Today is Paddy's birthday. When he was born we didn't know if he would make it, or if he would need a liver transplant like his older brother. We didn't have an income at the time, so we were living at the margin and unsure of our future. I found myself right out of labor trying to educate the perinatalogist on how dangerous Paddy's disease was -- and then within minutes, he went from laughing a bit patronizingly to rushing to the phone for a helicopter to transfer our newborn to San Francisco. Aidan at the time was yellow from an unexplained recurrence of his liver problem, so Kevin and I were tag-teamed, Kevin was dealing with caring for him.
It was a horrendous Advent, but we have the most beautiful and charming 3yo today -- he came home Christmas Eve with his liver mostly normalized-- and since Paddy did so well with the pre-natal experimental protocol Kevin had found by researching online, the doctors in San Francisco are now using it with other kids with the same disease.
It makes me think of an analogy I read somewhere. In our lives, we so often see the back side of the tapestry with all the rough unfinished looking bits and threads sticking out, but God sees the front side and someday we will too. All the things that seemed so strange and uncomfortable and disorderly to us at the time will appear as beautiful and complete.
I wonder if perhaps purgatory is a matter of seeing the tapestry and realizing how much the "important" things were unimportant and the little things we neglected and were impatient of were in fact the golden threads in the tapestry, or would have been if we had allowed them to be?
Here's a Pub-Med citation of the information Kevin found about treating neonatal hemochromatosis prenatally. It looks like now the protocol is generally known and accepted, but Paddy was only #13 in the study.