Sawyer’s Trials – Todd & Lynn’s Journey to Faith

God’s Ways Are Not Our Ways

The year was 2000. I was living the high life (or so I thought), I was single, had a good job, my own house, and I was just enjoying this spontaneous lifestyle that I created for myself. Nobody to worry about but myself.

Then Lynn walked into my life. She was different than all the other girls that I dated in the past. Life was too easy before she came around. She was able to get me off my so-called high horse. She was exactly what I needed.

So, we had a courtship that had a few bumps along the way. I wasn’t used to having a person knock me down a couple pegs. She loved me unconditionally, even knowing that I never wanted to have children. In fact she decided to marry me after knowing this.

She never mentioned a word about if I would change my mind or not. So what does she do? She displays it in front of me (well played Lynn, well played). She didn’t do it on purpose, its just who she was.

As I witnessed these displays of nurturing my tone started to change. We were at a wedding and I was sitting on a chair just staring at her playing with this little girl on the dance floor. At that moment I said to myself, “I can’t deny her a child.”

About the same time, her mom came up to me as if on cue and mentioned how much her daughter loved kids. I just nodded and continued to stare at my wife having fun.

Without even thinking I called her over. In front of her mom I said, “Okay, we’ll try.” With a puzzled look on her face she replied, “try what?”

Well, the three of us cried as I told her that maybe we should try to have a baby. I never understood what unconditional love meant until that moment. I made her very happy and this is where my story starts.

So, it was time to make a baby. After the first month of no success we just thought, be patient, these things take time. We are a little up there in age so that may be the factor. But after six months we started exploring alternatives. We visited a fertility clinic and he gave us the best course of action to take. Going this route the chances of multiples increases. So I thought having twins would be kind of cool.

So finally the day came. My wife was pregnant. I did the best I could do to share her enthusiasm. Everything seemed to change once I found out and it was a feeling of my self-centeredness rearing its ugly head. I was still on the fence and was not feeling the joy that goes along with being a first-time parent.

So, we went to our first ultra-sound. I was still sorta in a daze over this whole situation. I remember looking at the monitor and seeing three circles staring at me. I took a calculated guess and looked at the doctor and said, “Is that what I think it is?” and then I held up three fingers.

He smiled and replied, “Yes my friend, you are having triplets.” Now I was freaking out. I was 43 years old and pretty much set in my ways. My selfishness was taking over my mind. Nothing good was filling my brain, only panic.

Then the doctor said something that made me feel really weird. He told us that we had the right to keep all three, or choose which ones we wanted to keep. Now I want to make this perfectly clear. This was before I found my faith; God took over at that moment. He wiped out all the negative thoughts that occurred before the doctor spoke.

Now I always was a believer in karma. But this was a situation where God was really testing my greed, my selfishness, and my character. He wanted me to realize the ramifications if I made the wrong decision.

I remember the long, slow walk to the elevator, and to the car. Not a word was spoken between my wife and I. Just before we got to the car I stopped. My wife looked at me and I said, “Well, you wanted babies. I guess we are having three!” My wife gave me a big hug, as if it was my decision to make. For some odd reason all I could think about is how selfish I would have been pointing to the monitor and saying, “Okay Doc, we’ll pick these two and you make this one go away.” I did talk to God and the thought entered my mind, This is not your decision to make; you make the wrong decision and I can take them all away.

I could have easily made the wrong decision. That is where I was in my life. Was this a trial? No, a trial is something you have no control of. And if you keep following this blog you will be a part of what we went through to get to where we are now, as there were many situations that were out of our control.

The thought of triplets weighed heavy on my mind. All I could think about was the odd one out. The thought of twins was something that seemed easier. Mommy, Daddy, Baby, Baby. Playing musical chairs with three of them seemed like a lot of work for someone that lacks in multitasking skills.

After a while I figured I’d just make the best of the situation.

Now Lynn was doing what all good mothers do. She was buying books, following a diet plan, buying all the furniture, etc., while I was just going about my business. My opinion? I don’t think too many men are prepared for parenthood. Women, you were born with great nurturing values. I commend all of you. You are really the backbone to any good family.

