It was a week ago that I received the phone call that allowed me to experience exact opposite emotions within 5 seconds.
It was Dad. "Your sister had her baby last night." I immediately felt my face smile. Big. The things that flew through my mind included feeling so happy for her that she wasn't pregnant anymore, because I know she was feeling quite miserable. I was so excited that she finally got to see and hold the little guy because that moment makes all the uncomfortable worth it. I felt a tightness inside as I wished so much that I could be with her and hold the new little man and help with Tessa and Bode. I was anxious to hear all about it and was ready to jump in with questions when he continued, "and he wasn't breathing."
I froze. And then turned around and sat down on the chair in the laundry room. No, no, no. This whole pregnancy can't have been for nothing. She didn't survive pregnancy in Saudi and a mega trip through the U.S. and moving to Dubai and everything she has been through for nothing. She didn't fall in love with this new little boy for the past nine months and allow all of us to do the same to just to have him gone. No, no, no. Please don't make her go through that.
Dad's not one for sharing a lot of detail, so all I learned in the next few seconds was that the baby had been incubated and he'd let me know more when he heard anything. I exhaled and grabbed tight to the hope just offered, grateful that he was alive and knowing that it was time to plead with Heaven that he stayed that way. I hung up the phone and bawled my eyes out. Seriously. Wet face, runny nose, headache... a really good cry for just a minute before I pulled it together to go tell D.
Sunday just wasn't the same after that. And frankly, it wouldn't have mattered what day it was, the world just took a pause. I went through the motions of my life for the next few days, but I was not fully invested or present. I was glued to my phone awaiting any bit of news about little Whitt and Katelyn and Wade and seriously contemplated emptying any available bank account to hop on a plane headed for Dubai, stopping in Iowa to pick up Linny on the way. I knew realistically there wasn't a thing I could do to make this situation better for Kate, but do you have any idea how far away the other side of the world is when you know your sister is going through a major fire? Really, really far.
I prayed and I waited and my children did the same. I grasped onto any updates sent our way and assumed that Katelyn was being optimistic each time she wrote. And when too much time passed between replies I prayed harder because I knew what that meant. I was incredibly grateful for Lindsay and our nightly phone calls. For some reason it made things a little better that Lindsay and Ben were far away too. And in those moments, Logan, Utah and Des Moines, Iowa seemed a lot closer than they had the week before.
This isn't news to anyone, but Boogs doesn't change regardless of circumstance. He was still direct, funny and compassionate all at the same time. One text read, "hopefully he gets all this out now and is an easy child the rest of his days."
News little Whitt was breathing was a huge relief but it came with the news that he was still unresponsive. The thoughts scrambling in my head included all those that no one wanted to say out loud. Was he without oxygen too long? Please be here, Whitt. Please be all here. My prayers got very detailed very quickly. Thank you a million times for saving this little guy, but we're not done yet!
I have a large extended family. Both my mother and father have several siblings and they all continued to procreate, some a lot. And when word got around that little Whitt needed help, family and friends showed up. They came from my childhood and early school years. They came from high school and mutual years. They came from undergrad and early married years and graduate school. They came from every walk of life and it wasn't even my baby. I was amazed and grateful and strengthened as words of encouragement and support came from family and friends in unbelievable abundance. When asked to pray, they got right to it. And they did a dang good job.
So today I'm grateful for a support network bigger and stronger than I was aware of. Technology is an amazing medium for spreading the word and sharing news. Prayer is an amazing medium for communicating directly with our Father in Heaven and I can assure you that He hears us. I know this without a doubt. I know that the combined prayers and faith of concerned and supportive friends world-wide pulled Whittman through his first week. And what a blessed little boy, to have the whole world pulling for him right from the start. He's destined for great things and after all the progress he's made in his first short week here, I'm sure he is going to continue to amaze us all.