Saturday, January 31, 2009
Stop, World. Look. Look at what has happened.
How can you not stop? You. You, right there. Why aren't you stopping?
How can you not stop, World?
My questions turn from those passing by me obliviously in a blur to the One who makes the world go. And I say, Stop, Lord! Look! Look at what has happened! Why don't you stop the world, Lord? Why, Lord?
There is grief here. And it can't go on. Stop the world, Lord.
Tell them what happened today. Tell them how bad it is!
I struggle to place one foot in front of the other. I watch as everyone around me walks without effort. I watch for recognition from them. I watch to see that they know. If they know.
Don't you know? How can you not know? The world has stopped! It has to stop. There is nothing beyond this grief. How can there be anything beyond this grief. Beyond this.
I hear a baby crying. I watch her daddy bouce her gently.
They don't know. How could they not know?
Thank you, God, that they do not know.
But why must I know? Why, Father? Why must I hurt so badly, and they rejoice? Did I do something, Lord? Did we do something to have to endure this pain? This was not my baby. Why, Lord? What makes you take this one and leave the rest of us?
I don't understand, Lord. I just don't understand. And I'm tired, Lord. I'm tired of toiling in vain. I want to understand. I want to see clearly. I want it to mean something.
I just want it to mean something.
This comes to you from two of the most amazing people this world has left to offer...
At 8:35 pm last night we gave back to God the gift that he gave us 59 days ago. Our little angel went to be a real angel and we, her father and mother, had to let her go back to her heavenly father.
Kaitlyn Grace was truly a blessing in our lives and touched so many other lives...people that we know and people that we can only dream of. Everyone absolutely flooded heaven with prayers for her and for this we will be eternally grateful to each and every one of you who said even the smallest of prayers.
Kaitlyn leaves behind so many of us to become whole again in the kingdom of God. No more pokes, or beeps, or pain. She leaves behind so many wonderful memories packed into a too-short 59 days. She leaves behind a legacy of spirit and fight and a never-give-up attitude that I will spend the rest of my life trying to live up to. How many two month olds can say they have created a legacy?
Thank you all for being with her in spirit. I just know she could feel it all around her. The Saturday before her surgery, Jane and Faith, two wonderful family friends took some wonderful pictures of Kaitlyn Grace that we will always treasure as well as the memories of that wonderful wonderful day. We are indebted to her for this day which we will remember forever.
This all may have broken her worldly body. But this never took away her spirit. She never gave up - she never ever gave up.
We love Kaitlyn so much. She will always be our "Katie G", our "Katie Bug", our "little pumpkin." And we will definitely see her again...
-- Jay and Shauntae
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Recently, some of my fellow bloggers have been addressing how to make your house a home. On Christmas Eve, I started using a book my MIL gave me years ago focusing on mealtime devotions. Unfortunately, those pee mongers (our puppies, if you can still call 50+ pounds of dog a puppy) ate the page discussing the 'fragrance' of the home. So I've been curious. About the Fragrance of a Home. And today, I bought this book for $1.99 online (plus tax, minus a coupon --- never, never, never purchase anything without looking online for coupons. Seriously.) I'll keep you posted about its relative worth. Anyone out there read it already??
P.S. Pookie was in the hospital for 6 weeks. Baby Kaitlyn remains in critical condition. Improvement can be a slow process. Please do not forget about her in the meantime. She and her parents need your prayers as often as you can think of them. The docs were giving her a couple of days of rest before moving on to the next step. Thank you for loving those you've never met. Perhaps you would like to see the baby for whom you pray. Please check in on my dear friend Faith's mom - she's a photographer with a little spot in the bloggy world, and you can see sweet photos of Baby K. Enjoy.
Love you all.
And you smell fabulous, My Dears.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Part of our support group's thanksgiving drive this year is to educate perinatologists and ultrasound technicians that there is life with a broken heart. Countless numbers of mothers and fathers are told at their ultrasound visit that their baby's heart is incompatible with life. Yet this information is inaccurate. One further visit - to a pediatric cardiologist - can renew their hope. It's a difficult road sometimes. But I guarantee you that every last one of these mothers would rather hold their baby and give their sweet angel the chance at life on earth than to never have had the opportunity.
So, I just ask you to keep praying. For a miracle for Kaitlyn. I guess I can say that I have witnessed miracles. I don't suppose I realized it in the midst of the struggles, sometimes. But, as I look back over my life with this group of people, I see strength. And hope. And life. And I can attest to seeing Miracles.
Please continue to Pray.
It is working.
