the story of Andrew on his birthday
At five months gestation, Andrew’s bone disorder was evident. His cherub face topped the body of a little person, a dwarf. The next sonogram should indicate the type and severity of this bone disorder.
“I think he’ll just be short,” our daughter willed. She prepared for a baby shower and rearranged the small room in her house for a new baby boy. We were given faith.
March,1995, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported “Achondroplasia is the most common form of disproportionate short stature.” Children are of normal intelligence and lead productive lives. We were given acceptance.
Then, doctors announced the impossible. Thantatophoric Dysplasia*, is a lethal dwarfism in which a short, narrow rib cage prevents the lungs from expanding. Babies, often, are stillborn or survive a short time.
About eight months along, our daughter’s appendix required surgery. An immediate C-section was planned to remove the appendix and the baby. We gathered at her bedside to pray the Our Father and Hail Mary and ask that God let Andrew be born alive. We were given hope.
The delivery room was electric. Appendix out. A Pastoral person waited to baptize Andrew. A shout came down the hall. All ears in the waiting room heard, “He’s pink and crying! No, he is very pink!” On October 17, 2003, Andrew was born, 5 LBs, 15 ¾” long. We were given Great Joy!
The task of caring for Andrew began. At one month he stopped breathing and was put on oxygen. On Hospice, he required a decision-making parent present at all times. People came from far and near with food. Others were baby holders to keep the head elevated. A fund raiser drew 80 people. Parents, especially, received Fortitude.
Andrew was dying, and Andrew was living, smiling, cooing, grasping toys, noticing his musical mobile and Christmas lights, eating and gaining weight. We found humility and love abounding.
Mother Teresa wrote about listening for God, who speaks “. . . in the silence of the hearts.”
The fruit of silence is faith.
The fruit of faith is prayer.
The fruit of prayer is love.
The fruit of love is service.
And the fruit of services is silence. (p.64)*
This is when Andrew speaks. In his sleep he often smiled with so much love that you heard it in your heart. Andrew died May 12, 2004, yet His love remains –the greatest of all gifts. **
* Maelouf, Jean. MOTHER TERESA, ESSENTIAL WRITINGS, Orbis Books. Maryknoll, NY., 2001.
**First Corinthians, 13:13