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Monday, December 7, 2015

For everything there is a season

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; …a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…” ~ Ecclesiastes 3

Our little Leti was born this past week, about a month early. It was exciting and terrifying at the same time when we realized Annie was not just having false contractions but was in labour. She was one day short of 36 weeks when the pains started. The staff at Winchester District Memorial Hospital were focused and awesome - and I use that word accurately as I spent much of my time there in a daze, my mind wandering back 24 years to when I was pregnant with Annie. 
The new mom and dad called us in to meet Leti when she was about an hour old, after she had had her skin-to-skin time with both her parents, and they had all had a chance to introduce themselves.
Leti was making a squeaking noise, like voiced breathing or high-pitched snoring, every time she breathed. The nurse said that, although it sounds ‘cute’, it actually means her little lungs were straining as they pumped outside the womb for the first time. The nurses took Leti over to the weigh table and made her comfortable. Then they put a little mask over her nose and mouth and pumped air in and out, slowly expanding and exercising her lungs. Leti closed her eyes and raised her arms to fall back alongside her head. She was totally relaxed. “She’s at the spa,” smiled the nurse.
Born at 6 lb. 7oz. and 20 inches long, this was not a small baby by any means. In fact she was likely growing a bit too long for her petite (and very active) mother and that is why she came early. She didn’t look premature; her skin was plump and pink and she cried heartily. But getting this little one to eat would take some convincing. She probably felt she was owed at least another month of womb service before having to do any work on her own.
As I write this, baby is still at CHEO, where she was taken the evening of her birth. There she was given an iv of sugar water that would stimulate her stomach acids and wake up her appetite. Her father fed her her first meal of mama’s milk through a syringe and baby bottle nipple. I dropped in for a visit the following day just as Annie and Leti were teaching each other how to breastfeed so the benefit of my 3+ years of nursing came in handy. Within minutes we had that hungry little fish latched on and demanding a good supply. I don’t think Annie will have any trouble with nursing.
By Friday it became apparent that Leti was a bit jaundiced and would need to go under the sun lamp for 24 hours. Another spa treatment. Now two days old and full of mama’s liquid gold, her energy levels were high. She found and tugged on her various tubes and wires and set off alarms regularly, getting constant attention from the nurses. On Saturday, the sun bed had done its work but the doctor decided another 24 hours on a low light would be ideal to avoid any further complications. But now Mom and Dad could take turns feeding and holding and changing her before putting her back in her spa bed.
After a few routine tests, Leti should be able to go home for real on Tuesday. Everyone is very excited to meet her. She has made a grand entrance to this life.
On Sunday evening, as about fourteen of us were gathered around the dinner table celebrating Leti’s birth, someone else was making his exit.
Harry Pratt spent the past several weeks in an intense battle with pancreatic cancer. Finally, he was at Kemptville District Hospital, the place he had valued so highly in his life, spending countless hours volunteering his services as an MC and auctioneer to raise funds for much-needed equipment. His family and friends turned the cafeteria of Kemptville District Hospital into a ‘winter wonderland’ chapel on Saturday, so that he could be part of his daughter’s wedding celebration. On Sunday, a close friend told him that everything had been said, and everything had been done. If he needed to go now, it was ok. So he did. Harry was just 68 years old when he passed away.

My mom worked with Harry at Towne Construction when she and Dad first came to Kemptville in 1965 so he and Sheila were always good friends of our family. But we all have memories of the great man and the work that he did in this community – some of it public, much of it private. He was caring and generous to a fault. He treated everyone like an equal and he exuded a positive attitude while wearing an infectious grin. While sifting through your own memories of Harry Pratt, I would recommend you make sure there is at least one in there of Harry dancing. Because I think that is what he is doing now. Rest in Peace, Mr. Kemptville. You will be remembered. 


Kathy Botham said...

Congratulations, your little one wanted her first Christmas to be in 2015. Best Christmas present ever for your family.
Beautiful words for Harry Pratt. He was our "Mr. Kemptville". I remember the dancing and even had the pleasure of him leading me on the dance floor a few times. He always said "Still love me Sweetheart" and I'd say "Even more today than yesterday". Same goes for today my friend.
My deepest condolences to Sheila and family. What great memories they have of a life so fully lived. A perfect memory on Saturday for his daughter.... and for Harry. Kathy Botham

S.J. White said... cycle. Lives come and lives go.