Time was really flying by. I was working a ton of overtime at work in order for us to upgrade to a bigger house. We had a plan and we were dedicated to making it work.

Now I don’t remember the details and dates, but I believe we were at the 12-week mark when we went in for our next ultra-sound.

I remember the first one really well. One thing that I thought was a little odd was that in two of the three eggs the babies were right in the center of the egg. In the other egg the baby was hugging in the corner. I wanted to ask the doctor about it, but I figured that since he didn’t bring it up then it probably wasn’t an issue.

So as the picture appeared on the monitor I remember looking for that egg that looked different. It looked the same as it did the first time. Then I looked at the other two and they were like twice the size. I knew what that meant right away. I had an empty feeling, I must candidly admit. One thing I have learned is you cannot control what your mind thinks. I can easily say that I was completely torn over this. I was pondering weather I should write what my thoughts were. Then it dawned on me that God wants everyone to know how He works through people. So for me to say that I was a little relieved over this was probably close to what I was thinking. I do remember worrying about Lynn and how she felt about losing one of our babies.

Now I tend to over-analyze situations. As I sit here writing, my thoughts are turning to what God’s plan may have been. I believe he wanted me to take this a little more seriously. I wouldn’t say He wanted to teach me a lesson. He wanted me to find Him. And in order for that to occur I needed to face the biggest trial of my life. A trial that I very much thank him for!

I used to get frustrated with the lack of communication between Lynn and I. I always felt like we needed to talk over situations that crush our heart. Within a five-year period she lost a father, grandmother, brother (at 27) and part of our family. Me, on the other hand, had not lost anyone in my life that was close to me. I knew she was hurting inside and I felt like she needed to talk about it. Now, my wife is one strong lady. She is much stronger than I am as I tend to get consumed with my emotions. She does know that my door is always open. I think she just searches in different ways when it comes to facing pain instead of bringing up the pain. I am not going to mess with what works for her. She just needs to know that I am there.

So there really wasn’t much talk about losing that little one. We just focused on the fact that we were going to have twins now.

Things seemed to be going pretty smoothly until I got a phone call at work. It was Lynn on the other line and she was pretty much in hysterics. I couldn’t understand what she was saying. If I remember correctly I believe an ambulance driver took over and told me to meet them at the hospital — that there was an issue with the babies.

Now I was numb. All I could think about was her. The thought of losing the babies never entered my mind. I was really scared. I told the people at work that I had to go. I was in such shock they almost had to kick me out of the door. This was a situation that I never had experienced before, so I didn’t know how to handle it. So I raced on over to the hospital only to find out that I beat the ambulance. A nurse took me to the room where she was to be admitted. I waited and waited. I was getting worried thinking the worst had happened. Then Lynn came through the door in a gurney. She had a smile on her face which gave me a sense of relief. Her spirits were good which gave me the indication that maybe we dodged a bullet.

So she told me what happened and the reason why she had to call for emergency. As she was talking a doctor walked in to explain the situation.

We found out that Lynn’s cervix was weak and was starting to give way. So she was to be on bed rest for the duration of her pregnancy.

Now we were sitting at roughly 21 weeks! So you are talking about four months of being in a bed. Fortunately the babies were okay.

So that is what we had to deal with. Everything happened so fast we really didn’t know how to deal with this turn of events. So we tried to make the best out of a difficult situation. I was just hoping that four months of bed rest wouldn’t make my wife crazy. It did help that she was able to do some of her work from the hospital bed.

Now anyone that has been on bed rest knows that it isn’t a picnic. As tough as my wife was, being in that stagnant position after a few days was taking its toll. Her shoulders and back were getting the brunt of the discomfort because all her weight was forced towards her upper half. I felt helpless as there was nothing that I could do for her. Things got a little better after two weeks of getting settled in and getting comfortable in her new surroundings. That is when things took a drastic turn for the worse.

I work swing shift at a paper mill. So you could say that I am pretty much sleep-deprived with swinging between days and nights. On my off-days I would go to the hospital and spend time with Lynn. When I really needed to catch up on sleep I would stay at home. The cot that they gave me to sleep on was not the most comfortable. But it wasn’t even close to the situation that my wife was going through.

