A Miracle Is Born
Could I have ever anticipated what joy my 2-week-old son would bring me while he was laying in the Neo Natal Intensive Care unit having two hundred breaths per minute pushed into his 5-pound frame? When I was told there were no living survivors of my son’s diagnoisis, could I have known my child would live without a ventilator? Could I have known he would crawl, roll and stand? Or how many people would fall in love with his light-up the room smile and personality?
It would have been wonderful to see these pictures twelve years ago. How they would have given me hope, encouragement and dashed away my worries. But we couldn’t look into the future to see if the doctor’s predictions would come true. We had to rely on faith which is defined in Hebrews 11:1 as “… faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Now, looking back over the past twelve years, I see the fruit of faith. As I celebrate Samuel’s 12th birthday today, journey with me as I share a few moments in time. As you view these pictures, watch a miracle unfold. A miracle of life. A miracle of faith. A Miracle In My Living Room.
A Miracle Lives
This picture was taken before Samuel received his g-tube and tracheostomy. See the tape on his cheeks. When he received his tracheosotomy I was able to see his whole face…cute cheeks and all.
Here Samuel is a few weeks old. This is post tracheotomy placement. Now I can see his chubby cheeks. The tube with the clamp is his g-tube or feeding tube. This tube delivered Samuel’s formula.
Here you can see how small our little man was in the NICU. But, he was not the smallest baby. Nurses told us they needed two hands to handle Samuel. Other babies only required one hand.
The big day of Samuel’s First Birthday. Samuel loved all the balloons so much he didn’t want to go to sleep. Many thought this day wouldn’t come. But, faith gave us hope. And hope kept us going.But, faith gave us hope. And hope kept us going. Click To Tweet
My sweet boy celebrating his second year of life with a cute cupcake. At this point he wasn’t able to sit up by himself but he did want to grab the candles.
Why bake a cake at 18 months? I wanted to celebrate Samuel’s life. Many times we were told he wouldn’t make it, but a year and half later, my miracle still lived.
A Miracle Turns Three
At age three, Samuel received a wish from the Make-A-Wish foundation. We were driven by limo to Orlando and stayed at Give Kids The World Village. With ventilator in tow, we visited Sea World and Disney for a memorable vacation. This was the beginning of many vacations. I wasn’t afraid to go out of the house anymore with my medically fragile child.
Samuel goes to his first hockey game courtesy of Make-A-Wish. He is still needing his ventilator in this picture. I could not have imagined he’d be ventilator free eventually.
Samuel’s first trip to the beach. I have the ventilator on my back as the machine helped Samuel breathe. The only thing competing with the swooshing sound of the ventilator was the gulf breeze and waves crashing onshore. I hoped sand wouldn’t get inside this life-giving equipment. (Thankfully, it didn’t.)
Mike Alstott, a former Tampa Bay Buccaneer, met our little man and signed a helmet for him. He called Samuel, Sam the Mann. It reminded me of all the times we would watch football in Samuel’s hospital room. All the nurses and staff kept checking the score.
A wonderful photographer named Katie Alexander took the first professional photo’s of my little guy. She took so many amazing images capturing Samuel’s essence and precocious personality. This one in particular you see the cute smile and a “guess what I got” look in his eyes. She also shaded out his trach tube so the focus would be solely on Samuel.
A Second Miracle
That smile gets me every time. In this picture Samuel is no longer using a ventilator. Somewhere around age 9, we were able to put it in the closet. No one ever expected a child with Thanatophoric Dysplasia Dwarfism to be able to get off the ventilator. But God had other plans. This is what I call the second miracle.
A Miracle Continues
Samuel’s Smiles Campaign began to capture the joy of a medically critical little boy. To show how Samuel has overcome all odds. To not only give a smile, but to give others hope that nothing is impossible with God. And as this little miracle turns twelve years old today, my prayer is for his smiles to be contagious and go around the world spreading hope and joy.
To see all Samuel’s Smiles Campaign photo’s, go to www.facebook.com/amiraclemann. To wish Samuel, “Happy 12th Birthday”, comment below. Thank you for following our miracle journey.
Written By: Evelyn Mann
Author, Miracle In My Living Room: The Story Of A Little Mann