I am sitting in the living-room of a house that is not ours, a house where we are only staying temporarily. I will try to verbalize even a small part of what we have experienced over the past few weeks. Our baby was born and is still alive. It is a miracle! This little one has experienced more hardships during the first weeks of her life than most of us experience during our lifetime. It has been a time of upheaval for our whole family.
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, our baby was prenatally diagnosed with a large tumor. But we could never have imagined the true scale of things. When the baby was born, we were told that the tumor was much larger than expected. It weighed more than the baby herself and had spread to involve her spinal cord. We were also told that the baby could not move her legs. She had to be airlifted immediately to Helsinki for surgery. We had all this information on the day following her birth. That Tuesday was full of bad news.
Before the baby was moved to the bigger hospital, we had a simple baptism in the pediatric intensive care unit. The ceremony was extremely sad and touching. Our tiny girl was lying in her hospital cot surrounded by tubes and wires. The baptismal gown had been spread over her body like a blanket. We stood there stunned. We sang and cried and looked at our dear baby.
After the baptism we had to say goodbye to her. That was one of the hardest things in my life. We knew it was quite possible we would never see her alive again. We told her how much we loved her. We whispered into her tiny ears: “You will make it. We are sure you will make it.” Though we were overwhelmed by grief, despair and pain, we managed to get on with our lives encouraged by the fact that the child was still alive.
On Wednesday the tumor was surgically removed, with the exception of the part in the spinal canal. My wife and I were waiting for the news in the hospital. It is difficult to describe our feeling when we saw the surgeon’s phone number on the screen. Miraculously, our baby had survived the surgery. Relief filled my whole body. The tiny fighter had not given up!
On Friday, however, the surgeons had to amputate her left leg. More than a week later, while our family were again driving to the hospital, we had further bad news: The tumor was malignant. There would be cancer treatments ahead.
It is easy to understand that the past few weeks have been more shocking than anything in our life so far. It is simply horrible to be afraid every day of losing our child. It has been extremely stressful to have more and more bad news. It has been so sad not having been able to take care of our baby for weeks. Fortunately, we are slowly regaining our parental role. But we do not know yet when our baby can be moved to the hospital closer to our home – and we have no idea of when we can bring her home.
There are times when I feel we are living in a strange nightmare that seems to never end. Over and over again the scenario ”it is extremely unlikely” has become reality. The only thing for us has been to accept the situation.
These weeks have made me question of purpose of all this. Why has she, the tiny, innocent baby, been allowed to suffer so much? Does God see how much we as parents are suffering? Up till now we have been given the strength to go on, and we believe we will be given enough strength even in the future.
This crisis has also given rise to many beautiful things. We would not have managed without the help of other people. It has been touching to experience the abundance of love, practical help and financial support from our families and friends. Our welfare society has also shown its excellent ability to provide for our baby and to support us in many ways. We even found temporary accommodation near the hospital very quickly with the help of friendly people. We have certainly not been alone!
We believe that all this has a purpose that now remains hidden to us. We know that our baby’s life has already been significant. It has spoken to people, made them pause and connect with others. It has taught us to appreciate things that used to be self-evident and to love our dear ones even more.
This journey is only at the beginning. We have no idea what will be ahead of us. No doubt there will be many complicated treatments and nights in the hospital. But I am sure there will also be a lot of hopefulness, joy and happiness. I am already looking forward to the happy day when we can bring our dear little daughter home!
Text: Sauli Tervaniemi
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen
You will find the original blog post here.
Suomessa on eletty pitkään rauhan aikaa. Tämä ei ole itsestään selvä asia. On kysymys Jumalan lahjasta. Maamme rauhaa ja itsenäisyyttä on aika ajoin myös häiritty ja uhattu. Historian eri vaiheissa kansamme on joutunut puolustamaan omaa olemassaoloaan myös ase kädessä.
Koko perheen joululevy sisältää jouluisia Siionin lauluja. Niiden sanoista kuulijalle välittyvät sekä hiljentyminen seimen äärelle että ilo ja ihmetys seimen lapsen syntymästä.
Kirjoittajat eri puolilta maailmaa kertovat siitä, kuinka Jumala on johdattanut heidät valtakuntaansa. Kertomuksia yhdistää kokemus kotiinpaluusta, Raamatun mukaisen uskon löytymisestä ja uskovaisten välisestä rakkaudesta.
Kuuden edesmenneen puhujan elämänvaiheet piirtävät kuvaa uskosta ja elämästä menneinä vuosikymmeninä. Heidän kokemuksensa myös syventävät kristillisyyttä koetelleiden hajaannusten historiaa.
Eeva Kontiokarin runoissa tarkastellaan ikääntymistä lempeällä huumorilla ja elämänkokemuksen tuomalla viisaudella.