They had a fitness center at the hospital. So one morning after sleeping on that cot I told Lynn that I was going to work out. As I was changing into some workout clothes she asked if I would get her a nurse because something was feeling a little weird. She didn’t look too distressed so I thought nothing of it. So a nurse came in to examine her. As I was tying my shoes she said, “Uh oh, the head is right there. I am going to get a doctor.”

So the doctor came in and checked everything out. He told us that we were delivering the babies that day. I started to do the math inside of my head; we were sitting at 23 weeks and 4 days. It was way too early.

Now this was one of the amazing things that took place where I feel God gave us a gift. The two days prior to that day one of the doctors gave Lynn a steroid shot. It was a shot that took 48 hours to take effect. The shot was to aid in the development of the babies’ lungs. If that shot would not have been administered they would not have survived we were told. There really was no reason to give the shot that early. I later hunted down the doctor to find out why she gave the shot. She basically said that she had a feeling. I just left it at that. I now wonder if God came a-calling to her.

So they hauled Lynn away. It was shift exchange for the doctors so a few from the other shift decided to stay and give a hand in this most difficult of deliveries. A nurse led me to a room to change into my scrubs. She forgot to come get me as I sat and sat, and sat. She was really sorry and led me to the delivery room. I looked around and must have counted a total of 10-12 doctors and nurses. Being nieve about deliveries I just figured that was standard.

We had plenty of time to pick out names and at the time I was a big fan of the show “Lost.” There was a character named Sawyer on the show. He was a tough guy, always getting beat up, but he always prevailed. We said the first one to come out would be Sawyer. He was to be the big brother. The second one’s name was Sean. Later I found out that they are both Irish names. So a little luck of the Irish was with us that morning.

The doctors warned us that they probably wouldn’t be able to make a sound. They were going to be very weak from lack of development. It didn’t take long before Sawyer entered the world. And guess what? A little squeal came out of his mouth. I remember the sigh of relief that took over that room at that moment. The doctors worked very fast, putting him on oxygen and fixing him up with tubes and other devices.

Now next was Sean. He wasn’t so lucky. He was unresponsive so they had to resuscitate him. They tried and tried as I was holding my wife’s hand ever so tightly. It was going on eight minutes and they were going to abort at ten. In between that time they got his pulse. We were so happy; we got hugs from all the doctors and nurses. They all did such a great job. And to think less than an hour prior I was going to be working out. At least I was there that day. I am so thankful for that.

So we set up shop in the NICU. Little did we know that our stay would total 110 days. Both babies had patches over their eyes as they were still fused shut. We couldn’t have visits until the little ones got settled in. And when we finally could it was only two at a time.

I remember like it was yesterday when my parents came to see them for the first time. I was proud and excited for this moment. Little did I realize how much of a shock it was for the visitors. We kind of got used to the babies being that small I guess. My dad had to walk out of the room. I went out and sat by him. He had tears in his eyes. I asked him what was wrong. He said, “I was told they would be little, but my gosh!” I could tell he was scared. I told him, “Dad, they are perfect. Just give them a chance.” Now my dad is a tough ol’ bird. He doesn’t very often show that type of emotion. It felt a little weird that I was comforting him when he was always the one comforting me.

The hardest part was that we couldn’t hold the boys. I know for Lynn that made her sad. All we could do was look at them in their little bubble.

As the days went by for some reason I always spent the majority of my time at Sean’s isolette. Sure he was closer to the door, but I just had the feeling that he needed extra love and attention. Even though he was only two ounces lighter Sawyer looked like a giant next to him. I remember hardly giving Sawyer attention, like I somehow knew that he would always be alright.

Sean was having a rough go of it. His delivery was hard on his little body. Everyday was like a roller coaster. They would fix one thing and then something else would come up. The doctors were always even-keel with their emotions. But I could sense more towards the not-so-good side.

I don’t want to go into how hard those eight days were with Sean. The doctors did everything they could. The fact that he lasted as long as he did was a miracle in itself.

