Nothing brings me more joy than these beautiful boys that Kevin and I have created. Nothing. Sometimes just looking at their faces makes my heart feel like it will explode. Hackett no longer tolerates me showering him with love any time I feel like it, so I am seizing the day with Tobin. I am surprised I have not kissed his gravy cheeks right off his face. I love them. I mean really, really love them. Crazy love them.
Speaking of crazy. God bless them, but they can also make me feel crazy. Like not sane at times for 60 second intervals and I don't know where my words or actions come from. Tobin's time is coming, there is no denying it, but having a baby and an eight year old at the same time seems to highlight the challenges, struggles, and differences in the stages of child rearing. I don't like to make Hackett's life public, so I won't go into detail, but he has been on fire this week. He's no longer a baby, far from his days as a toddler and a preschooler, not even a meek kindergartner who seemed too little to be in school all day. He's suddenly grown up. He listens to music with his headphones on, knows more fun facts about everything than I do (which leads him to believe that his intelligence supersedes mine), and his friends now appear to be more important to him than his parents (he will drop us like a bad habit for them any day of the week). All so very natural, normal, and healthy. Problem is he's not grown up enough to understand how to be grown up. That's our job and that job is exhausting. So exhausting that sometimes my crazy takes over. Kevin has been working 11 days straight, some 12 hour shifts, and he is working weird shifts. As a family we are spent. I need sleep, and a bit of time alone to recharge, in order to maintain my patience. This week that did not happen. So my crazy came out. My poor guy who needs patient parents and one-on-one time with them, didn't get that either. This sent us spiraling down together. Found this in his backpack today, so even his teacher notices that the drama is HIGH this week!!!!
Not sure why in my head I expect Hackett to behave even better when I am under stress? But I do. Often times when I am in that moment I can't see straight enough to realize that my stress has a direct correlation on his stress. As a family unit we are all so linked.
It says: "I'm sorry for acting like a total asshole. Sometimes I have a moment, sorry but I do. Please forgive me. Circle yes if you do. If not don't bother."
In the day of social media, of Facebook and Instagram, we typically see one another's highlight reel, not the REAL reel. We even "filter" our highlight reel to make it seem even prettier, myself included. When we are surrounded by everything looking so perfect we can feel alone in the struggle. Just this week some of my fellow momma's on Facebook have been keeping it real, and it's so refreshing. The struggle is real, my fellow momma's, and we are not alone! Here is some real for you, I watched this clip of The Real Housewives last night and couldn't stop laughing, in part because I felt like this is how I reacted to things this week!
As one of my sweet friends reminded me yesterday, God's mercies are new every morning! She thought that God made sure to put that verse in the bible just for us momma's, and I am so in agreement with that! Take heart my friends and know that not only are not alone in the struggle, but Jesus is with you through it all!
22 It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
A year ago
One year ago today, at 24 weeks 1 day gestation I was admitted to the hospital, where I would stay for 21 days straight. Only leaving my room three times. I lay there fearing that I may lose my second son in one year, missing my family, and preparing myself to sit alongside Tobin in the NICU for weeks, as that seemed like it would be the best case scenario.
Tonight, as I type on my phone, I am laying in bed, snuggling him in my arms with tears spilling down my cheeks as I read my blog posts from last year. Gratitude, overwhelming gratitude.
Here are some excerpts:
I WILL FIGHT
"The neonatal doctor spoke to us on Thursday. That was difficult to listen to, as they clearly define the many things that could go wrong and potential treatments that would occur if Tobin were born premature. Today, I am 24 weeks 4 days. On Tuesday, I will be 25 weeks. Life is possible for Tobin, today, outside my womb, but not a sure thing, and he will have a fight. With each week he stays in my womb his chances are better and better. At our ultrasound on Wednesday he measured about a week ahead. Kevin and I are firmly believing that we make big, strong boys. At 26 weeks 6 days, Koen was 2lbs 13oz. He measured big for his gestation. That gives me hope. Tobin is fighting hard right now, he's not contracting, and at 24 weeks my nurse is extremely please with his strong heartbeat. I am proud of my boy!
There is nothing fun about being away from home, being separated from Hackett, and living in the hospital. But, I will gladly lay, minimize movements, be pumped full of drugs, and fight for as long as I need to. I want to fight to keep Tobin in, so that his battle is easier. It is possible that I can carry him to term and then his only battle will be fighting off our kisses!
I am standing in faith that my Tobin will run in my backyard and play in the creek with his big brother Hackett, as Koen looks over them both from heaven."
