In the middle of the night, at the end of May, my mom received a phone call to hurry to the hospital. “He’s dying. You better come now”. My mom hung up the phone and raced to the car to realize she was out of gas. Just making it to the gas station where she saw lights on inside, she banged and banged on the door shouting, “Please open up! I need gas! My baby is dying!”.
Dead. My little brother was dead. Three months old, never made it to the place where my older brother Ben, myself, and my parents called HOME. He was too sick. I was 4 years old when Jordan Hamilton Byrd was born, March 11th, 1986 and 3 months later, struggled to breathe while sleeping, passed away before my mom could get to him.
My mom and dad were clueless to Jordan’s deformities. The day he was born was when they found out he had a cleft lip, and had Trisomy 13. Jordan was measuring small in the 3rd trimester. The nurses and doctors gave my mom an ultrasound which was extremely rare back then, yet they didn’t catch anything abnormal.
Jordan was born, a small 5 lbs. The 5 lbs that he remained for all 3 months of his life. During his birth, my dad wept while he held the video camera in his shaky hand. He wept so hard. He knew. Jordan was delivered and a team of doctors and nurses swept him away. Mom never touched him. He was held up for her to see. Her son. Her deformed son.
Word got around fast. Practically mom’s entire church came and the visitors were many. Finally, late that night, a man visiting, asked mom,”Have you held your baby?” To which my mom replied, “No. No I haven’t.”
Mom was scared. She knew something was really wrong but couldn’t get past the emotions of it all. He was…scary looking. She had 2 healthy children, and now this.
Mom looked around the hospital room and realized the visitors were gone. Picking up the phone, she called the nurse.
“I’d like to see my baby.”
The nurse responded, “I think he’d really like that.”
I can picture my mom walking down the hospital hallway, bare feet cold on the floor, much like her emotions probably felt. Cold. Confused. The unknown.
There Jordan was. Hooked up to every cord you can imagine and warm in his little bed. Jordan was a new baby, not even a 1/2 day old, and had not been the baby placed on his mother’s chest immediately as he was brought into the world. He had not yet found the comfort and warmth of a mother’s arms and breast. He was in an incubator, struggling for his life.
“I’d like to hold my baby,” my mom said. And with that, the nurse place her new son in her arms. Mom locked eyes with Jordan, and yes…she fell in love. With the power of love came the strength to fight for her son. To fight for LIFE.
By the end of day, she knew Jordan had a few hours or a few weeks to live. From that moment on, she was determined to find out all she could about this disorder and how she could help Jordan survive as long as possible…and miraculously and hopefully, for forever.
Weeks turned into a month, 1 month into 2 months, and so on as the long days and nights passed and Jordan’s little heart fought for his life. And every day my mom stayed by his side until bedtime.
Mom never ever questioned, “Why me? Why us? Why GOD?”. My sweet mother knew what a blessing her child was, what a blessing any child is, in any form.
Jordan had several setbacks. He was dead and brought back to life more times then she can even remember. So many times in fact, that a board of hospital members met one grueling afternoon to decide if Jordan SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO LIVE. They wanted to starve my baby brother, my mom’s precious baby, to DEATH. Death by starvation. I can’t even imagine my parent’s thoughts knowing their baby’s life in that moment wasn’t in the fate of God anymore, but of men. Humans sitting around a table, cup of coffee in hand, discussing the starvation of a baby until his death.
SHOULD JORDAN HAVE BEEN ABORTED?
Never. See, for 3 months, he never experienced his physical home. But he experienced the love of his mother and father. He felt the warmth of her breath on his cheek and tasted her milk that was pumped through a tube. He felt the strong hands of his father cradling him. He knew his grandparent’s love. Jordan met his big brother Ben and his big sister, myself, oooing and awwwing over what we thought was a perfect baby. Jordan felt and knew what we all long to feel and know every day of our lives, LOVE.
Exodus chapter 4 and verse 11, God says, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him dumb or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I the Lord?” I make them that way. It’s for His purposes sometimes to make men dumb and deaf and seeing and blind. You remember in John chapter 9 the man born blind and the disciple said, “Who sinned, this man or his parents?” And Jesus said, “Nobody, this man was born blind for the glory of God.” God made it that way.
