Saturday, October 22, 2011


I'm sure some of you that read my blog happen to know about my sweet niece, Abigail, and her  courageous parents, Jani and Jesse. Abigail was born five days after Claire with several serious heart defects. Just four days after she was born, Abigail had open-heart surgery, one of three that will take place before she reaches the age of 5. I remember what it felt like, those first days after Abigail's birth. I remember looking at Claire, her perfectly functioning body, and just weeping out of gratitude for her health, and out of mourning for Abigail. This sweet little angel with curly peach-colored hair. Lying there in her tiny little hospital bed, her first experience of life in utter pain. I could barely look at my sister-in-law, Jani, without feeling almost guilty, shameful, for having a healthy child. It was so unfair. But she and Jesse were more courageous and faithful than anyone I had ever met. If anyone could overcome a trial such as this, they could. Their optimism and gratitude towards Abigail's condition floored me. Perspective. Perspective is something I have a hard time with every now and then. Within days, Jani and Jesse were able to take Abigail home from the hospital. But, they took a little of the hospital home with them. Abigail had to be constantly connected to a monitor, oxygen, and a feeding tube for several weeks. Jani couldn't even carry her child into the next room without having to have the assistance of someone else to carry all of the machines Abigail was connected to. To top it off, the monitor would send off an alarm if Abigail's oxygen levels got low, which happened at a constant rate.This trial for Jani and Jesse is something hopefully none of us will ever have to endure.  Miraculously, however,  Abigail soon began to act like a normal, sweet baby. Abigail's sweet personality began to shine. She is so easy to laugh. Abigail has taught me so much. This child has gone through more physical pain in her short time on earth than most of us will ever experience, yet she still smiles away. Perspective. I am writing about all of this now because Abigail just had her second surgery two days ago. Although she is recovering at a miraculous rate and shows signs of such will, this time it is much more difficult for me to see her. Abigail often awakes in a panic, wondering why she is in such pain, calling out for her mother. It is so difficult to see her look into your eyes. Every look from her pierces me. You can see it; she is crying out for help. She wants so badly for the pain to go away, to be snuggled by her mother. And how difficult it must be for her parents, knowing that there is nothing they can do but try to soothe her and get her to rest. Today, as I watched poor little Abigail lie there in such discomfort, I thought to myself, "Why does this little baby have to go through so much?" Maybe she is here to teach us all something. I wish it didn't have to take a sweet, sick baby for me to learn about gratitude, but I am grateful. Abigail, we hope you make a quick recovery! We love you! And thank you for all you have taught us!

1. Abigail and Jani, just weeks before surgery #2
2. Postop, connected to 8 different monitors
3. Jani and Jesse comforting sweet Abigail

1 comment:

maren sundahl said...

It sounds like Abigail lucked out with a great set of parents. Hopefully she'll recover great.