I was coming off of nights and was in a deep sleep when I frantically was woken. It was Lynn. It took me quite a while to come to my senses. She got word that Sean had turned for the worse. We rushed over to the hospital and talked to the doctors. Sean had bleeding on his brain. We were faced with making a decision. He would not be able to live a normal life. Never walk, never talk, never show emotion if he were to remain alive. Our other option was to abort.

We were led to the chapel to talk it over and pray. The only words that were said to each other were, “I can’t do this.”

That is when I talked to God. I just prayed so hard! I pleaded with God to please take this decision out of our hands. Please spare him. I never once said, “Why us?” I put all my trust into our Lord (and this was still before I found my faith). I was just shaking like a leaf, totally defeated. Then the doctor came in. There was nothing that they could do. He now had total bleeding of the brain. God spared us. Even though we just lost our son. I thanked Him.

They brought Sean to us so we could finally hold him. They removed all the tubes and devices. We were also able to see his face for the first time. I remember how cute his nose was. He looked so different from Sawyer.

I love that little boy with all my heart. Lynn and I came to the conclusion that Sean had to give all his good parts to Sawyer in order for him to survive. And to this day that is what we will always believe. The fact that he was able to spend eight days with us was a blessing. I can’t wait ’til I get to heaven and have him run into my arms. I know he is happy where he is, and God is taking great care of him. No tubes, beautiful blue eyes that can see, he can walk, talk, and love. And I could never be any more proud!

Lynn kept a journal of every day while in the hospital. I wanted to make sure I had the dates right for the events that took place. As I was reading I came to a part where Lynn was concerned about the timing of her steroid shots. They initially told her that she would not be getting them until week 24. We were at week 23 and two days. Again I think of this as an act of God.

My mom was the first person that I called when Sean passed away. She has since passed away and I think of the two of them enjoying heaven.

As all the doctors and nurses paid their respects I was wondering why all the emotion as there were tears and genuine sincerity. I found out later that Sean was only the fifth baby lost in the ten years of existence of this hospital. Very, very caring people.

Now Sawyer was a rock star! I still have the visuals of the smiles when I would come for a visit. That always meant that Sawyer was having a good day.

Reading the notes made me realize how critical those first couple of weeks were. Sawyer still couldn’t breath totally on his own. He was hooked up to a ventilator machine; minimal stimulation was a must. We had to whisper and he could only be handled by the nurses only when necessary. At 13 days old they put Sawyer on the CPAP machine. It’s a great machine that allows the nurses to dial in the amount of oxygen mixed with the baby’s own breathing. To everyone’s amazement he lasted for 36 hours before he was too pooped and needed to go back on assisted breathing. Back in the old days with preemies it was all or nothing. This would lead to vision issues later on. It was a very high rate that a preemie back then would have glasses before they hit three years old. I can very proudly say that Sawyer has 20/20 vision!!

Also in reading Lynn’s notes it was nice to read comments from the doctors on how this was a first for them. One remarked that he had been delivering babies since 1988 and never did he think that they would have made it because of their age and how aggressive the delivery was.

Now I won’t go through every day of Sawyer’s achievements, just the ones of importance (actually they are all important). This one I thought was huge. Sawyer opened his eyes at 14 days old. Now I am crying as I write this part; Lynn got to also hold Sawyer for the first time. They wrapped him all up super tight all hooked up to his wires, as she sat on a chair. It was only for a short time, but was a moment that couldn’t come soon enough for my wife. It really tore her up that she had to wait so long. It was a very good day indeed!

So, the first time Lynn was able to hold Sawyer, he was all bundled up in a blanket. A couple days later she was able to “kangaroo” with him. This is skin on skin. The great thing about this method is the child feels the security of the mother and the warmth and love that goes with it. As over-stimulated as Sawyer was, his heart rate would drop to a nice calming beat. It really was pretty remarkable.

Lynn was always looking forward to that day and the doctors were being very cautious. Sawyer would start the day off good, but when Lynn would go for a visit after work he was just too worn out to attempt it. Then after a bad day of work and knowing that she still wouldn’t be able to hold him, she went to the hospital and the doctor changed his mind that she could hold him that night. It was as if God said, “Child, you have been through enough. Enjoy this moment.”

