Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"Faith comes from hearing, and hearing comes from the Word of God."

"Faith comes from hearing, and hearing comes from the Word of God."
Romans 10:17
Our son can hear.

When I pulled out my phone to video tape Hunter's first few moments with his hearing aids in place, we were warned by Hunter's Audiologist that most of the time, babies don't have an outward, visible response to sound when their hearing aids are placed. She said that sometimes they get over-stimulate and cry but hardly ever do you see an obvious change... it's more of a gradual process as they get used to new sounds.

She was just as amazed as we were ....

And I'm SO glad I had my phone!
His eyes opened wide, his body stilled, his breathing steadied, and he listened.... really listened. 
It turns out, we're pretty funny!
We spent Hunter's first day of hearing by making lots of noises... and singing lots of songs!
Hunter started Sound Therapy today... we aren't wasting any time introducing sound to him, labeling various noises, and getting excited about the smallest of daily sounds. He's been alert and very aware of who is around him and where sound is coming from... it's been amazing to watch him take in so much in just one day!
Knowing for a fact, that for the very first time Hunter is hearing every single sound is an overwhelming feeling.... and if it is for me, I know it is for him. He's handling it so perfectly and we are so proud of him!
Our biggest prayer now is that Hunter's language will start to develop quickly. He is completely caught up, developmentally and his only delay right now is speech. He's a quick learner and with his big sister around, I just know he'll be a chatter-box soon enough :-)
I'm ready to hear this boys voice now!
Our son can hear.
And God is so good.

Monday, May 27, 2013

One Must Breathe... In Order to Hear

We've been quiet lately...
and Satan has been at work.
Our sweet boy has had one heck of a month.
Yesterday morning we celebrated Hunter's ONE YEAR home-coming anniversary with some yummy Dunkin' Donuts....
We spent last night back at the scene of the crime...
We spent one looooooooooonnnnnnnngggggggg night in the hospital, desperately trying to help our sweet boy control his breathing.
He just couldn't stand celebrating his home-coming anywhere but... there :-/
Hunter has asthma.
That's not news to anyone.
We've called for the help of 911. We've rushed to the ER. We've screamed and yelled and fought tooth and nail to be sure that our son is safe and cared for and.... breathing.
Breathing has always been a 'hurdle' for him and it's one we will continue to overcome time and time again.....
But so has hearing.
So last night we spent the night at the hospital, terrified that somehow, someway Satan was going to find a way to cancel the appointment we've been waiting for....
the one that's tomorrow morning at 9am...
the one where we will walk out a large set of double doors with a very tiny set of hearing aids.
He tried really really really hard to cancel that appointment.
But he didn't.
Do you wanna know something?!
In every situation, in every single terrifying and seemingly impossible situation we've been faced with in the past year...
Satan has never... not even once... not even HALF of once, has he won.
He'll never win.
At 10:30am this morning, our sweet little girl... against many 'professional opinions', but in line with the opinions of those who know him best (Us :-))... was reunited with her completely exhausted, still-somewhat-breathing-challenged baby brother....
Sometimes.... just sometimes.... a big sister is better medicine than any concoction of ingredients could ever be.
And tomorrow?!
Tomorrow will come....
And exactly 12 hours from now, our long-lasting countdown will finally come to an end.
Our sweet boy will hear.
The sound of running water when I get him ready for his bath.
The sound of the sprinklers when his Daddy takes him outside to grill dinner.
The sound of himself chewing.
The sound of his Mommy quietly singing him to sleep.
The sound of his sister praying the most beautiful prayers a 4 year old could possible pray.
The sound of the daily noise that we all take for granted.
Sounds he has never heard.
Our sweet boy....
He will hear.
I can't tell you what it feels like for a Mama and Daddy's heart the night before their son will hear...
So many sounds... so much quiet... so much uncertainty and insecurity.
Tomorrow. 9am.
Satan lost this one, too.
You've waited with us, too... you've prayed and you've encouraged us and we can't wait to share that moment with you....
He will hear.
(Hopefully, he'll be breathing well, too ;-))

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The 'D' Word

Yeah, Yeah... damn, dick, dork, doof (if you grew up in my house ;-)), divorce, disease, disability...
We've discussed disappointment before when it related to expectations...
The kind of disappointment I've experienced most recently feels so much different than the kind we've discussed before.
It's a kind of disappointment that leads you to question everything you thought you knew about someone... about their morals, their aspirations as a parent or friend or wife or sibling, their beliefs, their ability to forgive, their ability to love without conditions, and their acceptance of others' regardless of the circumstance.
Moms and Dads. Brothers and sisters. Husbands and wives. Best friends.
There are many people in my life, both friends and family, who are my 'go to' people when crisis strikes. They support and encourage me, and when words don't seem appropriate, they pray for me. They check on me and reach out to me even when I've crawled inside of my own fear or misery or anger or sadness. I trust them. I know that no matter WHAT I do or HOW I do it or WHY, they'll be there. They'll still call and they'll still love me and they'll still know that I am ME. They might not agree with me or 'approve' of the decisions I make but they continue to be my ICOE.
They are my 'In Case of Emergency'.
When crisis strikes, those ICOE contacts become your lifeline... they know you well enough that they possess the innate ability to keep you grounded, to know when you're at your lowest and be right beside you as you climb out of the pit. You rest assured every second of your relationship that nothing and no one can or will change your relationship. It might be tested... but it will never change...
because they love YOU... unconditionally.
Not the decisions you make or the people you spend time with or the kind of parent you are or what kind of wife you are or what happened in your past...
they know YOU and they love YOU, regardless.

