Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Father Damien of Molokai

Some people have wondered why we picked the name Damien for our little boy. We were inspired by learning of the story of Father Damien de Veuster (Belgium). Father Damien was a missionary priest on the island of Hawaii in the late 1800's. He volunteered to minister/evangelize a leprosy colony that was exiled to the island of Molokai. To put it lightly, the colony was spiritually devastated due to the chronic disease of the people but moreover the exclusion of exile. They were a forgotten people deemed unfit for the participation with the healthy community.

His tenure on the island brought purpose, hope, and the love of God to the majority of the colony's people. He was a strong man who aided in working the land bringing crops to people. He was a carpenter bringing sustainable shelter. He was their priest, teacher, funeral director, and social advocate to the world.

He contracted leprosy but continued to work for his people until his death on April 15, 1889. He truly exhibited the sacrificial love of a saintly servant of God.

There has been documented miracles that have taken place through the intercession of Father Damien. These documented miracles have paved the way for his canonization this Fall. We think it is special that our son was born in the year that Father Damien will become a saint.

This video from pbs does a great job with an overview of Father Damien and goes in depth on the documented miracle of Audrey Toguchi:

Trisha and I had been learning about the heroic works of Father Damien in the last few months and have grown to greatly admire and love him.

Trailer of Molokai, a movie made telling his story:

Another brief overview of Father Damien (another mention of Audrey Toguchi's miracle case):

Here is the movie from Amazon

Trisha is reading this book right now.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Damien Joseph Hebert Born on Tuesday, April 21st, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Well, he is here. It was quite the ride. It sounds cliche, but it was an experience I will never forget. I was watching the beginning of my new movie I got in the mail (The Ten Commandments). It was about 11:30 pm on Monday, April 20th when I heard Trisha's voice from the bedroom saying, "Andy, can you come here?" When I arrived to Trisha, she told me her water broke. Within the hour after her water broke, she really did not feel any contractions, so we wanted to wait around for a while before we went into the hospital. At around 3:00 am, I asked her if the baby was moving around still and she said she had not felt him or her move lately. So to be sure everything was OK, we went to St. Mary's to see where we were at.

For those of you who do not know, she had been dilated 6 cm for a couple weeks now so she had progressed behind the scenes (which is whole different story). At 3:30 am in the labor and delivery triage, they verified that Trisha's water had broken and found her to be 6.5 cm dilated. The baby was doing well with a heart rate in the 150s. Trisha had mild contractions, which she described as cramping. Around 4:00 am she was officially admitted and we went to the birth suite where our baby would be born. We decided to try and rest a little while the contractions were still relatively mild.

By 9:00 am I had some breakfast from the St. Mary's cafeteria, and Trisha was stuck with clear liquids to eat. Trisha's contractions were still relatively mild but somewhat stronger than what she was feeling at 3:30 when we arrived at the hospital. So she was progressing, but at a slower pace (at least in terms of the medical professionals). At this time we were doing a little bit of walking around the floor in an effort to get things moving naturally. Our doctor had met with us shortly before (around 7:45), and told us that he would like to administer pitocin at 11:30 am if she hadn't progressed. This would be to ensure that our baby would be born within 24 hours of Trisha's water breaking to prevent infection. We hoped this augmentation wouldn't be necessary.

At 11:30 am, Trisha had progressed by the measure of about a half of centimeter (7 cm dilated). She was experiencing a little more pain but still up and about walking and talking. I talked to our doctor by phone (he was in the clinic) asking if we could reevaluate our situation later that afternoon and postpone augmenting/artificially accelerating the labor until then. He agreed and said to re-check Trisha's progression at 1:3o pm.

I then called our birthing class teacher (Betsy) who was incredibly helpful in bouncing ideas off of regarding our experiences thus far and getting labor to progress naturally. Over the next hour, we did a lot of walking and tried different positions with the birthing ball, which seemed to really help.

At about 12:30 pm to 1:00 pm, our prayers for our Trisha and our baby were answered. The contractions became stronger and Trisha entered into harder labor. She was soon unable to walk around or talk because she had to focus. At about 1:30, our doctor was called in anticipation of the birth in the relatively near future, as Trisha had progressed to 8.5 cm.

The last 1.5 cm went extremely fast, but we really had no concept of time. Trisha soon had the urge to push, and our baby was born after pushing through several contractions. I watched and assisted in the most intense part of the labor and pushing, which was a big surprise to our doctor, Trisha, and me! (We had a chair ready for me, just in case!) But enough about me.

To say that Trisha really did a spectacular job birthing our baby boy would be an understatement. Again, as cliche as it might sound, it was amazing to see Trisha work so hard and endure such tremendous pain for the purpose of bearing such a life-giving miracle into this world.

He came out of the womb sucking his hand. Damien Joseph was born at 2:39 pm:

He was a chunk! 8 pounds 11 ounces!

Parents on both sides became grandparents.

Steve and Deanna become an aunt and uncle.

Trisha's grandparents are great grandparents. There were 4 generations of family in the room on this day.

Trent is excited to visit Damien for the first time when he comes home from law school on May 4.

Having Damien at home is a blessing. Don't get me wrong, it is tiring, sometimes stressful, and overwhelming. Depending on the way you look at it, these things are essentially good. These things force us to put Damien's needs first and ours last, which is the blessing.

It is amazing seeing him observing everything for the first time. That is, at the distance in which he can see at this age (which is about a foot, the distance from baby to mom's face when she is holding him).

His personality traits are shining through as well. He hates having his diaper changed and he does not like baths any better. In fact, he screams at the top of his lungs during those seemingly traumatic events.

The running joke is that I haven't been looking so good lately. I would say that in the past month at least ten people have told me that I don't look so good or that I look extremely tired. I think Damien might have me beat as far as tiredness goes.

We love our little man. More to come...