A Letter to Our First Son

Sweet Abel Paul,

Welcome to the world, son! I’m taking a break from our couch cuddles to catch you up on what has been the hardest and yet the BEST week of your parents’ lives.
It was just one week ago today that your mama & I were packing our bags and preparing to meet you face-to-face early the next morning. You were born to us at 7:53AM last Friday, January 22nd 2016 with your mama’s playlist running in the background. At that moment, there was an old hymn playing called “I Surrender All.” In truth, you were not making any noise because you were not breathing air very well, and the full weight of those humbling lyrics began to sit on my chest.

But you kept fighting.

You were struggling mightily, but you were fighting. We asked for some oxygen, and that turned out to be just the push you needed (that’s a birth pun, Abel, but you wouldn’t know because you refused to turn head-down). A couple minutes later, your heart rate had doubled and those lungs kicked into gear, and so here we are on the eve of your 1-Week Birthday. We are so, so proud of you.

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Also a week ago today, we posted a message for everyone who had been praying for you all this time. We made note of how many faithful people were following along with us, but nothing could have prepared us for the overwhelming response your debut received last weekend. In just a 36-hour period, there were 25,504 individuals who visited your blog. And as of today, this little site of yours has surpassed 100,000 views… all from people who want to come read about YOU, Abel.

You are already so deeply loved, and your life here is celebrated daily by us and so many others.

One reality of this tough world you’ve entered is that all too often, people can make unfair assumptions about other people (I think we all fall into this bad habit in some way or another). Sadly for us, son, I’m afraid that several Doctors viewed you more as a blanket T-18 diagnosis than as an individual human patient… but the assumption that no Trisomy baby can sustain life more than a few hours after birth proved false, as it has in the lives of many other Trisomy children.

God has given you an earthly body that requires extra help, and as YOU fought on, we realized WE would need to follow your lead and fight for that help.

Thankfully, your grandparents & aunts & uncles were on the spot, and our family was also blessed by MANY nurses, hospital staff & knowledgeable friends that wanted to fight for you. You’ll probably never remember Kiesha, Kelci, Jess, Amanda, Jessica, Marlissa, Jen, Kylie, Kim Z, Julianne, Autumn, Julie, Caren, Todd, Joe & others, but your parents sure will. And truly, that doesn’t scratch the surface of names who jumped in to make us feel loved & comfortable during those first 4 days and through our transition home, not to mention those praying for the 3 of us from afar… It’s a beautiful, humbling thing to witness and be blessed by Christ’s Body in full swing.

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Which takes us back to today, son. You are so very alive, but still very sick.

A blood test confirmed that you were conceived with an extra copy of your 18th chromosome, which complicates a lot of things. You need more oxygen right now than our air can provide, and the way most of us feel after walking a few flights of stairs is the way you feel all day. That makes meal times a lot more tiresome and tough to get enough food in your system for you to grow. You left the hospital at 4lb12oz and hadn’t gained any weight as of yesterday, so that’s why we prayerfully decided to drop that thin tube down into your tummy this morning. We know it’s a little uncomfortable Abel, but we think it will be worth it. Have I told you yet how proud of you we are??

The heaviest dose of reality about the way your earthly body was formed is that you have a very sick heart.

We had known this may be the case, and received final confirmation of its severity after seeing a new heart echo on Day 2. We are still trying to educate ourselves in full on these defects and their implications, but we are having to acknowledge through many tears that there may come a time when your heart is no longer able to do its job in keeping you here with us. We can’t know for sure when that would happen, but we do know that the hours we get to spend with you right now are a treasure to us, richer than any we had known prior to you. And ultimately, we know that even the longest life here is but a blip on the radar in the scope of eternity.
Even in the face of sorrow, you have brought unspeakable JOY into our lives, Abel. We can’t imagine having made any other decision but to keep you, carry you, and love you for as long as you’re here.

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Now back to those couch cuddles…

Love, Dad & Mama

 

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25 thoughts on “A Letter to Our First Son

  1. I know you’re enjoying this precious time. All the ladies in my Bible Study group are praying with me for all of you and sending lots of love and hugs. God is smiling down on you for sure.

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  2. The most beautifully written letter I have ever in my entire life read. I am so honored to have met your family and your precious miracle Abel. I promise that Abel, you and your adorable wife, have left a lasting impression on my life that I truly will never forget. In the very short time I had with your family, I learned more about faith, love and strength than I could ever imagined. Your persistence and refusal to give up without CLARITY of where things were going with your son, was so inspiring. We as parents have to advocate for our children as long we have them, and you and your wife were doing an incredible job right out of the gate. Abel has and will leave an imprint on more lives than most us will ever leave in an entire lifetime. His life has touched so many, and that is because you and your wife chose to give him that chance. Thank you so much for sharing him with us. I will be forever grateful!! Abel Paul, is such a perfect name for you. Other than the biblical meaning, you are proving that you are “able” to beat the odds and prove to the world that miracles do happen. Happy Birthday sweet boy. What a wonderful life it is!

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  3. My family will pray for the 3 of you every day. God is so good and has given you the biggest blessing of all, your son. We are struggling down a path that is different than the one we had planned for with our son as well. That doesn’t mean we would have chosen any other way if we had known. But the number of people who come out of the woodwork to pray for our precious miracles is a huge sign that God is very present with us, every moment of every day. I pray for all of you as you navigate this unknown path, and continue to hold on to your faith as you have. God bless you all!

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  4. I am so happy you guys are home!! I am also very happy Jess told me about this blog for Abel! I have not stopped thinking about y’all or stopped praying for y’all!!! I wish you guys the best!

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  5. Cuddles and Virtual Hugs for the Crawford family of 3! it may seem trite, but I think of the cheer Go! Fight! Win! y’all are doing just that with a plethora of cheerleaders yelling & praying & cheering you all on! the fight of life is already a win for faith & trust and the knowledge that God and so many followers are in your corner Abel. You win no matter what, because you are a child of God and faithful parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles.

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  6. Our first little boy had Trisomy 13. His name was Jaxon Hawk Pfalser and God also brought us unimaginable joy thru his 156 days in my womb. He died moments before I delivered him but we celebrate his life and his going home! He was our first son and God used Him in 1000’s of ways to teach us and so many others about His faithfulness and steadfast love. I’m joining with you in prayer for sweet Abel. I pray God would strengthen you in your inward being to be strong in Him as you fight for your brave little boy. Praying.

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  7. God bless you baby Abel! Welcome to the world. I thank God He sent you and we are so glad to meet you through your parents’ blog. You are a handsome little guy 🙂

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  8. What a blessing.. He’s a beautiful baby. I know a little of the ups and downs you are feeling. We had our trisomy 18 baby girl 28 yrs ago. There are many loving arms around you, and many prayers for the 3 of you…

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  9. Nothing is impossible! Nothing has to be “just like other cases” The Lord is writing a new story with Abel Paul- one that is marked by His sweet touch. One that people can’t deny is Him. One we all get to see and learn how parents surrendered to Him follow His lead through a time of uncertainty.

    I’m a friend of a friend who has gotten caught up in the unfolding of this beautiful story. Praying along the way and believing strongly that our God can do anything! Don’t waver, speak life and love that little boy as much as he can handle ☺️

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  10. Praying for you. . . . and learning from you that every day we have with our children is precious. . . RIGHT AT THAT TIME! It helps me to stop thinking/worrying about their future and cherish them today. God is good all the time. All the time, God is GOOD!

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  11. Continued prayers for your very special family. Thank you honoring God and loving this precious baby with all you have. God’s grace is sufficient. Love and peace!

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