May 8, 2019 had us all saying, “Oh, Baby!”
Oliver Alexander entered this world weighing in at 7 lbs., 13 1/2 ounces.
My niece allowed my daughter and I to attend his birth. We assisted in providing what little pain relief we could while she was in active labor by rubbing her back, applying pressure, and also rubbing her feet. We worked right alongside her fiancé, and together, the three of us were her birth coaches. It thrilled my heart completely to be a part of this, and I feel like we all got closer in the process!
This little guy has brought so much love and happiness into our lives. My heart is so full thinking of his perfect little fingers and toes, the cutest lips you’ve ever seen, and his nostrils that are in the shape of hearts! I kid you not! This little sugar lump came into the world with beautiful auburn hair – a head full of it!!
And just in that instant, he wrapped me completely and totally around his pinkie finger. One look at him was all it took, and I am forever hooked! I knew I loved him long before I ever met him, but that sealed the deal when I saw his precious little body lifted up by the doctor as he was placed on his mommy’s chest. Laying there, I knew that this little guy wiggled his way even more so into my heart.
This moment filled with so much joy also was tainted by fear …
Seventeen years ago, my sister gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I was right outside the door when she took her first breath and cried such a sweet cry that was like music to our ears. Shortly thereafter, I was ushered into the room to be by my sister’s side as she held her sweet baby, my niece, Melanie. This was such a precious moment as I basked in my sister’s happiness as she held her bundle of joy close to her.
Two weeks later, tragedy struck. My sister took her own life as Melanie laid in her bassinet in the other room. All of the questions filled our heads, but there are no answers … even to this very day. There was suspicion that she was having issues with postpartum depression, but usually that doesn’t show as early as this. In this case, others were saying it was psychosis. Then another twist to this was hearing from a so called friend that my brother-in-law cheated on my sister, she found out, and that was why she killed herself. The truth is some where in all of this, but it will not be found this side of heaven. There will only be great speculation as to what occurred.
Standing in that hospital room in May, I was taken back to that moment in time when we lost my sister, Pamela. I spoke with the doctor outside of the room to express my concerns again. A wrinkle formed between her eyes on her forehead as she listened. We all agreed that my niece needed to be watched closely. Prior to her delivery, we decided for her to spend two weeks at my house so I could help her with the baby but also to keep an eye on her.
This precious time was also tainted by wishing my sister could have been present for the birth. Oh, how I know she would have loved this little one … her grandchild. And even though she’s not here with us in person, I know she’s watching everything as it unfolds. I believe she’s looking out for her daughter and her grandson. While I would never try to take her place, I am honored that my niece trusted me as she did to be there for her during this time. It makes my heart soar to think that she placed such trust in me to be there for her! Although she lives two hours and 30 minutes from us, nothing was going to stop me from being there! She needed me, and there is no place I would have rather been than by her side throughout all of this.
During her pregnancy, we were told that Oliver would have a birth defect. For short, it is called ACC, or the full name of his birth defect is Agenesis of corpus callosum. Agenesis of corpus callosum is an extremely rare disorder, 2 to 7 out of 1,000 births will result in this defect. The absence of this part of the brain was actually picked up on the many ultrasounds my niece had when she was pregnant. We hoped and prayed with all of our might throughout her entire pregnancy that maybe, just maybe, the doctors were wrong. But, as the brain scan revealed the day after he was born, little Oliver did, in fact, have ACC.
To further give you background on this rare birth defect, it is noted with this condition a partial or complete absence (agenesis) of the area that connects the two hemispheres of the brain. It brought us great sadness learning that this condition could result in mental retardation, but we also had hope in that intelligence may be only mildly impaired and subtle psychosocial symptoms may be present.
My niece went forward with her pregnancy knowing what “could” happen. She knew the answer to the “what if he has this …” and she went on to deliver this beautiful baby boy with olive skin and a head full of beautiful auburn hair. I am so proud of the woman my niece has become and that she carried this child in her body even with her own was wracked with fear of the unknown. It was with the great love in all of our hearts that we supported her and helped her through this time.
I will never forget meeting with the doctor and hearing the news … and upon checking out how I put my arms around my niece and held her as she cried. I whispered, “This baby is going to be so loved! NO matter what!” And I meant every single word.
Oliver is now five weeks old, weighing in at 10 lbs 5 oz. And I am happy to report that Mother and Baby are both doing GREAT!
I had the privilege of having them in my home, caring for Mother and Baby, and bonding with them both! I will never be able to properly put into words what this all has meant to me … and to us as a family.
Little Oliver may have ACC, but as of yet, we have not seen any signs of this in him, nor have the doctors. We continue to pray that as Oliver gets older, he will not face any ill effects of ACC. In our eyes, he looks absolutely perfect … looking at him, you’d never be able to tell he has any kind of birth defect at all. He is behaving just like a normal, healthy little boy! And we give God all of the praise, glory, and honor for this miracle he’s working in this little boy’s life.
One morning when I had Oliver swaddled in a blanket, I took him outside to enjoy the sounds of the birds chirping nearby. We sat together in my garden area, one of my most favorite places in my entire yard. I sang to him and prayed over him. I asked God to please bless this little one with a miracle. He is able, and I believe with my whole heart that God can do this for us. This little guy has so much potential, and I want him to have the same opportunities as every other little boy. I want him to grow and know he’s loved and cherished. I want him to excel in whatever he embarks on in life; to flourish and beat the odds! I want people to be completely astonished to learn that he has ACC and that there was ever any doubt that this might hold him back. I want us to be there cheering him on as he does great things in life.
Oh, how I love this little boy!!
Please join me in praying over Oliver Alexander, my angel baby!