Your ICOE is supposed to know 'unconditional'.
There's another side. I observe my ICOE's closely... I take note of the way the handle their own life crises and how they respond to other's in crisis. I never miss the tiny hint of their disapproval, disappointment, bitterness, or slight shake of their head when that person and their crisis are mentioned. I take note of those things, not to hold it against them, but to protect myself from them.

"If she can talk about 'so and so' when she's not around, then she's capable of talking about me when I'm not around, too!"

See? We've all done it.
It might not be 'right' but it's true for us all.
I've learned that, no matter how well you know someone, or how much you trust them, you will inevitably find yourself disappointed in them at some point in your relationship... there will inevitably be that one 'emergency' that truly tests their ability to 'live up to' the status they hold in your life.
Your best friend. Your confidante. Your ICOE.
Or maybe you'll witness their response to someone else's crisis.... and that response will floor you because you know them and would have expected more.
There's that expectation again.
But this kind of disappointment just feels so much different.... it's the kind of disappointment that leads to a change, not only in your relationship, but in your belief in that person. It's the kind that can't seem end with 'I'm sorry' and 'I forgive you'.....
You and your husband suffer through infertility and decide to pursue IVF.... but your parents think that's an irresponsible financial or moral decision, so you travel that path alone and when your baby comes, their expectation is that they'll pick up where they left off, wanting to play a role in this beautiful, wonderful, perfectly made child's life... but you can't help but remember their 'disapproval' and lack of support during the most difficult time of your life every single day. You expected more... and now everything has changed.
You've spent decades alone but still know that your purpose is to be a mom so you start the adoption process or pursue IVF with a 'doner'... but your friends think you're crazy for bringing a child into a one-parent home and you go to your appointments alone, even though you long for the company of your ICOE. You expected more... and now everything has changed.
You were raised in a strong Christian home, knowing what the Bible says about sex before marriage and weeks after a single moment of human weakness, the words 'pregnant' taunts you in the quietness of your bathroom.... and your parents are disappointed, creating a crack in the wall of your relationship as you struggle alone to plan your future while they struggle just to grasp the 'magnitude' of this particular mistake when you've made many many more of them in the past. You expected more... and now everything has changed.
You decide to abort your baby.... and the family member who loved you through so much darkness before, will never speak to you again as if continuing a relationship with you will somehow stain their own reputation. You expected more... and now everything has changed.
You decide to parent your baby but you'll never be able to count on the emotional support of your ICOE's because they can't get past your moment of human weakness.... so you find yourself facing parenthood without your community of people who know you the most. You expected more... and now everything has changed.
You choose to fore go your right and even ability to parent your baby and you choose a lifetime of loss and pain in order to give your child a life he/she deserves and you place him/her for adoption...  the relationships you built through thick and thin just can't weather THIS kind of crisis and as if living life without your child isn't enough, you lose that one person who should have been there for you. You expected more.... and now everything has changed.
The one person who knows you, and trusts you, and loves you....
ICOE's know unconditional...
They are able to step outside of the circumstance and know that the circumstance doesn't change who they know to be YOU...
You're still YOU... no matter the crisis or the decisions or the circumstance.
You're still you.
But at one pivotal point in your life, the crisis or decisions or the circumstance becomes too much and your ICOE will disappoint you...
what you thought you KNEW about their ability to love unconditionally and accept you for who YOU are and not what you do ...their ability to fore go their own opinions and own disappointments in order to love YOU unconditionally.... you'll even question their belief that 'all things work together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28)'...
and they fail you.
Sometimes you're the spectator as your ICOE walks through crisis with someone else and sometimes you're the one in crisis, desperately needing the precious connection you've built with him/her.
But when a circumstance tests what you know to be true about someone and they fail you, what happens then?
Naturally, you'll lose a little trust in them... you'll probably distance yourself from them... you'll quietly observe them from that distance, but this time in a different light...
If your relationship can weather the storm, you'll enter your post-storm relationship with a few reservations or contingencies...
We won't talk about the past.... we won't discuss our children... we won't mention who is expecting... we won't share details of our other relationships....
And at some point you realize that the disappointment you felt when your ICOE failed to fall under the umbrella of qualities you've been so sure of in the past...
Isn't any better than the way you've taken 'unconditional' out of your love and acceptance for them.
"I love you, but...." & "I love you, except for when..."
are responsible for taking the unconditional away from love.
I've learned that disappointment stemming from our expectations of others' is one of the most difficult of the human emotional processes to overcome....
But when I dig deep into God's Word, searching for some way I can let go of my pre-conceived ideas of how my ICOE's should act or feel, I realize that if my ultimate goal is to model my life after Christ, I can't hold anyone up to a standard that I'm not willing to hold myself to....
and regardless of what we do or how we handle it or how you feel about it or what comes of it...
God never sees us as disappointments.
To Him we are forgiven (Psalm 86:5) and saved (Acts 2:21) ... you're a person of hope (Jeremiah 29:11) and you're His beloved child (2 Corin 6:17-18).
If you're all of those things to HIM, your ICOE is, too....
and that makes all the difference between disappointment and unconditional love, no matter what side of the crisis you're on.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

To the Hopeful Mama that was Me not too Long Ago on Mother's Day....

