|Photo Credit: Liz Thomas Photography, 2012|
He was supposed to be Riley Elizabeth, a girl, based on our one ultrasound where they were 80% sure he was a she. I guess that 20% margin was greater than we realized.
He was almost born in the car, on the way to the hospital. Labor was fast and furious and Waylon, by the grace of God, decided to floor it to the hospital, instead of pulling over on the side of the road and deliver him himself.
We learned he was breech as soon as we got to Labor and Delivery. But it was too late for a c-section. He came minutes after arriving to the hospital. He was born in his amniotic sac, making it look like I delivered a balloon. Once they popped the sac, he wasn't breathing.
Nurses and specialists were scrambling. And just as the specialist was about to force air into his lungs, he fought and began breathing on his own. Our small fighter from the start.
And small he was. Though he was just a week shy of being "full-term", he weighed only 3 pounds and 7 ounces. And he was no longer Riley Elizabeth. He was our son. Daddy beamed at the news.
His breathing stabilized within hours, but he was tiny and couldn't eat or regulate his body temperature on his own for a bit. We stayed with him in the hospital for 2 1/2 weeks so he could eat and grow.
Naming him Riley Elizabeth was definitely out, and from the time we first heard the news of our surprise boy, Daddy knew his name should be Judah...Judah, meaning "praise" or "celebration". After the shock wore off for me (it took a good day!) I was certain no other name fit him better. There was a great sense of awe in his little life, and praising God for him was all we could do.
God was so present in his delivery. And has only continued to be. This boy has seen more specialists because of health complications than I can keep track of; he was hospitalized or visited the ER at least once a month for his first 6 months of life; he has went through 4 surgeries and one emergency blood transfusion thus far. But now, a solid year removed from any health complications with Judah, we can say in the fears, in the trials, and in the seasons of great health, God's goodness and mercy has always been so obvious in his little life.
I love this boy. He has made me so proud to be his momma. I adore his intense gaze. Those deep brown eyes have been taking everything around him in since he was a little 3 pounder in the NICU incubator. His love for people, learning, and sports makes me smile. His energy level never ceases to amaze me. His sweet words melt my heart. The unexpected, "Momma, you're pretty," and "Momma, you're sweet" seem to make everything else around me stop as I bask in the goodness of those easy words tenderly rolling off his tongue. So easy, yet so powerful.
I'm so grateful we have him to celebrate tomorrow. Praise God and celebrate, we will, for our Judah Daniel!