Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The worst day on earth

It was the kind of day every mother found herself exasperated but still not minding the extra cuddles. After a family getaway to her family's favorite annual festival- a tradition that begun before the children were a part of it (and quite possibly conceived at 😳, shhh)- she found herself dealing with sick children. Two little sicklies on a beautiful day. It didn't seem like more than a cold for either, and they were playing and sleeping a lot. Then halfway towards the day, the baby threw up. Baby puke is seldom a reason for an emergency hospital visit, but by the evening it was apparent that the baby had what seemed like a tummy bug and couldn't keep breast milk down. Due to the baby's low weight and petite nature, she decided to take her into the ER. This had happened several months ago and after a night of IV fluids, the baby was back to normal. So at the very least, she was hopeful for a night of fluids and the bouncy baby girl by morning. Afterall, the baby was perking up and playing, but just could not keep milk down.

The Emergency room wait was minimal- they were often seen quickly due to the baby being premature and low weight. While in the emergency room, she was given some anti-nausea medicine and managed to keep down some milk. The nurses drew blood and started her on an IV. The blood results showed really strange results that were quickly dismissed as dehydration. It was the right call. There were no other symptoms to indicate anything more, so they made themselves comfortable in a hospital bed to spend the night. The baby was restless, which made for a sleepless night. But she held her baby and roughed through the night. By morning, the baby was very puffed from fluid but started nursing perfectly. It was noted by mid afternoon that her breathing was a bit rapid and shallow, but when blood work revealed severe anemia that had not been there the day before, the plan became to increase iron intake and watch overnight. She still remained on fluids because they didn't budge her blood count. By the next morning, the baby was breathing hard and put on oxygen. She watched her helpless baby and held her all she could, she didn't sleep, didn't eat. She also didn't think it was serious and allowed the doctors to do what they needed for her little girl. She began crocheting her a Christmas blanket for the pending holidays. The baby quit nursing and only whimpered. After the breathing started to become even more gasping, she called the nurses and demanded more tests.

An echo was complete and showed an enlarged heart, so the breathing was due to the blood not pumping. The baby was going to be medi-flighted to a children's hospital and be seen by a pediatric cardiologist. She knew it was serious, but she never expected to live through the moments of the next few hours. They transferred the baby to ICU while waiting for the helicopter that had to take the baby to another state. When the helicopter arrived, she kissed her baby goodbye while they strapped her into a different bed. They allowed her to walk with her baby to the helicopter and watch it take off before the family had to make the 4 hour trip to the hospital to meet the helicopter. She kissed her baby one more time, but noticed her legs and arms were ghostly cold. The baby opened her eyes (which she had not done all day), and looked at her Momma so innocently. "Keep my baby alive", she whispered.

While waiting for the helicopter to take off, the staff started yelling for someone to get the nurse. There was a lot of commotion and when she asked if the baby was okay, they said she just needed help getting comfortable, and quickly rushed her back inside.

It wasn't long after that she received the phone call that she needed to come back to the Emergency Room and the baby was too unstable to fly. She noticed when she went back inside of the ER, nobody was moving. The staff had stopped, watched cautiously, and her pediatrician led them to a room, tears in her eyes. It was confirmed that the baby had caught the Coxsachie Virus. Anyone could have been a carrier, and she could have had it for days, or could have just caught it- there was no telling. The next step would be to get her on a transplant list and await a heart transplant- and the likeliness of making it through surgery or finding a heart in time would be slim due to her low weight. Also, she would need several heart transplants in her lifetime.

But, with sadness, it was not going to come to that. The baby was not strong enough and her heart had given out on her. It was a flab piece of muscle and had atrophied as quickly as the virus had attacked her heart. So they wrapped the baby and brought her to her parents, to be held, loved, and kissed.... one last time. Her daddy cried and rocked her, but her mother stared forward. Empty, emotionless, gone. She knew what she had to do next, and she knew she had to do it. So she rocked her baby, kissed her baby, and spent some time in the emptiness.

But the story continues.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Lessons Learned in times of trouble

My life has undergone a paradigm shift: a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions. In 3 weeks time I lost my infant, my pregnancy, and my grandma. And with that, I lost the entire assumption of what my future was going to look like. All the hopes and dreams I had, all of the ideas and experiences I anticipated- gone. Just all gone in one quick swoop. Everything obliterated as one beautifully orchestrated disaster.  'Isn't it beautiful- the way we fall apart?'