Faith wrote later today asking for prayers specifically for Kaitlyn's mom and dad. They are not eating and have not been able to sleep in days. I took a huge basket of food to them yesterday in an effort to do something. I also shared with them today that they have prayers going up on their behalf from as far away as Australia, England, and Hungary. You have no idea how much that means to me, and I'm sure to them, as well! When Pookie was so sick, my husband's aunt asked a missionary friend of hers in China to pray for Pookie. That kid still glows when she remembers that someone that far away cared enough about her as a baby to intercede on her behalf! So, you all may not know the extent to which it matters here in the snowy midwest that you are praying. But believe me, it matters beyond the mere scope of typed words. It matters so much. And it's working. Last word this evening is that she continues to hold on.
J just called and Kaitlyn is off of ECMO and she is alive! Praise God! She is on meds to control her blood pressure and she is obviously still on the ventilator. They did not have to do anything with her central shunt which Dr. H was fully expecting to have to do. So, the next 24 hours are VERY critical. If she can make it through the next 24 hours, her chances go way up. Keep praying for strength for this precious life and for her mom and dad.
Yesterday's echocardiogram didn't show increased heart function, however her heart function is suitable. Generally, they find that while on ECMO heart function improves and then hits a plateau. Dr. H believes that Kaitlyn's heart function has plateaued. Being on ECMO anymore past this point is not necessarily beneficial and it has very high risks. He also said that it is best to attempt to take her off of ECMO while things are stable so that they have time to tweek things as much as possible. In an emergency situation, they are not allowed that luxury.
I don't know how to relay the seriousness of this very well. Dr. H said that coming off of ECMO kids have a 50/50 chance and Kaitlyn's are probably a little lower than that. Yes, they could always put her back on ECMO however, Dr. H said that there is not much gained from that. So, today is the day.
As her amazing Daddy said, "today will be a life changing day". J knows that we cannot all be there with them in person. However, he asks that we all be with them in spirit. Please lift this sweet family up in prayer all night and all day and especially at 12:00 tomorrow. God is a big God and this is not bigger than Him.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
She is still alive...still fighting. They didn't expect her to make it through last night. By a miracle from God - her brain bleed did not change from last night to this morning and it was the same again this evening. There is no reason for this other than a miracle brought about by hundreds of prayers. Please keep praying for her.
She has been on ECMO (bypass) for 48 hours tonight...and are giving her another 12 hrs and will reevaluate in the morning. She's getting closer to the 3-4 days they hoped to give her. And EEG showed she has had seizures off an on all day but this is a result of the damage that was done - not an indication of more continuing damage...and was expected. They are optimistic about controlling the seizures with medicines and she has not had one since being on those meds. Fortunately this does not change things with her heart and brain.
They have turned the ECMO down to 50% and K has responded optimistically since 5 am. Her urine output has been impressive once things started again and her blood tests have all been moving in the right directions. Pray for her to regain her strength during this time so that she can come off of the bypass whenever they decide she is ready. They still have to figure out what do do with her central shunt (which is currently clipped shut so ECMO can work properly). They could open it, put another BT shunt in, or try the Glenn shunt....that's down the road and we aren't anywhere near that.
I am in the RMcD room beside myself with tears running down my cheeks reading all of your emails of prayer.
Please keep praying that her brain bleeds do not worsen...this is buying her heart recovery much needed time. Only the hand of God can hold them back.
Please pray so hard for her...she really wants to live. She's not giving up...she's still fighting....and we are still fighting for her. No one is giving up.... Pray for God to give her the strength to keep fighting and for healing for her body and for everything to keep moving forward...please...
On their behalf, I also implore you to pause and tell God about this baby.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
But I love this baby and I've never laid eyes on her. And I love this mom and dad. Because I know what it's like. I know what it's like to fight until you can't even cry any more. And to sit and wait for someone to make a decision that they really don't even know is the right or the wrong one either. It's medicine, for crying out loud. They're supposed to know. That's why we entrust our sweet babies to them. And they are human, too. And that stinks, too. Because they're tangible. And sometimes God doesn't feel tangible. And yet He holds us up. Even when we're falling flat drunk on the ground from fear. And all the eloquence in the world doesn't fix it. But God can. And I pray that He takes them in His arms and He carries them through it. Not beyond it. But through it. And with their baby. Because the alternative steals part of my heart, too. And she's not my baby. But she is. And I miss the babies we've lost. And I want to keep the rest. Hear that, God? I want to keep the rest. Here with me. You can't have her. Can I be David, God? Can I yell at you and you still love me? Can I be mad and you forgive my heart? I'm sorry God. But sometimes life sucks. Please make it better.