Mother's Day means so much to me.

Not because it's a Hallmark Holiday or because I get presents and special treatment.
It's special to me because I'm a mom...

And there was a day not too long ago, when I wasn't.

I've spent time this week remembering what my life looked like on Mother's Day almost 6 years ago....

I remember.... I didn't want to get out of bed that morning. Couldn't we just skip that day?!

I remember going to church.... being immersed in a sermon about the joys of motherhood and the crucial role they play in everyone's lives.

I remember... cringing when each mom received a beautiful rose at the end of the sermon.

I remember my students.... and the sweet cards they made for their moms.

That morning, 6 years ago... I did get out of bed. I went to church. I listened intently as our Pastor's wife talked about motherhood. And I walked quietly by the dozens of baskets overflowing with roses.

I remember walking into the restroom and finally letting myself cry.

A friend once told me how 'impressed' she was at my strength throughout our infertility journey and she wondered how I handled it all without a 'why me?!' attitude.

That morning? 'Why me' was my cry.

This week? This Mother's Day?

I get a Mother's Day.

I don't care about presents or flowers or even roses at church....

I'm a mom.

And that's enough for me.... (though, I better get a handmade card ;-))

But here's the thing...

I still have that same question....

Why ME?!

This year, it's a little different;

Why am I the one who gets breakfast in bed?!

Why in the world would there be a sermon that is dedicated to ME... to the role and 'job' that God has called me to do?!

What did I do to deserve that rose on my way out of church?!


Who has taken my place in the church restroom...?

I will never forget that Mother's Day Sunday, 6 years ago. It is forever etched in my memory and I truly hope it does stay for good.


To the Hopeful-Mama that was me not too long ago, on this Mother's Day....

Get out of bed. There's at least one woman in your life who you need to celebrate this Sunday. You wouldn't be who you are without her... and you won't be the Mama you're GOING TO BE without her, either.

 Go to church. Listen to that sermon and don't forget a single word... you're going to need every one of them etched in YOUR heart one day soon.

Walk by the flowers with your head held high.... that flower will be wilted and forgotten by morning. YOUR hope and YOUR future are still in God's hands, whether it's Mother's Day or just another Sunday.

And please know this....

I don't know if you'll be reading this from a distance or if you'll be the woman sitting next to me at church.... but YOU are not forgotten.

Society has convinced us that Mother's Day is a celebration of TODAY'S moms but...

Is the Mama who lost her baby exempt just because her baby isn't with her on Mother's Day?!

What about the Mama who placed her only baby for adoption.... who sacrificed her many days of Motherhood to give him/her a life bigger and better than the one she could provide... who gave another Hopeful Mama her Mother's Day?!

The Mama who's children were taken from her. The Mama who outlived her child and is now just 'Gramma'....

The Mama who isn't quite a Mama yet but who's heart has been one forever.

You fit right in. No matter what society says... you ARE a Mama. A Hopeful Mama.

Spend Sunday celebrating the women in your life who have influenced you so positively that there's nothing in the world you'd rather be than a Mama, yourself....

And then, when the celebrating is over... do something that you've gone the distance to avoid for so long;

Let yourself dream.

Mother's Day for a Hopeful Daddy is tough, too.... Joey didn't know what to do to help me on that Sunday 5 years ago.

If you have a 'Joey', bring him into your dream.... take a few minutes over dessert or a glass of wine to plan your nursery, to talk about names, to express to each other what your perfect Mother's or Father's Day would look like...


Maybe you're single and in your mid-30's wondering every day if you'll ever meet the 'one' who can make you a Mama.. maybe you're ready to be a Mama but your husband isn't quite ready to be a Daddy.... maybe you're in the middle of that dreaded first year of trying to get pregnant... maybe you've started infertility treatments... maybe you've had a miscarriage or a still birth... maybe your marriage just ended right when your heart was ready to be a mama... maybe you just submitted your adoption application... maybe you're 'waiting'....

Let your Mother's Day be a celebration of the HOPE you have as a Hopeful Mama.
And know this...

You're not alone. You're not forgotten. And one day...

You'll get that handmade card from your baby.

Don't miss one second of this Mother's Day.....

It will one day be a memory that you will try to remember forever because that day is what will make every one of your Mother's Days as a Mama even more special than breakfast in bed, presents, special treatment, sermons about motherhood, and roses.

You'll be a Mama and you'd do it all over again if you had to ...

because that's what makes every day YOUR Mother's Day.

Me.... a once Hopeful and now Mama