My family’s Christmas wish

I wrote this column in December of 2010, in celebration of the triumph we call Jay.

As Christmas nears, I can’t help but write about my family’s littlest miracle.

At the risk of being redundant (I’m obviously going to be, so I apologize), I’m going to forge ahead and reflect on my clan’s great fortune that came to us in 2010 in a little package.

A tiny package.

It’s really the only thing we wished to have on this year’s Christmas.

Last Christmas, my family celebrated the fact that my sister, Crystal, and her husband, Bryan, were going to be adding one more person to our loud, boisterous group. Their three-year-old daughter, Keira, was ecstatic because a new baby was going to join their household in the upcoming year.

In February, however, doctors started to worry about the new little nugget. They kept telling the young couple things about “growth percentiles” and the baby’s difficulty in developing. Their little bun was still in the oven, but he wasn’t baking quite properly. He was just too small.

Specialists tried to find a reason for it and then a remedy, but to no avail. They waited to see if things would for some reason improve. But it didn’t. The baby was just not growing and each trip to the doctor was filled with more gloom than the last.

Then it became a matter of timing — with an August due date and it only being spring, the goal was to try to keep the little one inside as long as possible. The baby wasn’t going to be very big, but the longer he could develop his lungs and everything else, the better chance he’d have.

Abruptly, Jay decided he was coming into the world no matter what anyone said. Crystal went into premature labor, doctors put her in a helicopter and they whisked her off to Omaha. The labor wasn’t stopping so the experts took the little guy by C-section.

Jay was here.

He came into this world weighing a little over a pound.

The doctors told his parents that they were going to experience the most challenging year of their lives.

“And if all goes well, by the end of the summer, you’ll have a baby to take home.”

I remember having a conversation with one of my other sisters a few weeks after Jay was born. As he struggled to stay alive, and his parents struggled to live through it all, I remember one of us saying “I already know what I want for Christmas. I just want Jay to be there.”

Crystal and Bryan rode the roller coaster for months. Jay had good days, he had bad days. He graduated from a full ventilator to forced oxygen. His feeding routine grew from a few drops of breast milk a day to several ounces.

And his trips to the scale were showing higher numbers. He hit two pounds, four pounds and then a milestone five.

His lungs took in air by themselves and he learned to drink like a real baby.

His cheeks started to fill out — he didn’t look like a little old wrinkly man anymore.

Terrified and excited, the couple took their baby home at the end of the summer. There, they literally had to quarantine the little guy, doing all in their power to avoid germs because he doesn’t have much of an immune system yet.

Jay grew, he thrived. He started to have a real relationship with his sister, now that they could reside in the same place.

He had good days, he had bad days. He got sick and then he improved. They were able to take him off oxygen and managed to stay upbeat when they had to put him back on.

Jay had to undergo surgery, they had to rearrange their work schedules in order to care for him and yet keep their income.

Never once did they complain to any of us.

They don’t talk about the financial strain that I’m sure exists.

And they were quick to appreciate the help that so many people extended to them and the prayers said on their behalf.

Crystal says he’s giggling and babbling all the time now. He kicks his miniature legs and does all kinds of normal baby things. He recently passed the 10-pound mark and has already celebrated being eight months old.

I know I’ve talked about Jay in earlier columns, so again, I’m sorry if I’m boring you with a story you’ve already heard. I just couldn’t help myself.

So, as 2010 comes to a close, I can say without a doubt that our family got what everyone wanted for Christmas — a baby named Jay. He’s little, but he’s mighty.

And we’re beyond grateful.

What more could we have possibly wished for?


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