Wednesday, September 17, 2014

One year

One year ago today I loaded up my 10 week old and my 2 year old and went to a doctor's appointment that changed my life.  I hadn't given this appointment much thought, and never could have imagined the road this appointment would lead us on.  Looking back, I went into that day like any other, naively feeling unshakable, blissfully happy with my little completed family, fresh with the joy of the new life in our home.  My world was rocked that day, permanently tilting on its axis in a way that only your child can do.  I work in a place where I have seen this happen time and again.  Parents getting news that instantly alters the course of their lives, often much worse news than I received that day.  But so many times have I seen this happen.  Sat with the parents as we told them, placed a hand on their back, given a hug, passed the tissues.  Watched as they tried to wrap their heads around something so life altering that it is hard to grasp its magnitude.  Saw them not want to believe, and struggle to accept.  Saw them grieve the life they envisioned for their child, as it was replaced by one they couldn't have imagined.  I never thought I would be in their place.  In our case this process happened over a period of weeks, with the first piece of the puzzle given to us that day.  Even then, I refused to believe this would be a big deal, or really alter our lives much.  As the days wore on, and I learned more and more about this mysterious diagnosis that was given to my son, I felt myself falling.  The scope of its magnitude, its effect on our lives, and more importantly, Jacob's life, was more than I could handle.  I learned what it is to be helpless.  Desperate-  For it not to be so.  For help.  For information, but then to find that information you wanted just made the future look darker. For months I struggled between anger, depression, despair, and fear.  Never before had I experienced something that exhausted my ability to cope.  I have always just dealt with whatever rolled my way, arrogantly basking in the perfection of having the life I dreamed of...husband I love, kids, home, family, job.  This threat on my son shattered me.  I know what it is to come to the end of yourself. But from getting to that place, I gained so much.  Looking back on this last year, I am humbled and beyond thankful for all who have rallied around us this year.  From my husband, my rock in this, to my children, for not allowing me to wallow in it or simply check out.  You gave me joy every day. Our parents and family, for being there helping with anything and everything, being a unceasing support every step of the way.  Our church family for faithfully praying for every detail and supporting us.  Our friends...from giving blood, buying a t-shirt, praying, calling, sending a card, a note, an encouraging word, you have all been amazing,  For my work family,..I can never express my thanks for all you have done this year.  From fundraisers to the simple act of looking me in the face and not shying away from the hurt you saw there.  I will forever be thankful for the family of people in the NICU who truly care for me and mine.  This year would have been darker than I can imagine if it wasn't for each of you that was there for us.

One year ago, I was broken.  Though no longer lying in pieces, I will never be the same.  When I got that news one year ago, everything changed, just like it did when I held Jacob for the very first time.  Good or bad, change comes to our lives.  Uplifting or shattering, change comes.  How we respond to those changes shapes who we are.  I pray I may never sink under the weight of Jacob's condition, that I will be strong and what I need to be for my family.  I hope all we have gone through this past year has made me a better person, with the recognition that we all walk a path difficult and unique to each person, and that we all could use a little grace.  A better nurse, with caring and empathy beyond that I was capable of before this.  A better friend, there for my friends as they have been there for me.  A better wife, with appreciation of the man he is, and the wholeness of how he completes me.  A better mom, a fierce advocate, willing to do whatever it takes to keep my son in the best of health.  But also better at enjoying the little joys in life, looking always for the miracle in each day.  Because if not for all we have gone through this year, I wouldn't have recognized all I have to be thankful for.  Nor would I have learned to appreciate the beauty in "Today's Miracle." May I always keep my eyes open and my head up, looking toward the future and all the good in store for us.  Thank you all for being there for us this past year, though it had its tough times, it had so many great times too.  Love to you all.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Can't catch a break...well, not the kind he wants at least.

Well, we were cruising along, Jacob was doing great, getting so grown up, ever independent and active.  He and Luke were actually about to start Mother's Day Out 1 day a week so I could get some school work done.  So Tuesday we were shopping for him new shoes for school (& Asa too), and for him a lunchbox and a few other things so he'd be ready to go on Monday.  We were in the shoe store, and he jumped off one of those firetruck things for the kids to play on.  Immediately he started screaming and holding his leg.  I didn't want to believe he was hurt badly, but after he didn't calm down after a few minutes, I thought something might be wrong.  He usually walks off the little bumps and falls pretty well, but was still crying and couldn't walk.  We left and I called David and we headed home so I could drop off the other kids and take him to the hospital.  I decided to not say anything and see how he was when we got home, cause he stopped crying in the car.  But when we got home, I got him out and he tried to walk and took one step and fell down crying.  I put him right back in and off we went to the ER.  There was little doubt in my mind at that point that he had broken something.  The doctor in the ER was certain as well after examining him, and the X-Ray confirmed...broken tibia bone in his leg.

They put him on a temporary cast (up to his hip), and we follow up with ortho in a week for his long term cast once the swelling goes down.  

