Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Big Ben

There are so many things I want to say to all of you who have been praying for our little Benjamin. We thank all of you for pouring out your love on us through prayers, calls, visits, and gifts. How can one doubt the love and goodness of God when he uses you as his arms to hold us and his shoulders for us to cry on?

I'd like for you to get a glimpse of what we have gone through these past three days so that the situation will be more real to you as you pray to God. I know it can be difficult to pray for someone when they are just another name on a prayer list. (You can skip to the bottom of this post if you just want to know the basic facts.)

Benjamin's due date was the 28th of December, but he decided that he was quite happy with life in the womb and could wait a few more days for life on the outside . One of our friends suggested that we serve him an eviction notic
e, but Ben apparently has little respect for the law. Adrienne tried a few other labor-inducing techniques but to no avail. Then we finally figured out what to do. Since Adrienne's family was in town, we decided to take them to an authentic diner on Route 66. Adrienne ordered a plate of cheese fries and a chocolate milkshake. Within minutes Ben must have decided that life on the outside can't be all that bad, and if he was out on his own he wouldn't have to share his cheese fries with mom anymore. Adrienne started having regular contractions so we made our way to St. John Hospital around 7:00 p.m. on December 30th.

Adrienne's mom, Kay, and I were with Adrienne through the whole labor and delivery process. Adrienne wants me to make sure I recommend epidurals to all the future mothers out there. In her words at the time, "This is AMAZING. I haven't felt this good in months." Her labor progressed steadily, and by about 4:00 Sunday morning we knew the time was getting close. Adrienne pushed and pushed but also made time to remind her mother to breathe so she wouldn't pass out while helping to coach the delivery. It was a struggle, but at 5:35 on Sunday morning, December 31st Benjamin Kent Gatewood was born.

I was so proud of Adrienne for how hard she had worked these past nine months to bring Ben into the world. The next thing I knew, a nurse was handing me scissors and telling me to cut the umbilical cord. I cut the cord and gave Adrienne a giant hug and kiss.

Then things got crazy. It took a few moments, but I noticed that a lot of people were gathering around Ben at the table across the room. I cannot explain how absolutely terrifying it is to witness a delivery and then realize that the baby is not crying. Adrienne was being stitched up and could not see what was going on, but I watched in horror as my baby rested motionless on the table as doctors and nurses tried desperately to resuscitate him. Minutes passed by and none of the doctors or nurses said a word to us. We knew it was bad, and at that point I started dealing with the possibility that our baby was dead. I crumpled to my knees and cried out to God in groans that only his Spirit can interpret.

But the doctors and the nurses kept working and working. Eventually they told us that there was a blockage in the baby's throat that was keeping them from getting sufficient oxygen into the baby's lungs. The nurses were hand pumping oxygen into him, but he was barely hanging on. They realized that a surgeon would be needed to do an emergency tracheostomy so they could bypass the blockage. We sat there stunned in the delivery room with Benjamin for two hours while all of this was going on.

When the surgeon finally came, the three of us were taken out of the room. One of the doctors let us know that we needed to prepare ourselves because there was a good chance Benjamin wouldn't make it. Well he did make it, and the surgeon came in and told us that they were moving Ben to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). She said that things did not look good at all for him because of all the trauma he had already endured, but they would do all they could to keep him going. We found out that Ben's esophagus and trachea had not formed properly and that he would need further surgery to repair the birth defect.

After all of this, I can't tell you how discouraged I was. I knew in my mind that God could do anything, but my heart had a more difficult time believing that there was any hope for Ben. Many people from the Memorial Drive Church of Christ came up to pray with us throughout the day and lifted up our spirits up during a very dark hour.

There are many other stories I can tell you about the last three days, but I'll finish up with this one. After they moved Benjamin down to the NICU, they let us go down to see him, and we finally got the chance to touch our little one. I wept so much when I saw my innocent child hooked up to so many machines. Babies shouldn't have to go through any of that. But I came in the next day and had a chance to be with him by myself. I had the urge to tell him a Bible story so he would at least know something about God before he went to see him. For some reason, I began to tell him the story of Jesus walking on the water and how amazing it was to the disciples - they thought they saw a ghost. But Peter told Jesus that he wanted to come out on the water with him. Jesus told him to come so Peter started to walk out to him, but he looked out at his surroundings and began to drown. Jesus pulled him out, and said "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" I realized then that I will not doubt Jesus any more. My baby is still alive and while he is still alive, I will have hope, not despair. And if God takes him from me, I will have faith and not doubt that I will see him again at God's right hand.

