Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Luke's first birthday..

One year ago tonight.. our world completely changed. Our sweet baby boy was born and our journey as parents began. As I look back over the past year and how God has worked in our lives I am so overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with memories of the 12 days we had with our son. Overwhelmed by the support of so many people who reached out and loved us. Overwhemed by the faithfulness of a God who carried us and empowered us to face the impossible....

Wow - it has been a year.

One year ago, I woke up at 4:30am to get ready for our scheduled induction. I was 38 weeks 6 days pregnant and our doctor felt it would be best to induce labor so that I would not go on my own and not be near an equipped hospital. Benson, my mom and I stayed in a hotel in Indiana the night before the induction. I remember stopping to get Krispy Kremes (one of my huge pregnancy cravings!) the night before... it was the last thing I ate before having Luke.

We arrived at the hospital and I was taken back into the delivery room. I remember looking over and seeing the little isolette which helda little blanket and hat that Luke would be placed in once he was born and how real it suddenly became. Our nurse Tiffany was amazing... we started the Pitocin a little after 6am and I started feeling contractions sometime around 8am. The entire day, we sat around and talked while watching the World Cup. Our family came in and out of our room - I was relaxed, happy and excited. Around 6pm, my contractions began increasing in intensity. I asked for something to take the edge off and they gave me Stadol - big mistake. Apparently, I started seeing McDonald's characters and thought Benson was Grimace the Menace.. ?!

Around 7pm I was 7cm dilated and decided to go ahead and get an epidural. Soon after, they broke my water and things began moving quickly. Within and hour and a half, I was fully dilated and ready to push. In a matter of minutes, our room was filled with more doctors and nurses than I could count. I had such a hard time pushing because my epidural was so strong and I had no feeling at all. After over an hour of pushing and the help of a nasty episiotomy, Luke Aaron came into the world with a weak cry. I remember looking down and thinking about how long and blue he looked. Benson cut the umbilical cord and they handed him immediately over the NICU doctors who began to work on Luke. They handed him to Benson for a few moments and began to transfer him to Kosairs. Before they left the room, they looked at me and asked if I had held him. When I said no, they put him in my arms and I kissed his forehead and told him I loved him and that I needed him to fight for me because we needed him to be okay. The doctors pinched his little feet and said "cry for mama" but he was completely unresponsive and turning darker each second. It was in that moment that I knew something was terribly wrong. I knew HLHS babies usually come out looking like any other heart-healthy babies. I was so scared I gave him immediately back to the doctors and they wheeled him away. That would be the first and only time Benson and I held him without any tubes and wires.

You can read about the day of Luke's birth and the hours following written from Benson's perspective by clicking here. It is crazy to think how much we went through in just a few short hours. Needless to say, Luke's birthday was one that we will never forget...

Happy Birthday Sweet Luke! We love you so much and are so very proud to call you ours. I know that you are celebrating with Jesus and that it has to be way more fun than anything I could plan for you here.. my heart isn't sad for you today... it is sad for me and for your daddy and for all the people who love you who are left here without you. I cannot wait until the day I see you again.. until then, keep changing the world little buddy... you have surely changed ours! We love you!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Cohen!

One year ago today, I sat behind a computer screen 36 weeks pregnant. I had just found out about our sweet Luke's little heart and desperately sought out stories and lives of other women who had given birth to a baby with a heart defect. It didn't take long for me to fall in love with Megan and Brent - a sweet couple who were anticipating the birth of their own little guy who they were told would be born with a broken heart.

So on June 7, 2010... I was one of thousands who kept refreshing the page to her blog, praying and pleading with God that Cohen would be born breathing and crying.... well, he was.

One year ago today, I had no idea that Megan would be the person God placed into my life to be the one who I would "vent" to on the bad days... the one who would email me on the 29th and 10th every month because she knew what living the space between was really like.... I had no idea that she would be the one who I would text when I found out I was pregnant again.... or that I would cry the biggest happiest tears when I finally heard the news that she was too (with TWINS!). I had no idea this girl I have never met would be one of the greatest instruments of healing in my life and that her sweet boy would mean SO much to my family and I.... but, he does.

One year ago today, my little guy was bouncing around in my belly when Cohen was taking his first breath on earth. I had no idea that both Cohen and Luke would share such similar stories or that they would both end up in Heaven together just a few weeks apart. Megan and I often say that we hope our little boys are "best buds" up there together. I had no idea when I saw that first picture this cute baby with dark hair and perfect little lips that he would end up being my son's best friend in Heaven.... but, he is.

So, Happy Birthday best buddy. While you are up there having an awesome birthday party with Jesus know that there are so so so very many people who miss you here. You are so very loved and so very special and I'm so glad to know that you can run around up in Heaven today and celebrate with no tubes, wires or broken heart. You are an amazing miracle and I can't wait for the day I get to meet you and give you the biggest hug and tell you just how you and your sweet mommy and daddy have meant to me.