My youngest daughter, Brooke, had a baby in the wee hours of Friday morning.

My youngest daughter, Brooke, had a baby in the wee hours of Friday morning.

Noah West, my first grandchild.

While waiting for them to bring Noah to the nursery window, I couldn’t stop myself from staring at the room just down the hallway where my wife, Dianna, died in February.

It was overwhelming and impossible to ignore. The symmetry of life and the passing of generations, the old and familiar fading to the hope and wonder of the future. Loss giving way to promise.

His life beginning just feet from where hers had ended.

And suddenly, there he was, a handsome little fellow with a dimpled chin and thick black hair, wrapped in a blanket and carried into the room by his daddy.

It was the miracle of life, repeated for as long as humanity can peer back into history and just as breath-taking each time it happens.

But joy and heartache are separated by a thin mist of emotion that can evaporate before your eyes. And that’s what happened.

Within seconds, it was clear that things were not right. Through the glass, we heard the nurse say that Noah wasn’t breathing on his own and they called for the doctor, then closed the blinds while they worked.

After a time, his parents were told that Noah needed to go to The Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City.

A few hours later, he was taken into his mother’s room. She couldn’t hold him, but she got a few moments to touch him and rub his hair, and then he was off to the ambulance.

Once Noah was at The Children’s Hospital, doctors discovered that his trachea and esophagus were fused, which was a possible explanation for the problems he’d had.

Three days ago, I would have cringed if told Noah would be born with such a thing, but now it ranks as some of the best news I’ve ever heard.

It’s correctable, and he underwent surgery for it yesterday. We’ll know in a week if it was successful.

If so and if no other problems appear, I hope I’ll soon have a fishing buddy.


Brian Blansett is publisher of The Shawnee News-Star.