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Posts Tagged ‘life and death’

To say that my pregnancy was uneventful would be a lie. After 2 years of trying and almost seeking out a specialist, it happened. Taking the test was something I had down to a routine, but this time I set it down without looking. My husband and I waited the full 3 minutes together. The 2 pink lines were unmistakable and we were speechless. I enjoyed my pregnancy very much, soaking in every chance I got to do what I had seen on pinterest. I continued to work and we accepted the challenge to pack and move. Things were fine- that is until week 28. I noticed while I was working I was experiencing what I thought was Braxton-hix. I brushed it off when I was “reassured” that they could be very painful. I barely even mentioned it a couple of days later at my midwife appt. My midwife felt it odd and went ahead and checked me. I was dilated and the baby was already in the birth canal..it was pre term labor. I was put on bed rest. Each day was more stressful than the last with the combination of closing on a home and not being able to move. Finally, after making it to 37 weeks and 4 days (officially full term) my water broke. It was an odd labor which I’ll spare the details. After 14 hours of natural labor and 3 hours of pushing my contractions started to go away. The vacuum was used to assist delivery and besides an extremely molded cone head, we were told he checked out fine.

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We had a blissful first 24 hours at home, most of which is a blur to me. But I noticed something my mommy gut told me wasnt right. My son’s eyes had rolled back in his head and seemed to be stuck for what felt like forever. I was alone with him in the room and kind of tapped on his cheek and said his name over and over. Eventually they came back but my immediate thought was that he had just had a seizure. Again, with best intentions I was reassured everything was ok. The next day though as I was holding him his shoulders started to twitch rythmically. Once again I tapped on his cheek and said his name but they kept moving. I was able to show a few people who were in the house before they stopped twitching. A little more concern was in the air, but in general we were reassured that this could be normal. I couldn’t stop worrying. My nurse almost pushed back our 2 day visit to the 3rd day and again, I barely almost didn’t mention my concern. But when I did she turned the car around and came over. It was 10 at night.

Waiting for her to get to our house was terribly long. All I could do was hold my son, hold my tears in, and try to believe that what people were telling me was true. He was fine. She got there and held him and was silent. It was obvious she was in deep thought and trying not to say anything that would unecessarily worry us. But when she finally did speak what came out of her mouth put me into a downward spiral which physically almost collapsed me. “I think you should take him to the hospital” .

The rush to get ready to leave for the hospital was more intense then when I went into labor. We couldn’t think straight and everyone in the house was shell shocked. We were like zombies in a way just moving but not knowing why. We had a mission in our brains to get to the hospital and nothing else existed in the world. Again, longest drive ever. Longest wait to get called into a room. Ridiculous questions, ridiculous observations (why be concerned about him breastfeeding when he was clearly latching and it had no connection to his twitches…) everything was frustrating . The doctors weren’t listening to us or to our nurse who advocated for us. Different people kept coming in. Two men were sent in to draw blood but couldn’t figure out how. He was poked for nothing. They gave up. We were told we couldn’t leave but that nothing could be done for us there. It was 1 in the morning. We sent our nurse and my mother home and my sister stayed with us. All we could do was hold him tight and wait. Hardly anyone came in to check on him. We weren’t sure if he was ok but had nothing we could do about it. We hadn’t slept for over 48 hours and the hospital room was cold and empty. Around 4 am we were finally told the ambulance had arrived and we could leave for the next hospital, but only 1 parent could ride with him. My sister and I loaded into the car and my husband got in the ambulance. I couldn’t bare to see his little body on the stretcher being wheeled in to the ambulance. We got to the next hospital before the ambulance did and went to our room. It was another 30 minutes before it arrived and I could see, feed, or hold my son. It was now around 530am.

