The Healing Touch of a Baby's Smile

Emma - last but not least is our water baby, number nine - Emma loves water. She's drawn to water like a magnet and loves it like a mermaid. She is also special needs though not with a labeled diagnosis. She is a "failure to thrive" child because she refuses to eat enough to grow and she has delayed speech along with a few other accompanying issues. None of them slow her down however because she's on-the-go all the time, very out-spoken, and totally independent.



Shortly after we returned from vacation, my daughter started having a lot of right-sided pain just under her ribcage and nausea. After a week, instead of it getting better, it was getting worse.  She called me to “consult” on what I thought it might be (nurse to nurse).  I ruled out liver problems, thought it might be muscle irritation but knew she needed to get it checked out.  I told her to bring me the baby (2 1/2-month-old Elijah, Eli if short) and go get it checked out. Being that it was the weekend, she and her husband went to the emergency room. A quick work-up ruled out anything serious but they suggested her gallbladder might be the issue and recommended a follow-up to her primary care doctor.

Her pain was not getting better and was at times worse so she got an appointment the following week.  The doctor immediately scheduled a STAT CT scan.  As she was coming into our house to pick up Eli, she was hanging up her phone, “Mom, I’m going to have to have surgery!”

Surgery….  Wow.

I immediately went into “mama” mode, getting what details she had and reassuring her that we would be here to help her out.  Apparently, she had multiple gallstones which were periodically blocking her bile duct.  If one lodged there, it would be emergency surgery.  Regardless, she needed surgery as soon as it could be arranged.  He also told her she could not “jiggle, bounce, or do any other jerky movements and could not carry heavy items.” Eli is a fussy baby and we do a LOT of bouncing with him to calm him down.  So, we came up with a way to reduce her risk of bouncing.

After I get Lynn through his morning routine, I run over to her house, about ten minutes away, pick up Eli, and bring him back to our house.  During the day I rotate taking care of Lynn’s needs with Eli’s often while handling requests from work. The first week wasn’t so bad.  My parents came up and totally took over the “Eli” job.  They were awesome and loved every minute of it; however, when they went home to take care of a few things, they found their floors had been flooded by a cracked toilet fixture and there was mold and ruined carpeting to address.  I felt awful.  Had they not been here helping me, their things would not have been ruined.  I also admit though I was very disappointed they could not return here because they had been wonderful with Eli and I really enjoyed their stay with us (they live five hours away from me). But when life throws you a curveball, you take a swing and see what happens.

Actually, though it’s like Grand Central Station here with everything I’m trying to do, it’s really rather enjoyable.  Eli is a great diversion (in more ways than one).  He’s now three months old and loves to smile.  He recognizes me and my voice, as well, as Lynn and his voice.  Though Lynn can’t do as much with him as he would like, we have developed a way of allowing him to help out with “sitter duty”.  When Lynn is lying down, I put Eli under the arm that has limited movement and wraps it around him.  Eli is then lying with his head and back against Lynn’s side.  Lynn sings and talks to him and Eli coos and talks back.  When Lynn is in his wheelchair, I have a “rocking chair” for the baby that allows me to strap him in and it has a play bar over it.  Lynn keeps the rocker moving when the baby gets fussy and entertains him with songs and stories. I also often lift Eli so he’s eyeball to eyeball with Grand-dad for some heart-to-heart conversations.

Eli is like a drug for Lynn.  Before I go and get the baby, Lynn might be feeling tired and out of sorts.  Once I come back and Eli gives him a few of his famous grins and gurgles, Lynn just lights up!  He laughs with him and forgets for the moment all his frustrations and hardships.  He told me after the first day that we kept Eli that he was the best medicine he had ever had.  He calls me to bring the baby back to his room for a visit, often throughout the day and each time, their bond gets stronger.

My daughter’s surgery is now scheduled for September 7.  She will not be allowed to lift Eli at all for three weeks afterward so his Dad will drop him off here when he goes to work and pick him up when he comes home.  Mom might come initially but I expect it will be easier for her to resist the temptation to pick him up if she stays home. It will certainly be hectic but I’m actually looking forward to it.

Having a baby around is healing.  He brings joy and the promise of bright tomorrow.  It’s wonderful to watch him discover the world through his hands and feet and see the amazement he experiences over things we take for granted.  It’s really a blessing of healing having him here. … (Though if you want to send up a few prayers for my sanity and stamina for the next four weeks, I wouldn’t object!)

2 thoughts on “The Healing Touch of a Baby's Smile”

  1. You said it all. There is nothing like the little ones to bring a smile to ones face. Enjoy and good luck with the surgery.

  2. The following comment was sent to me by my brother, Ronnie. I am posting it with his permission.
    Wow! Barbara and I read this one together this morning and both ended up tearing up! Sometimes its easy, actually very easy, to ask where is God in all this! Here we have Mom and Dad available and wanting and willing to help out with Eli and then their house floods and Sarah has to have the surgery! Then you can step back and see God’s hand in it all. One verse Jessica and I quote to each almost daily is in John 16. It says “In this world you shall have tribulations, but be of good cheer I have overcome the world”. And others such as “I will never leave your nor forsake you!”. And another quote that is not in the bible but we like to say is “If God brings you to it he will bring you through it!”. God never promises life will be easy, but He does promise that He will take His children through all situations!
    I see God’s hand in this blog seeing how God is using Elijah to minister to both you and Lynn. Two people who have so much on them and so very little time and here God uses the caring for Elijah and the helping out of Sarah to minister to you all! Lynn is able to help!!! Elijah becomes a “drug” of elation and a “drug” of needed distractions and all kinds of great stuff! All the while as you all take care of a young mother’s young baby while she goes through a very difficult time! Mom and Dad’s being there at this point would certainly be a help and an enjoyment, but they would end up taking a lot of this little “drug” away as they overdosed on the little fellow!
    And then you look at Mom and Dad’s situation which is also very difficult. First that I just happened to go with them that weekend and was able to help them initially and then Larry being able to step in as he always does by going to Roanoke with them to drop of the big package (me) and helping them get setup in their “vacation” home and being close enough that Lauren could come over and pick them up! And I think about how lost we all were on that arrival on Friday and Lynn finds ServePro, whom we’d never heard of, and we end up dealing with two of God’s servants! The ServePro guy on the phone that helped get things started was a believer and so was James who came out that night and over several days as well as the co-worker that is becoming a Pastor that lives on Larry’s street! This “random” company was used by the Lord to help Mom and Dad to “ease” into what needed to be done! And the water damage would have been much worse had two things not happened (1). The pump cutting off (2). The small holes at the bottom of the bedroom vent in which the water drained back down keeping it from flooding the entire floor! Just amazing.
    And these are just a few of the examples in these two conditions! Both of which are challenges, but both in which all of you have not been forsaken, but are being cared for by the Creator!
    And Donna, thank much for the now famous “Elijah” who has hit YouTube! We love it!
    And we love all you!
    God Bless!
    Ronnie and Barbara

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