Tanya Hanson’s Merriest Christmas Eve Ever

A Christmas Memory…

For the second time in her life, our daughter Christi wasn’t here with us on a Christmas Eve. Four days ago, she was in Arizona with her new in-laws. However she and her hubby kept the promise to fly back home in time for Christmas dinner. Prime rib, fun stuff, and family.

The first time we spent Christmas Eve apart was Christi’s first on earth. Two weeks old, she spent it in a neonatal intensive care unit hooked to every wire and tube imaginable. I still get shivers at the memory.

Thing is, she’d been born a hearty nine-pounder, healthy and content after a short easy labor. As I held my newborn daughter, I knew my life was complete with a handsome hubby at my side and a precious two-year old son waiting at home.

Family Stockings 2

But four days before Christi’s first Christmas, disaster struck. Her unusual irritability and sudden fever of 106 brought about the fearsome diagnosis of bacterial meningitis, and my perfect world began to unravel. She went into isolation, and I went into full panic.

“She’s in good hands here,” said the pediatrician, also a mom. “Come here whenever you want to, but remember, it’s Christmas, and your little boy needs you, too.”

Good advice. Although our hearts were heavy, we took her brother to see Santa, shopped and cooked and pretended, laid the tiny red velvet dress from her Uncle Mike across her empty bassinette at home. We saw our baby whenever possible, but it was total agony not to touch her, to only see her through the transparent confines of a tiny temperature-controlled isolette. The nurses hung a little white Christmas stocking on it to add some cheer.

Tears rarely stopped although we did our best to hide them, and nights were long and sleepless. We prayed without ceasing.

On the second hospital day, the report was half-comforting: She’s a big, strong baby. The antibiotics are powerful, so she could possibly make it.

Okay. But what if she doesn’t? How could I ever celebrate Christmas again?

Day Three: Your baby girl will live, but…meningitis is a very bad thing and it can bring about many bad things. (We knew this. Blindness, deafness, seizures, crippling, mental retardation.) We don’t know how much residual damage yet…

When will you know? Terror flamed again while everybody else sang Joy to the world.

Day Four: Christmas Eve. Christi will suffer no residual damage. We’ve run tests and consulted. She’s fine, she’s perfect in every way! Have a Merry Christmas!

Talk about a Christmas miracle! The timing couldn’t have been more perfect! I still get shivers.

Both as precaution and to complete the antibiotic protocol, Christi stayed in NICU for five more weeks. However, the day did come when we could hold her, when I could nurse her, when her “big” brother could peek in through the inner sanctum NICU windows and be reminded he had a new baby sister. Here they are the next Christmas and skiing in Yosemite a few Christmases later.

Christi one year old and her brother

Christmas Ski Trip in Yosemite







 In February, she wore that tiny red velvet dress at the family party following her baptism. (She wore my little white baptism dress to the ceremony.) And she’s had a ton of cool Christmases since then, including 2009 as a happy newlywed.

Tiny Christmas Dancer

  Christi and Scott Christmas 2009









Well, I learned first-hand on that long-ago Christmas Eve that the Lord lives…and that the Lord loves. Christmas miracles are real. May all your Christmas dreams come true, may all your Christmas prayers be answered, and may God bless you all, everyone, in 2010.

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30 thoughts on “Tanya Hanson’s Merriest Christmas Eve Ever”

  1. That’s a heart-touching story. My #3 son was hospitalized at two months, and I’ll never forget how small he looked on that big gurney as they wheeled him to surgery. But he’s a strong healthy soldier now.

    You’re daugher is beautiful.

  2. A beautiful story and beautifully told, Tanya.
    One of my daughters had TUBES in her ears at around two years old and I was dreaming aobut funerals at night. I can’t imagine how frightening that was.

  3. Brings back memories and what a horrible time you guys had waiting for the good news. Enjoyed your story and so glad for the happy ending….Love you..Bert

  4. Hi Vicki, thanks for posting! Yes, such a miracle. I always believed in them before but this one actually happened. Backatcha great wishes for 2010 in your new home. oxoxoxox

  5. Hi Vickie, yes, I remember those emotions…how tiny and vulnerable sick babies are. I am so happy your boy was blessed with good health after such a scare. And now a true American hero who keps us safe. God bless your family in this new year. Thanks for posting.