You see, I am a Jesus loving, faith abounding person, with real and raw emotions. Life is not always okay. You don't always have to be happy. It's not always good "all the time". BUT, HE is always good all the time. Does it mean I always feel it? Absolutely not, but I know it. So when I don't feel like He is good, then I say it anyway. I praise Him anyway. I pray anyway. I rely on Him anyway, because eventually I will feel it again. Because it is the truth. 

He has proven over and over again that He loves me, that He holds me, that He cares. So there is no reason why He won't continue to do that- won't do it continuously, again and again.  

We all need a paradigm shift. The things being created inside of me are so great- so intense, that it would take me hours to explain to you in the all the ways I see Him working. Those hopes and dreams and ideas I anticipated- they will actually be better than I could have ever imagined. Because there is something new in me, something fierce, something true and divine being worked out for my good. 

So what lessons have I learned?

He is good even when it appears He is not. And He is divinely orchestrating my future.

He hurts with me, and He hurts for me.

His ideas will be far greater and more fulfilling than my ideas.

It's all about faith.

I need people to talk to, that legitimately care. That don't forget me as time moves on, but constantly reminds me that I can talk to them, that I'm not alone, that I am still loved. I need people, even when I don't like people.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Eve's Eulogy

I’m supposed to talk about how precious Evelyn was, how beautiful and loved. And she was, so much. But there’s more than that. The meaning of her name is “wished for child”, or “the child I prayed for”. And how I did pray for her. The words I always prayed over her were ‘gentleness’ and ‘life’. I loved taking her places because people always loved on her- always commented on how perfect she was. She was so tiny, but she was so mighty. All she ever knew was love- she never had to experience anything else. Nick would say she was just like me- stubborn and independent. And she was. She wanted to run around with her brother so much. If she wanted something- she let you know. I always joked that Ryan was my pride and she was my joy. She lit up the room- she was so observant, with a  strong quiet gentleness about her. She was joyful.

Most of you knew her 8 months, but I knew her 16. From those flutters to kicks, to middle of the night cries. I remember when I first held her and thought: Even though I love this child SO much. Even with the magnitude of which I love and cherish this child- even at that depth- God STILL loves her more than I can. How anyone could love her more than me blows my mind- but there Jesus was, loving her even more than my own love. Loving ME even more than that.

8 months will never be enough- but it will be JUST enough. I prayed life over her. What I didn’t know is that at 8 months old, she would begin to point others towards the way for eternal life. This strength and peace I have, is not my own. And if you do not know that peace, don’t leave here without finding it. Don’t let her life and death be just a memory for you- let her life and death be the beginning to understanding your eternity. It’s not enough to say you believe in Jesus- you have to KNOW him. Know Him as I know Him. Know Him as my sweet girl knows him. My Princess is now a princess of the KING. So let her memorial be a gentle breath of life for you. Let’s honor her sweet life by giving Him OUR lives.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

But I'm also

I have a name,  but I'm also grieving.

I continue my days. I walk, and move, and mostly breathe. I do what I'm supposed to, I say what I'm supposed to, but I'm also grieving.

The world outside presses forward, presses onward, presses more. Hours then days, then days and months. Life continues, but I'm also grieving.

People stop asking, people stop talking, people stop bothering. I ask to be left alone. And then, I'm left alone, but I'm also grieving.

The days push me forward, but I don't want to push forward. The wind blows around my life, but I don't always feel like I'm living. I am here, but I'm also grieving.

I do the next thing. I get up. Then I do the next thing, and clean house. Then I do the next thing, and often I have no idea what the next thing is. And I just keep going, but I'm also grieving.

My goal is joy. I run as fast as I can towards the goal of finding joy. One day, I won't have to strive for the joy- I'll just finally be there. I am trying, occasionally failing, then trying again. But I'm also grieving.

I cling to anything routine, anything standard, anything structured. I cling to the truth of who I am, what God is preparing in me, and a slightest hope that will one day turn to joy. But I'm also grieving.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Financially Responsible- A Calling

When you think of being financially responsible, you think of not spending too much, paying your bills on time, even tithing and giving. But it's so much more than that. It's willing to allow God to demonstrate your responsibility. It's understanding management, but also making some very tough decisions.

I bought a house when I was 20. I had no idea what I was doing. The house was in pretty okay condition, just needed some updating. But still, I had no idea what I was doing. I was tired of going from place to place, of having no one place that was mine, that was home. So I decided to buy a house. I had no intention of getting married- my self esteem was too low to see myself as beautiful or desirable enough. I saw myself in this house, with children. I had planned to adopt.

