When Patrice felt baby Jesse move inside of her, I doubt she had envisioned any moments of pain or fear. When he pushed against her from the safety of her womb, I can guarantee she didn’t know about her untapped resource of strength from which she’d need to pull.
Jesse was a surprise from the very beginning; he announced his presence with a little plus sign and announced his official five-pound-thirteen-ounce citizenship of this world four weeks before his due date.
I can see the way Patrice’s heart swells when she holds her sweet boy in her arms; her reason for living is no longer herself. I know the feeling. All moms do. You will die, fight, run, move mountains or put out the sun for your child. Your heart’s rhythm perfectly matches their every squeak or squint.
But Patrice felt completely helpless and clueless when Jesse began vomiting after each feeding. At one point, even though Patrice and her husband, Jimmy, felt they were being paranoid new parents, Jesse’s vomit covered Patrice from her shoulder, down her side, to her knee and all over their bed.
They took Jesse to Urgent Care, for the first time, after his vomit was tinged brown- a sign of old blood; the hospital staff sent them home with instructions to simply keep him upright after each feeding.
But the vomiting didn’t stop. It got worse.
Four days after their first visit, Patrice and Jimmy took Jesse back to the hospital. He had lost almost an entire pound in just four days. Clearly, they weren’t just overly-concerned parents. The same day, Jesse was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis; a rare ailment which affects mostly boys and a few girls. Jesse needed immediate medical intervention.
Because Patrice and Jimmy are both active duty military, stationed at Yokota Air Base in Japan, the surgery was performed at St. Luke’s International Hospital in Ginza, Japan. The team of doctors were able to correct the issue in a two-hour surgery as his parents waited to hear news of Jesse’s health.
I don’t know why bad things happen to good people. I’ve asked the question over and over as I’ve cried out for my own justice. WHY is there pain?! WHY is there fear and sickness and struggle?? I have no answer for you and I don’t believe things happen for a reason; I just think they happen. But there can be a ray of sunshine during the overwhelming storms of life. Not every thing happens for a reason, but out of every thing that happens, there can be revealed a purpose. Jesse has proved that- with his own little body he has given hope to people all over the world- people he will never even meet.
Jesse’s parents, I can’t imagine their fear or worry, but I know they are strong. Their age hasn’t allowed them a whole lot of life-experience, but their faces aren’t etched with endless questions and anxiety. I see in them a certain peace.
At Jesse’s last doctor’s visit, he was over a healthy six pounds and is gaining weight every day! His complexion is sweet-baby-pink, his hair is dark and soft; he smells just as heavenly as you could imagine. He’s a fighter and I’d like to just put it out there: I think he’s going to grow up to be a bull-rider. I really think he will.