Tuesday, October 28, 2014

8 Ways to help families in the hospital

We have all known someone in the hospital. For our friends and family, they know how familiar we are to the hospital and I doubt that any of them are surprised when we go back in.  
 

Here are a few ways that you can support someone that is in the hospital.
  1. Make a meal: nothing complicated, something they can just reheat. Bring it to them in the hospital or to family members still at home.
  2. Pray: This seems obvious. Actually do it though. Don't just say you are on social media. There is power in prayer.
  3. Call or text: Calling is more comforting but they may be busy and don't have time to talk. Shoot a text or email, just to let them know that you are thinking about them. Don't expect a response.
  4. Offer to help at home: Usually the professionals have things covered at the hospital, but everything at home gets put on hold. Offer to do wash, sweep and mop, or clean the bathroom. Don't judge how it looks at first, just try to make it better.
  5. Help take care of siblings: We have a few friends and family members that offer to take care of our other child every time one of them has to stay at the hospital. This means so much to us.
  6. Pack a lunch for the spouse to take to work: In our case, my hubby misses that part about me when I am in the hospital. 
  7. Ask to visit: You don't need to bring anything, just find time. Ask them first though. They may be busy. There is nothing sweeter then being able to wrap your arms around a friend in need and squeezing. Let them know that you are there for them.
  8. Offer to bring things from their home: They may have been so rushed to get to the hospital that they forgot something. If you don't feel comfortable going to their house, then pick whatever they need up at the store.

This is just a few things. The main thing is to put yourself in their shoes. What if you had to drop whatever you were doing and leave. What would you need with you? What would you forget? What would you want from your friends and family if you had a child in the hospital? What would your house look like if you dropped everything and left?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Room 353

I have been praying for room 353. We are here, again. In the hospital that sometimes feels like home. Our son has been having a temp and increased heart rate for about a week now, So I finally took him into urgent care. With his past history and being unable to explain the temp, they felt it best to admit him. I am glad that it was not as bad as the last time that life forced us to pause but still a bit scary.

To be truthful, I have been praying for this. I had been asking God for a while now to allow me time to visit a friend that is in the hospital too. With life getting in the way of that visit, He has forced me into the exact place I was hoping to go. I can honestly say, because I don't think my child is in any serious danger, that I am glad to be in room 353. I am using this time away from home to get some sleep, meet with a friend who is hurting, read, write, and catch up with old "friends" (aka, hospital staff).

Every time that we are here, from the moment that our son was born, God wants us to be here for some reason. Our time in the NICU was hard and scary, but it introduced us to some of the best nurses in the state and allowed for friendships to form that are still going strong today. Our time there also taught us how to be parents.

One of the times in ICU, I was given an opportunity to meet a woman who was visiting the room where her son died. He died in the room next to us, from an infection he got while swimming in a lake, 10 years ago. I didn't know her name. I still don't. All I know is that she was crying and that she was alone. It was her first visit. She had sunken into a dark hole. Her marriage fell apart. And she was on the road to recovery. Her therapist said that she had to walk the same painful steps that she had to walk when she learned about he son passing. She had to re-live the pain in order to heal. I was put in that ICU room, with my sick child, to notice her and to comfort her in her journey.

We are here now for some reason. I have a feeling that it is to comfort my friend, but I am not completely sure. I pray that God heals our son and that he uses me to comfort others. Everyone here is going through a hard season in their life. Let me focus on that and lead me to an understanding of their journey. Let me provide a smile or warm glance that will some how comfort them.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Contentment

This is where I feel most content.
 

After a weekend of rejuvenation with a bunch of Christian girlfriends at Women of Faith THIS is right where I know that I belong. It is so nice to get away. It is really the only thing I plan for all year. I come back, ready to take on the world. In this world, where women can be very mean and judgmental toward each other, it is so refreshing to be in a great big arena, full of women, and know that we are not perfect and have all been through hardships.

