This past weekend, we celebrated my niece Emilee’s birthday. It was her first birthday and a special time of course. Every child’s first birthday is a milestone and celebrated but as I sat watching her smile and clap, I thought about what a huge blessing this was.
A year ago last April, as my sister in law, Lori was leaving work, her water unexpectedly broke. At that time, she still had a little over 10 weeks left of her pregnancy and this was obviously not ideal. They rushed her to the hospital and stopped her labor. She had to stay in the hospital on bed rest and try to keep labor at bay. Every day that passed was a good thing and the doctors had said that if she could make it to week 34, they would deliver the baby then. Normally women go 40 weeks so this would be sooner than normal but still much better than 29 weeks. Lori and the baby made it past the 30 week mark which the doctors told us that was a big milestone. We had a sense of optimism that she might just make it to week 34.
Then on April 22, we got the call that she had been born. After a very long couple days of trying to stop the labor, my neice was born. What should have been a happy time was now clouded with worry. It was so wierd. I wanted to say congratulations! But how do you say that when she’s in the NICU fighting for her life? She weighed 3lbs 4oz when she was born 9 weeks premature. So tiny and fragile looking, she lay in an incubator. There were so many wires hooked up to her teeny tiny little body. It seemed impossible that the nurses would even be able to hook an IV into her miniscule veins but they had. Her oxygen tube seemed massive compared to her little face.
I learned a lot about my sister in law during that time. I had no idea how much strength she possessed. Her eternal hope no matter what she faced amazes me to this day. Never a flicker of doubt thru it all. Even when the odds were stacked against her, she held firm to her faith that Emilee would be ok. It was overwhelming to me at times and it wasn’t even my daughter laying there. But Lori never seemed overwhelmed. She only seemed filled with love and joy for her brand new baby girl. Maybe her heart was already so full, she didn’t have room for fear.
And today, Emilee is a beautiful 1year old girl. She’s such an adorable, happy gal. It seems so unlikely that she was ever so small. Happy Birthday Emilee!!!
Jay (my brother), Lori (my sister in law) & Emilee clapping for herself