|Happy Fathers Day Dad! (Photo Credit: Trademan Photography)|
By Joel Brens
There are periods of my life that are so vivid and clear in my mind I will never forget them. I have always been a man of faith, but an eight-month stretch a couple of years ago changed my faith forever.
October 25th will always stick with me. I remember quietly rocking as Gena and I anxiously awaited the results of an E.P.T. The hour glass seemed to turn for what felt like an hour. Then, suddenly, we gazed open mouthed as it read its result: Pregnant. We laughed and cried tears of joy a bit to ourselves at the notion that we would someday have a family. In so many ways it was greatest moment of my life at that time. But it was also very bittersweet, as my father Jack was battling Multiple Myeloma for a second time. We were uneasy about sharing the news with my parents as they were dealing with overwhelming circumstances. We decided some good news would probably help. They were thrilled. My father was giddy, and I’ll never forget his smile that day.
Three weeks later my father’s health took a serious turn for the worse. He was admitted to a hospital and on two occasions in the first week we thought he might not survive the day. After four weeks in the hospital he was transferred to Northwestern in Chicago in a last ditch effort to see if doctors could help turn it around. After a couple of days it was becoming clear that my father wouldn’t survive. He wouldn’t be there for my child’s birth. I was heartbroken. I felt completely helpless, and I had to turn to my faith for answers. I asked God for understanding and mercy on my father. Then, on the evening of December 18th, 2009, God brought my father home. He was at peace, and to some degree that brought me comfort.
As one life was ending, another had just begun. I lost my father as I was becoming one. I prayed every night for the health of my wife and child. I was terrified about the pregnancy. It weighed on my mind more than I could explain to anyone. Luckily we heard a heart beat quickly during Gena’s 8-week ultrasound. I shed tears. Life did exist. The pure awe of it was almost mind-boggling. We agreed to find out the sex of the baby at our 20-week checkup. By no surprise to me it was a boy, Jayden Jack Brens!
As we got into the third trimester we were informed that we might be having our son early. Gena was dealing with early signs of preeclampsia and high blood pressure issues. She was hospitalized after she developed diastolic umbilical artery flow. On the morning of May 11th, 2010, our son Jayden was born at just under 33 weeks. He was 3 lbs. 6 oz. and 17.5 inches long. While he was tiny and frail, he was also the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Once again, feeling overwhelmed and helpless I looked to God for guidance. After a couple of hours of feeling numb and somewhat angry, I choose to put it in His hands. With the help of amazing doctors and nurses Jayden did remarkably well, and 25 days later he was sent home.
A couple a weeks passed and in a moment of sadness, I confessed to Gena how much I yearned for my father to hold Jayden, even if it was just one time. Without hesitation she said “But honey, he DID hold him. He held him for 25 days while he got strong in the NICU.” I cried tears of sadness and joy. Because she was right. I don’t think there’s any coincidence in God’s timing.
|My love, my life, my son|