Friday, August 16, 2013


Many prayers have went up on behalf of Josiah over the past several months.  Many times, I haven't even known what to pray for.  But, my prayers have become more clear lately.  You see my son has Down Syndrome and there is nothing that I can do to change that.  My son has a hole in his heart that needs to be surgically repaired, and there is nothing that I can do to change that.  There may be any number of things that my son has to deal with as grows older, and there is nothing that I can do to change that.  And sadly, there will be a time when I have to say goodbye to Josiah here on this earth, and there is nothing that I can do to change that.
But, I can do something.  I can dedicate this precious life to God Almighty.  I can pray every day that God is glorified through the life of my son.  I can pray that those who may not know God, can come to know Him because of Josiah.  I can entrust my boy completely to God's care.  And that is what I choose to do.
Many will not understand this.  Pray for miracles, they'll say.  Pray for healing, they'll say.  And I will. I'll pray fervently for those things.  But, that will not be my only prayer.  That will not be my first prayer.  I'm learning that there are things that are more important than chromosomes, than healthy hearts, than physical well-being.  And though this prayer is harder to pray, I will pray throughout his life, in highs and lows, good health and bad, scary times and amazingly happy times that God is glorified.  And if the best case scenarios play out I will be strengthened because God is being made known through my son.  And if the worst case scenarios play out I will be strengthened because God is being made known through my son.
So, please, please continue to pray for my son.  But do not be afraid to alter your prayers a bit.  Do not be discouraged to pray that God is glorified first, and Josiah is protected second.  Do not be upset if the God is glorified but Josiah has more complications.  Do not give up on my God.  Never stop praying.

Father, I dedicate my children to you.  I will teach them your ways.  I will teach them your love.  I relinquish control of their precious lives to you.  I am honored to have been entrusted with their care, and in turn will strive every day to return them to you.  My prayer to you is that you will receive the glory due you because of their lives.  And if that means that they are kept from harm, I will praise you.  And if that means that there lives become complicated messes, I will praise you.  God, take care of them.  Hold them in your arms and protect them in the ways that only you can.  And give me strength to teach, love, and protect them here in this place.  Please bring us home to that glorious place with no abnormalities, no disease, no worries, as soon as possible.  I love you Father and this daddy's desire is that his children will too.  Amen.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


The NICU is a scary place.
You would think that any place chalked full of babies would be the opposite of scary, but not so.  Several months ago I spent some time in the NICU as "clergy" for some dear friends of ours from Stillwater.  Their son, also born at Mercy, spent several weeks/months in hospitals.  He started in the place we called home this past July, the Mercy NICU.  When I was coming and going as a visitor to see Dustin and Lindsay, I didn't really get the full effect of just how scary the NICU could be.  I followed the daily reports of their son, prayed with them, tried to get them some food if needed, and then did my best to get out of their hair.  Other than washing up to my elbows when ever I came to see them, I really had no idea what went on in this little world.  But, on June 24th at a little before midnight I was about to find out.
Josiah Matthew came into this world in the craziest way I could imagine.  In fact it was so crazy that I hadn't even imagined it.  The first 6 hours of his life were spent in the transition nursery. Being in the transition nursery is like waiting in line for a haunted house.  You're not sure what's coming next, but you're pretty sure you won't like it.  After, the 6 hours were up, it was determined that Josiah was not doing the things that he needed to do in order to move upstairs and be with us.  It was at that time that we were admitted to the NICU.  It was at that time that I really became scared.
Josiah was given his own room and enclosed in a crib that immediately reminded me of the vessel that Kal-El traveled to Earth in long before he became Superman.  It was completely enclosed, with weird flashing lights, and monitors hooked up to it.  And, making their way throughout the stronghold of the ship were several little tubes and wires all of which were leading to the same place, Josiah's little body.  Holding my boy was out of the question when he was in there.  But there was a nifty sliding door that allowed us to put our hands through the side and at least touch him.  Then came the blue lights for the jaundice, just to make things, well, creepier.
As if seeing your own child hooked up to machines and looking like a cyborg strait off the SyFy channel isn't enough, you end up getting to know other families who have little cyborg babies themselves, many of which in a lot worse shape than Josiah.  One little guy was about to have his 3rd major surgery in just a few short weeks of life.  One family with twins got the unexpected news that one of their children was okay to be released, but the other was not doing so well.  In the NICU you become almost like family, checking in on each other, making sure that each one is doing as well as can be.  Sometimes there is guilt when your child reaches a milestone that others have not, but that soon vanishes when you realize that every little baby's accomplishment in that big family brings hope to the loved ones of every other little baby.  Sometimes there is anger when your child seems to be doing well, but then has a setback.  That too vanishes when the people, the family now surrounding you comes to your aid with words of wisdom and comfort.  There was one mother that I saw every day at the sinks.  Every day we talked about our kids, sharing the highs and lows of the day and night before.  Every day we prayed for each other's child.  And on our last day, she was so over the top happy for us that I couldn't help but smile.  And then while we were talking, she got word, that her own son was ready for the overnighter, the last step before going home, and would probably be released the next day.
It makes sense to me that the first person I called after Josiah was admitted to the NICU was my friend Dustin.  I was scared.  Dustin had been there.  He spoke truth when truth is what I needed.  He told me there would be highs and lows.  He told me there would be thoughts and emotions that no one else would understand.  He told me that faith would be tested and then strengthened.
The NICU is a scary place.
But Josiah has hope.
And that is definitely what this daddy desires.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