  6. Hello Mary, oh yeah, I can easily feel this, too. Our son had jaundice as a newborn and had to have his heel stuck for a blood test. The nurse had to escort me from the room, I was such a wreck. Thanks for stopping by today. oxoxoxxo

  7. Hi Bert, my wonderful sister and Christi’s amazing godmother. You sure have helped me through some tough times. Thanks for always being there. Love you and looking forward to a ton of fun in 2010. oxoxoxoxox

  8. I recall how concerned Honey and I were when our
    #1 son had meningitis, and he was older – in the
    second grade! No matter the age when your child
    is ill, your heart sinks and your prayers begin!
    Thanks for sharing your story!!

    Pat Cochran

  9. Tanya, what a touching story. I’m so glad your daughter received her miracle. That’s amazing. Just proves the power of the unseen hand. I’m sure you’ll never forget that Christmas Eve. Makes us very grateful for the blessings God gives us.

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year.

  10. Tanya,

    This is so moving. As I read it I cried. I have a daughter and I would just die if something happened to her. She is my everything.

    The Great Spirit stayed by her during this time.

    Tell your daughter to always fight just as she did when she was small

    Walk in harmony,

  11. Hey Nancy, thanks for posting. It’s been wonderful with you, my friend, watching our kids grow up together. Yes, this was a scary time. Thanks again these years later, for the prayers. oxoxox

  12. Hi Pat, yes, meningitis strikes terror whenever I hear about it. I just thank God for antibiotics. I am so glad your little guy is hale and healthy today. Thanks for your sharing!

  13. Hi Linda, God does work in mysterious ways, that’s for sure. Whew. Although I love living in the Old West in my imagination and in the books I read and write, I am so grateful for modern medical science. A true blessing. oxoxxo

    Our Christmas was awesome, thanks, Linda. Even now three days later, our cable music channel is still playing “sounds of the sesasons” Yay. Don’t forget, everybody, Christmas officially lasts until the Twelfth Day, January 6. I’m all for that!

  14. Hi Melinda, it’s always so good to see you here. Your spiritual message today is so meaningful to me. I remember, during the worst of it, threatening to never celebrate Christmas again or to have any more kids. Whew. God is good. And yes Christi is a fighter! Nobody ever gets the best of her LOL.I love your message about the Great Spirit.

    Congrats on your upcoming 2011 release, Melinda. May 2010 be extra special with your family.

  15. hi Robyn, thanks for posting today. Yes, God is good. One of my goals in 2010 is to write and submit inspirational proposals. Wish me luck. (I already got good feedback on one at the White Rose Press…) Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with me today.

  16. Oh my gosh, Tanya, what a heartwarming story since all came out so well. God is good, no doubt about it.
    I recall with my third and last child when I took her to a “very good” hospital in Escondido to have her tonsiles out. I stayed with her as late as I could post surgery. Then, the next morning when I arrived, I walked into her room, a virtual freezer! When I leaned over her in the bed, her long eyelashes were frosted!
    Let me tell you, they heard from a verra irate mother!
    But all is well that ends well. I’m visiting the very same daughter in Norhtern California as I write this.
    Happy New Year. I wish one and all much success in the coming year.

  17. Tanya,
    Thank you for sharing your story. It brought back so many of my own harrowing memories of hospital rooms and sick beds. It’s a wonder any of us mothers survive the ordeals of motherhood. The worries don’t end when they grow up because then you have grandkiddies.

  18. Hi Joyce! Thanks so much for joining me today. Oh goodness, I can almost hear that irate mommy! Grrrrrrrrrr. Oh they look so helpless in hospital, don’t they? Have a wonderful visit with your daughter! Northern Cal. is the locale of many of my favorite places: San Francisco, Monterey, Mendocino…happy new year too!

  19. Hi Margaret, yes indeedy. The latest love of my life is my three-year old grandson and yes, the worries never cease. Whew.

    Happy new year. Thanks for stopping by today. oxoxox

  20. Hi Jennie, a blessed holiday season also to you and yours. Getting snow in your parts? Our nights have been in the high thirties/low forties. That’s desperate measures for us LOL. God bless you. oxoxoxox

  21. Tanya, what a frightening, but beautiful story. It would have brought tears anyway, but it really hit home. This fall, when our new granddaughter was 9 days old she threw up and had a fever. The kids were told to take her to the nearest ER, where they did a spinal tap to test for meningitis. Thankfully, it turned out to be nothing, but even that was an ordeal for my son and daughter-in-law. After reading your story, now I realize why the doctors were so cautious and ran the test. I can’t imagine how awful it was for you and your family to go through. Praise God your Christi had no residual damage!

  22. Thanks, Sharon, for your good wishes. And I’m so thankful your little granddaughter was spared! Unfortunately, neonatal meningitis isn’t all that uncommon. There’s a simple test that can be done right away, but most hospitals don’t want to bear the expense. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I appreciate your stopping by today!

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