Here's where Benjamin stands right now:
Benjamin was born on December 31st at 5:35 in the morning. He weighs 7 pounds 6 ounces and is 19 and a half inches tall (I like that better than long). He is in critical condition in the NICU and has a respirator keeping him going right now. He is receiving many medications that he
will need to get off of before he can have more surgery to repair his trachea and esophagus. It will probably be a couple of weeks before that surgery would be possible. If that is successful, he would next have a brain scan to see if there was any damage due to the low oxygen levels that he had in the first few hours of his life. The doctor said Ben would need to be in the hospital for several months in order to recover from all of this. We serve a God who can heal Ben completely, and I hope that you will pray for that. But I also hope that you will pray for God to give our family the strength to handle whatever he decides should happen. Thanks for reading this, and I will post more news here as I have the strength to write it.

God's peace be with you all,

Whit, Adrienne, and Benjamin


Cheryl said...

My heart reaches out to you and your family. You, Adrienne, and Ben are in my prayers.

Keith Parker said...

Excerpts from Psalm 31 from the Message version of the Bible:

I run to you, God; I run for dear life...Your granite cave a hiding place, your high cliff aerie a place of safety. You're my cave to hide in, my cliff to climb. Be my safe leader, be my true mountain guide. Free me from hidden traps; I want to hide in you...I've cried my eyes out; I feel hollow inside...Desperate, I throw myself on you; YOU are my God!

Whit and Adrienne, may you find shelter under the strongest arm of all! His peace truly is undescribable, and His strength is unmatched. I will be a prayer warrior for Benjamin...much love to you from Brazil!!

Stacey Parker

Chris <> said...

We are falling to our knees before our father in your behalf. We love you guys! I will get our whole church praying for you guys.

Your faith is amazing! God is near.

Shaner said...

Please know how much Hope and I love you all. We are encouraged by your strength and can see Jesus in both of you. You are a light to those around you.

We love you!

Jeanine Varner said...

Dear Adrienne, Whit, Merle, Kent, and Ben:

My heart aches for you in the pain you're feeling now. I know that people all over the world are praying for you. And I know that God is able to do immeasureably more than all we can ask or imagine. I'm praying for all of you.

Cheryl said...

This passage from Romans 5:3-5 has been a source of hope for me through my boys' medical problems and hospitalizations:

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

As well as from Genesis 50:20

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

God bless you as you struggle through this difficult time!

Dwight said...

Our dearest Ones,
You have been in our prayers constantly since Michelle called us New Years Eve. It was so very precious to here your voices this morning. We ache for each of you. We have a faithful Father who does not look away even when we feel that He has. We not have to feel His presence for His presence to be a reality! Your are in the shelter of His arms and He is holding each of you in His hands.

Our deep love and prayers,
Dwight and Brenda

ann said...

I love you very much. My family and friends are praying without ceasing. I will be in OK by the end of the week, and I'll be up to see you and meet Ben as soon as I get there.
All my love and all my heart,

Bartosz said...

White & Adrianne,
We are praying for Ben and for you and will continue to do so. May God's presence be with you and may He continue to fill your hearts with hope and strength. May He keep Ben in His powerful hands and heal his precious body!

Bart, Tamika and Izabela Rybinski

elspeth said...

Whit -- we're so sorry to hear this news. I want you to know that we're keeping you in our thoughts. Please let us know if there is anything you or Adrienne need.


Summer said...

Anything I can think to say seems trite and over-said; nevertheless, my heart is with you, and your faith amazes me. In these upcoming days, please know that you are dearly loved and constantly prayed for.

gail said...

You are all in my daily prayers - prayers for healing, faith, and peace.

Donna Anders said...

I was touched to read of your son's problems and am praying that he will be able to live a long, productive life in His service. You truly are a man of faith, and it is so impressive to see such words of faith displayed in this manner.

We at the Edmond Church of Christ will be praying for you as will those at Oklahoma Christian University who know of Ben's situation.

Best wishes for a positive outcome for Ben. We will leave it up to our Lord to decide what is best for Ben.

Donna Anders

Josh said...

Whit & Adrienne - we are all praying for you and Ben right now. We love you and trust that God is faithful.
- Josh, Kim, Carli, Caleb, & Cotter Hensal

Jennifer said...

We love you dearly. Adrienne, Big Ben, and you are in our prayers. We pray for healing, comfort, and strength.

Jennifer, Sam, and Chris

Michael & Jennifer Michener said...

