This is a looooong overdue blog post, but summer is here, things are finally slowing down, and this little guys story must be told. Meet Malachi Scott Austin. Born December 28th, 2014 at 23 weeks gestation. Weight, 1lb 8oz. Did your heart just drop like mine did? Malachi joined the micropreemie population when his mother’s water broke unexpectedly four months early. She gave birth to twin boys. Sadly, on January 21st, 2015, they lost his brother Michael due to an infection in his blood stream that caused him to become septic. One can only imagine the long journey that this family was about to endure.
I met the Austin’s while collaborating with Bee Mighty to give away a photo shoot to a family that had received a grant from them. This amazing organization provides funding for medical equipment and therapy for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) graduates. In their “My Baby is Mighty” application, Malachi’s mother, Allison, speaks of life in the NICU. She lived second to second, assessment to assessment, lab result to lab result, day after day. From ventilators, CPAP’s, two brain surgeries, learning to swallow and breath, Malachi pulled through with strength and perseverance. After 137 days, they were finally able to bring Malachi home and while this was a joyous occasion, it was bittersweet as they remembered the life of Michael.
Being at home was the start of another journey. Days were filled with doctor appointments including specially doctors, pediatric eye doctors, lung doctors, heart specialist, neurologist, NICU follow up physicians, OT appointments, neuromovment therapy, feeding therapy, and speech therapy. When asked about her coping during such a stressful time, Malachi’s mother gives it all to God. Allison said she had to keep her eyes on Him, and know that he was in control of the situation, no matter how daunting that seemed. She mentions the light at the end of the tunnel, though it seemed so distant, but was always there. I met her little “light” in November of last year and he is a thriving two year old full of energy and spunk! It did not take him long to warm up to me and he was a total ham for camera! Oh that grin and that laugh! Such a joy to witness. He loved to run, especially towards the dogs that were playing in the field behind us! What was most evident was the love that this family not only has for one another, but for God. It was truly an honor to document how far this family has come and I look forward to hearing about the bright future of sweet Malachi and his family.
“…and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith...” Hebrew 12:1-2)
Read more about this family’s journey at www.raisingmalachi.com