The room had a bed for the patient, but my son’s little 7 pound body got lost in it. There was one couch in the room. We were encouraged to lay down and rest. Throughout the next day we were hardly seen and no tests were performed. When we pressed the call button it took 20 minutes for a nurse to come in. Waiting in that room, alone with my newly 3 person family and rotating between my mother and my sister felt ridiculous. We felt we may as well be resting at home. I still couldn’t walk from labor and delivery and we barely ate. Finally around early evening he was sent in for a brain ultrasound. It took a few hours still to hear anything at all but the pre-consultation came back inconclusive. They couldn’t find anything to confirm he was seizing. We decided it would be best to leave as it was now 8 or 9 at night and nothing had been confirmed. We got home and couldnt decide if we should shower or sleep or eat, as we needed it all. We all just collapsed. My husband and I had maybe slept a couple of hours here and there. I finally drifted into a sleep sitting in the rocking chair.

I was awoken (just about 40 minutes later) to worried voices in the next room. My husband rushed in to my room and I had never seen him so distraught in my life. He barely was able to speak. “The hospital. Just called. Looked over the scan. His brain is bleeding….” he starts to burst into tears…”They said he might not make it ” he says as his body goes completely limp and he falls backwards onto the bed bawling. My mom does some more explaining. “The scan showed bleeding in his brain. They told us He will either die or he will need brain surgery. We need to leave for the ER RIGHT NOW.

So at about 10 or 11 at night we once again set out for a hospital. Even more in a zombie like state than the last time.

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At the 3rd hospital we had to wait to be seen in the ER. We were surrounded by sick and coughing children. Unsure of what they had or why they were there we did everything to keep our not even 3 day old away from it all. When we were finally put in a room we did more waiting. The room was dirty and we were told our mother and sister couldn’t come in (but my family is very protective and stubborn so eventually they did anyway) . This room had even less places to sit and no place to lay down. It was the middle of the night. No one had slept for days. Being inside The ER was like an episode of Grey’s anatomy (thank you bed rest for that reference) it was super busy and everyone was hustling and sick and coughing. We were still barely seen by any doctor. We did however get a visit from child protective services where I had to explain, for the tenth time what happened at birth and when we got home. We felt stripped of all humanity in that ER. We had no control. They started him on an IV without our permission or knowledge and they told me I couldn’t breastfeed. I didn’t have a pump and my milk was just about to start coming in. My son was nursing very well about every hour or so and all of a sudden I was ripped away from that bond. We hadn’t eaten and were told it wasn’t protocol to give us food. My sister yelled that I was a nursing mother and they brought me a cold plate of rice and diet soda. Eventually they started doing rounds of testing which we were told we couldn’t be with our son for. Full body cat scan and x-ray . My husband and I just clutched our son’s little brown blanket while we burst into tears in the hallway, hearing our son screaming in the room. At about 5 in the morning they finally decided to admit him to the NICU.

At this point my husband and I were completely out of control of our son’s care. The doctors were ignoring our wishes , they stripped away the ability to breastfeed, they put him in his room and literally told us we had to wait an hour before being able to see him. The NICU floor was quiet. It was an eery change from the ER. While we waited they gave us a locker and explained the rules. We couldn’t hold our son or touch him because it would be too much stimulation. When we entered his room we needed to wear a gown and gloves. My husband couldn’t hold him at all or be skin to skin at all with him. I could nurse but had to put him right down again. The NICU nurse was demeaning to us telling us we were young and hiding procedures from us. All of this for what was so far a perfectly healthy child. They had not been able to read a seizure on the scan but went ahead and said what we experienced was definitely a seizure. They drilled us about having STDs. when we explained we had only ever been with each other the doctor became very condescending asking all kinds of ridiculous questions. We tried so hard to stand up for our son’s care but we hadn’t slept in over 3 days and the doctors just beat us to the ground.

Emotionally stripped, physically exhausted, and completely broken we sat down to write an update to the family. “The Lord gives and takes away. We are so in love already with this tiny human. It is crazy how we feel we already know him. We trust his life is in God’s hands and we are extremely grateful for his life. We completely trust his life to God’s hands.”

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All around the country people were praying. Prayer chains were set up left and right. People we have never met before were fervently lifting our son up in prayer. With every request came an immediate answer from God. All we could do was trust in our God, our Creator. We were completely broken before Him and before everyone we knew. We knew no pride in those moments.