Here Sawyer was nine days old and still not even close to being able to breath on his own. He had a few episodes where he stopped breathing altogether. It was very stressful and our worry meter was at an all-time high. But he was a fighter and would always come back to us. The only thing that would relieve the stress was when we were able to kangaroo with him. It seemed to flush all the worry away. It was a very, very powerful feeling! God just gives us these emotions that can be really incredible.

I was always so amazed at how they could pick and insert these tubes for his antibiotics. He also has battle scars on his body from those days, badges of honor you could say. His skin was paper thin and transparent. He ripped one of his pads off and took the skin with it. That scar will never heal we were told. So we will always have that reminder of his will to survive.

Then we had a critical moment. Sawyer developed a heart murmur. There is a valve in the heart that is supposed to close when the baby enters into the world. It is open so the baby can breath inside the mothers womb. Well, Sawyer’s valve was mildly open. To close the valve they had to give him iodine treatments. They could only give up to three treatments otherwise he would have had to have open heart surgery — a surgery that they couldn’t perform at that hospital. So they would have had to helicopter him to Milwaukee which was 120 miles away. It was administered every 12 hours; there was no feeding in between as it disrupts the procedure. So he would have had to go 36 hours without feeding if it went to the third dose. And that is exactly what happened. It took the third dose for the valve to close. Sawyer always liked to keep us on edge (and so does our wonderful Father)! So the murmur was fixed, but Sawyer came down with another infection. An infection for a baby his size is extremely deadly. The doctors were so very nurturing in calming our nerves with situations like this that occurred in the past with a positive outcome. Their bedside manner was kind, but straightforward. We didn’t want things sugar-coated if they knew there was a negative outcome. The fact that they were able to cure this last infection was a positive thing.

Getting back to the heart valve. As I was reading Lynn’s notes and how the doctors were prepping us on what would take place for his surgery, I now realize how close it came to fruition. I now can’t imagine him being up in the air in a helicopter and not being able to enjoy the ride. The extreme danger of the transport. Pretty crazy once you think about it.

The great thing about this hospital was that the top floor was like a hotel. If I remember correctly it cost maybe $25 a night. We spent many a night there. They also had the best cafeteria in the world. I can’t say enough good things about how we were treated there. And being in the same building that Sawyer was in gave us peace of mind that we were there for him in body.

Just to give you a picture of how small he was: his feedings were 5 ml! That is equivilant to half a teaspoon. At almost a month we were happy to report that he weighed in at one pound 15 ounces.

Now being the mother hen that my Lynny is she had to take the bull by the horns on one occasion. As I mentioned before, it was very important to be quiet in the room so as not to stimulate our little guy. Well one afternoon they transferred two little babies that definitely had lung development. Even though they were on the opposite side of the room you could tell that Sawyer was annoyed by it. Lynn voiced her opinion and the babies were removed.

At this point his oxygen level had increased from 34.5 to 46. We are at 100. Sawyer was improving, and getting stronger with each new day.

I must also point out that Sawyer developed a hernia. Since he had no ligament development yet this was a common thing that they would continue to monitor.

Even though Sawyer was doing great there were still situations that caused you to cautiously walk into the room when paying a visit. One such day his potassium level was down. Just to hear him cry for the first time since birth was more than a person could take. Lynn had a meltdown on this day. You just had to feel for him and all the crap that he had to go through. It was so much to take in and patience was very vital. It was trial upon trial. God was in control, teaching us what he was capable of but also working in us at the same time. My, what we have learned from this experience. I praise you my Lord!

During the next couple of weeks Sawyer had many issues flare up. Potassium levels were erratic, kidneys weren’t functioning properly, blood clots formed, viruses, infections, poking and prodding — the life of a preemie is full of peaks and valleys.

One thing I remember from this experience is all the times we had to wash our hands. The slightest bit of germs could be very deadly when handling him. The smell of Purell will always linger in my mind.

The agonizing part of the NICU is that you don’t really feel like the baby is yours. You have to ask permission to hold, feed, or even walk up to him. We both knew that he was in the best of care, but our emotions sometimes got the better of us when he would string out four to five good days in a row and then have a relapse.

