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Ethan Verneman’s birth in 2020 changed forever the lives of his parents, Bobbi and Trae.
“His birth has changed our life for the better,” Bobbi, the first-time mother, said. “We have learned so much about babies and taking care of his needs. It’s such a joy to watch him grow.”
The infant marked his first birthday in April, something the family would never have guessed would have even occurred a year and a half ago.
“Ethan is our world. We definitely believe in miracles now,” she said. “We believe Ethan is here for a reason. We look forward to watching him grow and find his purpose.”
Why it such a miraculous occurrence for the family?
The Vernemans, at the time, had been married 19 years.
“Being pregnant never was on the radar due to my past medical history,” she said. “Not long after Trae and I married, we went through fertility and were told neither one of us could have a baby. Back in 2014, I had a uterine ablation done due to female issues, which means no fetus. In 2015, I lost 80 percent of my pancreas, making me a Type I diabetic. Also, I got gastrioperrious, which means my stomach was basically paralyzed. I had surgery in October 2019 which fixed my issue for the most part.”
Since she has never been pregnant, she thought the recent movements in her abdomen last year was her digesting food/passing gas.
She remembered that after she woke up at 4 a.m. that morning and that something did not feel right. After alerting her husband and mother, the Union City, Ind., Fire Department responded quickly, checked her out and transported her to the emergency room.
“The medics were very reassuring and comforting to me,” recalled Bobbi, who learned of the “news” after getting to the hospital.
She added, “When I first met the OBGYN doctor, he said there was a high risk that the baby could be stillborn, or, he was almost certain that after delivering the baby via c-section, that he would have to do a complete hysterectomy on me. Fortunately, this was not the case. I believe God was watching over our son as the doctor said the umbilical cord was wrapped around Ethan’s neck three times and there were two knots in the cord.”
Born 10 weeks premature, he weighed in at 3.5 pounds and measured 16 1/4 inches long.
She said medical personnel from Children’s Hospital came to Greenville and waited for the delivery of her child after Bobbi underwent an emergency C-section so they could take him to Dayton.
Ethan, she said, spent six weeks in the NICU at Dayton Children’s.
“It was difficult, because at that time, the hospital would only allow one parent at a time in to visit,” she recalled. “Trae and I were first-time parents to a surprise baby. We had to learn how to take care of a baby and Ethan was a preemie. We learned so much from changing a diaper to feeding Ethan. It would have been nice to learn together, but, the NICU nurses were a great help and taught us a lot.”
When he finally came home, they were excited and nervous at the same time.
“This is when things got real for us,” she said. “For the first month that Ethan was home, Trae and I slept in shifts. One of us was awake to make sure Ethan was okay and that time Ethan ate every three hours. We limited visitors to only family and close friends. We made sure visitors’ hands were washed and sanitized before they could hold Ethan.”
Bobbi, who works for Clopay, worked from home for most of the first year after the birth.
“My mom, Sue, now keeps Ethan a few days a week and he goes to a sitter a few days,” she said. “My brother, Troy Stewart, and sister-in-law Michele also help with Ethan and watch him so Trae and I can have some time together.”
This isn’t their first gift from God, it was noted. They acquired Ethan’s big brother, Justin, via adoption when he was 4 years old.
“Back then, Trae and I were going through fertility treatments and had just been told we couldn’t have children, so, by the grace of God, he put Justin with us,” she said. “Justin needed two loving parents. But, the truth is, we needed him 1,000 percent more.”
Justin has been a big help as well with Ethan.
“We have a great support system and our so appreciative for all their help,” she said.
Bobbi went on, “This past 15 months has been a whirlwind. It’s a bit of chaos with more joy than we could have ever expected. Watching Ethan growing is simply amazing and we are grateful everyday for our little miracle baby.”
He is hitting all of his milestones.
“His doctors are very pleased with his growth and development,” she said. “Even though he currently is 15 months old, he is actually hitting milestones for a 13-month-old. He currently weighs 22 pounds and is 30 inches tall. Ethan is currently crawling and is into everything. He is so close to walking. Ethan can say ‘Dada,’ ‘mom,’ ‘papaw,’ ‘mams’, and says ‘no’. He shows affection and is truly the sweetest baby.”
Family and friends attended his first birthday party recently.
“It was nice to be able to have this for him and have everyone together,” she said. “Ethan means the world to us. He is a blessing. We cannot thank everyone enough for the donations we received to get us started with Ethan. It was very much appreciated. As Ethan out-grows things that were donated, we donate the items to the Pregnancy Help Center.”
Ethan’s maternal grandparents are Chuck and Sue Stewart of Union City, Ind., and his paternal grandparents are Delmar and Sorona Verneman of Union City, Ind., and Rick and Roxanne Rehmert of Greenville.
I am a Darke County native living in the Ansonia area with my son. I have been in journalism 50+ years and enjoy what I do.
Contact Darke County Now Media Correspondent Linda Moody @ firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-337-1955.