Please God. Make her better.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
In addition to these organizational changes, I also made some organizational - or company - changes. (I do, after-all, refer to myself as the COO of our family. I'm the Deputy in Charge while the CEO is off doing his day job.) I now have assistants. Helpers, we call them. Specifically, I have the Dog Helper. This individual's responsibilities include feeding the puppies at least once each day. (S)He also is expected to let the dogs in and out as needed (like, when the dog squats on my beautiful Friese carpet --- which, by the way completely hides puppy accidents and apparently resembles a giant field of grass to the common Golden Retriever). Also, I have the Bathroom Helper. This person wipes down the bathroom counter after the troops drip, drop, drool, spit, and spill their toothpaste at day's end. In addition, (s)he finds absolute glee in sparkling toilets and bathroom mirrors (OK, I do, but there's joy in a job well done for the little soldiers, as well!) Finally, I have the kitchen helper who sets the table, stirs the pasta, and wipes down the table after each meal. Fringe benefits of Kitchen Helper include planning a favorite meal and choosing a dessert to make for the week. Also, (s)he chooses where (s)he sits at dinner and also says the family prayer.
I have to tell you, in addition to putting away their laundry without even batting an eye, these two 7 year-olds and one 4 year-old are very hard workers. T spent one whole hour polishing our two toilets last week. He grinned from ear to ear when I handed him the Windex and said, "Clean those mirrors, Mister!" And you should see the way they are all clammering onto the kitchen counter to be the one to break the egg or stir the pot. I'm teaching them some life skills and, in the end, receiving some much-needed assistance, as well!
I'd say, It's Working.
Monday, January 19, 2009
I traveled through the motions of starting a new life. Attended classes. Oriented to campus. I wrote a diary entry to two overweight, over~opinionated freshman week professors - certainly less than willing or interested in being present at school that first week before school actually began. I shared loneliness. Missing the familiar, the friendships I'd built while attending high school. Those friendships, young love, all good things for any teenage girl, came to me from within the walls of a band room. Where separate, lost souls gathered together to create sweet music. Where life, real and poignant, yet shared, once dwelled. Now. I was to begin again. My two professors advised I leave the past in the past. Take a step. Make a new friend.
I was in over my head at the university level. Playing piccolo. Where an upperclassman had once appropriately sat, I now sat. Watching. Scared. I couldn't play piccolo. Not like I played the flute. Yet, one day, one audition. My nervous fingers flew across the key pads. And, apparently, I hit a few notes. That sounded like the right notes. And I found myself playing picc. At the state level. Noticed by colleges. Universities. Scholarships. Interest.
And now. I sat there. Amongst so many women. And men. Beards. Voices. A drunken conductor. And one girl. Friend? "Will you be my friend?" I wondered. I don't know how I found out. How I found out that she was a freshman, too. Yet, I did. And that first week, I turned to her. And I stated, "I am a freshman, too!" And I asked, "Will you be my friend?" And the story continued. Friend located.
Friendships. And good things. From within the walls of an auditorium. And coaching. My young daughter. "How do you make a friend, Mom?" How? How. You turn to her, and you ask her, "Will you be my friend?" And a lifetime later. You are. You still are.
And she starts a blog. And she's funny. And sweet. And honest. And you'll like her. Like I do.
Welcome, Erika. To Blogging. Missed you.
(This one's for you...)
Sunday, January 18, 2009
(not bad three months after completion, huh??)
See my inspiration? Notice the similarities?
The actual success or failure of the laundry room makeover falls on my resolution to wash, dry, and fold at least one load every day. I created monogrammed baskets for each family member, thinking they would show increased ownership in the whole laundry process. How is this going, you ask?
Well, blankets that remained unwashed for upwards of a decade (oh yes) are now clean and folded neatly on shelves. I changed the sheets on all the kids beds tonite because the extra sets had been washed and placed in an easy to find, highly accessible location (with the exception of extra pillow cases...I just don't know where those are. Subsequently, T would like to know why he has a purple pillow case this evening. And Meiners hasn't realized yet that he's sleeping on mine...) Now, the remainder of the laundry continues to cascade out of my closet. But I still feel progress has been made considering the enormous number of loads that have been completed, despite socks still needing to be fished out of unmatched piles...And I really don't like that I have never-ending laundry. I mean, I like to look at the closet at least once per week, before clothes have been changed for the night and towels have dried freshly bathed bums to pile up anew, just to look at an empty closet before it fills up again. This whole one load per day thing means that there is always laundry to be done. That kind of stinks. But, it's working, and that matters. A LOT. Plus, the kids really are putting their clothes away! And T's Day-by-Day clothing organizer seems to help us get on the right track in the morning, as well!
