Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fibular Hemimelia -Miracles and Thanksgiving

With it being November and all and reading all the Facebook thankful lists, I thought I'd try my hand at a thankful blog.  The problem is that once I started naming my blessings one by one, I have a tendency to get carried away; therefore, I'm limiting my list.  Be patient ... this should be a good post!

 After Josh was born by C-section, six weeks earlier than expected ... and breech, I quickly added his middle name ... Caleb ... in honor of the two biblical brothers who made it through the wilderness to see the Promised Land.  I knew there was "fight" in that 4 lb, 12 oz cotton haired boy ... and I was right.  Eight years ago, when I drove him to the E.R. to find out why his head would not quit hurting, expecting to hear that he had a virus or another ear infection (he had tubes in his ears 5 times!), nothing could have prepared me for the words uttered by the physician on call.  "Good thing we did a CT scan, " she said, a bit too triumphantly. "He has a mass on his brain."  My mom says she'll never forget that phone call. The one I made from the parking lot screaming in tears, repeating the words I had just heard.  ... After meeting with a neurosurgeon that night at midnight and quickly scheduling brain surgery, I was left in shock and fear.  "Where was my God," I questioned.  "Why did he pick my child?"  He showed up soon enough ... even before the operation began.  The morning of surgery, the anesthesiologists at the hospital refused to aid in the surgery.  Apparently, brain surgery on a child had never been performed at that hospital ... or at least not in the last 10 years.  Their refusal lead us on to a different, much more equipped hospital, where Josh had surgery and emerged unscathed without any residual effects. Oh, how my heart sings in praise of my God.  Why did He intervene?  Why did He extend such mercy and grace?  What must He have in store for my now 13 year old blonde headed boy? Oh how I thank Him.

After giving birth to two boys, how thankful I was for a pink nursery, a pink receiving blanket, a little pink pacifier, and a 6 lb, 15 oz  baby girl!  Emily's birth story is no less miraculous than Josh's.  Like her much older brother, Emily was breech; therefore, a C-section was scheduled.  Unfortunately, I went into labor before the scheduled date.  After checking into the hospital, I waited in a room for a delivery OR to open.  I waited too long.  By the time the OR was ready and a nurse finally returned to check on me, my labor had progressed rapidly.  In fact, I was at a 10 (meaning ready to deliver), screaming in pain, thinking I would vomit because of the intensity of the contractions.  Without as much as a Tylenol (the nurses insisted I wait until I got to the OR for an epidural), I lie in that hospital bed as my uterus tore down both sides. After the C-section was finally performed, my mom watched as blood was suctioned from Emily's mouth.  Had she been in utero much longer, she could have died, for as my uterus was filling with blood, so was her tiny body.  After much suturing and two blood transfusions, my uterus was salvaged, but my mind was left in need of a great deal of healing.  I'm not sure where the greater miracle occurred ... my life being saved from such a great loss of blood, Emily's first breath from clear lungs, or God pulling me from the darkness that consumed my heart for months following the delivery.  Oh, how my heart sings in praise of my God.  Why did He intervene?  Why did He extend such mercy and grace?  Oh how I am thankful to the One who gave me my beautiful girl to mother here on earth ... and gave me back my life after losing it in the dismal regions of my mind.  What must He have in store for my now 5 year old blonde haired girl ... and her mother?

 What can I say about Ethan's story that hasn't already been said?  I hope my thankfulness for God's provision exudes from the pages of the blog, but there is an untold story ... so read on.  Many days in Baltimore, I felt hopeless only to come home from therapy and check the little Blue's Clues Mailbox waiting by the stairs.  More often than not, a card would be waiting.  I tear up now at the thought.  A verse would be inside the card ... perhaps something about perseverance or God's watchful hand ... and I would smile again.  Sometimes, a coloring book or stickers greeted Ethan and Emily and made a difficult day a brighter one.  Their favorite gift?  Five dollar McDonald's cards they could swipe at the register all by themselves.  Some days, Joy Mac or my bff would post a comment to the blog and I would feel heard and loved.  Ethan's greatest well wisher at the church we attended was an elderly lady who eased up the aisle with the aide of a walker much like Ethan's.  Each Sunday she never failed to ask Ethan to race her 70 year old self to the door on our way out.  In good fun, she presented him with a horn for his walker ... to match the one on hers!  Before he graduated to the walker, the quilting ladies from the church gave him a beautiful, patriotic themed quilt for use in his wheelchair.  And those same ladies were the first to Praise God the first morning he walked in on his own two feet!  May God teach us all the power of a simple word or gift of kindness!  When we returned from Baltimore the cards stopped, the blog posts slowed, and life returned to a sense of normalcy.  I craved the kindness.  One day Ethan came home from first grade with a multicolored afghan given to him by a fellow classmate.  "She said it was a prayer cloth," Ethan said.  "And when I asked her what that was, she said that her grandmother had make it for me and that her church had prayed over it for me."  Kindness returned.  Now, do I believe that this small afghan holds power? No, but I do believe in the power of the One this grandmother and her church petitioned on behalf of my son.  What greater gift can you receive than the gift of prayer -especially the gift of prayer for your child.  The miracle continues ... At school, I shared Ethan's prayer shawl story with my friend Joy Mac who had endured difficulties of her own this past year.  I shared my concern that this family may never know how they had touched my heart.  How my heart sang to my God who had laid my child on their hearts.  The following Sunday at her church, Joy Mac, too received a prayer shawl, given prayerfully in love that she might enjoy the fruits of a healthy pregnancy.  Joy relay Ethan's story to the gift giver and how my heart was touched as was her own.  The gift giver's eyes began to fill with tears, for her family had made not only Joy's quilt, but Ethan's as well.  This family heard my heart felt thanks that morning ... even though I have yet to meet them face to face.  This grandmother who crocheted Ethan's blanket was going through her own battle.  In fact, she had fallen and injured her foot and ankle so badly that she was wheelchair bound.  As she began to question why God allowed this to happen, perhaps her granddaughter thought of the little boy in her first grade class who sat in his wheelchair, desiring to run and play with his classmates, and learning to accept life's challenges and God's will.  Please remember that I cried when Ethan was moved to this first grade classroom away from most of his little friends.  Ethan's best buddy in this class, Noah, is a little boy who struggles with Charge Syndrome ... who has hearing difficulties and cannot speak because of a trachea.  I commented to his mother that if Jesus came back their classroom is where I wanted to be.  I want to see the lame walk, the deaf hear, and the closed mouth speak!Oh God, how you knew Noah needed Ethan to be his friend ... to see another face challenges like him each day.  How you knew this grandmother would need to hear about Ethan's struggles! From her wheelchair she is serving the Lord, and her service to my son gave me the chance to glory in His greatness, in his Omnipotence!  What a mighty God!  Oh how my heart sings in praise of my God.  Why did He intervene?  Why did He extend such mercy and grace?  What must he have in story for my now 7 year old beautiful boy ... and for Noah ... and this grandmother? Oh, how I thank Him.

One of my newest, favorite songs:  "Someone Worth Dying For" ... includes these lyrics:

I wanna believe that
I'm not just some wandering soul
That you don't see and you don't know
Yeah I wanna believe, Jesus help me believe that I
Am someone worth dying for..

Oh, how most of all, I'm thankful that I'm not a wondering soul ... that my God sees me ... and that most of all, He considered me worth dying for.