Saturday, December 21, 2013

League of Extraordinary Bloggers: Ghosts of Christmas Past

I've been seriously neglecting my duties as a member of the League of Extraordinary Bloggers for a while now, but I figured I'd chime in on this particular topic this week, and see if I couldn't get back into the swing of things a little bit. And what, you may ask, is the topic of the week for the LoEB? Let's take a look:

This week’s assignment from the League: Ghosts of Christmas Past

Looking at my past Christmases, it would be easy to pick one from my childhood where I got THE GIFT... the year I got the G.I. Joe Mobile Command center for instance... or the year I got my entire collection of Real Ghostbuster toys... favorite childhood memories like that... but instead, I decided to go with something a little more raw, a little more recent... just 5 years past in fact.

At the time, my wife and I had only 1 child, and we were waiting for our second to arrive. I was on my way to work early one morning (I had to be at work by 4:30 am and had about an hour commute, so this was right around 4 am because I was about half-way there) about six weeks before the baby was due, when I got a call on my trac-phone, and my wife asked me to come back home. She was having the baby. Of course, this was December 9th and he wasn't actually due until mid-January... But regardless, I turned around and went back home, took my wife to the hospital, and she did in fact have the baby.

But... right away, things were weird. They didn't let us hold the baby right away, and instead whisked him off to the nursery and put him in an oxygen tent. Of course, no one was really telling us anything, because why would they? But long story short, it turned out that because my son was born 6 weeks early his lungs weren't completely done developing and creating surfactant. So he was having trouble breathing. We didn't really get what all this meant, but it meant that he was going to be transported about an hour away to the NICU in Bangor. Via ambulance. And we couldn't go with him. 

We ended up having to stay the night in Ellsworth (I stayed with my wife so I could drive her the next day) and then going to Bangor first thing the next morning. We had decided to name our son after these guys:

So we began to process of waiting to see if our son would live or die for about 2 weeks. For the first two nights, we were put up at the Ronald McDonald house, and I am forever thankful that we had that option for the first couple of days. Then we decided that we would have to go home. Our daughter needed us, and we would commute every day back out to the hospital to be with our son throughout the day.  

Each visit to the NICU would begin with a harrowing tale of how our son had very nearly expired in the night. We would stand there and listen grimly while the doctors and nurses would fill us in on his status. My wife and I had gone through a miscarriage about a year and a half before trying to have this child... and now we were sure we were going to lose another baby. But then something AWESOME happened...

Hmmm... maybe I'll stick around.
I survived being born premature for THIS!?!?!?
As December crept along, our son began to show improvement. He began to get healthier. We started to get the idea that our baby was not, in fact, going to leave us. He was here to hang out for a while. His lungs opened up, he started breathing completely unassisted... he was going to come home with us. He might even make it home... before Christmas! And then, we got the news: We would be bringing him home on Christmas Eve. CHRISTMAS EVE!!!

Doesn't he look excited?

Here is my daughter holding him in bed on Christmas Eve of 2008. I'm sure SHE might not agree... but I can tell you right now that bringing my son home healthy (and as happy as a newborn can ever seem to be...) on Christmas Eve officially makes him the best Christmas gift I have ever gotten. 

My daughter was pretty convinced her best gift was this big-a** purple unicorn, and NOT a new baby brother (She was even less excited when her second baby "bother" showed up two Decembers later). Anyway, here he is now, celebrating his 5th birthday just this past month:

He's healthy and he loves his Trash Packs.
He is a soulful, sensitive, polite, and intelligent boy. He makes every day special in a different way. I can not tell you how thankful I am to have him and my daughter, and my other son in my life. They are all gifts. It's just that THIS one came home on Christmas Eve.

Let's see what the other Leaguers are remembering about Christmas:

- Nerd Out With Me remembers the BIG CHRISTMAS STORM.

- That Yellow Duck remembers Monkey Bread and Ace Duck.

- Tintod over at JunkFed remembers the ghost of Jacob Marley... in various different forms.

- Our fearless leader Brian over at Cool and Collected remembers something so HORRIFYING that I cannot tell you here because it will ruin the surprise. JUST GO READ IT.

And speaking of Brian and Cool and Collected... the Cool and Collected Magazine is officially OUT... IN PRINT!!!

Cool & Collected Magazine now available! 

And yours truly, Mister Goodwill Geek (aka Derek Ash) has an article included... "What a Character: Superman!" (You might notice its ON THE COVER). Go buy a dozen copies and give them out Ebeneezer Scrooge-at-the-end-of-A-Christmas-Carol style this Christmas!

SO much blogging to catch up on! I'm pretty much going to maintain radio silence until the New year... with a small exception for Mason over at D.I. Treasures, I simply cannot wait until after the holidays are over to share what he sent me in trade recently. BUT! I will be back soon (in 2014) with more Geeky Goodwill Goodies! until then, Happy Hunting!


  1. Okay Derek, you win Christmas forever. So glad everything worked out all those years ago. What a fine young man you have there, and he is surely treasured every day. Happy holidays to you and your family!

  2. Wow! What a story! Congrats on two beautiful kids!

  3. First Miss M, now you. It seems every blogger I follow has a heavy, emotionally weary story to share!

    My neighbors also had a premie baby that they were told could not survive outside the womb and spent weeks in the prenatal care unit. Low and behold the kid made it! Little Hayden just had his fourth birthday and is as healthy as could be!

    Moments like this are as intense as they are tender. The incident certainly changed the life of their eldest daughter, Selina, as watching over her baby brother inspired to become a doctor. She is halfway through med school, were she met Adam, whom is is marrying in March. Adam is a real saint of a fellow but every time I see him I joke about deducting "man points" for having never seen any of the Indiana Jones movies or not knowing that Mission Impossible was TV Show that existed before the Tom Cruise series. We actually had a goofy little "Becoming a Man" ceremony by making watch "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Fun time had by all. Maybe for the Bachelor Party we can finish out the series.

    Sorry to get off track there. It was very brave enough to share something so raw with the rest of us. Thank you for sharing.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family and of course Happy Belated Birthday to your son Max!

  4. Christmas Miracle and one of the greatest gifts my friend thank you for sharing this story.

  5. Wow Christmas Eve, that's the perfect ending to a difficult experience! Thrilled to hear it turned into a great and memorable Christmas! Merry Christmas!

  6. Wow. I'm not an emotional guy, but that made me tear up with joy. So glad you shared this story. I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas!

  7. This post was so unexpected, SO special and so real. You are a man who knows true treasure.... I have never had any experience with my children so close to the harsh realities of life and death and cannot even pretend to relate to the anguish that would bring. I imagine you would feel hollowed out like a pumpkin, or wrung out like a dish towel every minute of the day as you waited and waited and waited..... I am so HAPPY that Max was tenacious!!! He looked like E.T. in the end of the movie in his own little bubble. Max has the E.T. spirit, Geek! This post makes me so happy today :) I love how you told this.
    You're a blessed man, children are like arrows and your quiver is full. They seem to be blessed with wonderful parents who have caught their worth and value. Thank you for this Christmas awesomeness!
    And wow! On the cover?!?!!! You're gonna have to come out of your Geek closet for sure now ;)
    Keep your eyes peeled for a Christmas bundle, should be tomorrow......yay!

  8. Amazing story, a true Christmas miracle! That has to be the worst thing any parent can go through, I'm glad it all turned out okay in the end!

    Also, I can't believe you made the cover, that's so cool! I need to get me a copy or 2. :)

    Have a Merry Christmas Geek and enjoy that miracle boy of yours!


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