(Jonah, Ellie and Joshua--I think it was overcast when this picture was taken, but you'd think the sun was shining directly in their eyes looking at this picture!!)
If you ever wonder if miracles really do still occur today, you need to attend next year's March of Dimes walk. This was our second year attending, and like last year, I spent my time reading t-shirts and posters and wiping away tears. When you read or look around at all of these posters and shirts telling of little babies born too soon, and then either see pictures of them now, or see them in person, you have proof that miracles really do happen.
Of course, not all of the t-shirts and posters represent happy miracles. Some tell a sad story of babies born too soon, and gone too soon.
The reason for our March of Dimes attendance: My BFF's little boy, Jonah. Jonah was born in June 2007, at 28 weeks gestation. He weighed 1lb 5oz and spent 82 days in the hospital before coming home two days before the original pregnancy due date.
(Why oh why didn't I take my camera and attempt to get some decent pictures?)
While I believe that pregnancy and birth in and of itself are miracles in the truest form, there is something about looking at Jonah and seeing every single odd he beat that reaffirms to me that there is a God, there is power in prayer, and sometimes He sees fit to answer those prayers with nothing short of a miracle.
Yesterday while Jonah was jumping around sticking out his tongue and smiling because we were at 'his party', I wiped away tears when I recalled the contrast from the first time I met him.
(I only visited him once in the hospital as I had a newborn myself that summer (Joshua) and with three other kids, I was filled with fear of the possibility I might transport bad germs to Jonah.)
I vividly remember sitting next to the little incubator bed, and seeing teeny, tiny Jonah. Tubes covered his little body, he had no firm prognosis. No one yet knew exactly what complications Jonah could have. Alone with Jonah, I sat next to his bed and with the same kind, loving, persistence and expectation I recently used to tell (and show) him he can get off the trampoline himself, I told him that he had to live. I told him he had to be healthy and grow up. I told him his mother couldn't take anymore heartache. And I also happened to mention that my three month old baby, Joshua would really like him to grow up and be his friend.
While I will take full credit for Jonah learning last week to get on and off his trampoline by himself, I do not give any credit to myself for the outcome of my first little pep talk with Jonah. Because as much as I was talking to Jonah there in the NICU almost four years ago, I was praying to the Good Lord too... And for reasons we can't understand fully in this life, God saw fit to answer the hundreds of prayers sent up for Baby Jonah.
Jonah is a miracle. He is a normal, healthy almost-four-year-old little boy. He has absolutely no complications or set-backs from being born far too early and far too small.
Okay, well maybe he has one.
He is pretty skinny, and when he jumps on the trampoline his shorts fall down to his ankles, and his mom's BFF laughs at him because she can see his underwear.
But if that is Jonah's biggest challenge from his 1lb 5oz start in life, his life is good.
And it is.