Friday, November 5, 2010

Baby Blessings

On Wednesday, my nephew experienced a miracle. At 10:17 a.m. he and his girlfriend welcomed a beautiful baby girl. And she is perfect in every way. She has gorgeous clear skin, blue eyes and just a ring of light fuzzy hair. She’s a good size and she has ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes. The only problem is, she isn’t perfectly healthy.

Little LA (her initials) was born with a two chambered heart. My nephew (B) and his girlfriend (J) knew that LA would be born with a heart defect. They did not know, however, how severe the heart defect would be. They were told there was a possibility that LA would have to be rushed into surgery immediately upon birth and that she would need a series of open heart surgeries throughout her life. And B and J were presented with the decision of whether they wanted to keep the baby.

The decision to abort a baby is a huge one, no matter the circumstance. I personally am pro-life and believe that abortion is never a choice no matter the circumstances. But I also know that my view is not universally shared. And B and J were in a tough position. B and J had only known each other a few weeks when J got pregnant. They are young (in their mid-twenties) and both have respectable but low paying jobs. B was far away from family, and their support group was small. Having a baby was going to be hard enough. Having a baby with heart problems requiring multiple surgeries over the course of years. . . .well, you could see how someone who doesn’t share my view on abortion might have a decision to make.

But despite their personal struggles, B and J never waivered on their decision to have little LA. To my knowledge, they never considered abortion and they publicly put their trust in God to help them through this challenge. And God responded. Upon learning of B’s situation, B’s employer gave him a raise – and health insurance coverage. J found a place for the three of them to live, and got it all prepared for baby. Friends threw them a baby shower and B and J received all sorts of things that will make welcoming LA home a little bit easier.

And then, LA was born. Thankfully, things were not worst case scenario for LA. She did not need to be rushed into surgery upon birth, and B and J got to hold her. But she was not fine either. A few hours after she was born, B and J were informed that LA was going to be life-flighted from the hospital in Austin where she was born to a hospital in Dallas for surgery. B called home to Michigan, told his parents, and asked his mom to help him.

B’s request for support was both understandable and heart breaking. I know how much I rely on my parents just to get through my every day life. I can’t imagine how much I would lean on them in a truly life-or-death situation with a newborn baby. But B’s parents – my husband’s brother and sister-in-law – have had their own share of struggles in recent years. They truthfully could not afford to go support B or see their baby granddaughter, even if that meant they might not ever see her alive.

But God answered. When we learned about the seriousness of LA’s situation, my other sister-in-law K and I started planning. K offered up her car and some serious cash so that B’s parents could drive to Texas and see LA. Given the timing of things, however, there was no way that B’s parents could make it to Texas before the surgery. Unwilling to take the chance that something bad happen in surgery and have B’s parent miss their opportunity forever, I reached out to my friends and asked for help. And the shower of support was nothing less than miraculous.

A partner at my firm told a friend about LA, and the friend immediately offered a buddy pass on American Airlines to get B’s mom to Texas. My friend from college’s partner who works for Southwest (and travels extensively on his buddy passes) offered a buddy pass on Southwest. And my dear friend from sixth grade pulled out all the stops and offered me four buddy passes on Frontier – enough to get B’s mom, dad, brother and sister to Texas all before LA’s surgery on Thursday morning. And when she ran into a technical difficulty getting the tickets at 10 pm last night, she called one of her friends, who gave us his buddy passes, no questions asked.

To say I am touched by this outpouring of generosity from friends and strangers alike is an understatement. Even thinking about it now almost brings me to tears. None of the people who offered to help had ever met B or his parents, or in some cases, even me. They gave openly and without hesitation because they wanted to help. They did something amazing just because they could. They were the kind of people I hope I can someday be for someone else.
I believe that every baby is a blessing. LA’s birth was a reminder of that. She, of course, is a blessing in and of herself. But her birth was also a reminder that baby blessings grow up. And they aren’t any less special just because they become big blessings. Thank you to all of the friends, family and strangers to who volunteered to help bring my brother in law’s family together this week. Your generous giving brought light into a dark situation and truly was a blessing.


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