I'll share other successful and less-than successful organizational stories again later this week...
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
You're OK. You're not perfect. And that's OK. You're not the best cook or the greatest house keeper or very good at returning library books on time. But that's OK. You're OK.
It's OK to be in a rut. As long as you climb out of it. It's OK to be imperfect. As long as you allow yourself to be. It's OK to be sad. And then to be happy again. It's OK.
It's OK to be a mom. An imperfect mom. A mom who loves her kids and tries new things and fails at the new things but revises and tries again. It's OK. You're OK.
It's OK to have laundry and dusting and dirty dishes. It's OK.
It's OK to blog and to sew and to read and to love your husband and to do all these things imperfectly. It's OK that this is you.
Friends, I trapped myself in a time warp. And into a world of perfectionism. And I am quite pleased to tell you that the fog has lifted. God has provided. And in spite of the coldest weather in 10 years and cloudy skies and an imperfect life, my spirit has prevailed and I am back.
No, I'm not perfect. I wasn't back then. I made mistakes. So did others.
I'm not perfect now. I make mistakes. And so do others.
And guess what? I won't be perfect tomorrow, either.
And that's OK.
And I love that.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
It's funny. How much you've grown - and you're just 19 months-old. Maybe Funny isn't the right word.
I can't believe it, really. How fast time flies. Yesterday morning, for whatever reason, memories came to me of holding you on my chest and bouncing up and down to encourage you to sleep when you were just a few months old and so fussy. You were my first experience with colic, that's for sure. (And my last, for that matter...unless you, Dear Daughter, give birth to a sweet but colicky daughter, or son, as well one day...Turn-about's fair play, isn't it?)
I watched you at lunch today and I tried so hard to remember your sister and brother when they were this age. There were two of them. At 19 months. But what was it like? Why, Why did I not write it down to remember the moments? Well, yes, maybe it was because there were two of them. Maybe it was because your sister was still in the midst of lots of surgeries...
But I watched you with your fly-away hair, and your spontaneous smiles, and your deep voice penetrating my ears with "da! Da! DA!" which means - who knows what? Maybe Dad? Were you looking for Dad, Honey? And I realized again. It's so brief. I remember bouncing you up and down on my chest to satisfy you. But I don't feel it anymore. I don't ... remember it.
You are truly starting to become one of the family. Please don't misunderstand me. You were one of us the moment I knew you were there. (And, unfortunately for me - that came quite early with some pretty intense - and long-lasting - nausea.) But lately, I see you toddling down the hall after your sister or a brother. I watch you carry that gigantic plastic tub which stores your beloved penguin game over to me or to one of them with your "DA!" to entice one of us to sit and to play that dizzyingly repetetive song. I watch you carefully place the penguin on the ramp and see your jubilee as he waddles down the track and into his spot. And then you clap. And do it again. And then you clap again.
I see you grab your sibling's hand sitting in the van. You insist they hold onto you the entire trip. You want to be one of them. You are. You are one of us. And I am really starting to see that more and more.
You love our pets. And you don't like them so much. You love spanking the dogs on the butt. And then they knock you down and steal your waffle. And that cat. I'm sure you were just petting him softly today when he hissed at you...he's getting old, Sweetie. Cupping your hand into a fist and beating him on the nose was probably not the way to go. But I do love it when you 'Bro me,' or the kids, or your dad. What kind of a cool, hip toddler are you, anyhow?
I envy you, sometimes. (Not just the daily nap stuff or the earliest one to bed...those are moments to envy, yes...) But no, the moments I envy you most are when I see myself in you. I once was the youngest of four. I watch you with Meinie and I wonder if I followed JJ around like that. If I leaned over and hugged him with a heart-melting smile upon my face, the sheer pleasure, love, and admiration of a little sister towards her brother, the one closest in age. The one still home with you. I wonder how close you all will be. Whether I can keep you together and closely knit or if there is something one day that will pull you apart. I so want to impress upon you the joy of friendship within your own family. I do pray that you will all continue to be there for each other. That's what family is for.
Sweet Baby Girl, you are the one whose pictures I will take diligently. Because I told myself there will be pictures of the fourth child. Even if there aren't of the third...(OK, just kidding, Meiners...). Fortunately, we have the age of digital photography. So, perhaps I don't print off a stack of photos of you and place them tenderly into a scrapbook to peruse with you in my lap one day (or me in your lap --- Love You Forever...), but I did stop today, with the sun shining just right through the breakfast room window, and you dressed in your cute pink frills, I did stop to remember to remember you and this moment. Today. Right now. This is what it's like with you at 19 months, Little S.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
Here's a picture of the kids all saying thank you ;)
So I'll be sending on some love to Frizz (truly, truly just a lifelong bff) and Trish (who shares a true angel story here). I already know what your gifts will be and when I'll be sending it --- but you girls don't! How fun!!!