Dearest Whit and Adrienne,
We weep with you as our hearts beak with the pain and anguish you feel. We spent just nine days in the NICU with our little boy who also could not breathe upon birth, but we can only begin to glimpse the hell you must be living each second of every day. Please know that we are with you in spirit and are thinking of you. Know that we pray for God's peace to fill your hearts and His love to surround you. We pray that you will remember that God is with you and is holding your precious baby boy in His arms. He weeps with you and knows the pain you feel. Remember that God have His son so that your little one would not suffer the pangs of death, but instead, would be lifted up to stay in God's arms when the time comes (whether it be today or many many years from today). Please understand that we love you all and are here if you need anything. You are such sweet and wonderful workers for the Lord. We know that Benjamin is destined for greatness; He is God's little one as well as yours. May you find solace in those around you and rest in peace knowing that all things are possible through Christ who strengthens you. The power of prayer is awe inspiring. We pray for you; we pray for Benjamin.
All Our Love,
Michael & Jennifer (Corum) Michener

David M said...

Dear Adrienne, Whit and Benamin,

We were in an elders meeting when Dan called with the news. We stopped and prayed immediately and then told the church here at Gosford at our mid-week meeting. The Christian telegraph is working and people all over Australia are praying for you guys.

He is faithful, and will give you the strength you need.

Thanks for the update and the photo....Ben is amazing, just like his parents.

God is amazing too...

David & Joy Mowday

Ira said...

Whit and Adrienne,
We have been praying for you since we first heard of Benjamin's condition. May God bless you, Adrienne, and Benjamin. I humbled by the difficulty of this situation and the faith you have displayed in the midst. May your hope be renewed each day by the Lord. Kari and I are thinking of you and praying for you.


vickiecorum said...

Dearest Whit and Adriene, You are right that our God is an all powerful God. I have experienced many things in life to prove this. I too was in a delivery room with a child with Birthdefects. Nothing life threatening but very scary and requiring years of surgeries and special treatment. That miracle is Aaron, one of your dearest and best supporters and friends. I am also surviving the death of a child. Christina was my beautiful 19 year old read head, each day with her was priceless. My prayer for you both is that you depend on God and understand that HE is all powerful. We are continually praying for you and you are prayer lists around the world. God bless you and keep you, with love and prayers Vickie Corum

Anonymous said...

Whit, there is so much prayer surrounding you and Adrienne and baby Ben right now. I hope you can take comfort in that in the coming days and weeks. Please lean on us at Memorial Drive to help you through it. Our prayers are with you...
Marcy Martin

Shane Coffman said...

Lord, please let Whit, Adrienne and Benjamin feel Your arms of love and protection around them. They turn to You, for there is truly nowhere else to go. Please see the faith your children have displayed in their words here. It encourages all of us, and I know it is pleasing to You. We selfishly ask for a long and faithful life here on earth for Benjamin, but we trust him to Your hands. We ask for a speedy recovery for Adrienne. And we ask for Your sustaining presence to be obvious through it all.

Thank you in advance for whatever happens.

Whit, you three are contantly in my prayers this week and beyond.

Adam said...

You are all in my thoughts and prayers. I love you all.

rici said...

Whit and Adrienne,
I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night...i couldn't stop thinking and praying for you and Big Ben. You all are on Jason's and my heart and know that you are dearly loved by many. Thank you for sharing your burden with us...

I pray for healing, peace and understanding. Blessings,
Rici (Eyre) Preuit

jan bruce said...

Whit & Adrienne, We have been praying for the three of you since we heard the news. We are asking God for comfort, strength, healing, and steadfastness. We are encouraged by your strong faith.
jan, gary, jordan, adam, rebekah, & bethany

Brenda said...

Whit & Adrienne,
We are praying for all three of you now and for however long it takes! We do have a powerful and almighty Father that is greater than anything we can ever imagine. Your faith in Him is amazing. Keep your strength, eyes, hearts, faith, and love, focused on Him and His will...will be done.
Praying Daily!
Brenda Hughes

heather said...

Thank goodness there is no limit on comments around here... the love for you all and for Ben is limitless.

Amen, Whit, to the lives of both of you. How we love you.

Thanks for bringing glory to God in a way you were unprepared to, and thanks for letting us share in
Ben's life and love him so deeply in a way we were unprepared for.

We cherish the three of you, and walk daily before our God'd throne with you on our lips.

jah said...

Every time I close my eyes the prayers leak out of me. I find myself praying for you even at times when I had no intention of praying. I wish I could do more.

God, I do not profess any understanding of You. I attempt it, but I can not get You in. I do not have the capacity of mind. Forgive me for trying to stuff You into the smallness of my thoughts. Forgive me for the ease at which I am willing to reduce You to an idea, to a philosophy, or to an answer to my questions.
My King, I give it all up and simply bow. I bow down to You and only You, the incomprehensible. And I beg. Please have mercy on your servants; Whit, Adrienne, and little Benjamin.

Jeanne said...

