Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What a crazy two weeks!

   I'm back, but not as often as I'd like to be, seeing as how I do not have Internet at our new house. I'm posting from my phone, which uses a lot of data, so I have to be careful!  If I can ever get away by myself (doesn't happen very often!), I'll take my computer to the library and update with pictures. And boy, do I have a passel of them!  I can't post pictures on 3G. And if this post ends rather abruptly,  for some reason, it is not my fault!!!  :). Sometimes, if I scroll to the top of the page to correct a mistake, etc, my phone sometimes won't let me scroll back to the bottom where I left off to resume typing. VERY frustrating!  So at least you know that I'm not doing it on purpose. :). This post is already stuck, so it's going to end funny. I'll just have to post another soon and pick up where I left off.  I had to insert this little paragraph in here wherever I could. :)  
   We LOVE our new home!  The kids have played outside constantly and come in exhausted at night, and covered with dirt. My heart sang with joy when I saw Christian running barefoot through the grass to find corn cobs in the corn field. Tractors driving past on our little-traveled road, cardinals singing on my window sill in the mornings, horses neighing in the pastures near us, and a view that would make your heart soar!  Ah! We're finally home in the country!  There's no greater place to raise our children!  And on the cool mornings, I turn the kids loose in the basement and smile as I listen to them work off their energy with squeals of delight. Yes, this place is truly an answer to prayer!
   Audra turns two today.  She's finally changing from baby to little girl, although she's still terribly small. Her six month old baby brother weighs one pound less then she at a solid 19 lbs.   He's going to pass her up soon!  We're having a cookout on Saturday and are having the church folks over. I'm feeding about 40+ people and will have our new home opened up for viewing, so it's been a mad rush to get boxes unpacked and things put away in their rightful places. I've been working from dawn til late into the night unpacking, sorting, and carrying boxes to the basement!  Our trash pile is massive and our yard sale/thrift store mountain is also steadily growing.

   God has been doing so much for us lately!  It seems like every time we've turned around, God has been answering prayers!  First, the closing on this house went so smoothly, then God gave us a mower a couple days ago right when we began to need one. Then, I took Wesley to the doctor last week for his allergy appointment and they checked him for twelve different allergies. All of them came back negative. The doctor really didn't have a good answer to what was going on with Wesley except that he probably just had very sensitive skin. He didn't know why he'd thrown up with that oat cereal. I really didn't know what to do when I left there. He has to start eating solids so I bought him some wheat cereal and prayed that he'd be able to keep it down. I've been feeding it to him for two days now and he's not thrown up one time!  He's loving it!  The rash still comes and goes but we're praying God will take care of that as well. I believe He healed Wesley twice over now, first with whatever was going on when he had the meningitis scare and now this allergy thing to food. Twice now, the doctors have had no explaination for the negative tests.  Especially the meningitis. Maybe he didn't have it and it was just some rare virus like they suggested. But then again, maybe it wasn't. We do serve a mighty big God!  Wesley is eating food now with no problem so far. Another miracle!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

We're Finally Moving!

   Just a short post!  We will be moving into our new home this weekend, starting tomorrow afternoon. We'll be closing on the house at 1:00pm tomorrow!  I'm not sure who's more excited, Andy  and I, or the kids. :). Christian is dead set on getting a "swing with a board and rope", Audra can't wait for a big yard, and I can't wait to breath in some quiet, country air. No trucks, no people hollering next door, no engines revving at 11:00 at night, no dogs barking, no trains going through twice a night. (Actually, I don't really mind the trains. They do have a nice mid west, small town feel. But they are loud at night. Especially a certain engineer who thinks it's his job to wake the entire town at 5:00 am. No kidding, he lays on his horn, (or is it a whistle? It's LOUD anyhow) the entire stretch through town!  I love going outside during the day and hearing them rumble through town, but at night?  Different story. :))).  You can still hear the trains at our new home, but they are off in the distance, too far to hear at night while in the house.

   I've been spending the last few days packing. I've lived in 18 different houses in my lifetime and I do hope this move will be the last. I'm actually so used to moving, I'm not sure I'd know how to act living in the same house for longer than my record length of a five years residency. :). People talk about living in one place their entire lives, born there, raised there, growing old there, and dying there. It really blows my mind!  I simply can't imagine that. I would like to put down some roots somewhere and raise our children there in one home. But things happen and life gets in the way, or God's plans move us around here and there, and we pull up stakes and pitch our tent someplace else. Well, the Bible does say we're pilgrims and strangers here. But maybe, we can stay in this tent longer than five years??  :). Hey, I've had a LOT of practice packing! I never forget my toothbrush anymore. :). You'd be surprised what all I can fit in an overnight bag!  :). I've mastered the technique!
   I will post pictures soon of the new house. Feel free to comment on my green carpet....   Kelly green carpet?  Yikes!  Who would do such a thing?!  :)

