With an infant son in the hospital, a family prayed its way to a most memorable homecoming.
Posted in , Dec 7, 2021
It was almost Christmas of 1985—my wife Elba and I had been married for four years, and our daughter Christine was three and a half years old. Our second child, Paul, had just been born a month earlier. He was a seven-month preemie with significant urological problems and an essentially non-functioning kidney. When his condition was diagnosed during the fifth month of Elba’s pregnancy, he was given a 50 percent chance of survival. Doctors monitored his condition in his mother’s womb until there was no other choice but for Elba to be induced into labor.
On the day he was born, Elba was told to hold Paul in her arms for a few minutes before he was taken to the NICU—neonatal intensive care unit. Every visit to the NICU challenged our faith and deepened our love for our son. The daily updates from doctors ranged from good news to not so good.
Whenever we entered the room, we had to wear hospital gowns and wash our hands. The sounds from the equipment in the NICU were alarming and frightening. Paul was inside an incubator with large holes on the side so doctors and nurses could reach in and care for him. It was also the only way we could touch his tiny hands.
We spent Thanksgiving at the hospital as the days in the NICU turned into weeks. When the calendar turned to December we began to wonder if we would also spend another holiday there. All we wanted for Christmas was Paul to get well and come home. Friends, strangers and loved ones prayed along with us for a Christmas miracle.
One evening I walked into the NICU and noticed the incubator next to Paul’s was now empty. I turned to the nurse. She didn’t say a word, but her mood was somber. My heart dropped to my stomach. Would the same thing happen to our son? We kept praying, hoping for a miracle as doctors and NICU nurses worked and cared for him around the clock. Although there was no immediate cure for his condition, they did a procedure that would allow him to be medically stable until further surgeries could resolve the situation.
One morning the doctors came to see us and gave us the news we had been praying for: Paul could come home for Christmas. On a cold December day we walked out of the hospital with a five-pound, handsome baby boy. The Christmas spirit of hope and joy filled our home and hearts. It was and remains the most memorable Christmas in our family and a constant reminder to never lose hope.