7 Months in Outer-Space (An Epilogue)

When you think of outer-space, images of adventure are usually the first to rush to the forefront of the mind, but, the truth is, a trip to outer-space would probably be more traumatic than invigorating.  At first, this assessment might seem harsh due to the charming space odysseys we’ve seen depicted on theater screens. When we conceptualize space, most of us conjure up images of flashing lasers, warp drives, extrasolar planets, odious villains, and epic protagonist.  We’ve been conditioned to view the Final Frontier as a place where the ‘brave’ venture and the ‘daring’ thrive.  At some point (usually during childhood), our brains begin framing outer-space as an intriguing possibility, and our imaginations become fully saturated with extraterrestrial fantasies.  We see space more as an ‘invitation’ than a ‘hazard.’  But this narrative is light-years from the truth. Quite frankly, outer-space is a cruel and cold place.  It is literally the zenith of danger.  It is untamable.  It is unforgiving.  And after seven months of living on a space station named Starship Jesher, my family is ready to come back to Earth.

Our trio has grown uncomfortably familiar with the disturbing harshness of life without gravity–a life void of comfort or consistency. IMG_20180918_162912 Since Jesher’s (26-week) emergency delivery, Lhorraine and I have quite literally felt like we were floating through life at the mercy of gravitational forces around us.  Like untethered astronauts adrift in the deep, we have floated minute-after-minute wondering when we would find the ground again.  Outer-space has lost its luster, and I believe other space travelers would render a similar testimony.  Spaceships are cool for a little while, but cabin-fever, crampedness, and confinement can turn any interstellar quest into a loathsome voyage.

This is the part we did not expect; this is the reality that has challenged our sanity the most: When we imagined our journey to the stratosphere of parenting, we never imagined such an arduous flight.  Jesher is our first child; he is a child we planned for.  He is not an “OOPS–now what” baby.  He is a “YES–can’t wait” baby.  We only envisioned jubilation whenever we would sit and dream about having a son.  Jesher is the culmination of a five-year prayer pursuit that brought us supernova-like joy, but like a brilliant and colorful comet, the dazzling display was just a portent of approaching tragedy.  There was a flash of exuberance followed by explosive grief.  There was a moment of calm ecstasy and then there was a violent shift that jolted us into astronomical confusion.  One month, we were planning our baby moon; the next month we were flabbergasted by an intergalactic maelstrom.  How could a trip that began so wonderfully morph so quickly into the most excruciating odyssey we’ve ever taken?  Has the initial shock-wave so forcefully rocketed us into cosmic chaos that a return to Earth is now impossible?  Will our psychoemotional well-being ever return?

Life has been tough.  With preemies, the struggle doesn’t end when you leave the hospital.  In many cases, the crusade intensifies.  Now, there are no monitors to IMG_20180927_112221help you track progress.  There isn’t a medical team onsite 24/7 to give you feedback on abnormalities or delays.  You can’t live day-to-day, because a preemie’s condition fluctuates from hour-to-hour.  The medicine given to alleviate one problem only leads to the development of two other problems, and once you make it past two hurdles, you are presented with four new ones. Preemie-parents are tasked with embracing all the natural challenges of nurturing a newborn while managing the added complications caused by premature birth.  The pressure and stress is never-ending.  The setbacks are constant.  Like deep space travel, there is no margin for error and no comforts or distractions to help you escape the harshness of the environment.  Parenting a preemie is like being lost in space.

So suffice it to say, we are ready to get off this spaceship.  It has taken every fiber of our family’s resolve to make it thus far.  We have endured, cried, screamed, prayed, questioned, argued, and managed.    We have read books.  We have consulted counselors.  We have sought the advice of therapists.  We have scheduled appointments.  We have spoken to God.  We have searched for answers.  We have done all we could to navigate Starship Jesher back home, but we have not yet seen the welcoming glow of Earth’s blue atmosphere. 

Despite the perilous journey, there have been glimmers of hope. For example, Jesher is now gaining weight and is actually showing his first signs of chubby cheeks.  All of his therapist and doctors are still awe-inspired by his progress.  He made it through his surgery on October 4, 2018, and all of us moved back to IMG_20181004_142956Michigan a couple weeks later.  There have been victories along the way, and as the holy book says, “With thanksgiving, make your request known to God.”  We have been careful to identify the blessings; however, our family is not 100%.  The trauma has chipped away at all of us.  Each member of our small family has the scars to prove it.  Lhorraine, Jesher, and I have been forced to survive like soldiers, and the post-traumatic stress came with the territory.  We want to be healed.  We want to be restored.  We want to be happy.  We want to feel joy.  We want the enthusiasm to return.  We want our dream back.

I always envisioned writing the epilogue from a place of satisfaction and fulfillment, but I guess that comes later.  For now, I close this chapter with as many question marks as when I wrote my first post.  At that time, I was seated in a NICU ward, typing to the rhythm of my son’s ventilator.  Now, I’m seated below Jesher’s bassinet, typing to the rhythm of his nighttime breathing.  I am a different man now.  I cannot fully describe the dissimilarity; yet, I know it to be true.  The man who posted on March 13, 2018 is different than man posting on October 28, 2018.  Outer-space will do that to you.  It will force you to change.  In a paradoxical way, it will drain you of vibrancy while filling you with enlightenment.  Like having a micro-preemie, traveling through space is enigmatic; you feel like you should be enjoying yourself, but you are absolutely terrified the entire time because having a baby that weights 1lb 4oz is a cruel mixture of tragedy and triumph.  It will test your guts, courage, resolve, and resilience.  I’m just hoping our family successfully passes this test and makes it back to Earth safe and sound.

“Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your house, your children like olive plants around your table.  Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD. Indeed, may you see your children’s children. Peace be upon [you].”

Psalms 128:3, 4, 6

IMG_20180928_180855
Jesher Gabriel London Polite now weighs over 13 pounds!

 

15 thoughts on “7 Months in Outer-Space (An Epilogue)

  1. “ In a paradoxical way, it will drain you of exuberance while filling you with enlightenment.” Well said and so very true of intense hardship and trial. Blessings to you all!

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  2. God’s blessings are on you and your family, just keep the faith and hold on and don’t let go. We are going through with my great gandson. He is 8mons. And I’m going to hold on and never let go. I’m praying always. Hold On!!

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  3. Even in the absence of your weekly posts, we never stopped praying for your family. We claim total healing in the name of Jesus.

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  4. In reading this writing, I am intrigued regarding the journey of my grandson born 2.5 months premature (unbeknownst to our family, we’d lose our son on the date of our grandson’s original birth date); our grandson’s healing and normalcy was never a doubt in my mind. So, as I am reading this, internally I, thank GOD because my grandson is a thriving 3-year old, now. Why am I sharing good news inspite of the “outer-space” saga? My initial guess is to “fuel” ever-burning HOPE, non-relenting petitions to the Throne of Grace, and just a small token of letting you know…there are those of us, who intimately understand, have journeyed through outer-space, and are now a bit more planted in earth’s realm–extending our hands in holy praise and prayer for you, the man, now and the family who is and is to come. Continued blessings, GODs understanding, strength and peace be upon you. Never let GO! You are loved in Zion.

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  5. Thank you for the update. You have been through a lot. Thank you for showing Jesher. He is a lovely baby. May God continue to bless your family and may your experience strengthen and keep you closer together. God’s blessings are on you three. I continue to Pray. May you stay blessed!

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  6. I was wondering when there would be an update on the blog. I sneaked a view of New Life the sabbath you announced the family’s return to Michigan. We have not stopped praying for Jesher as his name is written on the prayer wall of our house. Take courage and continue to chart the course. You are “nearing home.” Then there will be a new journey to undertake, but isn’t that life? Blessings!

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  7. I am praising God for “Peanut’s” 13 lbs.!!! He is a miracle, and I cling to every promise in God’s Word that he will grow into healthy adulthood, know God for himself, and make you proud!! ~Blessings on you all, and may unexplainable peace pervade your home and family!!

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  8. The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deut 31:8
    You all are on my prayer roll. Have wondered how things were progressing, thanks for the update and the pics.

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  9. We continue to pray for you and the family! I pray that there will be a season when enlightenment and exuberance converge afresh for you (and for all of us who stand in need of that). You are spot on in your descriptions of the pain, frustration and uncertainties of life’s journey. It doesn’t always feel good! Thank you for your honesty. I am confident that God will continue to sustain your family and your faith. Your are passing the test, even when it doesn’t feel like it. Much love!

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  10. Hey, Michael—bless your soul. Just read your epilogue and realize that there is no way anyone can really grasp what you and Lhorraine have gone through. I can only bow my head and recognize God has mysteriously been sustaining you in the midst of this chronicle—and with that recognition I add my humble prayers to the many, many that have and still do ascend to the Throneroom on little Jesher’s behalf. I’ve got his Starship Jesher T-shirt hanging by my desk in my study at home, a reminder to keep praying. And so with all the others I too am. But don’t ask me how it works—this assurance that out of all this pain and endurance God one day scores a huge W. Of course we pray for the W. But how high the cost? Courage and grace to you both, you three. Calvary is the only answer to the enigma of the scars you now bear—your friend—Dwight

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  11. Continuing in prayer for your family and for your strength. God will see you through this process and also the next ones to come. Praying for joy to return to you all soon. Thanks so much for the update and pictures. Its good to know what is happening, even though it is a rough journey. Love you both. Blessings.

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  12. May the God of our Universe be Glorified and Worshiped for the life of your son! Hallelujah! Praise God. I pray now for continued strength for your son, and to you and mommy both. Thank you for sharing your awesome journey with me, it has truly been a blessing. Amen & Amen!

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  13. What does God need from us? Really. This is two months in the making because I expected things to rapidly get better. I had hoped that the story would be such that others who were suffering would be told of tbe miraculous event and as you share tbe story with them they would find strength if not complete joy because they’d found your source of hope. And yet here you are. And yet God has been amazingly good and yet, you’re slowly ever so slowly moving forward. Maybe that’s the point. In you, in us each, with our own never ending hell , something is being deeloped of which we have no control. As I sit at 3 AM awakened by folk having a party upstairs, with no concept, or care, of the discomfort they cause others, I’m more aware than ever at how God is changing me, to save me and to use me. I don’t know at which point tbe pain lessens or fear goes. I don’t know when tbe merry go round of turmoil stops, but I do know all through tbe testing and training , God speaks reminding us he’s here and we are not alone. I continue to pray for your family. I continue to understand that we weren’t prepared to be tried like he said we would be. I’m fully aware that somebody and perhaps several somebodies are being made equipped to teach tbe people of God and mostly tbe leaders, about who God really is beyond a religion and what He requires of His children, who are no more ready to witness than tbe Israelites of old were. We don’t want Jesus to come, we just want him to give us what we want. We don’t know him enough to love him enough to trust him enough to obey. You will after this. When you do, tell it. He chose you!

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