So badly my mom wanted Jordan to survive because she believed in miracles. But that doesn’t mean that God didn’t listen to her prayers. He knew what he was doing. It was all in His plan all along. God so perfectly created Jordan despite his deformities. Jordan was still created in the perfect image of our God.
And in the coolness of the night that June, Jordan left the only home he ever knew, a little hospital room, always surrounded by cords and nurses, to go home to Jesus.
I picture him now as a young boy of about 10, doing all the things 10 year old boys would do here on Earth. I’m sure he has the best trails to hike on, the best paths to ride his bike, the biggest supply of fish from a pond to fish from, and the coziest bed he’s ever slept on.
I’ve shared an article below that inspired me to write about my brother. Every child, every being, from the minute they are conceived, is just that, a CHILD. A real person that wants and needs to be loved. The greatest gift we can offer someone, is to love them. That is why children are a blessing no matter how they come into this earth. Because when we learn to love unselfishly and sacrificially, we are experiencing Christ. We are knowing only a small taste of how Jesus loves us.
Baby with Trisomy 13 lives 135 days and reaches 500,000 Facebook fans
When Kara McHenry found out she was pregnant, there’s no way she could have known the impact that her child would have on the world. When the doctors told her and her husband Shane that their baby had Trisomy 13, and was therefore “incompatible with life” there’s no way they could have known the inspiration he would ignite.
There was only a 1% chance that baby Corbin would be born breathing, but he and his parents fought for each breath he would take and in the process, created a new wave of hope and generosity among thousands of strangers.
Corbin arrived seven weeks ahead of schedule with little hope that he would live for even a moment. But he did. And when a few days went by and he was still fighting, Kara began celebrating Corbin’s life through Facebook with her page Prayers for Corbin.
Each day she would lovingly post a photo of Corbin with a handmade sign celebrating that day of his life and praising God including:
God has been working miracles for 19 days! God is good!
3 weeks of Beautiful, Perfect, Memorable, Wonderful, Miraculous LIFE!
A persons a person no matter how small. Blessing this earth for 34 days!
My parents gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: They BELIEVE in me! 36 Days Old!
Each day brought about something new to rejoice. There was the day when Corbin was able to go outside. There was the day he met his Great Grandparents. There was the day he got to meet his dog Zeus. And as the posts continued, filled with inspiration, hope, love, and adorable photos, so did the Corbin’s followers. And when Corbin died on day 135, he had half a million fans.
Each of those fans mourned his death. But each of them also celebrated his life, including his parents. Rather than sink into a depression, they showed their gratitude for each day that they were blessed to be with their precious son. Kara writes:
Corbin, today you were taken from my arms and went home to heaven at 7:04 am. It’s all still so surreal. Last night, between the laughter, memories, smiles, and tears I asked the nurse, “Are most families like this? Why are we not sad?” Her answer said it all, “You all are celebrating LIFE, you’re not mourning.” Oh how I loved to hear that. We weren’t mourning at all! Sure the thought of you not being here is unbearable but the thought of the life you’ve lived, means so much more! You spent the last two days surrounded by those that love you, you went outside and you even met your puppy dog Zeus! A million memories into two short days!
You were given a less than 1% chance to live, but you were born! You were told you’d survive hours, but you survived days. Your days became weeks and weeks turned to months. Now 135 days later, I sit here writing to you, so thankful for all that we were able to share with you. I am grateful for the days, the weeks, and the months; every single one!
Baby Corbin meets his dog Zeus.
Baby Corbin meets his dog Zeus.
She promised Corbin that she would keep is memory alive by helping others. In keeping that promise, Kara created Team Corbin and is raising and donating money to help other children with Trisomy 13 including baby Colton, born just 16 days after Corbin, who is now home with his family. Corbin’s Fund donated $3,000 to the family to help with medical expenses. In addition, others have started paying it forward in honor of Corbin. On August 21, a woman posted a photo on Facebook. It said:
No idea who the lady was in front of me at Starbucks, all I know is she also drove a jeep. But she gave me a $10 gift card and this note. I don’t know who she was but I would really like to say thank you! Brought tears to my eyes, there are still nice people out there<3
The note the woman had received read, “Pay it forward! Team Corbin on Facebook. Make someone smile today”
And with that, and many other generous gestures, a little boy who lived only 135 days outside of the womb, whose parents had the choice of whether or not to kill him while he was inside the womb, is changing the world for the better.
Link here. Written by Nancy Flanders