On this occasion of my son’s 30th birthday, I will submit a blog post. He’s 30 today. Wow, that makes me feel a bit old.
The wee hours of Easter Monday, April 7, 1980, found Wayne and I on our way to the Saskatoon City Hospital. It was time to have our baby. The weather was miserable – snow and freezing rain. I remember the roads were glare ice, and Wayne didn’t even try to stop for red lights.
Michael Bryan Wayne Neudorf was born at 4:16 am – by all appearances a strong and healthy 8 pound baby boy. He was whisked off to the nursery (as all babies were back then) and I was ordered to rest. I wanted my baby, however, and kept asking the nurses to bring him to me. Finally, many hours later, a doctor came into my room and informed me that Michael had some problems and they would be transferring him to the University Hospital where they were better equipped to care for him. Some problems? That’s all they would tell me.
Not one to sit back and let things just happen, I got out of bed and went to the nursery to be with my child. The nurses there told me that Michael had inhaled amniotic fluid during delivery and his lungs were not clearing up as they should. He was having trouble breathing. As concerned as I was about my son, I was strangely calm. I knew God was in control.
By the end of the first day of Michael’s life, he had been moved to the University Hospital’s NICU and was in the care of one of western Canada’s finest neonatologists. That doctor was amazing. He never minced words, he was totally honest with us, and he did everything he knew to do for our baby.
The next two weeks were touch and go. Michael was on a respirator for much of that time and it seemed hopeless. But God’s people prayed. And slowly, Michael began to improve. Life was an endless circle of hospital living, caring for our two year old daughter at home, and keeping family and friends posted on the progress.
By the time Michael was three weeks old, he was out of the NICU, but would not eat. His weight had dropped to less than 6 pounds. One day, as I was holding him in the hospital, it came to me that Michael’s problem was not that he wouldn’t eat; it was that he needed to be home with his family. I believe without a doubt that it was God who brought that to my mind. And I acted. Michael’s doctor was furious when I told him I wanted the baby discharged from the hospital – immediately. I had to sign all kinds of forms to release the hospital and the doctor from any liability. I didn’t hesitate. And I walked out of there with Michael in my arms, promising the doctor I would bring him back in 3 days to be examined.
This was a huge step of faith for us – and we didn’t even know what a step of faith was!
Michael wouldn’t take more than a couple of ounces of formula that first day. Or the second. We questioned our decision over and over during that time. Had we done the right thing by taking our baby home? The answer was always an overwhelming peace, and we knew that God had a plan for Michael. On the third day, Michael’s appetite kicked in and he downed a whole four ounces in one feeding. I was ecstatic! I took him to see the doctor as promised, and Michael’s weight had stayed the same as his discharge weight – he had not lost more, and the doctor was mildly optimistic. I was to bring him back again in a week.
A week later, Michael had gained a pound and was well on his way to complete recovery. The doctor looked at me that day and told me that even though he’d appeared to be angry with our decision to have Michael discharged from the hospital, he knew we were doing the right thing. He’d had to make sure we understood the seriousness of what we were doing, but he was confident that Michael would flourish at home with us. And flourish he did.
We had our challenges with Michael over the years. He got sick so easily – ear infections, frequent croup, headaches, colds. But we knew that God’s hand was on this boy and no matter how hard the devil tried to take him out, Michael would grow up to fulfill the destiny God planned for him. Michael’s name means “Messenger of God”. And now, at age 30, he is a husband and a father – and he is the Bible teacher in a Christian high school. The messenger of God.
We’re so proud of you, Mike, and we love you! Happy Birthday!