That's not always the case in life.
My oldest child is my only daughter. She was born between my first and second years of Law School. My wife and I had been trying to have a child for a little over a year when we found out we were pregnant. I can still remember my Dad's response when we told him.. he was sitting on our couch after having come to visit us over the Thanksgiving break. We'd just gotten the 'positive' response from the test and when we told him he did a little 'yahoo!' cheer and actually caught air from his seated position when he thrust his arm into the air. I'm the youngest in my family, and I think my Dad just wanted to make it long enough to see some of my kids. He died a couple of years ago, but lived long enough to see 4 of my 5 so... that's pretty good.
We named my daughter after the Hawaiian word for "Beautiful," "Kanani". She came a little early that summer and weighed only 4lbs 14 oz, our smallest child by over 2lbs. Immediately she was whisked away from my wife and I because of 'wet lungs'. I followed the nurses with her at my wife's request and made sure she was safe and healthy. All seemed good, she pinked right up and the nurses said they'd suction out her lungs and get her to us soon, so I went back with my wife who by this time was headed back to our room on the maternity floor. About an hour later we were told that our daughter had been moved to the Neo-Natal ICU.. but that it wasn't a big deal, just those wet lungs. They wanted to put her on some oxygen just to be safe. It wasn't until about 2 hours later that we first learned of any sort of problem. A medical resident came into our room holding our chart, she started reading it and said the following, which has forever been etched in the recesses of my mind.
"Hiatt... Hiatt.. oh here we are. .. .. .. Oh yes, you're the family with the baby with the really rare birth defect. I've never seen anything like that before. Not sure how they're going to deal with it. I don't even know if there's a surgical procedure that can be done to fix the problem..."
Kanani had her the first operation of her life when she was around 10 hours old, but as would prove to be the case with her.. nothing went as expected. She became the first child ever in the largest Hospital in Boise, ID to have her esophagus perforated by a surgical probe. The tear resulted in an emergency thoracotomy to fix the tear.. and then another 3 days later when it was discovered that the repair had been incomplete and there was still a small hole that was leaking saliva and causing a massive infection in her chest cavity.
|Kanani at 3, on her way to pre-school|
We thought we were done.. that Kanani would learn to eat by mouth quickly, and that she was, after all of the drama, on her way to being 100% healthy. We'd had a bump in the road, but nothing we couldn't handle...
... oh how young and naive we were.
(To be continued with the letter 'H is for... Heart')