   Short update on Wesley.  He is doing so much better. He hasn't run a fever since Wednesday morning and is most back to his old self.  The diarrhea is hanging on and he's still a little sleepy, but there is still no more fluid buildup. It looks like whatever this was, it's just about run it's course. Praise The Lord!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

God Answers Prayer

   What a weekend!  Many of you have heard about it and have been praying for us, for which we are very, very thankful!  I want to tell you about it....
   For several days, I'd noticed that Wesley's soft spot, or fontanelle, on the top of his head seemed to be fuller than normal.  At first I didn't really think much about it and figured it would go down on its own.  But then, last Friday night, he woke up around 2am crying and didn't want to go back to sleep.  Saturday morning, I noticed that he was running a slight fever and continued to be fussy, the latter being VERY abnormal for him.  Wesley is probably the happiest baby I've ever seen!  He never cries unless he's hungry or dirty.  So when he insisted on being held and continued to fuss up into the night, not sleeping very well, I became worried.  I also saw that his fontanelle was bulging even more and was becoming firm. Wesley would also start crying if I gently pressed on it.  After finally getting him to sleep at around 10 Saturday night, I got online and researched his symptoms.  Every site I found all said the same thing, "Swollen fontanelle, fever...GET TO THE ER IMMEDIATELY!  There were three things that would most likely be the cause of it, Meningitis, Hydrocephalus, and one other, all three very serious and life threatening.  We both began to worry and finally decided it was better to play it safe than sorry.  So I woke Wesley up again, and headed to a hospital about 10 minutes away.  The doctor looked at him, then left to confer with a couple other doctors.  Finally, he returned and told me to keep an eye on him until Monday morning.  If anything changed by then, I was to take him to his pediatrician.  I left feeling only slightly relieved.  By the time I got home, it was 3 am Sunday morning.  Wesley woke at 7am crying as if in pain.  His fever was also steadily getting higher, and his soft spot was noticeably getting bigger.  When looking at him straight on, the top of his head bulged up abnormally.  I was scared! Andy and I both wanted a second opinion.  And fast!  Andy called a fellow at church to fill in for him, then called a friend to come get the kids, and we loaded Wesley up and drove to Indianapolis, a little over an hour away to Riley Children's Hospital.  As soon as we got there and told the nurse his symptoms, she went out and told a doctor.  Very soon after, the doctor came in, did a quick examination, and asked a zillion questions, which we repeated again and again to many other doctors during the next couple of hours.  The first doctor got a concerned look in his eye and said, "I'll be honest with you, there's only a few things that cause a bulging fontanelle, and all of them are bad.  This doesn't look good.  I can't give you much hope on this right now."  Andy and I had heard those dreaded words before.  The whole world came to a sudden, crashing halt as the news sunk in.  Our baby was in serious trouble and it was very likely he wouldn't come home.  If he did, he wouldn't be the same.  The pressure on his brain would cause serious trouble. If we got him to the hospital fast enough to catch the infection before it did too much damage to the brain, we had a chance.  But how long did it take before the damage would be done?  Had we gotten here soon enough?  As the doctor left us to order a CT scan, the tears began to fall.  The flashbacks came flooding back.  There we were again, in another hospital room, in the NICU, crying babies and children in the pods next to us, holding our baby and being told he had a serious, life threatening  problem.  Yes, we'd been through this before.  I had thought I had remembered the pain, the agony of hearing those words, but can never get used to it.  I held Wesley tight in arms and kissed his bulging head as the tears dampened his soft hair.  I heard Andy whisper, "I don't know if we can do this again..."   The agony tore our hearts out, the wondering how long we had with him, how bad it was, and would he ever be the same if he survived this.  It is not an easy thing.  Its a blow that hits you in the pit of the stomach and leaves you sick and weak.  Andy and I are nobody special, but we had gone through this before, and we saw God's hand working in Rebekah's life and death.  We had experienced the peace that God gives in the midst of the storm and knew without a doubt that His ways are better than ours.  As hard as it was losing Rebekah, if we had to do it again, we would have given her back to God a second time as we did the first.  And this very thought was racing though our minds as we digested this news for the second time.  With tears streaming down our faces, we gave our son to God to do with as He willed, and braced ourselves for the worst.  His ways are best, NO MATTER WHAT.  God has a reason for everything He does, and its for our good and His glory.  I had a calm within my heart, and the peace that is only found in Jesus Christ flooded my very soul!  I knew that no matter what happened, God would walk with us.  He promised never to leave us or forsake us, and we had tried and proven this promise to be true with Rebekah.  We were holding onto it for all we were worth.  Its only by His strength you can make it through something like this! 