One can only imagine how emotional these times were. There were many sleepless nights full of worry. I developed acid reflux because of it. The only time that I found myself able to relax was when I was able to hold Sawyer. I made a promise to God that I would do everything in my power to make sure he was loved and taken care of. I really wish I had my faith back then. I am pretty positive that I wouldn’t have had stomach issues because my faith in God calms me down during times of stress. But then again I needed to feel that way to realize how precious the situation was.

A little after Sawyers six-week birthday Lynn got some wonderful news. The main doctor had a long discussion with her, answered questions and then paused for a bit. He believed that that now it was not a matter of “if” he was coming home, it was “when.”

This provided great peace for us! God’s master plan for us was taking shape. He provided us with some great news that day. I love Him so much because of it!

One evening they had a prayer service at the hospital for the people that had lost loved ones during their stay there. I can honestly say that I really didn’t get anything out of it. My mind was pretty much blank at the time. God still had much work to do with me. But He was being oh-so gentle.

Sawyer was really doing great. Lynn had one of those feel-good moments where she was able to hold him for two hours. His eyes would be wide open just staring at her. She would quietly hum a little song to him. He would just look lovingly into her eyes and then fall asleep. He would wake up from time to time just to make sure it was her that was holding him. He never fussed or cried. The only time he did was when the nurse had to put him back into his isolette. Those moments just make you feel numb inside!

Sawyer was beginning to be a novelty with the nurses. They all invested so much time in his care. We always felt security just being amongst them. Some would come to work earlier just so they could have first dibs on him.

On December 12th (nine weeks three days), while up at the NICU and just about ready to leave for the night, they decided to weigh Sawyer. This would be the first time we would ever see him without his headgear. They would put an oxygen bag next to him for some assisted breathing. We were finally able to see his face! What a treat that was! Lynn got to hold him all bundled up in a heated blanket. The loving look on her face was what convinced me that Sawyer would always be in great hands under her care. Sometimes I take for granted all the wonderful things that she does for him. God has really blessed me with the perfect mate.

His weight was now up to three pounds four ounces!

He also had his second eye exam and blindness was ruled out. He passed his eye exam!

I finally got to change Sawyer’s diaper. Talk about being scared! I had done this before, but never on someone that was so fragile and little. I was reassured by the nurse that I would be alright. I did fairly well I must say.

They also increased his calorie intake by 12 calories. You are probably thinking, big deal, huh? Well, 12 calories to him would be equivalent of 1,200 to us.

On December 22nd God had a very special day for us. After dinner with some friends we headed to the hospital with what we thought was just a routine visit. Upon entering the NICU we got intercepted by our favorite doctor who had a smile and a surprise for us. Our goal was for him to get up to the four-pound mark for Christmas, so that must have been it (he was just under).

As we slowly walked in what we witnessed for the first time was the pure beauty of our God. Sawyer was in his isolette with nothing on, breathing on his own! I couldn’t stop staring. Was this real? Now if that wasn’t enough we were told that we could feed him through his mouth for the first time, something that they didn’t even attempt to do yet.

We were told of how monumental an event this was. Think about it, he never sucked before, nor had he swallowed before, and hadn’t breathed on his own before. I remember the night nurse that was on duty that night. She was one of the tough, no-nonsense nurses that worked there. She was very good at her job but didn’t have the fuzzy warm disposition like the others. Every NICU needed one of those though. Any she told us not to expect much, that odds were that he would probably gag from not knowing what to do. She was hoping that he would take a half a teaspoon. So Lynn was set up to do the honors. The little champ took to it like a natural! I looked at the nurse who was watching what was taking place. She actually had a little tear come down her eye (although I am sure she would have never had admitted it). Sawyer drank half an ounce. Lynn even got him to burp!

We were just numb from all this excitement. It was all we talked about on the way home. After a moment of silence I looked at Lynn and said, “We have to go back; a moment like this deserves much more respect.” She smiled at me like a little kid.

We got another surprise while there after they weighed him. He was now over the four pound mark. It was one of those moments where you remember every detail, where on the road that you turned around, and the looks on all the faces. I even remember where everyone was sitting when we witnessed his feeding. This was one of the greatest days of my life and I will cherish it always!

