Friday, June 4, 2010

Miracles Happen

Three weeks ago, it seemed like my biggest worry was what clothes to wear that day and what to make for dinner that evening. I had no idea how quickly my life and my world could change...


On Thursday night, May 13th, I tucked my precious 5 week old baby boy into bed, just like normal. That night, Ben seemed a little fussier than usual, and by early the next morning he had a temperature of 102.7. Worried about his high fever, I took Ben to the doctor. The doctor examined him, confirmed that he appeared to be quite sick, but could not identify the source of his illness. Even after giving him Tylenol, Ben had a high fever and was moaning in misery. When Ben didn't appear to be improving, Aaron and I decided to take him to the ER that afternoon. At the ER, the doctors ran blood test, urine tests, and x-rays. Aside from a low white blood cell count, we were told that the test results were basically unremarkable. On a long shot, it was decided to give Ben a spinal tap. Within an hour of screening the culture, we were informed that Ben had bacterial meningitis, strep pneumonia strain. Because we knew so little about meningitis at the time, Aaron and I felt shocked, but not overly concerned. Ben was given antibiotics and admitted to the pediatric floor. The doctor explained to us that Ben would need a 1-2 week course of antibiotic treatment and that we would get to take Ben home, good as new. Little did we know...

Friday night was a night I would like to forget forever. Despite my efforts to soothe and comfort him, Ben was having an increased difficulty in breathing and was unable to nurse. I held Ben helplessly as he writhed and moaned pathetically. By Saturday morning, it became apparent that Ben was seriously ill. His heart rate was extremely high, his oxygen levels were low, and his temperature measured 105. Finally, when Ben was examined by a doctor, it was determined that Ben needed to be transported to the children's hospital. Feeling terrified, Aaron, my mom, my in-laws and I, could do nothing but hug, cry, and pray. It felt like things moved in slow motion and fast forward, all at the same time--while Ben's condition rapidly deteriorated, it seemed that the doctors didn't move fast enough. Soon we boarded the ambulance, flying 95 mph down the road. Like a scene from my worst nightmare, I watched in horror, as the life drained from Ben's little body, en route to the hospital. The color in Bens face went from pink, to white, to gray, to blue. Thankfully, the medics were able to keep Ben revived until we reached the hospital, where Ben was rushed immediately to the PICU. As doctors and nurses swarmed Ben, we were told to give Ben a kiss, and were then escorted to the lobby. We waited in agony, as our tiny, sick baby boy was intubated on the spot.

I felt total disbelief when I layed eyes on Ben: the ventilator protruding from his throat, the feeding tube winding down his nose, IVs and ports pumping him full of medications and fluids in both arms and legs, catheters in every orifice, and leads and sensors hooked up to several monitors. Ben lay on a small table, comatose and paralyzed, as all of his bodily functions were mechanically controlled, and blood was transfused into his tiny little veins. I could not have experienced more pain and torture if my own heart had been pulled from my chest and ripped in two, leaving a searing pain in its void. We learned that because of the infection, Ben's brain was irritated and inflamed, exessive fluid surrounded his swollen brain, and a blood clot was found in the sagitial sinus vein in his brain. Ben's condition was grim: if he lived, it was unclear whether Ben would open his eyes, whether he would be able to see or hear, whether he would breathe on his own, and whether he would regain the use of his arms and legs. In the five endless, timeless days that we spent in the PICU, we turned in prayer to the only source of peace and comfort capeable of lifting our heavy hearts.

We prayed. We prayed that our sweet baby son would be comforted. We prayed that we might have an increase of faith and strength in order to endure our hardship. We prayed for the ability to understand the Lord's will. The answers to our prayers came in the many tender mercies that we recieved, the peace that we felt in our hearts. As though the veil had been lifted, I felt the presence of angels attending to Ben and felt the overwhelming love that our Savior has for my precious son. The lessons and feelings that I experienced during that time were powerful and profound and have forever changed my whole being.


