By David F.
My wife Trisha and I were thrilled when we learned that she was pregnant with our first child. We soon found out that we were having a girl and decided we would name her Kaitlyn. I was in my third year of law school and my wife was working full-time as a genetic counselor. Trisha’s due date was December 31, 2007. We had always known that we wanted to be parents and were excited that we soon would be.
In early November of 2007, however, it was becoming apparent that Trisha was experiencing unusual swelling in her legs and feet. She went to the doctor and was diagnosed with preeclampsia, or high blood pressure induced by pregnancy. Her blood pressure remained high and was not controlled by medication. After becoming more severe, she was eventually admitted to the hospital where they attempted to induce labor. After a long and unsuccessful night of attempting to induce, the doctor determined that an emergency C-section would be necessary—Trish’s blood pressure was dangerously high and both her and Kaitlyn’s lives were at risk.
Kaitlyn was born at 32 weeks on November 8, 2007, about eight weeks premature. She weighed 3 pounds 9 ounces. Her entire head could fit easily in the palm of my hand. The best sound in the world was hearing her first cry. After I cut the umbilical cord, the doctor took her to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). We were fortunate to have the support of family. My parents traveled from New Jersey and Trish’s family from Florida. Kaitlyn was hooked up to various machines with wires to monitor her breathing and heart rate. She would have “spells” where her oxygen level would dip and she would pass out, especially when we were feeding her. She remained in an incubator and we were able to reach her through two holes in the incubator so that we could change her diapers and clothes. There were times when Kaitlyn had been cleared to go home, but would have a spell and would have to remain at the hospital.
At this time, I wondered what Kaitlyn’s future would be like. Would she grow up to be tall and strong? Would she develop mentally? Would she be able to take dance lessons, ride a bike, and do other things that children normally would do? I took comfort in the success stories of other children who had been born premature and had been able to enjoy doing many things in life. We also prayed fervently and in faith that she would be healthy and strong.
One thing that helped me considerably was the opportunity that my father and I had to give Kaitlyn a blessing. In our church we believe in blessing the sick and afflicted as Jesus and his followers did in their time. I do not remember the exact words of this blessing, but I do remember feeling an outpouring of love for Kaitlyn and a desire for her to be strong, to grow and develop. I felt that Heavenly Father loved this little one and that he was entrusting her to our care. I knew that Heavenly Father was in control and that he was aware of our situation.
This was a difficult time for my wife and me. Heavenly Father answered our prayers. I know that He was merciful to us. Today, Kaitlyn is doing great. She just started kindergarten and enjoys riding the bus. She loves to run, play outside, do art, and is as smart as can be. I was even able to teach her how to ride a bike. We thank Heavenly Father for sending us one of His choice spirits. Our lives have been so blessed because of her and we are sure that Heavenly Father knew that we would be so.