    Wesley got a CT scan done on his head, and some fluid drawn from his spine for testing for meningitis.  It would take 24 hours before we would know anything from the spinal tests, though.  Wesley was top priority on the NICU floor and the doctors were racing the clock to find something definite so that they could start pumping antibiotics into him.  They were pretty confident it was meningitis, and finally decided to give him the antibiotics anyway, even before the test results came back.  Andy walked out of the room once and saw several doctors huddled over a computer screen quietly discussing Wesley's condition.  Three nurses tried to get an IV started in him, but couldn't find a vein in his chubby little arms and legs.  They even used and ultrasound to help guide the needle and still failed to get a vein.  Poor Wesley learned very quickly that the cold alcohol swabs meant pain shortly thereafter and he would begin howling before the needle ever met skin!  He also quickly learned that anyone wearing white was a mortal enemy and was given a wary evil eye as he watched every move they made when they entered the room.  He soon decided the safest place was in mama's arms and refused to let me put him down.  So I spent all day Sunday and all that night sitting upright in a chair holding him while he fitfully slept. I didn't mind.  As I sat there through the long night hours, I remembered another time five years ago doing the very same thing.  Not for just one night, but six long, bone weary nights watching a vigil over my dying infant.  I wouldn't sleep.  I couldn't.  I wanted to be there when she died.  I wasn't going to miss it.  So I sat and waited and prayed and wept through the night hours.  I would do it again.  Five years later, I sat and I waited for news, and I prayed and wept.  And I hugged my baby boy close, loving him in a way you can only do when you think you might lose him.  They suddenly become so precious and you do whatever you have to to be there for them, to comfort them, to shield them from their pain.  So I sat and rocked him late into the night. 
   After many tests, the doctor came in and told us that with each hour that passed, our chances that he did not have meningitis were getting better.  So far, nothing had shown up in the spinal cultures.  One by one the blood tests also came back negative.  By morning, the news came that meningitis was ruled out, as were the other two life threatening illnesses.  The doctors concluded that Wesley had some strange virus that caused a fluid build up on his brain.  The pressure had begun giving him headaches, and that, on top of the fevers and flu like symptoms, well, no wonder he was so miserable.  The doctor said it was very rare that babies have the fluid build up for basically no reason, but they wanted to see him back in a month to check on him to see if the fluid was staying at a normal level.  When they drew the fluid from Wesley's spine for testing, the pressure in his head eased and his soft spot returned to normal with is slight pulsing indention. 
   They went ahead and updated Wesley's vaccinations, and said we could take him home.  The virus would last anywhere from 5 to 10 days, but that he should be fine after it ran its course. 
   Our hearts were filled to bursting!  It was if our baby had been snatched back from the grave in a way.  The doctors really didn't have much of an answer as to why it all happened the way it did.  For Wesley to fool every doctor on the floor, and then nothing to show up in the tests?  Just makes you wonder....
   I like to think that perhaps God heard some prayers going up for our family and decided to answer and give us back our baby boy.  Our children in truth belong to God.  He entrusted them to us for raising, sort of like a loan from Heaven.  I think He likes it when we give them back to Him.  He chose to take Rebekah back.  And He chose to let us keep Wesley for awhile longer.  Oh how I praise him for answered prayers!   How I thank Him for my children!  When you lose them, they become so so precious!  Sometimes we tend to forget that they truly are gifts from God.  We get frustrated with them, get weary of constantly breaking up fights, or those numerous bedtimes excuses they can dream up!  But a little jolt like the one we experienced this past weekend will make even that 10 trip up the stairs with a drink of water, or a forgotten teddy bear seem a little more special.  You may even smile as you watch them snuggle back down into their blankets with a contented sigh.  You might just be a little  more patient when you kiss an imaginary boo boo for the umpteenth time, or wipe another stinky bottom.  Yes, they are precious!  And I am guilty of taking my children for granted as well.  Two of those jolts in one lifetime is enough, though, and  I hope that I have learned my lesson!  I can't take too many more of them!  Whew! 
   We are home now, and even though Wesley is still pretty miserable with the virus, the fever, and vaccinations, I think we'll make it just fine.  He's sleeping a lot, but is terribly happy to be home and away from all those terrible people in white jackets!  He visibly relaxed as soon as we walked in the door yesterday.  He was smiling through red, droopy eyes at everyone who looked at him, and even played for a little while on the floor.  He hardly even fussed when I put him down in his bed.  Yes, he's happy to be home.... and so am I. 

