Reece’s Story (Like Olive Shoots)

Reece is one amazing kid.  My oldest of five kids, he lived a full, exuberant, and faith-filled life here. Reece died when he was five years old, after a lengthy and complicated bone marrow transplant.

After an otherwise routine pregnancy, when I was 36.5 weeks pregnant with Reece, I was induced into labor after an ultrasound revealed he measured around the size of a 31 week in-utero baby.  Concerned that Reece was not getting what he needed to thrive, he was forced to arrive early and in perfect–but very tiny–condition.  After birth and the revelation of what might be restricting his growth, it was determined that he was a miracle baby.  He had a true knot in his umbilical cord, the cord was attached (abnormally) on the side of the placenta, the cord was only dangling in its attachment to the placenta and the area where the attachment was located was gray and dying.  These conditions often present stillborn babies and we were so grateful that he had survived the pregnancy.

Clearly, he was supposed to be here, and God had a unique purpose for his life. We named him “Reece”, which means “having great enthusiasm for life”. He lived this out every single day. People would comment on it. People with little boys of their own would comment on it. And those eyes—those twinkling blue eyes—they were untamed.

At the age of four, when he complained of stomach aches, we took him in to test for food allergies and his blood revealed that he had a rare form of pre-leukemia called Myelodysplatic Syndrome. With no other treatment option other than BMT, we headed into the unknown world of intense hospitalization a mere two months later.

After many complications, setbacks, and difficulties along the way, included two trips to the pediatric ICU, Reece passed away from multiple transplant complications, including Graft-Versus-Host Disease and a viral infection.

During his hospitalization, I blogged on a site called Like Olive Shoots. You can check out those very personal writings here.