The next two weeks felt like a rollercoaster of highs and lows, mostly lows. Ben seemed to be a leaky boat; when the doctors would plug one hole, two new holes would spring loose. I sat by Ben's bedside on constant vigil, holding his fisted hand, and watching his every breath, while I held my own. After a few small steps forward, last weekend, Ben took a giant, hope-crushing step backwards. Ben developed seizures that caused apneaic spells and he consequently stopped breathing. As we rushed Ben, pale and gray, back to the PICU, the doctor took Ben from my arms, and I wondered if it would be the last time I would hold my sweet baby. It was utterly devastating to feel our son's life slipping away once again. After more rounds of tests and medications, the doctors were able to stabilize Ben, and we were once again left to wait. Wait to see if Ben would survive. Aaron and I prayed in earnest, petitioning the Lord to heal our son, but summoning the faith to wholly submit ourselves to His will, regardless of the outcome. Evoking the power of the priesthood, Aaron gave Ben a special blessing. In the blessing, Aaron told Ben how much he is loved by his parents and how much his mom and dad wanted him to stay on this earth. Aaron also told Ben that if he wanted to, it would be okay for him to go back to his home in heaven. Unquestionably, releasing our son from his suffering was the most difficult thing Aaron and I have ever done, yet we felt total peace knowing that our son's life was in the hands of the Lord. A short time later, a noticeable calm washed over Ben. The change was night and day. Whereas previously Ben was irratable and inconsolable, Ben was now content and even responsive. Ben Smiled. He laughed. In that moment, we were given our answer. We knew without a doubt that Ben had chosen to stay with us. He chose to fight.

Over the past few days, we have witnessed a series of miracles. Ben began to breathe well on his own. On Monday, Ben passed his swallow study and began feeding with a bottle. On Tuesday, Ben's hearing test determined that Ben can hear. Today, Ben's feeding tube was removed and he is plumping up well. Against all odds, Ben is not only alive, he is thriving.

Throughout the turbulent events of the past three and a half weeks, we have been overwhelmed by the love, prayers, and service offered on our family's behalf. Our heavy hearts were bouyed up by the ourpouring of support extended to us by our ward family, our neighbors, our friends, our family, and even strangers. Our ward family included Ben specifically in much prayer and fasting. Members of our ward have generously provided dinner to us each night, allowing us the normalcy of eating dinner together as a family. If casseroles could fix our son, Ben would be at 110%. Our neighbors mowed our lawn, watered our garden, delivered treats and snacks, and prayed for us. Our friends visited us in the hospital, sent us thoughtful gifts, uplifting cards, comments of support, and remembered us in their prayers. Total strangers, touched by Ben's sweet spirit, prayed for him.Our immediate and extended family prayed for Ben as if he was their own son. Our own dear parents carried much of our heavy weight, allowing us to lean on their shoulders in the lonely night-time hours at the hospital and caring around the clock for Hank and Max, who are mercifully oblivious to the suffering of their baby brother. We cannot express our gratitude for the innumerable prayers and countless kindnesses rendered towards our family.

Right now we are still in the hospital, waiting for Ben to recover enough to return home. Ben still has many, many challanges ahead of him as we are only beginning this difficult journey. Many things are still uncertain, but some things I know for sure: I know that through the atonement of Jesus Christ and the covenants that we made with our Heavenly Father, our family will be able to live together eternally. I know that through Christ's suffering, our own hearts can be healed. I know that our loving Father in heaven hears and answers our prayers. I know that through faith in the Lord, and the power of the priesthood, ALL things are possible.
I am so proud of Ben. My heart is brimming with love for that precious little boy. I feel humbled by the courage that he has demonstrated throughout this challenge and I am insprired by the strength of his spirit. I am truly privliged to have been given such a special child and feel blessed that I was chosen to be Ben's mother. I know that the Lord has great plans for Ben.

Ben is my miracle.

16 comments:

Adamson Family Blog said...

You and Aaron amaze me daily. Ben is meant for great things in this life, and has been sent to an incredible family. You have taught me many things throughout your ordeal, and my life is forever changed because of it. Thank you for your amazing testimony, you guys inspire me so much. My heart has ached for you, I can only imagine how much yours hurts. I am so happy that Ben is doing better, and that he will be coming home soon. I have no doubt that your family is destined for great things in this life. Thank you again, and I will continue to pray for your family.

Jason & Amber said...

We have been praying for your family and Ben along with our family and friends! This was a well written post that brought me to tears! We will continue to pray for your family. Your strength is admirable.

Mindy said...

Though we/I have only felt a small piece of the heartache, fear, then peace and strength from the Lord, that you guys have gone through---this whole experience has been an impacting one for all that have been standing by. We have all been given a boost of faith by seeing your's and Aaron's faith, by seeing the strength of that little newborn baby. We have been so blessed to see this miracle happen to Ben. Though the future is still unknown with exactly how Ben will recover from this, know that no matter what, we are all still praying for you. I have never felt so much love for a little baby that I've never even met. Ben is a special spirit-and definitely a miracle. Love you Court!

