Friday, February 17, 2006
DO YOU SMELL THAT?
A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. She was still groggy from surgery. Her husband, David, held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news.
That afternoon of March 10, 1991, complications had forced Diana, only 24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency Cesarean to deliver the couple's new daughter, Dana Lu Blessing. At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature.
Still, the doctor's soft words dropped like bombs. "I don't think she's going to make it," he said, as kindly as he could. "There's only a 10-percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one."
Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Dana would likely face if she survived. She would never walk, she would never talk, she would probably be blind, and she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation, and on and on.
"No! No!" was all Diana could say. She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamedof the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four. Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away. But as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana. Because Dana's underdeveloped nervous system was essentially 'raw', the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort, so they couldn't even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love. All they could do, as Dana struggled alone beneath the ultraviolet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl.
There was never a moment when Dana suddenly grew stronger. But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there. At last, when Dana turned two months old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time. And two months later, though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life were next to zero, Dana went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted.
Five years later, when Dana was a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. She showed no signs whatsoever of any mental or physical impairment. Simply, she was everything a little girl can be and more.
But that happy ending is far from the end of her story. One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Dana was sitting in her mother's lap in the bleachers of a local ball park where her brother Dustin's baseball team was practicing. As always, Dana was chattering nonstop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent. Hugging her arms across her chest, little Dana asked, "Do you smell that?"
Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, "Yes, it smells like rain." Dana closed her eyes and again asked, "Do you smell that?" Once again, her mother replied, "Yes, I think we're about to get wet. It smells like rain."
Still caught in the moment, Dana shook her head, patted her thinshoulders with her small hands and loudly announced, "No, it smells like Him.It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest."
Tears blurred Diana's eyes as Dana happily hopped down to play with the other children. Before the rains came, her daughter's words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along. During those long days and nights of her first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Dana on His chest and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.
And it's not too late to join the guild! :) Please send your $25 to:
Mighty Maxwell Guild
3204 Illinois Lane
Bellingham, WA 98226
If you have any questions, please call Treasury of Memories at 360-715-3125 or me at 360-527-0744. Thanks everyone!
Thursday, February 16, 2006
She told me about a recent dream she had and it brought joyful tears to my eyes. She says she rarely dreams about her patients but the few she has, the dreams always come true. Well she recently dreamed about Maxwell as a toddler and he was running around my backyard in his jeans and white tshirt...all smiley and happy. Isn't that wonderful!?! Such a wonderful vision to have of our sweet lil' Maxwell!
Tomorrow will also be very fun because Max's grandparents (my parents in WV) are coming in town!!! He hasn't seen his "Papa & Grandma" since before heart surgery when he was intubated, heavily sedated and quite simply, not looking or feeling good at all. They are going to be blown away with how great he looks!!! YAY!!! I am soooooooooooooo excited about showing him off!!!
How adorable am I all cuddled up in my bunny suit? Yes, it's a little embarrassing but it does keep me very warm!!!
Mom, Aunt Eliz, my cousins, and I took a walk to the local playground earlier this week. Of course I couldn't play on it quite yet, but Mom and I enjoyed just cuddling together and watching everyone have fun. Minus the O2 backpack on Mom, the monitor sitting beside us and my oxygen tubing, and you can barely tell me apart from all the other kiddos! :)
I am just starting to enjoy this bouncy seat...I love all the lights! But all this playing can really wear out a lil' boy!
Here I am playing with yet ANOTHER new toy...yay! We now have a toy like this for about every room in the house. Mom has enough equipment to move around for me that we can't always be moving around my toys too. YAY for me...lots of different toys...so fun! She convinces herself that the variety and amount of toys is very important for my therapy...makes her feel less guilty for spending so much money! Therapy or not, I enjoy all the toys! Yes I know, I'm a bit spoiled, but don't you think I'm worth it??? :)
Here I am with my adorable older cousin, Jackson. I am doing my favorite thing...blowing bubbles!
I finally got to spend Valentine's Day with the love of my life...Mighty Max! :) While some women might expect flowers and chocolate, all I need is some snuggle time with my lil' miracle and all was well.
Actually that night was a little eventful and for once it wasn't Max causing the chaos. I made dinner for Eliz and Jim, and Thomas (Max's 6 month old cousin) was on the floor and swallowed something...we weren't sure at first but he was acting very differently and vomited several times. The doctor instructed them to take him to the E.R., and sure enough Eliz's mommy intuition was right on...something was in the back of his throat and they said it could have been very dangerous if they hadn't brought him in. Whew...we were so relieved when everything was ok.
Jackson stayed with me when they went to the hospital and that was quite a hoot. I have a new appreciation of moms of multiple children...especially if one has special needs!!! I was trying to give Max all of his nightly care (medicines, inhalers, etc.) and Jackson insisted he wanted my complete attention at the same time. Not very easy with all that has to be done with Max...eeks!
Finally Jackson agreed to help me give Max a bath and immediately he said, "Amy, look at Max's big boo boo. He needs a really, really big band aid for that." He was of course referring to the scar from heart surgery, but how do you explain heart surgery to a three year old? Then he was asking about his GTube button...and again how do you explain that your baby eats directly into his stomach. I tried but Jackson thought I was kidding and started laughing. Not sure if he really is ready for that medical lesson yet!
Then I was rocking Max and trying to get him to go to sleep and Jackson thought it would be a great idea to read us some stories. But each time I would sit down with Max and untangle all of the wires, Jackson would want me to get back up and get another book. Well getting up and down with Max and his equipment is not all that easy sometimes! Finally the oximeter fell and I tried to get Jackson to silence it and he pressed the wrong button and it went all weird...anyway, you get the picture. We were quite a comical sight!!! :) I absolutely adore my nephew Jackson and can't wait until Max is bigger and stronger and they can play together! He will teach him so much! That will be sooooo exciting! The three of them are going to get into lots of trouble together someday...I cannot wait!
I finally got them both to sleep and all was well...but what an evening! :)