Oh, Simon, Simon Coe, Simoney, Simey, how in the world can you be two? I still picture you as a baby even though I know it’s ridiculous. I mean, not only are you NOT a baby, you are a big brother! How. Is. That. Possible? I have a feeling your birthday will forever cause me to shake my head and shed a tear, for your birthday will always mean that Jude’s birthday is a mere 6 weeks away, and that our baby boys are ignoring our pleas for them to stay little. Yup, that’s how Aunt Sarah rolls. Get used to it.
Your birth day was a crazy day, Simon. Your mom called me early on Saturday morning and told me that she had been having contractions all night and thought she needed to go to the hospital. I thought she was nuts. That’s right, there, I said it. I thought she was being too anxious. On my drive to your house, with Eliza in the back seat and Jude in my belly, I thought, “She’s 35 weeks. 35. This can’t be real labor. No way. She’s gonna get there, and they’re gonna send her home.” When Eliza and I arrived at your house, I just knew I was right. Your mom was acting totally normal. No heavy breathing, no painful looks, no discomfort really to speak of- just a pause every so often to let a contraction go by. I thought I was so smart because I had been taking a birth class to get ready for Jude’s birth, and I just knew that your mom wasn’t in enough pain to actually be in labor. I sent her and your daddy off, making them promise to update when they knew what was going on, but really assuming they’d be back in a few hours with a “false alarm” report.
I called Aunt Stacey and gave her an update (complete with my own commentary about how I thought it was a false alarm), since she was supposed to tag team with me on taking care of Reid and Annelise. I assured her she probably wouldn’t be needed, since your mom and dad would probably be back shortly. Imagine my surprise when I got a text message from your daddy just a little while later that said your mommy was at 4cm, that she was being admitted and that you would be born today. I was shocked! And then I started getting a tiny bit worried. I knew that your big sister had been a premie and had had a little bit of trouble breathing when she was first born, so I just prayed and prayed that you would be ok. Aunt Stacey did end up coming over with Hank and Zoe, and we played and had fun with your big brother and sister, ate lunch and then Aunt Stacey stayed with Reid and Annelise so that I could take Eliza home for a nap.
You were born a little while later in the afternoon, and sure enough, you were having trouble breathing, just like your big sister. I assumed that the problem was similar to the one your sister had had, just a little bit of fluid in your lungs from being born so quickly, and that after a day or two in the NICU, you would be right as rain. I called your daddy and mommy and made plans to visit you up at the hospital. Uncle Tim was scheduled to preach the next day, so he was working on his sermon and couldn’t make it up for a visit. I offered to stay home if he needed me to, but Uncle Tim knows me really well, and he knew just how bad I wanted to go see you and your mommy, so he sent me off with a promise to take lots of pictures and give everyone hugs from him. I made a quick stop at Olive Garden for some lasanga for your daddy and some black tie mousse cake for your mommy and sped off to the hospital, anxious to meet you.
When I arrived, I gave your mommy a big hug and apologized for being a dummy and thinking she wasn’t actually in labor. I asked how you were doing, and your daddy and mommy told me that you were still having trouble breathing and were in the NICU, but you were doing ok. Your mommy explained that the nurses and doctors had told her as soon as she was admitted that all babies who are born at 35 weeks or earlier spend at least their first night in the NICU. It was hospital policy. So, your mommy expressed thankfulness that at least she was prepared for a NICU baby this time, as your sister’s NICU stay was quite unexpected and therefore very difficult. I was thankful for this tiny evidence of grace in the midst of a trying situation.
Then, your daddy surprised be with the best news. He could take me to see you! I was shocked. I knew that there was only a certain number of visitors spots on the NICU list, and I had just assumed that I wouldn’t make the list (not when there were eager parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. who were coming to visit you). I was so excited that I would get to see you in person! I checked with your mommy to make sure it was ok with her if we left. You see, at the time, it was just your mommy, your daddy and I in the hospital room, and I remembered after Eliza was born that I didn’t want to be by myself. I know it sounds weird, but that’s just the way I felt. I didn’t want to be alone, and I wanted to make sure your mommy didn’t feel that way too. Your mommy assured me she was doing fine, and that it would be ok if we went to see you. I remember being amazed at how strong and calm she was. I was such a wreck after Eliza was born, and she didn’t even spend any time in the NICU! Your mommy is one incredible lady, did you know that? She is, and I remember being so thankful God was helping her, giving her peace and strength, at such a time as this.
I followed your daddy to the NICU. We had to check in and wash our hands and arms all the way to the elbows. No germs were getting on these NICU babies, no way, no how! I remember seeing you in your little bed and thinking how crazy it was that you were so big. You were 7lbs 10oz at 35 weeks! How big would you have been if you had gone to full term? Geez. You had these adorable chubby cheeks and roly poly thighs- not like any premie I had ever seen, that’s for sure. Of course, I thought were so precious and adorable. I was instantly smitted, as I tend to be by Davis boys, and I so desparately wanted to pick you up and cuddle you. But of course, with a zillion tubes and wires hooked up to you, that wasn’t an option. It was my first inkling of how hard this must be for your mommy. If I wanted so bad to hold you, how much more must your mommy have wanted to?
At this point, I still didn’t realize how serious your breathing troubles really were. I was still thinking you’d be there in the NICU for a day or two and then be home. So, after a few pictures and copious “ooooo”-ing and “aaaahhhhhh”-ing, I walked back to your mommy’s hospital room with your daddy. He took off to make some phone calls and send some pictures, and your mommy and I just chatted for a bit about how cute (and big!) you were and how much fun you and Jude would have together and when we thought Jude might actually join his new friend Simon on the “outside.” Your daddy came back in and asked how Uncle Tim’s sermon was going, and we talked for a bit about how weird it was that your daddy and Uncle Tim (and Uncle Dave and Uncle Justin) actually preach sermons and are pastors (it was still a new hat for all of them back then). I reluctantly left a little while later, after I had prayed for your mommy and daddy (and you), and made them promise to update us on your condition as they heard new news.
I went to bed that night with my heart full of thankfulness for the newest little Davis, praising God for this new little life and asking Him to sustain you and heal your little lungs so that you could come home quickly. It would be the days and weeks that followed that would reveal just how serious your breathing troubles really were, and it was then that my prayers would become much more urgent and tear-filled. Those three weeks you spent in the NICU were so hard, for you, for your mommy and daddy and sister and brother, for your grandparents and aunts and uncles and, last but not least, for your church family. We hated to see your family hurting and not being able to do anything about it. We delivered meals, watched kids as needed, prayed, tried our best to encourage, but it was really hard. We just didn’t know what to do. We did our best to care for your family as they were doing their best to care for you.
During those weeks, I remember being so discouraged when there was no improvement or change in your health and at the same time overwhelmingly thankful for the gift of modern medicine, doctors, nurses and equipment that God was using to keep you alive. I remember not knowing if I should ask your mommy about you (for the hundreth time) and at the same time not being able to help but ask, wanting her to know that I cared. I remember crying and begging God to heal you and let you come home, and I remember crying and rejoicing the day that you did.
Simon Coe, you are a precious and wonderful gift. I love your sweet smile and your jolly demeanor, and I cannot imagine life without you. I am so thankful that God chose not only to heal you back then, but to leave your little body with no trace of your rough start in life. What incredible, sweet grace. I pray that in a similar way God will choose to heal your sinful heart and give you a new heart that loves Jesus and wants to live a life honoring to Him. What even more incredible and sweeter grace that will be. You are loved and treasured, and I am so thankful to God for the blessing of your life.