by Mina McGean, September 1995

It was a miracle that we had hoped and prayed for, and on October 8, 1989, Thanksgiving Day, our prayers were answered. That was the day that the doctor told us that our daughter, Rhiannon, was going to live. She was born, three months premature, on September 24th, 1989.

Within the first 24 hours, Rhiannon needed an experimental substance, surfactant, to keep her lungs from tearing apart as she breathed, and she suffered a brain bleed, damaging her already under-developed brain. Within the next 72 hours, she would suffer from renal failure, bowel obstruction, a stroke, cardiac arrest, and seizures. All of this, and being unable to breathe on her own, as well as being unable to tolerate handling. The fear and anguish was extreme that first week, but with the support of our families and our faith, we kept going until we heard, three weeks later, that Rhiannon was going to live. The doctor was very clear about the fact that he did not know how the damage to her brain would affect her, but at that point it was enough to know she had survived all of the complications of the premature birth. The past six years have not been easy, but they have been easier than what could have been. Rhiannon has grown and developed, slowly in some ways, but still she learns and progresses.

We did not hope and pray for a perfectly healthy child six years ago, we prayed for this child to live. She did that, and has done much more, for we have learned, travelled, and experienced so much more that would have never happened without her. I believe that it was not so much that our prayers that were answered, but that God gave us a gift that Thanksgiving Day, one that would enrich the rest of our lives. Rhiannon was, and will always be, our Thanksgiving miracle.

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