spent the second night of my son’s life at Ronald McDonald
House. I was grateful to have found a room and a bed. I
was grateful to have eaten. The room was cool and the bed was
comfortable. But all night I lay in bed wide awake and focused
entirely on the tiny boy in a clear plastic box at the top of the
hill. All night long my heart ached to be where he was.
the dark, I tried to tell myself that I needed sleep. But I
could not make myself listen. All I wanted was my son.
got dressed at 6 a.m. and waited for the bus. It came at 7 but
I waited outside just to be sure. I needed to be moving towards
my baby. Walking towards the bus stop was better than sitting
in my room. Looking up the hill was better than trying to
occupy myself until it was time.
knew now that I was going to do this thing that I could not do. I
knew I was doing it and the Lord had promised to help. But I
did not know how I would do it. I did not know if my son would
be ok. All of the doing and being waited for me in the hospital
on the peak of the hill.
was my sixth child. I had been through labor and recovery. I
had been through newborns. And I knew some things. Mostly,
I knew that I am really, really bad at it. Giving birth was
never a minute’s worth of trouble for me. It was the
recovering. With my other babies I had gotten nervous and upset
after birth. I fixated easily on odd things. I was so
tired. I envied women who sprang back bright and chipper after
birth. I was always a mess.
I had been. I noticed on the bus ride up the hill that I was
calm. My hands didn’t shake and my mind didn’t
race. I could think things through. The anxiety and panic
that followed my other labors never appeared. Somehow, in the
middle of doing the thing I could not do I was fine.
I finally saw my son, my heart dropped. He looked worse. He
was motionless and pale. His skin looked tight as if it had
been pulled too tightly across the bones. His face was obscured
still but now there were leads running into his head and tubes in his
arms and his feet. He was lit from above by a lamp that warmed
him. It made him look waxy and fake.
was shattered and for a moment I thought again that I could not do
this. I could not bear for my sweet boy to suffer. I
could not bear to wonder. I could not stand so much fear. And
then it came again, the sweet flush of peace. “You are
already doing it. I will make you strong.”
the strength came. I was still inside, as still as my boy. I
did not doubt again that I could bear it. I was not afraid of
the fear again. I sat down in the rocking chair next to his
isolette and said to my little boy for the first time, “Jimmy,
I am here. It will be ok.”
were many more ups and downs for my little boy. There were
procedures and tests. There were transfusions. There were
setbacks and heartaches. But each time I knew that although I
was not strong in myself I would be made strong enough for the
challenge at hand.
was never about me and what I could endure. The Lord had never
promised to allow only the level of heartache fear and grief that I
thought I could bear. He had promised to bear it with me. He
had promised not to keep my problems small but to make me bigger.
spent today playing in the sunshine with his cousins. Now he is
curled up on his daddy’s lap watching Star Trek. He is
busy and big and brilliant. The months of worry and scary
predictions have all melted away and left us with a healthy child. I
know not every story ends with a happy little boy laughing and
talking in his daddy’s lap. But long before we got our
happy ending, we knew that we were watched. We knew that no
matter what the outcome, we had been blessed. And I learned that the
Lord was the only way to do the thing I could not do.
I am me. I live at my house with my husband and kids. Mostly because I have found that people
get really touchy if you try to live at their house. Even after you explain that their towels are
fluffier and none of the cheddar in their fridge is green.
I teach Relief Society and most of the sisters in the ward are still nice enough to come.