» Posted by on Jun 3, 2012 in Updates | 2 comments

Today Ethan turned seven.┬áTo be honest, there were a few times this year when I wasn’t sure if we were going to be celebrating on this day. How easily fear and doubt creep in…. but here we are and we have so much to be thankful for. It’s been four months since his diagnosis and we are more than halfway through his intensive chemotherapy. Ethan is doing so well. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually he has exceeded all of our expectations. He is a joy to everyone we meet and I am so proud of him. The day he was born was a pivotal day in my life and I thought I would share the story with you as a celebration of what God began….

The Story of Ethan Gabriel’s Birth
His due date was May 23rd, 2005 and I went into labor twice. The first time was Memorial Day, we were at the birth center for several hours that morning. I had terrible back pain and the midwife thought he was facing posterior. So we spent most of our time there trying to correct the positioning. Once we got that fixed, the back pain went away but unfortunately the contractions stopped too. We went home that afternoon pretty disappointed.

My labor didn’t start again until Thursday night (June 2nd) and by that point I was 10 days past my due date. We left for the birth center around midnight. I labored again with a lot of back pain, mostly in the bathtub. Poor Justin spent the entire time doing counterpressure on my low back with barely a break.
I had beautiful support from my doula Janet, my midwife Valerie and my midwife assistants Brandy and Mel. In the morning we started to face some difficulties. My midwife was having a hard time placing an IV for hydration and during a contraction a small amount of meconium came out in the amniotic fluid (which can be a sign of distress in the baby). I was 8cm dilated and we decided to transfer to Evergreen Hospital for safety’s sake. I remember that car ride was horrible. The hospital is only 3 minutes from the birth center but when you are having contractions every 2-3 minutes it feels like an hour!
I got right in the tub when we arrived and they gave me a small amount of IV pain medication. Just an hour or two later I was 10cm and started pushing. I remember that it was such a relief to push and he was out in about 45 minutes. He had to have immediate suctioning because of the meconium so I didn’t get to hold him right away but when they put him in my arms it was heaven on earth. We didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl so I was overjoyed when Justin told me we had a son (he wanted to be the first to know!). Ethan was a strapping lad at 9 pounds 6 ounces and 21.5 inches long, born around 11am on June 3rd, 2005. We didn’t choose his name before the birth but we knew he was Ethan as soon as we saw him. Ethan Gabriel means “strong man of God”. Fitting indeed.
Since he was diagnosed people ask if I wonder “why me? why my son?” and the truth is: I don’t. My question has always been “what now?”. I would give anything to spare my son from leukemia. On the other hand I know without a shadow of a doubt that God has equipped us for such a time as this. There is a plan and a purpose to redeem this time in our lives. If I had known before his birth what he would suffer I would still have welcomed him with open arms. His life is a precious gift no matter how short or how long it is. His birth day was one of best days of my life. I have never felt more vulnerable or more strong. I have never felt more deeply connected with my husband. What a beautiful miracle it is to bring a child into the world. Happy birthday son!


  1. I just found your FB page but could not comment on it. My son was dx at 5 with T-Cell ALL so I have a very good idea of what you are all going through. My son is now a very happy 8 year old who is off treatment and doing very well. Please feel free to contact me via my email if you wold like to vent, ask questions, or just speak to someone who has gone through it. Our FB page is love and hugs,
    katy xxx

  2. Em, you never cease to amaze me. You have truly been gifted as a writer. I have to have the kleenex close by every time I read your blog. I’m so proud of all of you!!! We praise God every day for you! Ethan, you are the bravest 7 yr. old we know and we thank Jesus for the test because you know we don’t go thru tests without it becoming a testimony so we can share with others the GRACE and LOVE of GOD!!!! THANK YOU JESUS!!! PR

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