But life changed. My heart became whole, and I saw myself as beautiful and desirable. God saw me as beautiful and desirable. And to my amazement, a very handsome man of God saw me as beautiful and desirable. And so we were married, and my home became our home. We were still too young and not financially wealthy enough to make the updates on the house. We kind of let it go and concentrated on more recent problems, such as jobs and infertility. We did well to manage money, pay bills, and keep afloat, but never enough to pay for remodeling.

The opportunity came and we decided we needed a change. We knew we couldn't sell the house, but we thought we'd rent it out, as we had the opportunity to move into a beautiful 4 bedroom, 2 1.2 bath home on land. We had hoped to rent it for awhile and eventually buy it, and eventually sell the other. We knew we should be making the repairs, but we kind of pushed it in the back of our minds. We pushed it in the back of our mind as we rented to family, as we rented to friends, and even when we hit the hard truth that the current house has too many problems that won't be able to fix inexpensively so we would eventually have to move again and not be able to buy this place. The hard truth made is weary, worried, and left the house not feeling like home. Even after painting the nursery in preparation for a baby- it lost that home feeling knowing that living here couldn't be forever. But we still weren't thinking about the long run with the other house.

But praying for financial wisdom and peace, God revealed to us what we need to do. Not that we can't afford the place we are in, but knowing we will have to eventually move and that some day, that house will eventually need sold, we made the decision to move back to the house. The cost of living there will also be less, and by following a strict budgeting plan, we will be able to save and update and remodel and make progress on the house. It's in rough condition and just needs a little love.

So we are making the move back to our house. To make it a home again, raise a family as we make the progress. As I sit around this house piled high with boxes, I try very hard not to the let the tears escape. It's a much smaller home. But we can't skip the steps- we have to make the repairs and get that house into selling condition. Get that house into family condition. Although part of me is sad to leave where I am because I hate change, part of me is catching a glimpse of excitement- to go back to the house I bought when I was too young. To fix it up, take ownership and pride in such a home. I pray that my heart will catch up to God's heart- that I'll see the beauty in that home once again. For us not living there in a few years, it's taken a beating. But it will be exciting to watch the house mold, shape, and change as my family grows inside of it.

We ask for prayer, for encouragement, for peace. And also perhaps a hand or two ;)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The journey to baby: part 1

Awhile back I shared the short version of my testamony at church. And many people have followed along through the beginning, but now I would like to take the time to tell the story as I sit at the end of the tunnel looking back.

When we decided to have a baby, there were 3 things I knew for sure. 1) I would struggle with infertility and it would take me through the deepest valleys I was yet to face. 2) because infertility is such a secret struggle and rarely spoken about, God asked me to not be candid with my struggles. I knew there were people out there that needed to see God's faith played out and needed to know they weren't alone. 3) I absolutely KNEW God promised me children. I knew God promised me a son, and then a daughter.

Now, people have the best of intentions but only know what they have experienced. It was hard for me to let others know what I was going through, but more than anything I needed the prayers to accompany me. Once I started sharing how hard holidays were and how being motherless contributed to an even greater lack of friends, I began to get private conversations about others' struggles and how they deal. I began to have an audience. Now, I knew for sure I was going to have a child, and to make circumstances easier, I began collecting and stocking up on baby things I would need. I even began working on the nursery. I felt at peace with it, because I felt creating a space for my child was an act of obedience, a demonstration that I have faith and I believe. Several people found out about my. Any room and encouraged me that out of an act of obedience, I needed to get rid of my baby room as a sign that I surrender to what God wants to do in my life. Not bad advice.

But I struggled with that concept. Am I refusing to fully surrender by holding into my baby things and baby preparations? After a long struggle with this idea, I came to the conclusion: God may ask you to give up and surrender in your preparation of the baby that your heart so wants, or in my case he may look down at your preparation and smile as you build your home in faith. I felt justified that I was building my home in an effort of surrendering to what God has promised me.

It took 2 years to actually get pregnant for the first time. There are a lot of emotions that to into infertility, and through my blog I have tried to capture those emotions to hope they can help someone else. The greatest of these emotions was guilt. I never expected to feel guilty. I felt guilty that I couldn't make my husband a father. Or aunts and uncles and g rand parents. People really do mean well, but the question "when will you have kids?" Can easily send you into a frenzy. I expected the sadness and anger. I more than expected the feeling of defeat. But I knew I was still promised a child. I didn't know when, but I knew he was promised and his name would be Ryan.

I remember saying that if I knew I could get pregnant right when I wanted, I would wait 3 more years. God allowed me the struggle and journey, but then he STILL gave me my heart's desire... 3 years later...