The Halls said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Halls said...

I am amazed by the strength and faith you have. Ben must be a very choice spirit of our Heavenly Father. Thank heavens for such wonderful parents who have the faith and gospel in their lives to edure such an ordeal. I have a feeling his life was preserved to do something very special. He has already impacted so many lives and everyone can't help but love that cute little boy!

Hugs & prayers for you all~
Milissa, Scott & Hailey!!

Megan and Keli'i said...

We love and pray for you guys and your little strong Ben. I am seriously amazed by your faith. I love you and will continue to think about and pray for you, Aaron and Ben. That kid is AMAZING! And by the way, thank you for recording all of his events, and you did it so eloquently.

Poe said...

He is a miracle and I am brought to tears with your post. What an incredible experience this has been for you and for all that have followed your lives for the past few weeks. I know I've never met Ben but I have so much love for that baby boy and am so grateful to our Heavenly Father for allowing him to stay with you.

Lauralee said...

oh courtney- tears of relief- and amazement and love- not knowing the details before reading this... I am so touched by the message you share of hope, love and the atonement. the sunday after he went in the hospital I told my parents about Ben... my mom's first comment was- this will change their life forever... no matter the outcome... my parents having been thru a similar experience w/ my brother being in the icu for 2 months.. stuggling to live.. that was my mom's first thought.... anyway- I am more than thrilled you get to bring Ben home... the message of the blessing and ben thriving afterwards just is so amazing! Heavenly Father does hear us.. HE loves us-
so excited for you to come home again!

Derrinda said...

We are so excited for your family to be together once again. Everyday I check my facebook to see the latest on Ben. You are so strong and such a good support for your son and family. He is so lucky to have such wonderful parents and family, friends, etc.. who care so much for him.

Kara said...

I hope Ben continues to improve and you can get him home soon. What an experience! I'm so glad you and Aaron are so strong and faithful and that your little boy is a fighter! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

CYSH said...

Hola Ben, espero que hayas podido salir de ese laberinto que te ha dado la vida, espero que como gran luchador y vencedor, seas un ejemplo a imitar a los mas desvanecidos, porque me haz demostrado que tu un ser casi indefenso haz luchado mas que cualquier otro.
Es cierto, Jehova tiene preparado algo muy especial para ti. asi como para cada niño que habita este planeta. Espero algún día saber que haz dado tus primeros pasos y puedas demostrar que en la carrera de la vida solo hay un ganador.
EL QUE CREE FIELMENTE EN DIOS.
hasta luego BEN...

Hola, estoy totalmente devastada, conocí la historia de ben por María, y estoy leyendo tu historia y mis lagrimas no han podido resistir.
Se que el lenguaje universal es amor, y por eso espero que Ben pueda seguir luchando, mi hermana murió de cáncer a los 15 años, no imagino un dolor mas fuerte que la perdida de un hijo.
Por favor dime como puedo ayudar a Ben, yo vivo en españa y quisiera saber que necesita usted.
No es mucho lo que puedo dar, pero sinceramente lo hago con el corazón.
con amor

melissa said...

Courtney and Aaron you are amazing. You have a awesome family. Ben is such a little fighter. I am so happy to hear that he may be coming home soon. We love you and pray for your family often.

greatbon said...

Thanks for sharing your story and filling in the blanks from the pieces that we knew. Ben is just amazing and your family has been such an inspiration throughout this ordeal. You have taught so many. We are so grateful he has come so far. You are in our prayers.

We Three Madsens said...

This was amazing to read, it brought tears to my eyes. I am in awe at the faith and courage you and Aaron have shown throughout all of this. We are so happy to know you are home and that he is doing so much better. We will be continuing to pray for Ben and your family. It sounds silly but its nice to see your cars in the driveway and lights on in your house:) Remember Im right across the street and we are always willing to do anything that can help. Please call us if there is anything! And when your ready for a visit let me know, I have missed you and your kiddos:) Your in our prayers. Thank you for sharing your story, please keep us updated on how Ben is doing.

Kelli Radmall said...

Oh Court-it hurts for me to see those pictures of him with all of the tubes. I can only imagine how it is for you. You are so strong and I am so proud to know you and be your friend.

dangrover said...

This is beautifully written...what a treasure.