Saturday was a very big day around the Hawley household: Joy reached the quarter-century mark! I can hardly believe that it was twenty-five years ago when they placed that beautiful little girl in my arms. How does the time fly by so quickly?!
The story of Joy's birth is really quite amazing; she was born with Hyaline Membrane Disease (more commonly referred to today as Respiratory Distress Syndrome.) Our pediatrician warned us right away that her case was severe and the prognosis was not good; her chances of living were questionable.
We spent nine agonizing days learning more about blood reports, blood gases, oxygen levels...........than any set of new parents should ever be expected to grasp. Her tiny 6 lb. 9 0z. frame laid almost completely hidden by medical tape, wires, tubes and such; struggling for every breath. She was working so hard that each time she breathed in, an indentation would form just over her sternum that could have easily contained a half-cup of water.
A small "oxygen box" covered her head and we were not allowed to hold her at all; it was too dangerous, they said. Frank and I sat or stood by the incubator for hours at a time softly stroking her tiny arms or legs, trying our best to avoid the many wires and tubes. And we sang and read scripture! We started out whispering, but after a couple of days, we didn't particularly care who heard us. Our baby was deathly ill and needed hope.
I still remember the faces of the nurses and Dr. Yoder, who was her primary physician in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit. The sounds, the smells, the hushed tones throughout the night - this post is too short for me to paint the full, vivid picture for you that remains still in my memories.
The wonderful news is this: God miraculously intervened in the life of Alicia Joy! And now, twenty-five years later, she has enjoyed the best set of lungs in the family and will be blessed with her own little miracle in a little over six months.
We are well aware that not every parent in that NICU was blessed with the same outcome we experienced. Were we more special? Were we more diligent in our prayers than the others? Was Joy's destiny somehow greater than the other babies'? No! We must humbly answer no to each of those questions. It was simply in the sovereignty of God's plan that Joy should live.
And live she does!
She has been well aware of this truth all these years and has tried her best to live honoring God who gave the miracle.
Of course, when you stop to think about it aren't we all living a miracle of sorts? Every breath is a gift to be appreciated and savored. Perhaps it would do us all well to stop and ask, "Am I living a life that reflects my gratitude for this miracle?" Hmmmmmm. Just a thought.
Happy Twenty-fifth, Joy!! Be blessed!