"I am not sure what news I anticipated today, but I was focused on today being some sort of goal. We learned today that my cervix is still measuring 0.95cm, just as it did on Wednesday. This is good news, but we had waited to ask questions until today. With the "good" news also came some harsh reality. He would consider it a miracle if I made it to 32 weeks. His hope is that Tobin stays our for a few more weeks, which would increase his chances of survival and decrease his chances of long term health problems.
It is too scary. I am scared. I buried a son less than 11 months ago and now I am facing the harsh facts that if my body does not hold on to Tobin I could be burying another one.
We talked with a neonatal specialist on Thursday and learned the many risks of premature delivery. I pray that Tobin survives, and unless a miracle does occur that allows me to carry him to term, he will have a fight ahead of him. I don't even like to watch Hackett battle a fever, and I surely don't want to watch my premature infant fight for his life. It hurts my heart to even think about it.
I am keeping my faith, but in this past year I have learned that God will hold us through heartache, but not always deliver us from it. I don't know His plan. I can't explain why my second son was ripped from my womb and why less than a year later I am lying in a hospital bed fighting for my third sons life. I do know that my heart is tired and low and in those moments He is still there. His angels show up. So many of you are my angels, too. Thank you for holding me up when all I want to do is fall to pieces."
Tonight, I hold a miracle in my arms. My full of joy boy made it to full term, born at 37 weeks. Healthy. He's so heathly. Tears, sobs, of gratitude. Last week he played on the swings in the back yard with his big brothers, one was in the swing next to him, the other is his angel, watching over him all the time. The three of them together. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you.
I am overcome with emotion today. I had the first few quiet moments in weeks today. A few stolen minutes to think and reflect, but now the tears will not stop flowing from my eyes. I seem to be experiencing Easter a day late today. We had the eggs, the church service, the meal yesterday, but today I sought the face of God. The God who allowed his son to be sacrificed for me, and the son who lovingly went to the cross to pay the price. As I try to wrap my earthly brain around this, the only way I can attempt to, is by relating it to my life. I too have lost a son, but if I had been able to save him, I would have at all costs. I could not have turned my face and allowed him to die. I cannot fathom the horror. Not only did Jesus die, but in such a brutal manner, for a crime he did not commit. He experienced pain, far worse than delivering a child who is still. His death, surrounded by hate, was done in love for me, and for you. Such powerful love.
(The first three videos were taken from a daily bible study that I do via a free app on my phone, or you can go to the website. I can not say enough good things about If:Equip. http://www.ifequip.com/
Ask me more about it and I would love to share. I ask me more about Jesus, I'd love to share that even more.)
What vacation is all about
A few weeks ago we traveled from Michigan to North Carolina on vacation. This happened while en route. I wrote it on Facebook while driving, and wanted to share it here too.
The Sagebrush Steakhouse in Wytheville, Virginia, will never be the same. We felt like we had met our disaster quota for the meal within our first few minutes when Tobin yanked on his bowl of cereal in Kevin's hands and sent it flying through the air. Oatmeal everywhere. Waitstaff bringing us extra napkins. Our table was covered in the garbage of aftermath. Then it happened. Tobin's face turned red. He prefers to poop at home, he waits to be in comfortable surroundings, but he must have decided to throw in the towel at the ole Sagbrush. Kevin, knowing that I haven't slept in a few nights because I have been tending to T and his cold, offered to do what we both feared. Kevin pulled him out of his high hair, and said, "I feel the warmth, that's not good". I sat there with Hackett enjoying the peace, but it was brief. Perhaps the southern men aren't as willing to get dirty like my Midwestern saint of a husband, but now the doom of the hot pants were my problem. We fumbled Tobin and the necessary gear, creating our second large scene in 10 minutes. As I carried him I felt his pant leg squish. The horror. I laid him on the changing table, took a deep breath, and did what I had to do. It was everywhere. Like, EVERYWHERE. I was nearing the end of wipes and thought I has made it. I had somehow done it, sure his outfit and onesie were in the garbage, but we had overcome against all odds. I began digging through my bag. Digging. Searching. No diaper. I had very few options, I didn't think the Sagebrush patrons would appreciate seeing a 22 pound naked baby whiz by their table. So we just stood outside the bathroom door together, until we found someone to get Kevin.
By the time Tobin and I returned to the table Hackett's food had arrived and been devoured. I returned to the scene of the crime to clean up and ask the hostess to kindly change the garbage. As I left the bathroom I was thankful to never have to be in there again, but I was wrong. Hackett felt like it was necessary to put his own Soper stamp on the Sagebrush, and I agreed after the largest flatulent vibrated our booth (and most likely the people sitting in the adjoining booth behind us). Kevin and I hung our shaking heads, then high fived and laughed. This is what family vacations are about. My only regret was ordering a sweet tea, instead of a Long Island.
I am Jackie.