Yesterday, Isaiah turned 11 years old. It is unbelievable. I remember 11 years ago that I thought that I was going to lose both my wife and my newborn son. With them both in surgery and their life in balance, I was terrified and had no clue what to do.
My wife though tells the story of Isaiah so much better then me. Thus, today, I am stealing her post and letting her share about last night AND more importanly, the story of Isaiah's birth. It truly is amazing and it is a MIRACLE.
The story through the eyes of my beautiful wife:
Isaiah turned 11 today! I cannnot believe he's past ten years old. I'm not possibly old enough to have an 11-year-old child... am I? After bathtime this evening, we suprised him with presents and a cake! I think he'd given up on getting anything this year at all!!
At 4:57 am this morning, it was officially 11 years since the birth of our little 2 lb 3 oz, 13 1/4 inch long, wonder baby. His birth marked the end of what felt like the world's longest but also shortest pregnancy. I'd been on bed-rest for 10 weeks by the time he was born. I had thrown up at least three times everyday practically from conception. I had been in excrutiating pain the same amount of time. I had been told by doctors that I was just having normal pregnancy pains and to get used to it. I had lost 30 lbs from his conception to his birth. I was so sick. I didn't know exactly how sick until two days after his birth when I woke-up with a 106 degree temp and couldn't move from the incredible pain. I ended up in emergency surgery at 11:00 that night fighting for my life. This was when the Crohn's was diagnosed.
While I was fighting for my life, so was my little guy. After a day or two, his weight had dropped to a frightening 1 lb 12 oz. When he was born, he just looked like a really small, but healthy baby. After losing a several ounces, he looked like a sick baby. Although at the time, I didn't think so. I just saw the precious baby that I had wanted since I was a five year old putting a pillow under my shirt pretending I was pregnant.
I spent many moments in tears wondering what would happen. If you've ever given birth and had a "normal" delivery and baby, you know the emotions and hormones that run thru you. Multiply that feeling by 1000 and you have an idea of what giving birth to a sick baby does to ones emotions. Then add in the stress of being sick for six months straight, surgery, and medical bills, and you've got one emotional train wreck.
After I was finally released from the hospital to go home, two weeks after my arrival, I went to the hospital to see him as often as I could. Most weeks that meant 7 out of 7 days. On occasion my mother and the nurses "made" me stay home to rest. On those days I called several times to check on him.
There was a point sometime during his first month of life that they sent us home one evening and told us to discuss the option of turning off the machines. This was right after they had told us that he had a severe interventricular brain hemorhage and hydrocephulus. Basically his little brain was supposed to be so damaged that he probably would never do most of the things we take for granted. It didn't look good for our little guy. We decided that we would allow him to be whoever he was supposed to be. We did and look at who he has turned into today.
He's the most amazing 11 year old I've ever had the pleasure to be around. He's a hard worker, which comes naturally when you have to teach yourself to get around somehow because your brain isn't letting you crawl, so you decide that scooting on your butt is a good option. He destroyed the butts of many cute little outfits by scotting around. He used his hands and the sides of his ankles to push around. It was a sight to behold. I remember when one of the people at the development center shot down my thrill about his scooting around and told me he had to crawl or he wasn't developing properly. I never stepped foot in their office again. We found another person who would rejoice in what he could do, not tear him down for what he couldn't.
By the time he began walking at the age of two, I had been taught the most valuable lesson in my life... don't take anything that your children do for granted. Parents of typical children just assume their child will do everything when they are supposed to. We knew he probably never would. He never has. He does everything when he's ready and not a second sooner. I've learned to rejoice in everything. I've learned that slower doesn't mean dumber as many people think. It means that he thinks differently, and wow does he.
He's an amazing kid that has overcome alot in his first 11 years of life. He's had to work harder his 11 years than most of us have to in 30. I find myself wanting to protect him from all the crap that the world will surely bring his way in the years to come. Right now he lives in what I call "Isaiah land". This protects him from the other kids who tease or make fun because they can't always understand what he says because of his speech delay. Part of me hopes that he always lives in "Isaiah Land", but I know that one day he'll leave there and see the world for what it really is. I dread that moment because that'll be the day when I wanna step in and fix it all for him and I know I won't be able to. He has to learn to live in the world as Isaiah.
So, Big Guy, on this 11th birthday of yours... a day we weren't sure we'd celebrate 11 years ago... Happy Birthday to my favorite 11 year old! I love you soooooooooooo much!