But it is so nice to be back home. I miss my boys something fierce. I really wanted to wake them from their slumber and love on them, but I didn't. The next morning I got a lot of snuggles in and I knew that I was exactly were I was supposed to be. I wonder sometimes, what life would be like if my oldest son was "normal". Sometimes I just wish. Sometimes I was I could take my youngest somewhere and leave him. Sometimes I am not sure if I am a good mother or wife. But then there are moments like the one in the picture. Moments that I wouldn't trade for the world. It is moments like that, where everything seems ok. I am content here. I am at peace here.I am holding on to this moment because I know it won't last long.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Women of faith

Have you ever been so excited for the new thing and yet sad to see the old thing go away? This is how I feel after another amazing weekend at a women's conference called Woman of Faith. This is the 3rd year I have gone, and each time is a different experience
2014 group. All 38 of us!
Matthew West
 

They announced that 2015 would be their last tour! This makes me said because I have been so touched by this event. It has changed my life for the better. The first year I went, our son was just born in July with many issues and was back in the ICU, we were farmers and had to worry about milking cows twice a day, and we were living off of gift cards and handouts from friends and families. All rational told me not to go. I didn't even know anything like this existed until a week before the event was to take place! How could I pull off such a last minute thing? But God was telling me to go, and in all of His glory, He made it happen. The good friend that played a big part in me going told me, "Tracy, if God is telling you to go then you don't have to worry about your baby in ICU. Nothing major will happen while you are gone. God will protect him." and she was right (like I should have had any doubt). I went and when I came back, everything was just the same. (for any of you that has had a child in ICU, you know how quickly things can change and why I was reluctant to go 3 hours away for an over night trip)

That first year we had seats in the nose bleed section. You know, the highest point, where you kind of feel sick to look at the stage below. Even though everyone, including me, didn't really want to be up there, God put us there for me. As I listened to Angie Smith talk about her unbearable loss, I was brought to tears. She asked everyone that had ever had to bury their baby or suffered through a miscarriage, to stand up. THOUSANDS of women stood up! It is so powerful to be in a giant arena, filled with women, and see that we have all gone through some terrible event. You are not alone! All of these other women have suffered, just like you. I was hooked and knew I had to come back.

I am excited for next year because I know it will be huge! They will bring out all of the stops. They will make it better then it has ever been. And in 2016, I hope they do something to continue this great ministry. They are not telling anyone yet what it might be, but I know it will be something great. 

If you have never gone to this event, you need to go in 2015! I promise that it will be great! If you would like to meet me in St. Paul MN please get in touch with me. I would love to meet up with you!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pregnancy and Infant loss

 

Today, thousands of people lit a candle for those that have lost a baby. October is the month of awareness. I am the 1 in 4. Let me say it again...1 in 4! That is a staggering number; and a great loss. 

I will never forget the first test of many that came back positive. After years of trying to conceive, and hundreds of dollars spent in fertility treatments, we were finally pregnant! I remember the joy, the butterflies, and the pure happiness that we felt with the thought of finally becoming a mom and dad.

I also remember the pain and tears when we had our first doctor visit and confirmed that we were pregnant with a blood test, only to have them say that we were already loosing the baby. My hormone levels should have been a lot higher. 

I went home in shock. We had waited so long. We were so excited. Our happiness was so short lived. It just wasn't fair. How could God give so many other people a child when they clearly were not fit to be parents but rip it away from us? We were good people that were trying so hard in life. Why did God allow children to be hurt by their parents? We would take them and love them. Why us? Why me?

To help with the grieving, we picked a gender neutral name, and gave it to our child that we would never see. The child that we were so happy to have, and so sad to lose. The pain is still there but it has gotten better.

I want woman everywhere to know that they are not alone. It is so hard to talk about. It is so scary that most people now days don't tell anyone that they are even pregnant until after the 1st trimester...just to be safe. There is such a stigma around a miscarriage. "It wasn't meant to be." "Something must have gone wrong." "You must have done something to cause this." Sure, maybe it wasn't meant to be, but that doesn't make it hurt less. It doesn't make it your fault. There are so many woman that have lost a baby or have had to bury their child. It is never easy. The pain doesn't every really go away. There will always be a part of you that is missing, but you are not alone. Talk to someone. I had no idea how many woman in my life had gone through a miscarriage, until I went through one myself. We need to comfort each other. The pain is too deep not to, and the cost is too great. 