Just before we left we went to Sawyer’s isolette to see him practicing his sucking. He had his thumb in his mouth.

Have a great day everyone! Look up to the heavens and praise the Lord! Its a great day to be alive!

Sawyer, after being able to breath on his own, was simply amazing the doctors. He was so ahead of schedule. Yes, he was having episodes with his breathing, but was pretty much doing a lot on his own. He was now at 34 weeks gestation where the things he was accomplishing were two weeks early. A true miracle in their eyes.

We were so waiting for the day that Sawyer would be moved from his isolette to a bassinet. They were now slowly preparing him for that moment.

On Christmas Eve, after spending some time by Lynn’s grandma, we spent the night at the hospital. We wanted to wake up in the same facility as our baby. We both held him before we turned in for the night. This was the first time that we were able to pass him from one person to the next. Sawyer was getting stronger, but it was hard not to handle him with the extreme caution that we had grown accustomed to.

The next day was Christmas Day! It was also my birthday. I got to feed Sawyer for the first time without his feeding tube. What a great present that was! He was so good for me that day. I have so much to be thankful for. Thank You God!

With every passing day Sawyer was one step closer to coming home.

In reading Lynn’s notes I can’t help but feel the love that she has for that little boy. I thank God so much that she is his mother. He will always be in good hands with her.

On the 8th of January Sawyer had surgery to repair his hernia and also get circumcised. The doctor noticed that his appendix was double its size (actual size of an adult’s) so it also had to be removed. What a rough day that was for him. It totally wiped him out. Even though everything turned out well it seemed like we took a step backward after seeing his lifeless body back in the ventilator. He never woke up the rest of the day.

The next day was pretty rough. He was so hungry and agitated. He couldn’t have any food until they knew his bowel movements were functioning properly. His crying was hoarse; he wouldn’t even open his eyes because they were swollen from the IV fluids during surgery. He was not a happy camper. We did all we could to comfort him.

The emotions of this part of our life will never go away. God always reminds us what he is capable of. We see it in Sawyer every day. Sawyer is a miracle and the main reason why we have come to know our Lord. His plan for us has only just begun. It took Sawyer several days to recoup from his surgery. He even had to be put back on oxygen because he became so weak. At 37 weeks gestation he now weighed five pounds eight ounces. We were now only three weeks from his due date. They now were starting to give him full rein of what he wanted to eat where before everything was monitored.

Sawyer was now eating everything in sight. As his date to come home was closing in we were told that we needed to take a CPR class. Yes, pretty scary stuff, but God was there to make us strong.

We were then given the date of Sawyer to come home. To prepare us for the transition they put us in a room to spend the night with him. So in case anything happened we would have the nurses at our disposal. This is when the worrying started for me. I always had the comfort of the doctors and nurses; now it was going to be on us.

In order for him to come home he also had to pass the car-seat test. Being so weak and wobbly he could be in danger just from riding down the road. He passed his test.

Sawyers time at the NICU was coming to a closure. The nurses became our family and we miss them so much. He was also part of their great journey. Many pictures were taken throughout his stay. They made up a little box for him that all the nurses signed. In the box were his eye shields, his first nuk, feeding tubes . . .

Our sleepover did get delayed though as Sawyer had a couple of episodes with his breathing. They had to actually give him oxygen as he stopped breathing altogether.

So his time to come home was delayed for a few days. And the bad part of it was that he had to go back on the caffeine and would have to come home with a heart monitor.

There were some nurses that were not aware that Sawyer’s stay was extended. They were sad that he had to stay a bit longer, but were glad that they would have the chance to stay goodbye. We totally understood.

As the days were getting closer and closer the nurses and doctors were really monitoring Sawyer to make sure he was up to the task. No stone would go unturned.

Well, it was the big night. Our first night with Sawyer! And guess what? I got sick! Thinking about it now I wonder if I could have done harm to Sawyer — me getting the flu and being in the same room with him. So that night I really didn’t get any sleep, and neither did Lynn. Sawyer was a loud sleeper when he was little. Lots of grunts going on.