   We thank every one of you for your prayers!  Prayer can truly move the hand of God!!!   He is so good to us! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Safe In The Arms Of Jesus

   Yesterday morning, my tiny unborn nephew was carried by the angels to the arms of his Heavenly Father.  My sister, at four months along, miscarried her tiny infant.  She was able to hold her baby for awhile after he was born, and his picture is engraved forever on her mind.  She and BJ have named their little son Sean Jeffery Cormier and are longing for the day they will see him again in Heaven.  Jessica is doing okay and is resting and trying to recover from the miscarriage.  Please pray for the Cormier family as they face the coming days, the painful memories, and their precious loss.  Folks sometimes tend to make light of a miscarriage saying, "At least you didn't carry full term.".  I've heard people say things like, "She needs to get over it.  It was just a miscarriage."   While I agree that you need to get up, dust yourself off and move on with life, that you can't dwell forever on the child that was lost, at the same time, the pain is VERY real whether the baby was barely formed or whether he was nine months brand new.  A mother becomes attached to her child from the first moment he begins to grow within her.  She begins to plan, to dream, to fall desperately in love.  And when that little life is torn from her in an instant, it is devastating no matter how or when it happens.  I hurt for those who make light of a miscarriage almost as much as I hurt for the mother of the lost child.  You can never really understand the love of a mother until you've had a child of your own.  That overwhelming love that would make you lay down your own life in an instant for your child, even a tiny unborn infant.  A powerful love that makes you want to shield your baby from the pain and struggles of life.  Its a love that tears your heart out, makes you sick to your stomach when you have to watch your child struggle and hurt.  And when your child is taken from you in an instant, a big piece of your heart goes with him.  You are never the same afterwards.  You understand death.  You understand the pain of losing someone you love dearly.  You understand how fragile life really is.  You now realize that you are not invincible.  This actually happened to you, and could possibly happen again.  There is the fear of "will I have to go through this again with another child?  Another pregnancy?"  There are the heart wrenching, agonizing sobs in the dark night hours that no one but God ever sees.  The pleas for grace and mercy as you face the days ahead.  Many times, we have no idea what someone is going through.  You don't see the pain beneath the smile that a mother will wear in public.  The pain that will last for months after her child is gone from her.  The pain of burying her dreams at the grave site along with the body of her tiny child.  And if this is not enough, your body itself won't let you forget the loss.  Have you ever heard of Phantom Pains when someone gets a limb amputated?  I found out that that phenomenon is VERY real.  I experienced phantom kicks for about 3 months after Rebekah died.  They were very real, and very strong kicks as if I still carried a 7-9 month old baby!  The pain of loss hits hard every time the mother hears a baby cry.  And she reacts to those cries and feelings for months until her body has healed.  Its not just your mind screaming out the loss of the child, but also your body.   In other words, it just takes time, and LOTS of it!  So, please, have patience with those grieving mothers, even when you see their tears months down the road.  They can't hide them all the time.  Some days are worst then others.  My own birthday, the day Rebekah died, is still hard for me and its been five years.  Time eventually heals the raw wounds, but the memories will last forever!  And sometimes, memories will still bring tears with them. 
   But in the midst of all this pain, and the memories is the amazing grace, peace, and mercy of a loving Heavenly Father who knows very much what its like to see a son suffer.  He knows of the pain more than anyone else in this world.  His love and amazing peace is like a warm cloak that wraps you up and keeps you safe from the storm that rages within your heart, mind, and body.  The joy of His presence makes your heart bubble up within you to the point that you feel like you will explode!  That joy makes you rejoice while you hold the body of your child, knowing that he is truly safe in the arms of God and that you simply hold an empty shell.  The peace of God that floods your very soul will give you the strength to walk away from the grave, dust yourself off, and move on with a smile.  And yes, you must move on.  You cannot dwell on the one you lost.  You must give your child to God, trust His will, and continue to live your life for His glory.  You cannot dwell on the past and what you don't have.  It will ruin you!  God's will is perfect, no matter what happens.  He knows, and he loves you more than you'll ever know.  His touch is loving and gentle, even when it hurts.  He does care and He will support you and carry you every step of the way, if you let Him. 
   My sister and her family are strong, and they will survive this tragedy.  Her spirit is sweet in spite of her loss, and her trust in God is unmovable.  But, still, please pray for her and her family.  The tears will still fall when no one is around and its at those times when she will need to feel the prayers of the family of God. It was those prayers that kept Andy and I going five years ago, and the strength of those prayers were felt for months after our own baby's death.  So now, I ask you to pray for my sister as she faces the loss of her baby boy.  

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.  Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me..."   

So, so true!!!