On August 18, 2014 my son and his wife gave birth to Teagen Grace, an 8.6 pound baby girl.
They reside in Rhode Island, and at the time my husband and I were living in Concord OH. They called at 8:30 am on a Sunday morning to tell us her Apgar score was between 9 and 10, they were exhausted and ecstatic. We made plans to drive out Thursday to meet our first granddaughter, and rented a van to load the furniture they had agreed to take off our hands.
On Tuesday my husband called at 3:30 pm and told me to come home immediately. He had booked a 6:30 pm flight to Providence Rhode Island. Teagen had been taken by ambulance to the NICU at Women’s Hospital in Providence. The doctors believed she was identified with Downs Syndrome. To say I was upset for my son and his wife is an understatement. As I was throwing things into a suitcase I reached for my deceased mother-in-law’s prayer book, and out fell Fr. Solanus’s blessed token. I put it in my purse and on the flight to RI I prayed and I cried.
Upon reaching the hospital at midnight, I saw and held Teagen for the first time. She was beautiful! My son and his wife on the other hand looked horrible. They gave me permission to tape Fr. Solanus’s blessed token to her NICU crib. And I prayed.
The following day xrays showed Teagen would need heart surgery – probably in the spring. She was also diagnosed with WPW Syndrome, they believed she had Hirschprung disease, and the test for Downs would come in on Friday. Every day I would pray to Fr. Solanus for the doctors to be wrong about their thoughts, for a miracle, and I would touch the blessed token to Teagen every chance I got.
Thursday, my husband arrived with the van full of items for our son. The two of us left the hospital area and drove the van to their home. We stopped at a Dunkin Donuts for coffee. He stayed in the car – I went in to order. I was third in line. There was a man ordering food at the counter, stooped, long beard, and he looked so familiar – like an old fisherman but I could not place him. He ordered hash browns, an egg sandwich, coffee, a donut – and pulled out a credit card. It didn’t work. So he slowly put it away and pulled out another one. Now the people behind him were becoming impatient because he was very slow. The second card did not work. He pulled out a third. My husband had given me a $20.00 bill, so when I saw the clerk swipe his third credit card twice without success I quietly handed her the $20 and nodded to her my intention to pay for his food. He looked so hungry! She gave him back his card and said he was all set. He moved away slowly to wait for his food, the man in front ordered coffee and left, and I ordered our two coffees.
I received my two coffees and left the building. The old man was standing outside on the sidewalk holding his bag, no one else was around, and my husband’s car was the only one in the lot. He was just standing there and when I walked past I told him to have a nice day. He looked right at me, smiled and said ‘Everything is going to be just fine.’ I looked at him and thought he must have heard me wrong.
That was all. As I was climbing into the car my husband asked for his change and I pointed behind me towards the man and said “oh, I paid for that man’s food. His cards weren’t working”. When he asked me what man, I turned around, pointed to the sidewalk but the man was gone. I told my husband he had been right there, and he asked “so where is he?’ Confused I admitted the man looked very familiar but I couldn’t figure out why. We even got out to look in Dunkin’s window but he wasn’t there.
When we arrived back at the hospital I still could not shake the feeling I had seen the man somewhere before. Approaching Teagen’s crib I did what I always did – I went to touch the blessed token and pray “Father Solanus, let the doctors be wrong” when I realized the man at Dunkin Donuts had been the spitting image of Fr. Solanus. I started crying and shaking.
On Friday the diagnosis came back. Teagen was identified with Downs, but instead of being upset I could not shake the feeling of peace. I had been told Teagen was ‘going to be just fine’. She did not have Hirschprung and her PwP syndrome to date has never affected her. Unlike most, Teagen took to nursing like any typical baby and gained weight
In October 2014 Teagen suffered cardiac failure and had to undergo open heart at Boston Children’s Hospital on November 2nd; . She developed MRSA, stayed longer, but came home 10 days later. Soon after her chest would became infected. We took her back to the hospital where she tested positive for MRSA in the blood.
My niece, a nurse practitioner and my daughter an RN, both told me in tears, MRSA in the blood was extremely bad and to prepare for the worst. Teagen was not even 10 pounds and only 2 1/2 months old. Of course we prayed to Fr. Solanus, who I believe is her blessed guardian. My son asked us not to come to the hospital, he and his wife needed to be alone with Teagen. Hardest thing he has ever asked us to do but we drove back to OH waiting for the worst, and praying.
Teagen did not die.
She survived that horrible ordeal, came home with tubes everywhere, but she was alive. The day before Christmas the last tube was taken out. Since then, Teagen has only had to deal with teething and colds,typical for any child. But those four months had been hell for the family.
Teagen has exceeded so many expectations of her therapists and family. She walked at 2 yrs old, she feeds herself, her attention span is amazing, and she currently is being a typical three yr old by getting into everything!
With the Beatification of Blessed Father Solanus I want to shout to the heavens the wonders of God and of Father Solanus who I know in my heart watches over Teagen Grace every moment.
Everything IS going to be just fine.