
We were so happy when we learned you were coming. We had decided to share our family with another person and were delighted to learn of your “forthcoming” arrival. We told all of our family and friends about you and made plans for you join us. We wanted and planned for you from the very beginning.
At our 20-week ultrasound the doctors were a bit worried about something they saw. So we scheduled an appointment with a specialist and asked our friends to pray for you. When the technician performed the level-2 ultrasound I marveled at you. I could see you so clearly and I loved you immensely. After awhile the technician left and said that the doctor would come in soon. Your Papa arrived while I was waiting. The doctor spent a long time looking at your images while your Papa and I talked about how wonderful it was to “see” you.
We were astounded when the doctor said, “There is definitely something wrong with this baby.” My eyes immediately welled up with tears while the doctor gave us a long list of “abnormalities.” He told us that he suspected that you had Trisomy 13 or 18, conditions that usually cause disfigurement and death within the first year. We had an amniocentesis so that we would have at least some idea of what to expect. Would we plan for a birthday or a death, a celebration or a funeral?
The results of the amniocentesis took awhile to arrive, and we spent the intervening time preparing for the worst and praying for the best. We recruited a group of friends and family to pray for you and for our family. When the doctor called and told us that you have Down syndrome (Trisomy 21), we were relieved and thankful because chances were good that you could have a long, happy and healthy life.
The remainder of the pregnancy was not easy. You didn’t grow as fast as you were supposed to and you frequently became so still within me that I would go in for non-stress tests to make sure you were okay. On the morning of April 8, 2005 I went in for a routine exam with the maternal health specialist. We were at exactly 37 weeks, full term. The doctor was concerned about your slowing growth and limited movement. He decided that it was time for you to be born!
I called your Papa at work and told him that instead of going on a lunch date, as we had planned, we were going to have a baby. You were born at 12:39 p.m. weighing 4 lbs. 7 oz. You were in good enough health that they let Papa hold you and take some pictures before whisking you away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). You needed an oxygen hood, so I couldn’t hold you for awhile. I was so happy when they finally put you in my arms. You stayed in the NICU for about two and half weeks. I stayed with you during the day and then went home to be with Josiah in the evening. I wasn’t able to hold you as often as I wanted to, but I would sit by your bed and read so that I could be near you. It was wonderful when we finally brought you home.
And now you are already turning one year old! It’s surprising how quickly the time has passed. The past year has been filled with high and low moments, medical and therapy appointments, milestones reached and new friends made. God has answered many of our prayers for your health and I am so thankful. Because of you we’ve made new friends, learned new things and experienced God’s grace in new ways.
Elijah, you are a gift from God and I am so glad that you are my son. I love you now even more than I did when I first saw your image on the ultrasound and I am immensely proud of you. I love your smile and laugh and I am proud of how hard you work at your therapy. I am thankful for your good health (and your good sleep habits). Everyone who meets you falls in love with you and you bring our family great joy. “God gave us you,” and I wouldn’t trade you for the world!
As we celebrate your first birthday, we thank God for you and for God’s work in your life so far. We pray that God will continue to bless you and keep you. We pray that God will smile upon you and bring you great joy that will spill out of your life and bless the people around you. We pray that you will have the courage to dream big dreams and that you will follow God all your life. We love you very, very much. And God loves you even more!