Finally! On January 26, 2008, Sawyer got to come home. He was almost seven pounds.

I remember the feeling that was going through me. The last three months of all the things that occurred in the NICU were going through my head. It was hard for me to imagine that he was strong enough to be coming home. All I could think about were the peaks and valleys that we constantly witnessed. And now we were going to be on our own to fend for ourselves. I never let on to Lynn that I was scared to death. God gave me the strength to be brave. It was very tough being a first-time parent to such a fragile little person. To this day it amazes me what a person can do when they conquer their fears.

Saying goodbye was so hard. We leaned on these people so much. They not only made our little boy stronger, but comforted us at the same time. We will always treasure the memories and will go to visit from time to time. I get great joy out of seeing their eyes light up with love when we visit. Sawyer always seems to make their day.

Now a new chapter in our lives was to begin. We were now on our own and God was with us all the way.

13 thoughts on “Sawyer’s Trials – Todd & Lynn’s Journey to Faith”

  1. What a beautiful and inspirational story. I became born again in 1998 after leaving the cult of Jehovah’s witnesses. They misled so many of us to believe that being connected to the Watchtower Society was what saved us. Now I know that salvation only comes through Jesus Christ. Only He is the way and the truth. I have never felt so close to my God as I am now. Your story has helped me to appreciate what a loving God we have. It does us good to read reminders like yours. Thank you so much . And God bless!

  2. Incredible story! Praise God! I was raised a Christian but strayed from my faith. I became an addict due to chronic pain. One night I begged God to help me get clean, no matter what it took. 3 days later I found out I was pregnant and have been clean since. I started coming back to God because I was doing Bible study when I was pregnant. I had to be on special medication when I was pregnant. If I stopped taking the meds I would lose my baby, but if I stayed on them, he would go through withdrawals. I stayed on them because I wouldn’t allow him to die. When he was born he had to go to the NICU. It was a horrible, painful time. But that is where I truly came to know God. I learned that I was out of control- but God was in control of the situation. My son had bad days and good days and it was up and down. It was so hard not getting to bring him home with me. But God called me close to Him and I learned to trust Him, I learned patience, perseverance and how to give total control to God. Even though my sons NICU stay was so difficult, I now praise God for it, because I grew so much during that time and my faith was truly tested.
    I praise God for your son! What an incredible journey. God is so faithful. My heart reaches out to yours as no one knows what it’s like to have a baby in the NICU unless it happens to them. Praise God for his healing- of your son and your hearts! God bless you!

  3. m just left speechless as I’ve become too emotional to say anything..all I can say is PRAISE THE LORD!! ur story is truly I was reading ur story I could just imagine my parents going through same situation when my elder brother was born..yes my wonderful parents n brave bro have survived through all this n v can proudly say v r children of Jesus.. he is d truth n the light.. I love u Jesus.. glory b to u lord!

  4. that was so inspirational. i know that im only 14 but to hear that people go through all of this pain, just shows that god has never left u and he never will. praise the lord.

  5. Very inspiring story. .that’s true the ways of our Lord are higher than our ways. He has a good plan for us.
    We just need to trust him wholeheartedly. .
    Thank you for inspiring us.
    May the Lord continue to pour out blessings to us al.

  6. PRAISE THE LORD….This is a great one.What a powerful God we serve.May Sawyer grow to be a blessing to you and bring joy at all times and circumstances.May he win where others have lost and grow to testify of the LORD’S doing.The ways of our LORD are unknown to man .Glory be to Him!!!

  7. Wow!! Our God is awesome. Perfect in all His ways, beautiful for every situation. Thank God for the strength He gave you and your wife. God bless and keep Sawyer in Jesus name. Very emotional.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story. So inspirational! I pray that God will continue to be with you both as you raise Sawyer! God bless!

  9. As a Nicu nurse for over 49 years your story was like many I witness personally . I have been a born again believer since I was a teenager, I have had some set backs through the years. As a nurse I had the privilege to witness Gods hand in so many young babies lives and that of their parents.
    Your story was written with such love andSawyer is a lucky boy to have you as his parents.

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