Test after test was done. The doctors kept giving our son goals to reach before being able to be released. With every prayer his goals were met. Eventually we were told that his bleed was healing all on its own and that no medical intervention had to be done to fix it. When we were released 5 days later the nurse told us she had never seen this kind of recovery. Just 6 days earlier we were told our son would die or at the very best need brain surgery and here we were walking out of the NICU with our son in our arms being told there was no medical intervention needed. We couldn’t be more grateful for his life. We couldn’t be more humbled or broken before our Savior.

6 weeks later we had a follow up MRI. Nothing abnormal showed up in my son’s brain.

Our God is a God of healing. We all have our own story. There are a number of reasons we felt compelled to share ours with you now. We hope it reaches down into a place in your soul where it can encourage or support you. We hope it reminds you of how awesome our God is. Where we have no control, we have someone who does. And he loves us deeper and wider than we could ever fathom.

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asphotopeppy1

Peppy came to us when she was one. She was golden brown and was called biscuit. Our dog of 6 years had just tragically died and she was in a bad home. At first, I resented her. I missed my dog that had just died and I wasn’t ready for another one. But that special “peppy” spunk stole my heart quickly. When I was going through some rough times feeling deserted and alone, peppy was there. Shortly after I moved out, my mother surprised me with the gift of keeping peppy all to my own. She loved taking night time walks and cuddling in my legs at bedtime. Her floppy ears and small frame drew others to her, but she hated everyone else. We loved Peppy’s distinct personality. She had always been a princess. When she felt sick I would stay up with her all night holding her in my arms. When she got out I would spend hours upon hours trying to catch her, this happened way too often. She was my baby. Peppy moved with us across country two times;  from Illinois to Florida, from Florida to Texas. She always had her home with me and soon after that my husband too and at different times in her life she lived with both my parents, my sisters, my in-laws, my best friend Rachael, my best friend Jamie, a snake, a lizard, two birds, A pitbull named Bridget, A collie named Maggie, a golden retriever named Toby, a dog named Panda, and for a very brief time a cat named Tucker. For 14 years Peppy was a staple in my life, the one thing that never changed, that never stopped loving me, that never left my side. She cuddled close when I was sick, crying, or on bed rest. Her sensitivity to my emotions was uncanny. If I were to describe peppy in three words it would be stubborn, sensitive, and of course peppy! She never lost that “pep” to her step, even in her old age her mobility never deteriorated. She had a “paw-ful” of people she loved dearly. She was definitely choosey when it came to whom she liked. When I was pregnant peppy would sniff my belly and when we brought our son home for the first time she sniffed him and laid next to him. Until he was mobile, Peppy acted like a nanny to him, watching him if I stepped away and laying at his side.  She was growing old in age and her health started to deteriorate little bits at a time. At the end, she was ready to go. She lived a full and happy life, and she lived beyond what was expected. I am grateful to have known her and lost her than to never have known her at all. Peppy, this is to you my love. I will forever hold you dearly to my heart and I thank you for adding spunk to my life.  I cherished your friendship and your loyalty. I love you, little pepster of mine. 

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I remember visiting your house in the summer. I would collect the frogs that were all around your porch, I don’t think you liked that. I would walk in your garden that you were so proud of and look at all you were growing. We would sit outside on the back porch and look out into the open space. You would serve us coconut cake and make us the best grilled cheese. You had a room full of toys just for us. Your dresser had a picture of you when you were younger, I remember telling you that you were beautiful. (But you hated getting your picture taken). We would walk down to the basement so I could help you with the laundry and your knees always hurt on the way down. You had the biggest collection of Disney movies that my little eyes ever saw. You had the cutest laugh and the cutest sense of humor. You had a lot of magnets on your fridge and some held pictures of us. I only got to see you once a year, and even less as I got older. When we talked on the phone it would always be about the weather. I used to write you all the time and I knew I could count on a card for my birthday or Christmas. I know you loved us but had a hard time showing it. I wish I knew then what I know now and I would have been different. But life isn’t about wishing for what didn’t exist, it’s about the journey. It’s about growing and changing and discovering. And what I have discovered is that in your own way you loved us, though you may not have shown us in our own language. I love you, I will miss you, and I hope to see you again one day.

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Psalm 23:2-6 NASB

“The Lord is my shepherd,  I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

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