The Limp

On April 30th 2009 my heart was in an accident.  That's the day I went to the hospital to check on my baby boy.  It seemed to me he wasn't moving too much.  The doctors decided to perform a c-section.  They were concerned that a blood transfusion I had had many years prior was effecting the baby's blood.  They were certain that once they got him delivered he may need some transfusions but ultimately would be fine.  After all, I was at this hospital in preparation for this very situation.  Everything was under control.  Jack was born.  I heard him cry and cried my own tears of relief as they whisked him away.  George bent down and gave me a kiss as he had when the girls were born.
In my recovery room I sat with my mom eagerly awaiting news of my little man.  When the head of the NICU came in to talk to me she didn't mince words.  "Your baby is very sick.  We don't think he will make it."  At that moment my heart tore.  I was wheeled into the NICU where I told him I loved him and stroked his little hand.
Despite the doctors belief that Jack (Jacob Price DeVol) would not survive the night he did and they decided his only chance of survival was a transfer to CHOP (children s' hospital of Philadelphia).  Everything about that transfer was hard.  The pain of being in a car less than 24hrs after having a c-section, the agonizing sound and sight of the sirens when they had told us "we won't use the sirens unless absolutely necessary",  the waiting and waiting for someone to let us know if he was still alive, watching another family pack their belongings and say their goodbye's after their baby died, finally seeing him and being told, "it doesn't look good"  And then through the night, everything calmed.  His prognosis was not good but not imminent either.

We spent the next two weeks loving Jack, praying for him, sharing brief meals with family and friends in the cafeteria, bringing our girls back to talk to Jack everyday, reading our Bibles, and singing to Jack.  If I close my eyes I can still feel is swollen little knees and thighs in my hands as I bent over him and sang and the feel of his soft dark hair as I stroked his head and prayed for him.  There were so many people there in the hospital praying and thousands praying at home and we felt those prayers.  We truly believed God could give us a miracle.  Then on the morning of May 13th the doctors had a meeting with us and told us we could hold him, once a day.  I cried and cried.  I never thought I'd hold him this side of heaven.  Later that day an elaborate plan was put into place and I held my son for the first time. My heart was so full.  The sweet nurse took pictures and you can see how very, very happy I was in those pictures.  I went to bed that night with a full heart.  Then at 6am I was woken up by a nurse telling me the doctors needed to see me.  Jack had taken a very, very bad turn he was bleeding into his lungs and they couldn't stop it. They could slow down the process but he was not going to make it.  It was time to make some decisions.  I called George and our families and told them to come.  It was time to say "goodbye"  We all had time to kiss him and tell him goodbye.  My darling siblings had all flown/driven in from around the country.  Never have I felt so loved.  As painful as it was I could feel the arms of God around me.  Finally it was time.  All the wires and machines and tubes were taken away and George got to hold Jack for the first and only time as we walked down a hall to a private room to hold Jack as he passed.  We told him we loved him and we'd see him again soon.  George gave him back to me to hold.  It's funny the things a parent knows.  At one point we looked at each other and I said, "I think he's gone."  And George said, "Yeah, just a minute ago, I'll go get the doctor."  When he left I sang "Better is one Day" to my little man.  I knew he already knew.  Afterall he was there already in Heaven but it was more for me.  That song had run through my head a million times but I had never been able to utter the words to him until that moment.  And that's when my heart broke the rest of the way.

The next days, weeks, and months are a blur of tears, blessings from friends, and time to reconnect and put our lives back in order.  There were so many people that touched us and comforted us and God was there the whole time.

And now coming in on two years later my heart still limps.  Not to say that it is still broken.  The Great Physician has healed my heart.  But there's still phantom pain sometimes.  There's times when for no apparent reason I burst into tears.  A worship chorus that has everyone else smiling leaves me in tears and only those who are very, very close can figure out why.  And even though this great loss, this great injury has accomplished many things, lives have been changed, including mine, people touched and encouraged, including me, and our family bonds strengthened the loss is still there and it's still felt by the limp in my heart.
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