Thanks, again, Evy --- everyone one of your handmade creations is perfect!
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I remember how I called your office when Pookie and T were just toddlers. Late on a Friday afternoon. Our beloved pediatrician had recommended you so highly. At 5:30 on a Friday night when you personally returned my call, I immediately understood why she did recommend you.
And when I first laid eyes upon you, Dr. Mark, I again knew. It was love at first bite I mean complete respect at first x-rays. Oh, you, Dr. Mark with the strong masculine good looks, that killer smile, those dark eyes and charming voice. You were the dentist for me I mean my children.
Your office, Dr. Mark. It's been 4 years, yet my 7 year-olds still remember the ocean-themed art work handpainted upon your office walls. They remember the LEGO trains in the waiting room. Fortunately, they don't remember the birds; and since Pookie was so deathly afraid of birds back then, it's best we keep those little guys our memorable secret. Shall we? Have secrets? No, no. Of course not, Dr. Mark. I'm a happily married woman.
Ah, Dr. Mark. When I telephoned your office yesterday to begin our relationship anew, I mean to see if you had changed your mind about rejecting my advances I mean insurance, I cried tears upon hanging up. You, Dr. Mark, were the best dentist. You would have sealed my Pookie's teeth. Even at 5:30 on a Friday night if I arrived at 5:37, I am convinced you would have done it.
But alas, my dearest pediatric dentist of yesteryear, you remain cold towards those who I bi-monthly pay to cover the costs of my children's tooth decay - and renewal. You, Dearest Dr. Mark, are not available to me I mean us even all these years later. Our parting was such sweet sorrow. And I shall not spit from your cup - nor shall my children. Again, for now.
Much love I mean respect,
Lovesick I mean Bitter in St. Louis
And the search continues...
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
I will not be back.
Have you any idea what I did to make it to your office today by 11:37AM? I left my Bible study early. I grabbed lunch for all four of my kids (darn the McD's for forgetting a Happy Meal so I had to go back to get it, thus making me late...that's another blog letter for another day, Mr. Ronald McDonald. Be afraid. Be very afraid....) I dropped my youngest son at a friend's so she could take him to preschool. I dragged two kids out of class in the middle of the day. And I raced across town to arrive in your office at 11:37.
Your assistant, Mr. Dentist, informed me she could fix T's tooth - guess you didn't see that on the x-ray back when we asked if his fall would do any damage to his adult teeth -cuz it wouldn't 'take long' but she could not seal Pookie's teeth because it requires a full half hour. At 11:37. Where did she need to go? A funeral? A meeting? A class? Some sort of dental-assistant-must-be-there-can't-be-10 minutes-late sort of soiree? No? NO? No. Lunch. She had to get to lunch. Cuz I watched her take her coat, wait for the other two assistants, get in her car and drive off. For lunch.
Yeah. And while I'm at it, Mr. Dentist. Even Mercer Mayer in the book in your waiting room sees the dentist with his mom before check-out. You know I have never seen you or your smiling face any day that my children were seen in your office since that first fateful day of the fall? Isn't it sort of customary to at least make eye contact with the mother who helps pay for your little sweeties' private educations?
Hey, in a day and age when dentists are a dime a dozen and customer service is key, you can kiss this family of 6 good bye.
Bitter in St. Louis
P.S. I'm sorry I slammed the door when I left. That was pretty childish. I'll be better for my next dentist. I promise.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
And you know what? I know her. Well, I used to. We were band geeks together in high school. There go those stereotypes again. See? I never thought of Laura as an artist. Funny thing is, the last time I saw her was at Pookie's bedside in the peds unit of a local hospital. Laura was Pookie's nurse for one night shift. And now, she takes pictures that are this good. Go see. You won't regret it. And you will be changed.
Yes, she is that good.
And I have to go now and resuscitate my husband. He just read my blog title over my shoulder. Sorry, Honey. It's not true. I promise. But if it were, I'm telling you, Laura'd be my girl...
Monday, January 5, 2009
For Mother Earth and her little 'roo
I love making these.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
I really only foresee one problem with the entire design.
See the canine booty right there in the corner? That's Luke. Remember him, all cute and cuddly a few months ago??
He already looks a little guilty to me.
Yeah. I'm thinking the cat food would go better over here.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Well, that's a story for a different post, now, isn't it?