Thursday, 16 June 2011

"On The Neonatal Unit, Miracles Are Rare"

I'm in a reflective mood today for two reasons.  

First of all, on Tuesday we caught part of a program on BBC3 that featured the Neo Natal Unit in Liverpool and so we watched a number of parents walk through their own journey's by their babies incubator's and cots.  One of those journey's ended with the baby's death, another with severe brain damage and cerebral palsy, finally with a baby who had a very good outlook and seemed to be developing well.  I was in tears and my heart ached for those parents because we remember all too well what it was like to sit next to our son's incubator without knowing whether he would live or die and knowing that even if he did live, there was a strong likelihood of him having lifelong disabilities.  

Then there was one line spoken by the narrator that resonated with me:  "On the Neo Natal Unit, miracles are rare."  

I turned to Chris with a smile as we both acknowledged that while Neo Natal miracles are rare, we have one lying in his Moses-basket muttering to himself as he sleeps.  It does seem likely that Adam has been left with a lifelong disability as the illness appears to have taken his hearing, but as we know so well, we are truly blessed to have been able to bring him home at all.  I do believe this fact is a combination of exceptional medical science, dedication and skill on the part of the doctors and nurses.  I also believe this is a result of the many thousands of prayers that were being spoken for us and for Adam in those days as relatives, friends and even strangers prayed that his new life would be spared.

So that leads me to the other reason why I'm in a reflective mood today.  Next Tuesday, Adam has his next hearing test at the hospital.  The results of this test will either confirm the previous diagnosis of profound deafness or may show some change to question the first result.  We were told there was an outside chance that his hearing could correct itself through maturation of his ears and auditory nerves but this is a slight chance.  All this to say, I'm not sure how to approach this day, this hearing test, mentally and emotionally.

Chris believes the wisest course is the one he calls realism, where we go in expecting the diagnosis of profound deafness to be confirmed and if the result is any different then we can be pleasantly or even delightedly surprised.  Realism: "The attitude or practice of accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly" 

I'm torn between acknowledging that this may well be the wisest course for the sake of sanity and also wanting to remember that Adam is already a miracle, the fact that he's alive is a miracle, the fact that he has no amputations is a miracle, the fact that he is not paralysed is a miracle, the fact that with the exception of his hearing, he seems developmentally normal for his age and this is a miracle...I could go on.  So is it un-realistic to be hoping for another miracle?  

Miracles are of course not realistic - that's the whole point.  "On the Neo Natal Unit, miracles are rare..."  But miracles are part of faith and as I'm a Christian, I do often turn to the Bible for wisdom, guidance and inspiration.  So the Bible says in Hebrews 1:1: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (King James Version) or "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance of things we cannot see." (New Living Translation)  'Evidence', 'assurance', or in yet another translation, 'conviction' of things we cannot see.

Faith is not wise, many people would in fact call it stupid - and have done.  Faith does not sit easily or rationally with realism.  But realism said that my baby would die.  Medical science had done everything they could for him and still it wasn't enough.  Realistic doctors kindly prepared us for the worst.  Realistic statistics told us that a baby who was that ill with an infection that serious was likely to die.  Realism: "The attitude or practice of accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly"  But faith, the 'confidence that what we hope for will actually happen' told me my baby would live - and he did.

You see, I had become a mother and mother's don't give up hope, even or especially when their babies are just a few days old.  Combine this with a Christian faith that indicated that miracles can and do happen and I was believing that the impossible would happen - and whether because of medical science or because of prayer or most likely a combination of the two - the impossible did happen.  So on that basis, is it unreasonable to hope for the impossible once again?

The fact remains that if Adam is confirmed as being profoundly deaf, then he will still be loved just as much as if he could hear.  We will do our best to meet any and all of his needs in any way we can with the support of the health and sensory inclusion services.  If he is deaf, this will not detract from any of the previous miracles or impossible outcomes that have already occurred.  But of course, I still hope the impossible may occur yet again.  It's entirely possible that in suggesting there is still hope for a change in his hearing that I am setting myself up for disappointment and hurt, yet is it not the way of faith to always 'hope for things unseen'?

I could go into this test with a realistic outlook and I could also go in with an attitude of faith and hope - regardless of the outcome, and regardless of the fact that I may be disappointed, I still prefer to live with faith than relying solely on realism.  Who knows, maybe the impossible could happen.  I'll be praying that this will be so - as a mother and a Christian, I can do no less. 

1 comment:

  1. Amen! You are incredibly brave.

    Sarah Baker


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