Friday, August 15, 2008

Baby Andrew

I am no stranger to this, how life can change in an instant.

Two days ago, my sewing machine needle broke, so I wandered down the muddy path through the young forest, clomped across the old, wooden bridge, and climbed the steps up to my aunt’s cottage. Inside, the toddlers were asleep, and while Margot fetched me the needle I needed to borrow, I kneeled and made eyes at her newest grandson, twelve week old Andrew, my newest cousin. His eyes are big, and almost all the way finished turning brown. He flashed me that erratic, almost neurotic looking newborn smile, where you know the baby is smiling on the inside but can’t quite piece together the neurons to make the smile last for longer than a few seconds. He was so content. I chatted with his parents, my cousin and his wife, until Margot returned with the needle. I went home and sewed for a while while the children slept. I thought nothing of it.

Today, Andrew is in the Hospital for Sick Kids. His parents noticed some strange bumps on his belly yesterday, and along with a runny nose in such a little boy, they thought they’d better get it checked out. Never would they have guessed what they would discover: their little boy was at death’s door, critically ill with advanced leukemia. He is in intensive care, his white blood cell count presently having been reduced from one million to below three hundred thousand. Ten thousand is normal, and anything over fifty thousand is considered critical. He is twelve weeks old.

My heart is crying for them, there is this bear in my stomach gnawing for this family, aching, pleading to the stars and the trees and whatever, whomever, might listen, to save this baby. He cannot die. I cannot have to see this wonderful family, my fun-loving, positive, sweet cousin who is such a wonderful father, lose his only son. I can’t see their two little girls lose their baby brother. I can’t see my cousin’s wife, who is a good woman to the core, become what I am: the woman whose baby died.

Last night I stood in the middle of the common, tears streaming down my face, just outside the tall stand of pines. The stars shone, and I talked to them, and I talked to Charlotte. You cannot let this baby die, I said, you cannot. I do not ask you for much, but I am asking you this.

This morning, when I woke up, the sun was shining, the air looked strong. I took a deep breath of the crisp morning air, and I felt confident: he will make it. He will make it. But I know that, despite this feeling I have that I have taken the bullet for everyone I know, he might not make it. And I just can’t bear that thought.

10 comments:

Rachel said...

I just found out my little brother (he's 16) has leukemia for the third time. They have made amazing advances with this stuff in just the past few years. I am keeping Baby Andrew in my thoughts and prayer today.

AnnaMarie said...

I'm so sorry to hear this news. Tiny Andrew and all of you will be in my thoughts.

Sara said...

Prayers that another member of your family does not have to become part of this horrible club.

Birdies Mama said...

Oh Carol.

I am so sorry, this is such horrible news...and what can we all do but ask the stars and our little loves who live within them to PLEASE let this child live. Little baby Andrew and your family are in my thoughts and I will light a candle of hope for him on the eve.

All my love.
Erin

Meg said...

I am so so sorry that your family is having to go through this. My heart fell while I was reading and I don't even know what to do! I feel helpless and if I do, then I can't even imagine what his parents feel like! I am so sad. I hope with all my might that he'll pull through and be ok. Please keep us updated. And please tell his parents that there are a whole lot of people out here who are praying for them and keeping them close to our hearts.

CLC said...

I am so sorry to hear this. Baby Andrew is in my prayers. I just don't understand the universe. It makes no sense to me that a sweet innocent baby should have to suffer.

Melinda said...

Carol, I'm a longtime reader, first-time commenter. I'm so sorry to hear about Andrew. Is there anything we can do to help your cousin's family? If you want to put up a "donate" button, I - and I'm sure lots of other readers - would be grateful for the chance to send some help their way for Andrew's care and medical needs.

Meg said...

any news on Andrew? I've been thinking of him all weekend. I hope he's ok.

Hennifer said...

I have returned from my own mini family reunion, visiting a new 3 week old nephew to find this post.

Baby Andrew and all of you are in my prayers.

ugh.

kate said...

I have not clicked on your blog for a while....i just saw this. I am so sorry....Andrew will be in my prayers.