I’m thrilled to be able to announce the arrival of Luke Edward Ireton and Bennet Woods Ireton on Friday, July 23 at 7:54 and 8:01 a.m., respectively.

Luke weighed 5 pounds, 9 ounces and was 18.3 inches long. Ben weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces and was 20 inches long.

Luke is doing well in the Special Care Nursery at Group Health hospital where he was born. He is in an isolette and has a feeding tube and several monitors, but he is healthy and will, we hope, be home in a week to ten days.

Ben has had a rough start in life: he was ambulanced to Children’s Hospital on Saturday morning after developing acute respiratory distress. He had two collapsed lungs, and it took the transport team and the neonatologist at Group Health several hours to stabilize him enough to get him into the transport unit and the ambulance. By the time he arrived at Children’s (a five-minute ambulance ride), his left lung had collapsed again.

When Doug and I arrived at Children’s at 3, the NICU team was inserting yet another shunt in Ben’s chest to siphon air out: his lungs kept developing small tears that allowed air to leak into his chest cavity; the air then pressed on his lungs, causing them to collapse.

By the time we met with the neonatologist, she was almost ready to recommend we take a very scary step in Ben’s care: ECMO, or what I call the scary lung machine. It’s basically an external lung that all of Ben’s blood would pass through to be oxygenated before being returned to his body. Risks include blood clots and internal bleeding, especially in the brain, that could quickly turn into hemorrhages because of the anti-clotting meds Ben would have to be on. I made some phone calls and asked people to pray that this step would not be necessary.

A few hours later, after shift change, the night shift doctor came out and said Ben was not doing well. He recommended we begin ECMO as Ben’s best chance at life. I started to shake. The doctor went to get the consent form.

He came back without it: in the past 20 minutes Ben’s condition had begun to stabilize. The doctor wanted to wait a few hours to see if Ben continued in this direction.

He did.

Though he is still in critical condition, Ben is in a much better place than he was Saturday night, and talk of ECMO has, for the moment, been suspended. In the past 24 hours, he has made huge strides in the direction of healing, and I am convinced it is because hundreds of people are praying for this baby boy. Their prayers are aiding this amazing technology, and though Ben is by no means out of danger and his situation remains precarious, he is, for now, on the path to recovery. Thanks be to God for the prayers of His people, for the technology that makes Ben’s recovery possible, and for the dedicated doctors and nurses at Children’s who are caring for Ben so vigilantly.

And many and heartfelt thanks to all of you who have prayed for the babies’ and my health these past months – and especially for Ben these past days – and to those who have helped me through these past few weeks and the past few scary days by watching Jack and Jane, cleaning my house, and bringing our family meals. May God bless you for your generosity and largeness of heart as you have blessed us.