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 . . .
Happy Birthday, Ian…….
Thank you, Jack, bright and early!
Good morning, Marian! Happy Birthday and Mazel Tov to Ian! I went back and read the 2008 post.
Perhaps his early birth was an eagerness to be in this world and bring it joy.
I like your sentiment. Thanks for reading both posts, Merril. Yes, it was scary at first, but we never gave up hope. 🙂
What a special young man. Happy birthday to Ian.
I’m sure he’ll see this post and read the comments, including yours. He does have a Facebook account but I doubt he checks it . . . busy with school and tuba practice. Thanks, Jill! 🙂
I would be like you: celebrating this young man every step of the way. After our grandson was born with issues that kept him in a children’s hospital for an extra week or so, I can feel the trauma and drama families with these kinds of issues face. Our Owen (4) is still catching up developmentally–especially with his speech, but he is just an awesome kid as well. You are lucky to have Ian and family living near by and how sweet to know he has now received his letter. I’m sure it made him feel all warm inside. Birthday blessings to Ian!
Trauma and drama, we know it well with an early birth. Owen will catch up too. Ian still has issues, but we’re not sure it’s because of personality or prematurity. Thank God for miracles! Thanks, Melodie. 🙂
What a fine young man he is too. I hope he has a wonderful birthday. Such a great story by a proud Grandmother!
As you know, blog posts are one place to document milestones in our lives. As long as the electrons and pixels hold together here, his story is a link in the chain of our family story. (Yes, I do have backup!) Thanks for appearing here again today with a comment, Darlene. 🙂
Too wonderful Marian! I so enjoyed listening to Ian reading your letter from long ago. Happy birthday Ian, here’s to many more! Have a wonderful day and year. Do you buba on the tuba? It’s a lovely instrument. My son plays trumpet and he can make a mean buba tune.
Thank you for listening to Ian reading my letter. I’m guessing you have passed your auditory skills to your son, the trumpeter. I have no idea what “buba” on the tuba might mean even though I consulted the urban dictionary. I’m sure you can enlighten me. Again, thanks, Susan! 🙂
ooooops, sorry that you looked up ‘buba’ Marian – a totally made up word … but it sounded rhythmic and the sound a tuba might make …
Buba rhymes with Tuba, very clever, Susan!
Marian — Happy Birthday to Ian! The letter from Grandpa and NaNa Beaman was a delight to read. Thank you for sharing it.
Thanks for reading the post – and the letter – Laurie. He enjoyed his birthday with a huge slice of chocolate cake, shared with Mama B.
What a blessing! I found your letter to be quite touching, Marian. Perhaps he will pass down this tradition to his children when he eventually becomes a father.
I like that you are so forward-thinking, Pete. Yes, we do hope that Ian and our other grandchildren will pass down family traditions. I couldn’t ask for more. Thank you for stopping by today with a comment. 🙂
What a beautiful little fighter Ian was and what a fine young man he has become. Congratulations to him on reaching this important stage in his life and all the best for the future. Marian, you have reason to be proud! 👍❤
You know, Fatima, when Ian was a newborn and lying in the isolette, the nurse on duty remarked that he is a fighter. I couldn’t see it then: All I saw was a teeny baby hooked up to all sorts of tubes and harnesses. She did give me hope because I thought she must know more than I do with her experience with preemies. Thankfully, she was right. 🙂
What a great kid. I love his story and that he is so stylish, wearing his tux wherever he can. Your letter to him is sweet and sincere. Thanks for sharing this here.
Ally, when Ian was much younger he walked around dressed up in costumes, like Mario. Naturally, I thought he might become an actor. I guess musicians are actors, after a fashion. Thanks for noticing all this, Ally! 🙂
How beautiful, Marian. You hoped for him to survive and have vision. Who could have imagined a tuba player. I’m so proud of this spunky young man and your love drips off the page–and I weep for the sweetness of it all. May all be well for Ian. (I wonder how an orchestra manages the horn section with masks.)
Yes, the wee boy who could barely breathe, now a tuba player! We were as shocked 4-6 months ago learning about this as you are now reading about it.
I was curious about Ian’s safety too during rehearsals. He said they are spread far apart (social distancing), and he puts a paint strainer on the flared portion of his instrument to catch the breath. So far so good. Thanks, Elaine! 🙂
Marian, how blessed you are to have kept him. We lost our first born, harold Mark. He was 6 weeks premature and weighed 3lbs. 6 oz. His lungs were not completely developed. He lived one day. He was born in Congo and buried there. I write to him and think about him. We planted a tree. God gave us three beautiful daughters but my heart still aches for our son. He would have turned 51 this May. I wrote a blog post about it in June 2014: ens-intransit.blogspot.ca/
I looked up you post published in June 2014, so affecting. I left a comment there.
Remembering IS a way of meeting, and I’m happy friends offered to look after the grave. The tree-planting reminded me of the oak tree planted by the great grand-children after my Grandma Longenecker died at 89 years. She lived a long, full life. Your son, Harold Mark, did not. However, you have the prospect of seeing him one day in heaven, a blessed thought. Thanks for sharing this poignant remembrance, Elfrieda. ((( )))
for some reason your comment didn’t appear on the blog post. Can you send it to my email address?: email@example.com. Thanks
I checked back to see if the comment appeared on my end. Unfortunately, it did not. Now I will try to remember what I posted. Sorry about that . . .
Marian, what a lovely story about Ian, his birth and journey home, and his blessed life as a part of the Beaman clan. The time surrounding his stay in NICU and then a rehab center must have been trying for all involved, but God blesses us with amazing strength just when we need it.
