I believe in small miracles. My great nephew, Tristan James Maxwell, created this belief in me.
When he was still in the womb, doctors told my niece that his heart was on the right side of his body, his stomach was where his heart should be. He had one lung and his spinal chord was severed. He would never walk or even live if born alive.
He was born on May 18, 2008. He amazed everyone that day. He took his first breath all on his own. When he took that first breath it inflated his other lung that no one knew he had.
The doctors rushed him away to run their tests and scans. Together as a family, we waited on eggshells for the bad news to come. The doctors, including the top heart specialist in the state of Arizona held a meeting with our family. We were told there was no hope for Tristan. No heart transplant, no surgery would fix him. Tristan only had two chambers of the heart instead of four. His blue blood was mixing with the red, he was aspirating blood into his lungs. There were valves that weren’t connected to anything. The doctors didn’t even know how long he would live; it was just a matter of time before his little heart would stop working.
After the meeting I got to hold my nephew for the first time. He was two days old. He was so precious and innocent. Looking at him, he looked like a normal healthy baby boy. When I held him I could see and feel what a struggle he was going through just to breathe. As I held him, I told him what a strong perfect little soul he was. I was thankful I had this time to be with him.
Tristan’s parents, Julie and Dave, needed to make the hardest decision anyone can make in a lifetime. They were given two choices. They could take their son home and he could live his final days with family, or he could stay in the hospital and pass away hooked up to machines. They chose to take him home.
Julie and Dave concentrated on making memories with Tristan. They married and took many pictures of Tristan. They sought comfort in prayer and relied on their faith.
I was able to spend time with Tristan also. It was amazing how he fought so hard to be with us longer.
Everyday my phone would ring with a call from my sister or Julie. Each time I would hear the phone ring, I would wonder if this was the call telling me Tristan was gone. This time period was nerve racking for me. I can only imagine what it was like for Dave and Julie, trying to savor every moment with their son, knowing he wouldn’t live, but secretly hoping for a miracle.
They did experience a miracle, we all did. Tristan proved his strength. He lived for nine weeks.
In his short nine weeks of life, Tristan taught us true appreciation for life and to value each day as the gift it is. Tristan brought everlasting love to our family and impacted the lives of all who had the distinctive pleasure of experiencing a small miracle in his nine short weeks of life.
Tristan created in me a belief in small miracles and because of him, I will always believe.
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