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James…

April 7, 2008

is my first son. He was born in 1994, and he died in 1996. He was two and a half years old at his death. Two years of his life was spent in hospitals or at the Ronald McDonald House near the hospital.

Those are just a few of the statistics that surrounded his life. There are certainly others. But statistics are not the things to use in defining a life. They are only markers for the journey God set our feet upon, but they are not the memories I hold today.

He was born in April 1994, on Easter Sunday morning. He was a whopping 9 pounds, 21 inches long. And of course, he was the most beautiful baby boy in the world. He had a head full of dark hair, dark brown eyes, and as far as we could tell, he was perfect in positively every way. We had no idea that his appearance was completely deceptive. The genetic defect that marked his life was completely hidden to our eyes.

Even before I became pregnant I knew that I would have a boy. I remember going to a yard sale with a friend and seeing all these adorable boy baby clothes–little overalls, rompers with tractors, and shirts sporting sports. I was snapping those things up like there was a flashing blue light. Meanwhile my friend, who was actually pregnant, asked why I was buying all of these boy clothes. I told her that Husband was the firstborn son of a firstborn son of a firstborn son. There had been no females born into his family since 1866. Did she really think I had any other chance? I sure didn’t. I knew I was having a son. (In 1996 a girl was finally born to a cousin of Husband’s, but to this day there has still been nary a female birth through this line).

That attitude, of knowing that I knew what I knew, was how I tackled becoming pregnant as well. I was a natural family planner, as birth control pills were horrible to my system, and so I knew the ins and outs of my reproductive plumbing like a med school student. I was convinced that pregnancy was inevitable.

The first perfectly planned month yielded zip. I re-checked charts, temps, and other stuff. The second perfectly planned month yielded zip. I read four more books in two weeks, re-checked charts, bought a new thermometer, re-checked temps, and other stuff. The third perfectly planned month seemed in jeopardy as out of town guests would also be in our home during the much needed limited time offer of peak fertility packages.

Third month is the charm.

As soon as the military hospital allowed the governmental paid for blood test, I was at the lab offering my arm and red cells. It came as no surprise to me at all when my doctor called 3 hours later to announce my assured results–pregnant. With a capital P. It was my husband’s 27th birthday. It could not have been more perfect.

Everything was going exactly as I had planned.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 7, 2008 8:21 pm

    “Everything was going exactly as I had planned.”

    Well, that certainly has a familiar ring to it. How foolish we are to think we have everything in order. Ah, the surprises of our sovereign Lord.

  2. April 8, 2008 3:10 pm

    Elle,

    I wrote today on my blog about “keeping it real.” I so appreciate your willingness to share broken places in your life. I know that God will redeem and use that pain for His glory. I am challenged to allow His strength to be made perfect in my weaknesses.

  3. April 8, 2008 3:30 pm

    Posting about this part of your life is courageous. I for one, am honored that you are willing to share this.

  4. April 10, 2008 2:46 am

    Like Julie said, I am always touched and honored when you share parts of James’ life with us. You weave stories together gorgeously . . . I can’t wait to hear more.

    (Two comments for the price of one – on the nap post above . . . boy do I know the truth of that! And when I am up nursing AJ tonight – I’ll be thinking of you and praying that you will be blessed with sleep and rest and comfort.)

  5. Lenny permalink
    May 12, 2008 8:32 pm

    Elle,
    It was wonderful catching up with you on the phone last night. Thank you so much for your invitation to read about James. I have to say that he was indeed a beautiful boy. I remember that hair as well as the 9 pounds! You pregnant with that 9 pound bundle gave new meaning to “No room in the inn.” I shared that same feeling and look carrying my bundle during that same time.

    I know that several thank you for sharing your story and life but I want to thank you for being my friend. Even though miles and years have separated us, I still treasure the memories of the 4 of us as young military couples taking on the world. Our worlds changed focus quickly with James and Niki.

    All of the emotions of those years can’t overshadowing those few days we had together holding our babies. I am so thankful that God allowed us to share that time. I’ve often questioned why we were not allowed to be there for all of it, but He sent others.

    Well, I am rambling–going through snapshots of James in my mind. He is greatly missed by my heart. Niki never has a birthday when I don’t think of him. Easter isn’t complete without me remembering him and that phone call when he arrived.

    I love you.

Trackbacks

  1. James, part IV… « A Complete Thought
  2. Ugh…re-entry is a real « A Complete Thought

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