In the past week leading up to Matthew's birthday, we have been reflecting back over his journey thus far. Like a movie, I can still see the more dramatic scenes in my mind-- the on call pediatrician showing us his hands with no thumbs just hours after he was born, waiting for the neonatology rounds the mornings after the long nights at TCH, the radiologist telling us about his malrotated intestines, watching him scream bloody murder when he ate, the hours and hours in the pediatrician's office trying to figure out what was wrong, sitting in the surgical waiting room praying he would wake up and breathe after his heart cath, helping to change the bandage on his head and being shocked by the 102 stitches from ear to ear, and the 5 nights of hearing him struggle to breathe-- to name a few.
One scene in particular has been on my mind more than the others though. That first night at TCH, after our 2 day old sweet baby Matthew was hooked up to an IV, an NG tube, all the monitors, and under the blue lights, we sat in the quiet and dark NICU at about midnight with the oncall attending neonatologist. In a hushed voice, she spent 30 scary minutes going down the laundry list of all of the things that could be wrong with Matthew, some which we knew and others which we feared. From her list, it sounded as if Matthew might be in for a life of unimaginable misery and pain. It was horrific. We sat there stunned. We cried. We prayed to God to take Matthew if he was destined for the life of misery that we had just heard.
We are grateful beyond belief that God answered our prayers-- he blessed us with Matthew here on earth, and Matthew's life, though dramatic at times, has been full of joy! I will never forget that darkest night, and it serves as deep contrast to the beautiful and joyful life we live with Matthew every day. Some of the beautiful scenes from Matthew's journey so far have also been swirling around my head this week-- watching him roll over for the first time, holding his bottle, sitting up, crawling, eating independently, drinking from a sippy cup, signing 'dog', saying "ma-ma", giving kisses and head bonks, chasing after his siblings, walking with his walker, his squinty grin, laughing when we kiss his belly, playing peek-a-boo barn, digging through cabinets and drawers, standing in his crib, playing with his toys, and even getting huffy about at being told 'no'.
Thank you, God, for Matthew's joyful life!