There have been no such births in either of our families, but I have friends who had triplets born prematurely with problems similar to Ian’s. I met the mother through my volunteer activities at Mothers of Preschoolers. She and her husband had moved from CA (leaving lots of friends and family behind) so they could raise their children in a less stressful environment and dad’s job improved greatly. Mom had great medical care and, as in multiple births, they knew there was the possibility of a premature birth. What was so unexpected were the massive needs of these three littles–two girls and a boy. Amazingly, people working their dad got busy and lent a great deal of help. Our moms group did the same. However, as soon as the triplets were able to travel, the family made a move back to CA to be near grandparents, aunts and uncles, and tons of friends. It was a healthy choice they felt was necessary for their babies.
Believe it or not, all three children survived their initial problems and the move! Today they are still living in sunny and fire-ravaged CA. They have celebrated their second birthday in March of this year and are moving toward birthday #3 in 2021. A set of miracles I’m happy to know and love. Here’s a link to an image taken on their second birthday: https://sherreymeyer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/IMG_1021.jpeg
Your story of the triplets reminds me that “it takes a village” to raise a child, in this case, children. I’m glad there were SO many helpers after the children came home, including you. The family was wise to move to California, where family would lend a hand, many hands, in fact. For a while, Sweet Home Sextuplets (?) was on TLC about a family with two older boys + 6 more. I haven’t seen recent episodes, but I got the impression they wouldn’t survive, sanity intact, without assistance. Thanks for sending the photo of the happy, healthy triplets!
We do not take for granted that we have Ian. Many don’t survive, but many do. I just did a write-up for a local magazine, which helps benefit Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Believe it or not, it was about a one year-old girl, who started life at 15 ounces, just under a pound. The father said, she was not given a social security number, because her poundage registered as 0. She is now up to 14 pounds and gaining.
Thanks for adding so much to the conversation here, Sherrey!
Happy Birthday and Mazel Tov to Ian! This post brought tears of joy and remembrance to this grandma… <3 Blessings and love abound. In June of 1997 our amazing little granddaughter,–Ceiilia Grace–was born three months before her due date. She was in ICU until September. At two pounds, she fit in a coffee mug. Today, Ceilia is a healthy and beautiful young woman of 23 years. Blessings abound! <3 Thanks so much for sharing! xo
Oh, Bette, you have traveled a similar road with your precious grand-daughter Ceilia. I know your emotions must have bounced between agony and ecstasy in those early months, as ours have. Praise God, she is so healthy and beautiful. Thank you! 🙂
What a blessing that God has brought into your lives. Looking forward to seeing him advance with the symphony. Happy Birthday, Ian!
It’s so good to see you here, Bonnie. I sure do miss our get-togethers. Maybe 2021 will bring socializing, we can only hope. Thanks for the good wishes for Ian. I can tell you this, he enjoys practicing his tuba more than he does school work. 🙂
Mazel Tov to Ian. Nothing says Bar Mitzvah like the Coronavirus times. A lovely birthday and Bar Mitzvah tribute to your grandson Marian. <3
Thank you, Debby! We are very fortunate – and thankful – to have him. 🙂
Awww – what a heartwarming post.
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Lady Fi! 🙂
God is good! Thank you for sharing God’s blessing in your life! Yeah!!
Yeah, I agree! I’m glad you enjoyed Ian’s story, Jenn. 🙂
I laugh when I hear people say “there are no miracles,” or “there are only miracles in the Bible.” We see miracles every day, and so many people just don’t LOOK. But your story of Grandson Ian – WHAT A MIRACLE and a blessing and this post gave me tiny happy chills.
One of my author friends, KathyPooler, says on her blog, “Some things have to be believed to be seen.That’s probably why naysayers are so blind to miracle.
Well, the first miracle was Ian’s survival. In elementary school e showed interest in art. In fact, we have some of it on display in our house. So when the auditioners at the school of the arts said MUSIC was his thing we were surprised. Actually, the news sounded like a bombshell, more like. He’s totally smitten. In fact, when Cliff offered to buy him an ice cream cone after doing yard work for us, he said, “Oh Grandpa, I’d rather go home and practice my tuba” instead. Should we be worried? 😀
I’m glad this story gave you tiny happy chills. Huge thanks, Pam!.
“I’d rather practice tuba than have ice cream….” That’s a boy with a passion! <3
Scary, sort of, but also endearing. His parents wish he had the same passion for school work – ha! 🙂
Yes, I understand that. I keep telling myself (as I watch my grandkids and worry) that our own kids survived somehow, despite their quirks and struggles, and “made” it in this world. Their children will do the same, in their own way.
Oh, I love this story! Indeed, your handsome and talented grandson is a miracle.
Ah, Linda Lee. I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for tuning in today, very much appreciated! ;-0
My niece’s baby was born 3 months early in April. She is doing better everyday. Thank-you for sharing your experiences.
Jon, welcome to my blog. And thank you for commenting here. I’m so happy to hear that your niece’s baby is doing well. Glory to God!
Do visit again. 🙂
What an amazing story, Marian! Nothing short of a miracle, indeed. And proof of how resilient, determined, and strong a human body is/can be. Ian looks like a happy young man. You must love his interest in, appreciation of, and talent regarding music as well. 🙂
Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to read/comment here, dear Liesbet.
I checked your website, and it looks like you are still in Newburyport . . . but I assume poised for “flight.” May your migration be a good transition – with ability to find “nests” of internet connection, just when you need them. 🙂
Thanks, Marian. We are a little bit delayed, but it will hopefully work out for the best. Sleep well!
It certainly WILL! 🙂
Ian’s growth from vulnerable preemie to talented tubaist is indeed a miracle worthy of celebration at this not-quite-mar-mitzvah. I am so glad you could be with him on his special day, even with masks in a pandemic. When I first read this post, I was needing a miracle. Even though I couldn’t say it at the time, this miracle story helped me to believe another miracle could happen. And it did!