Whit, Adrienne, and precious Ben,

Our prayers, tears, and thoughts are with you constantly. It’s amazing the roads life can take us down that we never imagined we would travel. Even more amazing is the presence of the Father on the journey. There are so many people whose lives will never be the same because of the witness you all are living as you walk this difficult path. Your faith impresses me and your faithfulness amazes me. I and many others are stronger because of you. I told Ben earlier when I wrote him a card at his shower; God chose carefully who his parents would be. We don’t always feel honored at the time when we are chosen, however, time always reveals the wisdom of God. No one else could do what you are doing the way you are doing it. Thank you for being the testimony that you are being, thank you for sharing your testimony with us, thank you for being a part of our family at Memorial. We love you all so very much! Jeanne & Van Priest

Wyatt and Tammy said...

Dear Family,

Our hearts ache for you all. You are in our prays. If I learned anything from Noel it was that with God anything is possible. Please give little Ben a kiss from us.

With love

Wyatt and Tammy Park

Denver said...

Whit and Adrienne,
Multiple people have emailed me today about Ben. I want you to know that there are many people in Japan now praying for your family and Ben's health. Your faith is such an encouragement to me. I will be in constant prayer for healing. God is so powerful. May he give you grace and peace during this time.

Denver Schow

Aaron and Izumi said...

Whit and Adrienne,

Izumi and I love you guys so much. We want you to know that we are praying for you and Ben.

All our love,

Aaron and Izumi

Carla said...

Dearest Adrienne, Whit and Ben:

What a tremendous amount of grief and heartache you are feeling now. Please know that all of the prayers in your behalf can help to bouy you up through these troubles. Miracles occur each day with healings, comfort and good tidings. Having been in similar circumstances with our son Christopher who was born with severe heart defects, I know of your great longing to "fix" things and make him well. Be humble, laen on the Lord and not your own understanding. Take it one day at a time, when you can; and one hour at a time when you feel you can't. Celebrate each bit of good news and keep your hope alive. A positive outlook goes a long way towards a positive outcome. Pray for the doctors and the nurses that they will now how special this young man is.

Dear Adrienne, I can't believe you are a mother. The last time I saw you, you were still a little girl. Hug your mom from us and know that you are in our prayers. We will also put your names on our Temple prayer rolls so that many mroe will be praying for you from Utah.

Roni& Dennis Olsen said...

We are so happy to hear you are telling Ben bible stories already .It will make our job easier .We love you all sooo much .
God is amazing and CAN Do Anything.love ,joy and peace

Bryan Gibbs said...

Dear Whit and Adrienne,

May God bless you both with His peace that passes human understanding and may He touch and bless Ben with His healing care.

We are very saddened by the news of yours and Ben's distress. Please know that we are struggling with you in prayer. If there is anything else we can do besides pray, please let us know.

Your fellow servant,
Bryan Gibbs on behalf of the staff at Continent of Great Cities

Shon and Stacey said...

You are all three in my constant prayers. Ben is so blessed to have parents who get their strength from God. It is impossible to not ache for you and with you, but the strength you have is such that it somewhat replaces the ache with sincere hope and faith for what God will do for and with Ben. He has already done wonders with his little life and I can't wait to see what else he has in store! It is evident that your strength is from Him. Thank you for sharing this blog and for allowing us to feel so connected to your family right now. You both have always been such amazing influence for Him, and it is obvious you continue to do so through this.

boyoon said...

Dear Adrienne and Whit:

My heart aches for Ben and your couple. I know your feeling as a mother. Adrienne, my first son has also been growing in illness and weakness. God loves you in such deep faith. And I believe that God will place you in peace soon. Adrienne, I’m praying for Ben.

kteachjoy said...

Whit and Adrienne,
I heard about the situation with Ben tonight. You all are in my prayers.
Joy Rainey

Dwight said...

Whit and Adrienne,
We love you so much and are right with you in this ordeal with prayers and Spirit. We eagerly read your posts (Man! Whit you are a great writer!)and rejoice in the victories along the way. Ben is beautiful! But how could he be otherwise...two beautiful parents. Thank you for sharing your faith and courage with us.

Boomie said...

My eyes were wet with tears by the time I got done with reading Ben's story. I have two little kids age 18 months and 3 months and I remember the terror I felt when I was told my 3 months old was going to be retarded. But
God was faithful. He heard my prayers over my baby and he healed her. I just wanted you to know that you are in my prayers, and that God has not changed. He will carry you all in his loving arms as this "clouds" too shall pass by, bringing in his rain of healing and grace. Yours' in Christ's love always

NandL said...

This is amazing to read two years later. Ben is so strong and healthy! Praise God!!
Laura Hirosawa...