Monday, April 14, 2008

What I Have Learned...

I know that I have been "complaining" a lot I wanted to take this moment to say what I have learned from everything between Kaden and Ava.

I have learned that I am a lot stronger than I thought I was. I have my moments as anyone would but I am (as I have said before) so proud of what I have become from it all.

I have learned (a little too much about) patience.

I have learned faith (again).

I have learned that Nate is even more of great dad than I already thought he would be. I am so thankful that God put the two of us together. Don't get me wrong, we have our times as any couple would in this situation but it is making our marriage stronger, it is proving to us that we can get through anything together.

I have learned that a complete stranger can be your closest friend. I can not believe how many wonderful people I met. It means so much to me to have all of you in our lives. Your strength helps build our strength. I am inspired by each and every one of you and the kindness you extend to myself and my family.

I have also learned the TRUE importance of family. I have been blessed with an absolute wonderful family and extended family. I can honestly say I know how it feels to be loved and supported. I know that I can count on them to help us get through any sticky situation. I also love the fact that they are so loving and accepting of my babies. Nate and I try to let Kaden live as normal as a life as possible and our family does the same.

I am so thankful with all that we have been blessed with.

What does it mean to be the parent of a child with a heart defect?

It means going into your baby's room a dozen times a night just to check to see if he's still breathing.
It means standing over the crib to watch the chest rise and fall and when you don't see it move, you begin to panic and put your head down close to your baby's face to try and hear him breathe.
It means that when you don't see the chest move and you don't hear him breathing (because your own heart's beating is drowning out any other sound in the room), you put your finger under the baby's nose to feel the air on your finger – until you wake the baby and it stirs – and you're thankful, so thankful that he's still with you.
It means feeling a huge sense of relief when he hears you and opens his eyes and smiles.
It means saying a prayer of thanks for another day.
It means measuring out his medication and panicking if he spits some of it out. How much did he spit out? One cc? Two or three? Then wondering if you should guesstimate how much more he should have and if you'd overmedicate him.

It means checking his nail beds against your own to determine how blue he is today.
It means asking your husband, your mother, or your sister, "Do his lips look blue to you?"
It means snuggling him in an extra blanket for fear he won't be warm enough.
It means worrying that even a sniffle could cause an infection that could harm his heart.
It means taking your baby to the doctor and worrying that he will catch something in the waiting room, so you walk back and forth in the corridor until the nurse calls his name and takes you straight back to the examination room.
It means knowing that everyday is a blessing and a gift.
It means knowing that you are the luckiest person in the world, just to be a parent.

It means cherishing every moment, every breath with such intensity that you feel tears come to your eyes for no apparent reason.
It means praying for a miracle to save your baby's life.
It means praying your marriage is strong enough to endure the hospitalizations, separations, and grief.
It means praying for the will to live, even if your baby doesn't.
It means your own heart knows a pain, no parent should know.
It means feeling weak, helpless, angry, and depressed because your child's fate is out of your hands.
It means feeling strong, determined, and brave because you know you have to be.
It means your love knows new unlimited boundaries.
It means your pride in your child's accomplishments is unparalleled.
It means your pain has taught you a deeper sense of compassion than you ever imagined.
It means we are all united by the same feelings.
It means that we all know the mixed up emotions of dealing with death – but more importantly of living with life.
It means that even though we are strangers, we are more to each other than friends could ever be.

By Anna Jaworski (1996)


Heather said...

Your family has blessed others in countless ways because you have selflessly allowed others to walk this journey with you, strangers. Allowing us into your lives during the most personal and private time of your life.My family thanks you because your strength and your story lets us know we are not alone as we too struggle finding our way through our own detour in this road. You have much to be proud of. And although we did not set out to be inspirations to others and although there are times we would trade that label, it is what we have become. And thats ok because it means that this journey has been for a greater purpose.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the poem! It's amazing! so I can't wait to see you next week! It's going to be a GREAT day!! :) be ready to be spoiled! haha hope you have a wonderful evening and rest of the week! I'll talk to you soon! Love ya!

Isabella said...

That was beautiful. I think it is so wonderful that you can take such good things away from your experiences. I know Isabella and all we have been through with her has changed my life. The little poem at the end is awesome, (I might have to steal that!!)
Love and Prayers Always
p.s. Matt doesn't start his job until sometime next week. I hope he likes it!!

Ashlea said...

That was a great poem. While I was reading, I was doing a mental checklist of all the things that I (we) have done. It brought tears to my eyes. Your part was wonderful too. It is so very hard to remember the good things, they just seem so far away. I feel the same way. It does seem like strangers are there for you more than anyone else. In that regard, I'm glad I can be a stranger! I've always been strange, so I guess it fits. :)

The Bryant Family said...

LOVE THE POEM! Nothing says it better. and the first paragraph is ME ALL OVER THE PLACE. (I had to chuckle) I hope you have a wonderful week. I called and left a message. I know you dont want to "inconvenience" me but you arent. IF you want a break, I am close and can. I thought maybe I would atleast come down and meet you and possibly (if you feel comfortable) take you to lunch. We can stay at the hospital if you want or I can take you OUT OF THE PLACE for an hour or so. If you need to go to Walmart or anything....

Gabi's Mommy said...

Amy you are such an amazing mother and friend...thank you! You always know just the right thing to say at the right time. You have no idea how much your words gave us encouragement. I have learned so much by our stories, along with other:), that our children define us as who we should be. And for that I am forever thankful that the Lord brought such joy and pain into our lives! Gabi made us better people, just as I am sure you would agree Kaden and Ava continue to do so for you and Nate.

I haven't read the poem yet, I am having another rough moment, but when I do I will let you know.

God bless you all!
Love and Prayers:)

Anonymous said...

Amy and Nate, we continue to keep you all in our thoughts and prayers, and we try to read the blog every day. your strength through all of this is amazing, and indeed you two are blessed to have each other. just wanted you to know we're thinking of you always.
Randy and Karen, in Topeka