I awoke at 2:30 AM last Thursday morning to the sound of coughing, gasping, and crying. My oldest child Benjamin (four years old) had been fighting a cold all week, so coughs in the middle of the night were nothing new – but from the outset, it was clear that this coughing fit was different. This one had a sense of urgency to it. My wife and I both got up to come to Ben’s aid.

We held Ben. We encouraged him to relax and to catch his breath. He settled somewhat, but there was still something wrong with his breathing. It was raspy and labored. Of the many ails we’ve tended to since becoming parents, this was the first time that one of our children was having a difficult time breathing. Needless to say, it scared the hell out of us. I got dressed.

By 2:45 AM, I was backing my car out of the garage with Ben in the back seat. My wife stayed home to be with our other son (Kedrick, 18 months old) – who was thankfully still asleep in his crib – but Benjamin and I were on our way to the emergency room. I hated all 15 minutes of that drive. Ben was in a reasonably cheerful mood, but his breathing remained labored for reasons unknown. I prayed for his safety as I sped down the highway.

We arrived at the ER around 3:00 AM. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but to my family’s great relief – both physically and emotionally – the blessings of liberty quickly revealed themselves at the hospital…

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