Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Making a decision to have a child--it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. -- Elizabeth Stone

Last night, as I was in the process of getting both kids off to bed, I tapped Jackson on the butt and said to him “Go say goodnight to your father.”

“Oh! I forgot!”

All thirty-six inches of him turned on his heal and paddled over to where Josh lay on the couch watching the game. Our little man proceeded to throw the small expanse of his arms around Josh, leaned his head on his father’s chest and said “Night Dad!”, leapt out of his father’s embrace, his feet shuffling along the carpet as he dodged past me and to his room.

“It’s so weird to have two talking children.” Josh, wearing his heart on his face, watched as Jackson turned the corner and disappeared into the bedroom.

I continued to tuck both our children into their beds, gave them hugs and kisses goodnight, and closed the door. The rest of the night was uneventful, just sitting back and relaxing with my husband as we watched Hell’s Kitchen on Fox. During commercial breaks I stole time to flip through a page or two out of the current book I’m reading.

Since my last post, I’ve contemplated on what my next topic should be. Since I started this blog, I’m determined to write something that is on my heart, but not for the faint of.

The past few days I have thought a lot about our children, and how blessed we are to have them. One of each - most people’s dream, our reality. I don’t use the term “blessed” lightly as I have seen my fare share of heartache over those soft skin and rosy cheeks gifts from God.

When I was twelve years old, my mom re-married. After a few years of battling my own issues with sharing the attentions of my mom with another man, I learned that he was a father more to me than the biological one who deserted me at the tender age of nine.

During the next couple of years, I witness something so painful it sticks with me to this day. My father (I thought over all men he deserved the title) never had children. He came to the marriage and gained a hormone laden, pimply, strong-headed pre-teen. For the first few years of their marriage, my mom and dad tried to get pregnant, without success. After a visit to her OB/GYN, and an examination at the hospital, my mom found that both of her tubes were blocked by scar tissue. It prevented her from getting pregnant.

After undergoing surgery to remove the tubes, the only option my mom had to get pregnant was through In Vitro Fertilization. Days after the first surgery, the process proved successful. But when she went in for her check up a few days later, the doctor informed her she was no longer pregnant.

This went on for two more tries. Each attempt she was pregnant, and after a few weeks, the doctor delivered the same horrible news to her. She wasn’t pregnant. When she came home from the hospital after that third try she was devastated. She wondered why so many women who didn’t want babies could get pregnant, but she couldn’t.

Making matters worse, a report on the news shattered my moms world. A woman whom recently gave birth, left her infant in the car during the record-setting heat of a summer. Why did she do this? So she could go into a hotel room and sleep with her boyfriend. The result? The young infant died of heat exhaustion.

To this day I will never forget the pain of my mother’s cries. The wailing of a woman completely broken, confused and lost. At sixteen, it was a hard thing to witness.

On the fourth try, a miracle happened. The baby took and eleven years later, I have an amazing younger brother who will be going into fifth grade this year.

I took something away from that five year period. Not to underestimate the beautiful gift from God in a precious child.

When I had a miscarriage right before getting pregnant with Jackson, I resolved to the fact that I had one beautiful and healthy child. If that was all that God chose to give me, I knew I was blessed. Katelyn and her bright, beautiful personality was a gift not to be ignored.

After six months of trying and one miscarriage, we decided to wait a while longer. So when I un-expectantly got pregnant with Jackson immediately following the miscarriage, I was shocked. The pregnancy with him was not an easy one. At twenty-nine weeks I went into pre-term labor and after about five hospital visits, they took him at thirty-five weeks via c-section.

He came out, battered, bruised, and with a partial cleft lip neither of us were prepared for. As they struggled to get him to breathe, all I wanted to do was touch my baby boy. Before they whisked him away to the NICU, the LDR nurse held him up to my face. I wasn’t allowed to touch him, but I got to see him. Ordered by the nurse to leave, my husband followed Jackson to the NICU. It wasn’t without hesitation. I was bleeding out. He felt torn between the child who was a mess and not looking so good, or his wife that could possibly die. Later, as he recounted the tale, I could see the hurt that lingered.

I wasn’t allowed to see my son for the first thirty-six hours of his life. I was confined to my bed with a set of Polaroid pictures to keep me company. Little pieces of his flesh could be seen through the tangle of chords, swatches of blankets, and the tiny diaper he wore. I felt robbed of the joy of holding my child.

That selfish desire was wiped away when, as I held my child for the first time close to forty hours later, another preemie was rolled into the POD next to Jackson. This little boy, born at twenty-six weeks to a set of new parents weighed in at one pound, nine ounces. Talk about a smack in the face. I felt dirty for feeling as selfish as I had. Here our son was in my arms, about to be intubated, and I thought I had room to complain? Boy was I wrong!

To this day, I don’t know what happened to that little boy. Last I heard, a heart valve that closes in-vitro hadn’t closed yet and he was to be rushed to CHOC for open heart surgery.

Amidst the struggles we faced with my sons health over the following twelve months, I constantly thought of that little boy. During the sleepless nights at the hospital, and countless breathing treatments, I thought of that little boy. I leaned upon the Lord and asked for his strength. The last thing I believed I had a right to do was complain. Cleft lip and all, my little boy was perfect in God’s eyes.

Now we are coming up on Jackson’s third birthday. I’m happy to report, due to the generosity of some people at church, his lip has been healed. He has only had pneumonia twice this year and with each passing day, seems to be on the mend. He is such a handsome little boy with a lot of personality and a big heart.

We are entering that fun stage of parenting, tantrums aside. I love watching both of our kids interact and laugh with one another. Last night they were going crazy, running in and out of their room and laughing till their bellies most likely hurt.

There is something to be said, no matter ones status in life, about having happy children. Nothing can be compared to seeing their joy and comforting them when in pain. It doesn’t take blood relation to be a good parent, but love. An unconditional love that they feel secure in. Not until I had children of my own did I realize the love God has for us. To look at my two little rosy cheek, sparkling eyed, mischievous kids, and know how much I love them – it’s crazy to think how much more God loves me. Honestly, it is inconceivable.

When I read the quote above, I couldn't help but think how true it was. Now I know the pain my mother suffered when seeing me mature and leave the house. I'm not saying I want my kids to live with me forever, but when they do go, a piece of me will be with them wherever they are at.

I am blessed to be a wife to an amazing, loving, and wonderful husband. I’m honored to have been entrusted the welfare and upbringing of two children. When put into comparison, everything else in life is trivial.

Have a fantastic rest of your week!

(Above photo, from left: Jackson, Katelyn, my dad, my brother Johnny)


  1. I'm very moved by this. So glad it all worked out. We also had a Preemie. Not as premature as Jackson, but premature none-the-less. We know how you fealt.

    I agree totally. My family is the most important thing in the world. My sons are grown and out of the house. I think about them A LOT! When we have the chance to all be together I'm a happy man.

  2. Love God's timing, I just returned from an Echo at PHX Children's with my 17 year old. He was born at 29 weeks and is now 6'1 and 215 lbs. I was remembering the last time I saw his heart, it was just a flicker on the ultrasound and now this big huge heart pumps away....and always with a piece of mine in it!

  3. Great story! I kinda felt the same way. My son had heart surgery when he was a little boy and while we were in the hospital, we saw so many other kids who were way sicker than him. It really puts things in perspective. (He's fine now too, PTL)

    I'm following you from AOTP yahoo group.