06 February 2012

Miracles Do Happen

I've been asked to share the story of my miracle boy. I hope this story inspires you, and makes you think.

In 2002, I was 31 years old, and had been married to Mr. Think for about 6 years. We had tried for a baby, but it hadn't fit into God's plan yet. When I got the flu around the beginning of November, I thought nothing of it. It was a nagging flu, though - I couldn't shake it. When the new year rolled around and I still had the stinking flu, I finally went to the doctor. Surprise - it isn't the flu! LOL. We confirmed conception the day after Valentine's day 2003. We were excited and nervous, like any first time parent would be, right?
For a few weeks, life was actually beginning to feel good. I knew why I was so tired and sick feeling, and was able to eat properly and get plenty of rest. Add that to the fact that I was nearing 6 months already, it was time for that sick feeling to go! We went to two routine appointments, and showed up for our 23 week appointment on Mr. T's birthday, March 24. The doctor examined me, and asked me to lie down in a dark room for a few minutes. I didn't know what for, but I tried to lie down and relax. After about half an hour, he came and took my blood pressure again. He ended up sending us up to the hospital "just as a precaution" right then. We went home and packed a few things and drove up to Piedmont Hospital in downtown Atlanta.
Once I was examined in the women's unit at Piedmont, they went ahead and admitted me. The next week was one of extreme boredom - I slept most of the time because I was dead bored. I was also very, very ready to come home. The doctors had told us I was suffering from pre-eclampsia, but that in many cases it could be managed from home. Eager to return home, I did what they told me to do, so I would be released as soon as possible. 
Saturday morning I woke up with awful heartburn. Since consistently one of the things I'd suffered with my pregnancy was heartburn, I really thought nothing of it. I asked the nurses for some Tums. Well, the day wore on and so did my indigestion. I was beginning to get frustrated with the nurses who would not give me any Tums. I even begged my mom to go get me some Alka Seltzer tablets. 
My doctor finally was able to see me at about 6 p.m. on Saturday. He examined me and ordered more tests. Several times over the next few hours the nurses would come in and take blood and vitals. I was getting quite worried, because no one would tell us what was going on, and it was obvious that something was going on.
At about 10 p.m., my obstetrician and another doctor came in the room. They explained to me that I was experiencing something called HELLP syndrome. I'd never heard of it. They explained it briefly and said it meant that I absolutely had to deliver the baby right away - I was literally dying. They explained to me and Mr. T all of the horrible consequences for a baby born at 23 weeks 5 days gestation. Honestly, I was at the point where I didn't care anymore. I was terrified, felt awful, and was just sure my baby was going to die. Mr. T & I signed the surgical authorization papers for a c-section and I just felt numb. The neonatal specialist asked me, "If the baby is born alive, do you want us to work on it?" What could I say? OF COURSE!!!
My mom had visited me that day, and had already left for home. Mr. T. called her, and she came rushing back to Piedmont. My dad and his wife were there visiting as well. Just before I was wheeled into surgery, my mom said to me, "Remember, Cassie, Sometimes He comes in the clouds." That wonderful song by Stephen Curtis Chapman filled my heart and I grasped that hope tightly. Mr. T. left me to gown up, and I went into the surgery room alone. I was given an epidural and then I lay on the bed awaiting the surgeons. I remember I was FREEZING! I was begging for a blanket! 
I was finally ready for surgery. Mr. T. had come in, and I held his hand in a death-grip. He whispered to me that the room was FULL of doctors and nurses ready to assist with the baby.
They delivered our son at a few minutes before 1 a.m. on March 30, 2003. The moment I heard his cry, peace washed over my wounded spirit like a soothing river. It was if, at that moment, God swept me up in His arms and I knew - I KNEW - that everything would be alright.
Too emotional for me. I have to take a break.
to be continued in Miracles Do Happen, part 2.

04 February 2012

What is thriving?

Nike, at Choose to Thrive describes her realization that thriving is a choice to live deliberately with thankfulness, gratitude, and appreciation no matter what financial, social, or emotional situation you find yourself in. She says, in part,

I think Hubs and I figured we’d enjoy the upstairs and yard, put up with the downstairs and be happily onto one of those shiny new houses across the street in a few years… part of me has given up trying to make this house feel like a home…the other, more important part is that I've realized that I’ve been playing the wo-is-me-card way too often and using the excuse that we can’t afford to remodel anything the way we’d like so why bother to put my heart into this place… If these walls could talk, they’d tell our story… And for that reason, I love this house. I am so grateful for this house.  And this house deserves better… I want these walls to say that we loved this place for everything it was … that we poured our heart and soul into making it the very best home it could be … that we faced the trials and sorrow of our life as a family, gathered together safely under this roof.

I think she’s right. I think she’s so right, that I am adapting her pledge to be mine, and I invite you to do the same.

I acknowledge that I have not cared for, have not cherished my house as a blessing from God. I am ashamed to admit I have allowed outside concerns, that I have allowed kid destruction and time to tire me out, to sap my enthusiasm for having a home that is welcoming and reflects my love of family, my faith in God, and my place as part of a community of believers. 
It is too easy to see what I hate about my house I need new flooring, I want to make changes to every room, I don’t have enough storage, I don’t have enough room to entertain but choosing to thrive means I will notice instead the love that has lived within these walls. 
I will remember bright-eyed foster children that God allowed me to love. 
I will remember bringing home a beautiful boy who was a true miracle. 
I will remember becoming more than just two people joined together in this house. I will remember becoming a family, stronger together than the sum of our parts, eternal in our devotion to the King. 
I will remember the struggles of joblessness, the challenges of juggling college and homeschool and work and housework and ill health. 
I will remember God’s promise to be with me always. 
I will look at my home with new eyes. 
I will see the beauty and blessing in the rooms I have, instead of wishing for, and dreaming of larger rooms in a different house. 
I will stop putting off for “one day” the things that I can do now, and I will focus on what is possible and not what I believe is impossible. 
I will teach my son what stewardship really means, showing him by example how to show gratitude to God for His gifts. 
I will seek to the best of my ability to treat every part of my life as a precious gift from God by caring for it, loving it, and nurturing it even the things that cause me pain or heartache, because pain and heartache lead to growth and understanding. 
I say to God and myself today that I will create a home that reflects not who I am today, but who I aim to be as a sanctified, holy, perfect Child of God. 
I will not give up even though I am sorely tested. 
I will thrivehere, where I am now, with what I’ve been given.