It has been a rough couple of days so far.  He can bear NO weight at all, so cannot walk.  This is torture for my always active little boy.  The first day wasn't so bad, because he still had a lot of pain, and didn't feel up to much.  But by the 2nd day, he was over it.  He wanted down, wanted to play, wanted to ride his scooter, just wanted to walk.  He is sick of the couch, and is over watching TV.

But I can still get a smile outta the sweet little guy!

I am trying to keep him occupied, playing puzzles and toys, but he just wants to get up and go.  He begged me yesterday, saying his leg was all better now.  Poor little guy.  Taking him outside was torture, he just wanted to go run and play.

Please pray for us, that 1) his leg will heal quickly with no complications, 2) he will get used to getting help and doing more sitting and not running around, 3) the new cast will allow him at least some freedom of movement, 4) his mommy will have patience and ingenuity to come up with ways to keep him occupied and make this easier on him, and 5) these next weeks pass quickly!  I'm not one to wish time away, as I know it is precious and fleeting and all, but I don't mind saying, I'm ready for this to be over with and my baby boy be able to run and play as his little heart desires.  I still want to see the beauty in these days, however difficult it may be to find.  Pray we will continue to look for "Today's Miracle" even in these challenging days, I know we are fortunate in some ways to be dealing with just a normal little kid injury, instead of the complex, rare issues we normally are facing.  For that I will be thankful.

Home and back in the Swing of School!

We are back settled at home after our trip to Boston.  We had such an amazing trip.  Although Jacob's treatment showed discouraging news, we are still so thankful at how well he has recovered, and how well he is doing.  Here are a couple pictures of our trip home...

Ready to go!

It was a stormy day but we had a pretty smooth flight, though longer than scheduled because we had to detour around some weather.  We made it back great though, and got home to Chattanooga around 11pm. We were exhausted, but with only 5 days left of summer break for David, we threw ourselves into our big front porch renovation project.  David and his dad worked all week on it.  Here's the before...

and the after!

And were still working on some landscaping projects...

They did every last bit of work themselves.  I am so proud of them and absolutely love my new, updated porch!  They finished it in the 5 days, and we've just done finishing touches and clean up since then.  The kids started back to school 2 weeks ago now, and we are getting back in the swing of the school routine, homework, etc.  

Asa and Elena are already working hard in their new classes and I am so proud of them.  They are making new friends and enjoying school so far.  It was hard to see them go, as it's so fun having all 4 together, and if you can believe it, it's easier! They are so good and help me so much and play so well with the little boys, it's been an adjustment them being gone.

They're getting the hang of it though...

Jacob is doing so great though!  He had a rocky first couple weeks back as he got an ill-timed virus right after we came home.  His fevers and bad cough scared me, with him being so fresh post-op, but all his labwork and x-rays stayed clear, so we rode out the virus.  He is finally back 100%.  Jake has also really grown up since we returned.  He has become such a big boy, saying goodbye to his "binky"! This was a huge step for him, and wasn't near as difficult as anticipated, especially considering his baby brother still has one and they are laying around all the time.  He has done great with it, and it's great to see his sweet smile uncovered all the time.  He also has pretty much got the potty training thing down now.  He has been great keeping dry for a long time, but couldn't seem to get the #2 part down until the first week of school.  So huge milestone for him and for our whole family as we now are down to just 1 kid in diapers!!!  Here he is celebrating his accomplishment...

Luke is doing well, growing up, albeit against my will! ;)  He is not just walking but running everywhere and climbing on everything.  He is just quietly and systematically getting into everything.  He keeps me on my toes all the time! He is still so happy though and such a joy.  

Though so grown up I still see fleeting glimpses of my baby...

David and I are well.  David is teaching Algebra II this year, and so far really enjoying that new challenge.  I am so happy for him and proud of how hard he has worked to be such a good teacher.  He is also reffing football for the 2nd year, which he really enjoys. I am going back to school to get my Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  I am enrolled in the online program at UTC, really the only option for me, as I don't have time to attend classes!  There is no difference in RN's with ASN or BSN in practice, but it will keep my options open for the future.  It is something I have considered from time to time over the years, but circumstances have brought it to the front of my mind this summer.  It has been a rocky road to this decision, but I am trusting that this is the path I need to take, and that God will bless my efforts.  It is a leap of faith for me, and I am nervous to keep all the balls in the air I am juggling, most especially the precious one of my family.  David has been so supportive of this decision, and I know I could not undertake this if he weren't such a good husband and father.  Please pray for me to be able to have the time I need for my family, as well as be able to meet my work and school obligations.  I am trying to trust and not feel overwhelmed, though I currently do, and I am only wrapping up my 2nd week!  Please pray for all of us as I take this new journey.  Continue to pray for David and the older kids in their schooling, as well as me and the little boys at home.  Pray for Jacob as he grows and that he will continue to stay healthy.  He will have some imaging done here this fall, that we will send to Boston and make decisions on his upcoming care and treatment.  Please pray for healing for him, and stagnant growth of his lesions.  Most of all, pray that we continue to seek and enjoy Today's Miracle.