Darkness // Tag

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18 Sep

I set him on his bed as once again a nurse came rushing in. Just as a reader said the other day she waited, not moving a muscle.

The panic in my eyes to see this nurse, one who hadn’t been with us yet and didn’t know he’d done this before stand there must have been obvious. As she stood she quietly was counting and telling me slowly, “we need to give him a chance to come back on his own.”

Oh my gosh our nurse was a nut job! I wanted her gone! How could she stand and watch him lifeless?!
His color deepened into an ash gray and she hit #9 and quickly began working on him.

How in the world I felt panic and peace at the same time is beyond me but I stepped back a little and just watched. A little bugged that crazy pants was my new nurse, wasting our time and risking my son’s life. And in the same breath feeling totally helpless and aware that I wasn’t feeling anything other than my own fear, that peace was trying to creep through.

Then, beep, beep, beep.

A deep breath, a shaky exhale.

I’d been told just hours before that it could happen more but I honestly hadn’t believed it would.

Just days before I’d been at Cade’s work trick-or-treating with the girls and sure we were at the end of our worries and now here I was, standing with the realization of life slapping me in the face. I had no control over anything and we could lose the one we’d fought to have. Just because I felt it was done didn’t mean I’d get the ending I wanted.

“Often a baby will come back, and in fact he needs to, and has to try to do so on his own. We can’t always do it for him or he will never do it on his own.”

I listened to the nurse and felt her words sink deep in my soul. Another lesson for the NICU and motherhood. Sometimes we want to pick their teachers, friends, save them and protect them from everything, but eventually they have to learn to breath on their own. You can’t steal that from them. They are here to do it themselves.

“Now tell me, when you get home from the NICU what will life be? Do you work? Have any Christmas plans?”

She was changing my attention and letting me snuggle him.

“Well, actually we are currently writing a cookbook.”

A photo of our cookbook sitting on a wooden stand.A photo of our cookbook sitting on a wooden stand.

 

My thoughts last Christmas still ring true:

It was so dark in NICU.

I remember this day perfectly. The decision was made to give our little preemie a feeding tube as a precautionary step to make sure his weight continued to increase. NICU life consisted of pumping, nursing and pumping again, finally going to sleep for 20-60 minutes only to wake up and start the whole process over.

All day. All night.

Plus all the moments of holding and worrying over him. It was an unexpected delivery and the feeding tube wasn’t in my plan, neither were the set backs, one after another. But this day I had a strong impression right after this photo that the tube was holding him back and needed to go.

 

A photo of our new little baby boy curled up on my chest.

A photo of our new little baby boy curled up on my chest.A photo of our new little baby boy curled up on my chest.

 

He was starting to not nurse as well and I felt a voice from within me tell me it had to go. I voiced this to the head nurse who greatly disagreed but I knew and waited for the pediatrician.

He came in hours later and I repeated my concern. He looked at me thoughtfully and then said, the nurses won’t be happy, but I feel you’re right, so let’s pull it and monitor for the next 24 hours.

Sure enough, he had just wanted his momma and immediately began his journey to come home.

I never knew that a baby could change my life so much. We’d already had two, but this little boy, so tender and fragile, coming home right before Christmas changed the entire season for me. Holding a baby boy, thinking of THE baby boy.

Long ago the world would welcome another baby boy, also an unexpected delivery plan. Not the time or place the going mother probably imagined at first. But I know her heart felt sweet whisperings about him as mine did.

Only Mary knows all of those sacred thoughts and feelings, but that Christmas I felt closer to her and Him than I ever had before. All a mother wants is to lead and protect and love that sweet baby, but her’s was born to die before His time, to die an unnecessary and completely necessary death, to die to save.

Because of Him I can hold my babies close tonight and tell them that no matter what, our family will be together forever. Death may sting, but it will not conquer because of Him.

 

 

You’re going to want to click that sound on for this one and love the heck out of this sweet nurse.

I’ve never in my life witnessed anything like this.

I was in my chair, rocking away while he slept and the nurse said, “we are going to give him his first bath now, would you like to come?” 😱😱

HECK YES I WOULD!!

I was tired. I was slipping in the easy faith that surely we’d head home super quick and life would be right back to normal. That just wasn’t happening. I will never be the same because of the NICU, but unfortunately sometimes I forget to see where I’ve come from.

Her gentle, warm hands gave mine a squeeze as she removed his diaper and wrapped him in blankets.
“Oh good, I thought, she’s a whackadoo. Just smile like this 😬 as you get another nurse to save him from looney tunes.”

One fold snuggly tucked under another and her tender voice said, we keep our babies feeling secure, close, warm and safe so they bathe in blankets.

Ahhhh, a genius not a crazy pants.

My heart suddenly leapt into my throat, maybe it was the hormones, but I couldn’t help but think on how gently, how completely wrapped around them in love I wanted to mother.