7 Minutes

Seven minutes.  That is all it took to totally change my life.  But before I get to those seven minutes, let me talk about the days, hours, and minutes leading up to it.  On Saturday June, 22 Lisa and I made a trip to the hospital because she thought she was going into labor.  We spent the afternoon into the early evening there.  She was dilated to 3 cm but never went beyond that, and after 3 attempts the nurses finally were able to get the contractions to stop. We left that night with instructions for Lisa to remain on bed rest for the remainder of the weekend.
Sunday, June 23 Lydia and I got up and around and headed off to worship and Sunday school at Memorial Road C of C.  We had a great morning.  Mama was left at home on the couch following her doctoral mandate to remain on the couch/bed and do nothing.  Not sure if her morning was great or not.  The afternoon passed by without incident, and more importantly without contraction.  In fact Lisa did not have a contraction at all on Sunday.
Monday, June 24 Lisa got up and went to work.  She was feeling good and relatively contraction free.  I set off to the nursery to continue painting the stripes that never seemed to end on those walls.  Lisa texted me throughout the morning to let me know that she was doing well.  At 10:55 am Lisa texted me to tell me she had been having minor contractions off and on all morning, and then asked me if I would just meet her at Dr. Levine's for the regularly scheduled appointment.  At 1 I met Lisa at the doctor's office.  She was still at 3 cm and seemed to be doing fine.  Dr. Levine assumed that Josiah would be coming sometime before his July 26th due date.  She was leaving on vacation the next morning and said if needed we would schedule a c-section (Josiah is breech and probably not going to flip at this point) for July 5th or so after she returned.  She then jokingly said, "or you could just schedule it for tonight and I'll do it before I leave."  We laughed.  Boy was that going to come back and bite us.  Lisa was sent back to work and all seemed fine.
3:22 pm - I texted Lisa to see how she was doing and received the following response, "Contractions are getting stronger. I'm trying to time them. I don't think they are lasting a minute. I think they are shorter." I asked how often. "That's what I'm having trouble figuring out.  I think they are longer than 5 min".  My response was to laugh out loud (lol in the common texting vernacular) and ask if she needed a stop watch.  "I'm trying to get something done so its difficult. I'll try better." My response, again, would come back to bite me - Just so he doesn't crawl out while you're there at work.
3:46 pm - Lisa texted to tell me that the contractions were strong.
4:16 pm - Lisa texted this, "I'm coming home. Too much pain!" I dropped off the ladder and ran to the bedroom.  Started getting bags packed and freaking out.  He's too early.  He's not due for 5 more weeks.  This can't be happening.  Downs and early? Too many complications!
5:00 pm - We arrived at the labor and delivery unit at Mercy.  Lisa was in so much pain.  I did not know what to do for her.  When the nurse realized (I'll spare you how she realized) this, things went really fast.  Really fast!  We were whisked away to a operating room for an emergency c-section.  Lisa was now fully dilated and this was happening.  Somewhere around 5:15 I was sitting outside an operating room listening to my beloved scream in pain.
And that brings us to the 7 minutes that I will never forget...
5:21 pm - Lisa's water breaks. I hear someone yell, "Wait, we can't do the c-section.  There is an arm coming out."  At that exact moment, in something that can only be described as a scene strait out of Grey's Anatomy, Dr. Levine flew through the double doors and screamed, "Its not an arm, its a foot.  That baby is breech!" She was gloved and gowned faster than Clark changing to Superman inside a telephone booth.  And again, I'm left outside the operating room listening to screams of pain, shouts of medical terms, and random warblings that I could not make out.
5:27 pm - SILENCE!  All the screaming stopped.  All the doctors' voices quieted.  I was outside of my mind.  I could not hear anything.  I knew that Josiah was breech.  I knew that he was early.  I knew that he was not supposed to be coming out the way he was coming out.  And in that silence, I lost it.  I thought that I lost him, or her, or them.  I was in tears, cursing the rule that had kept me out of the o.r. as my wife and unborn son were obviously experiencing a fate I had only considered in my nightmares.
5:28 pm - "Daddy, you want to come see your baby boy?"  I nearly ran into the o.r.  Lisa was on the table smiling and being attended to.  Josiah was being measured and weighed.  I was able to help with his footprints.  I even got one on my gown.  I also got to hold him; to kiss that beautiful little face. I took pictures.  I recorded videos.  I saw my son.  My son!  MY SON!  My life had changed.
I went to Lisa.  Holding her hand, I told her in tears that I thought something terrible had happened.  She laughed.  I was then told that the nurse had told her this baby was coming and she needed to "shut-up and push."  We laughed.  It had come back to bite us.
So, my baby boy decided to come in 7 minutes.  In those 7 minutes, I think I felt every emotion known to man.  After that 7 minutes, I realized 2 things: 1. My world was changing because I have a baby boy, and extra chromosome or not, he is my son; 2. My world was changing because I was seeing my wife is a brand new light.  I always knew she was tough.  But this?  She delivered our son breech, vaginally, with no drugs.  Rock-star.
7 Minutes - Best time of my life!
Not what I expected but definitely what this daddy desired.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The first of many...

Well, what a summer it has been!  I haven't posted in 6 weeks, but fear not, the posts shall begin again this week.  And they should be daily from here on out, or at least as close to daily as I can get.  I have so much on my mind to share with you.  My wife is a rockstar.  My son is beautiful.  My daughter is amazing.  We have had ups and downs, smiles and frowns, and have learned to rely even more on God through the past couple of months.  I can't wait to share the journey with you.
For now, know that we are doing well, and that we are loving life as a family of four.  I have a great life, and am trying my darndest to give a great life to my wife and kids.  And after all, isn't that what every daddy desires?