Tonight I go to bed with each and every woman, that has suffered this kind of loss, in my thoughts and in my prayers. I hope you can find comfort in knowing that you are not alone. I pray that you are able to find peace. I wish that I could hug you and tell you that it will be ok, even though it is not fair. I wish I could bring you your favorite candy and sit on the couch and just hold you. Not talk, unless you wanted, but just be there for you. A tear running down my face because I know. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Join me...

Grab your favorite mug and join me for another lesson.

This time I am not going to talk about a bible verse. Instead I want to focus on what happens during church. A world I was never a part of until I had kids. Going into the cry room (nursery for some).

A cry room is a little room, in the back of church, with a window so those in the room can still see and hear what is going on, but the rest of the congregation can't hear you or your kids. This little room is pretty basic. A few chairs, books, flat pillows, a mirror, and some very good words of wisdom on the walls.


I don't have to go in this room very often because on most days both the boys sleep through service. (kind of handy, but not at all intentional) But this week our youngest thought it would be a good time to voice his opinion whenever it got quite. Not mad, not crying, just wanted to talk...very loudly.

As I entered the room I saw another family was already in there. 4 kids and their mom. When the children's service was over the rest of her clan joined us. Now there were us 2 moms, and 8 kids. Then another mom and her little 1 joined us.

It was very crowded and my child was watching the other kids, intrigued by all the voices and movement. He even seemed to be flirting with one little girl. With all of the commotion it made it very hard for me to concentrate on the sermon. So I just watched and pondered.

I loved seeing the 7 siblings interact with each other and my child. One of the older boys was very sweet to my son. He showed interest and wanted to play with him even though he was clinging to me. The boy asked me questions and was very good and making small talk with me. The younger ones played. It seemed ok for the sisters to pick on each other but when a boy did the same thing, the girls would cry. It really got me thinking about our family.

I had only ever wanted 2. My hubby wanted a whole baseball team. With us having so many issues trying to conceive and dealing with infertility, I didn't know if we would ever have kids. Then we finally got pregnant, but was really late to the game so having a big family is not in the cards for us. Then when we found out that I was a carrier of this rare genetic disorder, I didn't know if I wanted more then just the one. I am glad that we have both boys, but the second pregnancy was almost scarier then the first because I was anticipating something to go wrong.

People ask us if we are going to have more children. I, jokingly say that we might after I get 2 years of solid sleep at night. The truth is, I don't know. Both pregnancies were hard for this not-even-5-feet-tall girl. Both were laced with a ton of worry. After Noelie was born our life was so crazy, I don't know if I can go through it again. All of the stuff that he needs, all of the doctor appointments, all of the people that come into our home to help take care of him. I just don't know if I can do it again.

I also think about our "healthy/normal" son. Is it fair to him? He may be like an only child. Will he grow up and want to take care of his brother if anything happens to us? Is it fair to even ask him to care for his brother? How old will he be when we lay his brother in the ground? If we don't have more children, he will have no other siblings.This thought makes me sad.

I don't have the answer to any of these questions, and I don't have it figured out. All I do know is that I love the 2 we have, and that is enough for now. And I will keep praying about it.

I am wondering though, How did you decide to have more? Was it even a question at all, or did you just know that you wanted more? Did you stop after you had one special needs child? Why did you stop? Was it our of fear from your previous experience? Have you adopted a special needs child? Will you adopt more? How do you handle more then one? How do you sleep and not worry? How do you keep track of everything? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Coloring

We tried something new the other day. He loved to color! And, in my unbiased opinion,I think we have a real artist in the making here. He did so great. This makes this momma's heart feel like it could burst with pride! The best part is that this is therapy. He has to hold his thumb open, work on hand/eye coordination, and arm movement.
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I know I take too many pictures now because I wanted to take a video of him while he was coloring and he stopped what he was doing to pose and smile. He looked really confused when I kept holding the camera up, as if the be saying, "Are we done yet? Can I go back to coloring?" He sure has turned into quite the little ham. 

It is moments like these that I want to shout from the roof-top, "Look what he did today!!!" He makes me so proud to be his mom. I laugh every day because of him. For a little boy that was born 5 weeks early, with a lot of problems, and not a lot hope from the "professionals" that he would even make it this far; he sure has come a long way. I can't wait to see what he will do next.