Ian Christopher Beaman
Born in 2007
2 pounds, 5 ounces
Now age 13
Strapping young man, full of vigor, praise God!
A precarious beginning, indeed
Our fourth grandchild appeared unexpectedly in early October, on his mother’s birthday, not as anticipated in early January, the week of his Grandpa Beaman’s birthday.
He spent his first three months in the neonatal care unit at Wolfson Children’s Hospital and suffered a variety of handicaps, typical of an early birth. I wrote all about it in this post in 2008.
Ian’s birth at 26 weeks gestation weighing a mere 2 pounds, 5 ounces meant many un-connected synapses and a severely undeveloped breathing apparatus. For weeks it was touch-and-go, and we weren’t certain that we would be bringing him home from the NIC Unit at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Aside from the frightening awareness that Ian had a hole in his heart, we were introduced to a whole new vocabulary of problems: bradycardia, retinopathy, hip dysplasia. Translation: Slow, interrupted heartbeat requiring a nose cannula, undeveloped blood vessels in retina, and an immature hip ball and socket requiring a harness to hold legs in a frog-like fashion.
Bradycardia (a slower than normal heart beat, sometimes because of an undeveloped heart) was a chief concern during first months. Quite often his breathing was completely interrupted. Even after he left the NICU, Ian’s parents had to monitor a machine that would signal serious breathing problems, requiring them to intervene.
Early Interest in Music
Five years ago in 2015, we took Ian, along with other grandchildren to the Jacksonville Symphony’s demonstration for children. He picked up a violin, strummed a harp, but spent more time on the brass instruments, like here, a French horn:
Last year, as part of his audition for the La Villa School of the Arts, the instructors noticed his interest and ability in music, and introduced him to playing the tuba!
Considering this early breathing impediment, his ability to play the tuba is nothing short of astonishing. Tuba players, like Ian, exert a tremendous amount of focused breath, playing this brass instrument.
His 13th Birthday, not quite a Bar Mitzvah
Like his cousin and brother, we observed a form of Bar Mitzvah when Ian turned 13, this past Monday. And he read a letter I wrote to him when he was about a year old in 2008, musing on his miraculous birth. He read it last week for the first time.
September 25, 2008
Our Dear Ian,
Every birth is a miracle, but yours is quite an extraordinary one. Here’s why—You made your appearance 3 months before your “due” date, October 5, 2007, your Mother’s birthday, not January 9, 2008, your Grandpa Beaman’s birthday. For many, many months we visited the neo-natal intensive care (NICU) unit where you were lovingly cared for by many special nurses, especially nurse Gloria. We were very concerned about all things regarding your body—your heart, your lungs, your eyes, hips! Fortunately, God has healed you and made you into a fine, healthy almost one-year-old boy.
In January, you moved from Wolfson Children’s Hospital to Fletcher’s Tender Care, where you continued with physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.
You adore you Mama and Dada and follow the antics of your 4 ¾ year old brother Curtis. Your eyes are following his moves with his vorpel sword and crouching lion-like postures. You love food, baby food, and now some solid foods.
You look into our faces and smile. We are looking forward to your growing big and strong with God’s help. Grandpa says he can imagine you running and jumping on the jungle gym in the back yard. You are a fine boy and someday will be a fine young man. We are fortunate to have you in our family.
Grandpa and NaNa Beaman
Bar Mitzvah – or not, we wish Ian Mazel Tov . . . congratulations and good wishes to him as he continues to develop into manhood!
And finally, our hope for him from The Shamá . . .
Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Do you have experience with premature birth in your family?
Stories of other miracles welcome here . . .