At 10:31 AM, this exact day last year, our Davy Elizabeth made her entrance into the world. In typical Frazier fashion it had to be done with a flare for the dramatic. Normal isn’t in our family’s vocabulary.
Through squinted eyes Davy glimpsed light for the first time and made a courageous attempt at breathing in the sterile hospital air with one small cry. Then nothing…no breathing…the consequences of Cogenital Diaphragmatic Hernia, which rendered her lungs underdeveloped and badly damaged.
The only sounds in the fluorescent delivery room were the sounds of shuffling feet and deliberate hands that were rushing Davy off to save her life, along with a brief conversation with Chels where I told her I loved her and how proud of her I was.
Quickly Davy was intubated so she could breath and given more IVs than I care to recall. Not long after we were in an ambulance together headed towards the Dell’s Children Hospital NICU wing – the place of paradox. A beacon of immense hope for some and simultaneously a memorial of unspeakable grief for others. Which one it would materialize into for our family was yet to be seen.
The next 140 days in the hospital were filled with tears and laughter, discouragement and hope, sorrow and joy. Since those days we’ve been home for over 7 months, which seems surreal to me. The NICU felt like 3 lifetimes, yet being home has been mist. One of the mom’s in my ministry articulates parenthood well – “The days are long, but the years are short”. There have been days this year where “long” would have been an understatement, but the “years being short” is on point.
Our Davy Elizabeth officially turns 1 today. What is my life?! I have a one year old. As I reflected on today and what I would write only one thing seemed appropriate. A letter to my little girl.
Letter to My Davy Girl
At 10:31 AM last year you changed my life forever in all of the best ways. You must know that your mom was amazing giving birth to you. She did it naturally – as in no drugs. Why? Because she’s a crazy and awesome West Texas Jesus hippy. It won’t take you long to figure that out as she douses you with essential oils and prays over you every night. You seriously have the best mom. Get excited.
You were born very sick because of what’s called “Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia”. There was a hole in your diaphragm, which allowed your internal organs to crowd out your heart and lungs to keep them from developing properly. However,we held on to three specific truths when you were born. We serve and worship an amazing God who is in control of all things (Isa. 46:9-10). He would strengthen us and uphold us with his righteous right hand (Isa. 41:10). You were fighter. A warrior ethos pulsed through every square inch of your 7 pound frame.
Not only was the strength found from the God we worship and your spirit, but also in your name. Your name Davy Elizabeth means “Beloved” and “God is faithful”. Both true things. The name Davy was found in a book called, “A Severe Mercy” and I can’t wait to read it to you. Davy is also the feminine version of David – who was your late Grandpa on your mom’s side. Elizabeth comes from your Grandma “Immy”. Your name – Davy Elizabeth Frazier – reverberates with strength.
It was so difficult watching you struggle baby girl. There were moments your big, beautiful eyes would look at me through muted expression and say, “Daddy, how come you’re not helping me?” It broke my heart then and breaks my heart now simply writing that statement. Yet, what you didn’t and couldn’t know at the time was that I was helping you the only way a helpless and desperate dad could. You were at Dell’s Children with the most amazing medical staff who fought for you night and day. It also moved your mom and I to pray without ceasing, which covered you with an even greater power than anything I could do (1 Thess. 5:17).
You must know that even in the midst of all the brokenness there was much beauty springing forth and incredible memories made. We created lifelong bonds with your doctors and nurses. You will know them as family for the rest of your life. Our church rallied around you and covered you in prayer. Your story inspired and strengthened the faith of many.
I still remember the day I first got the chance to hold you. August 23rd. Your frail body wrapped up in my arms. I was nervous but steady. I journaled these words that day:
“Once the nurse got everything situated, we laid her chest on my chest and she instantly calmed down. She stopped crying, her oxygen saturation stabilized, and then just stared at me with her deep, beautiful eyes.
The amount of overwhelming love I have for this little girl is incalculable and inexplicable. There is not a word that could describe it, a poem to expound upon it or a song that could encapsulate it.”
In that moment, you showed me how much God the Father loved me. If I loved you in a way that was incalculable and inexplicable, how much more did he perfectly love His children. Thank you for the memory.
I remember the first time we got to hear your voice. September 12th. 40 days after you had been admitted into the hospital. It was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard. One of our friends described it perfectly, it was a “broken hallelujah”. A sound that reminded us that even though we are “broken, we are perfectly sown”.
It was Thanksgiving weekend, when we first got to take you outside. That day possessed joy I could only dream about articulating. It was magical.
Then, on December 19th we took you home. You were dressed up as a little fashionista with your vest and furry boots. You were our Christmas miracle and the answer to our “far more” prayer (Eph. 3:20).
Davy girl, I love you with every fiber and sinew of my being. Even with this great love that I possess for you, you must also know that I will fail you. My role is to love you with all the love my broken and imperfect self can muster up. I’m called to be a North Star guiding you toward a Heavenly Father who is perfect, steadfast, unwavering, delights to sing praises over you and whose love is vast beyond all measure.
You must also know that I’ve prayed three specific prayers over you precious girl, there are MANY OTHERS, but three that have been constant. The first is that you would know JESUS IS BETTER. Jesus is better than all the things the world has to offer. The Psalmist wrote, ” Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever – Psalm 73:25-26. And the disciples knew that there was no other place to go because who else had the words of eternal life? – John 6:68. It’s Jesus who heals us from a sickness far worse than CDH – sin. Yet, God sent his only son to live for us, die for us, pay the cost of sin on our behalf. He conquered sin, death, Satan and hell for his people and ascended to the right hand of the father. I pray that you would know him, love him and revolve your life around him.
Second, is that you would be courageous. C.S. Lewis, the author of books we’re reading at night, wrote, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” Lewis knew that from the wellspring of courage all the other virtues flowed. I’m praying that you would be courageous to proclaim the love of Christ, stand firmly upon the Word of God and be a Holy Spirit filled, Biblical woman.
Lastly, as you grow older, you will notice there is a scar on your stomach. I pray that it would point you to the sacrificial scars of your savior, that you would know suffering has great purpose and one day Christ will heal all scars eternally. It was by his wounds many were healed, are being healed and will be healed once and for all at the end of time. Joni Eareckson Tada has this to say about suffering, “Every sorrow we taste will one day prove to be the best possible thing that could have happened to us. We will thank God endlessly in heaven for the trials that he sent us here.” She echoes the apostle Paul when he writes, ” this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17).
At the end of the day, all the challenges and trials will point us towards a greater reality. It will press us towards an eternal weight of glory where “everything sad will come untrue” and He will wipe away every single tear from our eyes. As he’s doing so we’ll thank him endlessly for the trials he gave to us during our brief time on earth, even days where I wept over you.
You must know that not all days will be filled with brokenness though. There will be days of much laughter, singing, playing, daddy/daughter dates, story time, reading, creating, dreaming, sports games, recitals and glorious memories made. These are graces from God that we’ll be thankful for every time we get to experience them.
Davy girl. I love you so much and can’t wait to live out one of the greatest adventures of my life – being your dad. Happy Birthday Davy Elizabeth. Keeping living “DavyStrong”.