Sunday, July 14, 2013

Happy Birthday, Caleb!!

13 years ago today, a miracle happened. The miracle of my baby brother being born. Most of you don't know his story, so I figured that it would be fitting to share it on his birthday.

(Celebrating his 6th birthday- I think- at the CO zoo)

Mom and Dad first found out about what a difficult pregnancy it was going to be with Caleb when they went in to check up. The baby had O positive blood and Mom had A negative... not a good combination. In fact, such a bad one that Mom's body viewed Caleb as a threat and was doing everything possible to get rid of him. His is a rare case, too. So rare, in fact, that everyone knew about it and if they ever saw mom they knew exactly who she was. I believe the statistics for something like this is 1 out of 10. (don't quote me on that, though.)

11 weeks before Caleb's due date, mom went in for another check up. These were frequent as they needed to give blood to Caleb often. My "Aunt" Marie was the one who donated blood for Caleb (thus why we call her 'Aunt'). :-) She was so sweet to everyone involved in this ordeal and didn't mind donating one bit.

I should explain how Caleb received blood infusions, for those that don't know. The doctor has to take an extremely long needle and try to hit the vein in the umbilical cord. There is also an artery (possibly more than one, but I don't know those details) on the cord, but you have to avoid hitting that. Dad said the procedure looked like he was trying to stab a spaghetti noodle in a bowl full of water with a tiny needle (I tried that once... trust me, it's hard!).

Well, on this particular check up/blood infusion, the Dr., ended up hitting the artery and not the vein on the umbilical cord. Mom and Dad watched as his heart beat sped up suddenly, then just stopped. Having had 3 other children who were emergency C-Sections, Dad knew he needed to get out of the way. He kissed mom on the forehead, told her he loved her, and ran out the door. Praying for the safety of his wife and child were next on his list.

(Manning the gate while working cows)

Mom didn't know what was going on. The nurses seemed to suddenly jump into action as they prepared to get the baby out. A call went through the hospital to get certain nurses into the operating room. They gave mom the 'knock out medicine' and began preparing for yet another emergency C-Section.

Here's where we get to see God's amazing hand in all of this (of course, we know He was protecting Caleb the entire time he was in the womb, but here is where His hand was most visible). There had to be two of these particular surgeons present at the operation for these rare pregnancies/babies like Caleb. Well, it just 'so happened' that the first one (which was the one that mom and dad had most contact with) was already there, of course, but the second, who usually resided in another state, also 'happened' to be there at the hospital. So they were able to do surgery on Mom right away without waiting. It also just so "happened" that one nurse was walking down the hall on her way to help out when another nurse came up and asked, "Hey, where are you headed?" The first nurse explained that she was on her way to the "RH" baby (as he was known in the hospital). The second nurse decided she'd join her friend and they headed up to the operating room.

The surgeons had Caleb out in 8 minutes. The two nurses who came in did CPR on him (one holding him, the other doing the CPR) as they ran him down to the NICU. If they had gotten Caleb out in 10 minutes, he would have had severe brain damage. If it has been 12, Caleb would have died.

Caleb was in the hospital for 56 days on oxygen tubes, feeding tubes, and everything else imaginable. We weren't allowed to hold him until after he came home. I remember the first time I even got to see him (which was several days after they got him out). I was so excited, and nervous. Would I like him? What would he look like? Was he a nice baby? Well, in the words of my brother, Josh (who got to see him first, I might add), "He's kind of fuzzy. He looks like a kitten with no tail." Well, after first glance, I knew that my new baby brother had stolen my heart. I just couldn't wait until the time that I got to hold him.

Now, I look at him as he is getting ready for his special birthday with Dad and Mom. 13 is the big number in our household, because it's considered the 'hood' year (ya know, woman'hood', man'hood'.) I look at him and I see a young man who has grown up so much. A young man who has matured in the last year to such a degree as to astonish me exceedingly. Well, perhaps not astonish, but it has certainly been a joy to watch. He is such a wonderful brother and friend to me. He's extremely tender and caring and always has a hug for me whenever I need (or seem to need) one. He's very forgiving of all of his sister's faults and has an awesome sense of humor and great wit.

I love you tons and tons, Caleb!!! I don't know what I would do without you and I praise the Lord that He protected you and gave you to us. :-)

(I promise to come back and post pictures from their evening and his birthday morning at a later time). :-)


Rachelle Raymond said...

It is so amazing to see how much this young man has grown!! He is a miracle child and has blessed us all so much! We serve an awesome God who knew just what a treasure Caleb is! I just can't believe he is 13 now. Happy Birthday Caleb!!

Adriana Roze said...

Sarah, this is such a loving homage to your sweet, sweet brother. Please send him all of our love and regards on this special day. He is so beloved to us (as are all of you)!!! Sebastian sends his biggest hugs!!

Patrizia said...

beautiful, inspiring story! God bless Caleb! So wonderful!

Rejoicing In Him, Patrizia

Anonymous said...

Wonderful story of God's love and grace to your brother!
Wishing him a happy (belated) birthday!

Kelsianne said...

An amazing story of God's protection and fun pictures too! :-)

Alicia Willis said...

I commented a few days ago, but, alas, it has not seemed to go through! :) Anyway, happy birthday, Caleb. And cheers to your Mom for overcoming the obstacles and having all four of you! I know it's a challenge - I think our Mom's have the same blood type. :)

Jeanne Drennan said...

Thanks so much for sharing that story of God's protection over "wee Caleb." He is taller than me! I'm so blessed to know all of you!! I just love the pictures too :)