Why do I always want to explode through their fragile souls with my own demands?

And why can’t anyone bathe me like that? Cade should have tried it all those months he bathed me!! 😜😂😂😂 can you even imagine?! Me all wrapped up and Cade talking like her? Lol!!

Just take it in. Go sit somewhere alone and press play. Do you remember? Do you remember how you couldn’t imagine ever getting angry and how much you wanted to be a good mother? Do you remember how you wanted everyone to go away, to snuggle them up and just stare because it was just you and baby, just perfect magic surrounding you both. Can you see it in their eyes still? That sweet baby is still in there. They get feisty and demanding and flat out obnoxious oh but that spirit is in there…

Suddenly I relived our marriage. I can’t hardly explain it, but let me try…

 

Next: Part 27

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17 Sep

I was sitting towards the end of my hospital bed, all criss cross applesauce style eating a fruit, yogurt and granola parfait, those scratchy pretend-to-be-sheets tucked up over my legs because heaven forbid a hospital room ever not be a frozen tundra or sweaty hot desert. I absolutely never have my ringer on, it bugs me for some reason and so the phone began to buzz…

I pulled my little side table over the bed, careful not to jerk it too hard and spill my big ol’ hospital mug with its crinkle fry straw sticking out. It was Cade calling to tell me all was well. How could it not be?

In just an instant my mind can circle around a whole slew of thoughts. I felt in my mind and heart that we’d been through the mud and while we weren’t totally out things were going to be ok now. I’d continue in gratitude and patience because the end was in sight and I had my eyes locked on the light.

 

A photo of our new little baby in a diaper and little hat with monitors on his chest.A photo of our new little baby in a diaper and little hat with monitors on his chest.

I answered, “hey B! (Not sure why i call him that) Just got back to the room for a minute to eat. I’ve waited so long for yogurt and fresh fruit and yet I’m still sick to my stomach. I can’t believe it’s holding on this time!” I could hear Cade was only waiting, “everything good?”

Silence.

Cade explained that everything was totally dead and would have to be replaced. And where the old ac had been was actually against code. The only place it could be installed would be way over on the opposite side, sitting exactly, perfectly on top of a hole where a tree had once stood. Literally.

What are the chances?

There’s no way we could have taken on tree removal at that time, but someone had inspired me to remove it in order to grant a little blessing later. What are the chances?

I hung up and walked back to the NICU, scanning my wrist and the click to let me push open the door. It was a miracle and I was busy praying that somehow we could figure this all out so we could bring a baby home.

Rounding the corner I just breathed him in.
I saw a tiny, perfect baby and tiny monitors.

Monitors that suddenly started to scream in alarm! My heart exploded as I saw the line go flat and two nurses rush in. All I could do was stand, fingers barely touching my lips.

 

A photo of my holding our tiny little premie.

A photo of my holding our tiny little premie.A photo of my holding our tiny little premie.

 

It’s true you know, time does come to a stop and you somehow take in everything and everyone and yet it’s all a fast as lightening blur, not catching anything that’s happening.

That shade of blue/gray is the worst color in the world. I had no idea that color would change so drastically and so quickly like that when someone wasn’t breathing nor was the heart beating. Was I even breathing anymore?

It wasn’t an immediate jump to CPS like you’d think. And there was no panic in the room. It was quiet and a frenzy of action but no screaming orders or chaos. That is a reminder to us all. First responders keep things quiet, calm, and exact in their life saving. First responders act. They don’t react.

I’m desperately trying to be a first responder in life, with my children and family, with friends and life.

Four hands lifting an airway and rubbing this baby like he was a potato being scrubbed in the sink and “beep, beep, beep” the monitors woke up again. I’d never be annoyed by the constant beeping of the nicu again. It was the beating hearts of fighting warriors.

A gentle hand pressed upon my shoulder, urging me into my rocking chair. As I sat my hands began to tremble a little as she handed me that fragile body housing an incredible spirit of a little boy.

It was hitting me what had happened, and I felt eyes urging mine to look up. She got down low and pierced me with exactness in her eyes, “that might happen again, sometimes preemies lose touch with us but we will always be watching and always come to the rescue.” I think that was my first inhale, my first real breath. The reminder was back, I never stand alone, Angels seen and unseen.

 

One of the very first nights in the NICU a nurse was weighing our little man so I could feed him. That’s how it went, you know.

The old corded phone at my bedside rang out in its shrill little ring, a sound kids today don’t know or understand as they didn’t grow up waiting for their big sister to get off of the phone so they could call a friend to come over to play, or hurry and call their best friend before school to see what she was wearing that day. When you’re sound asleep it’s the sound that rattles your bones and sends your heart racing, palpitating In A way that jolts you awake and sends you into a 3 millisecond panic until you remember where you are and what the sound is.

I grabbed the phone and tried to sound halfway awake. Why did I even care? It was past 1am and perfectly ok for me to be sound asleep, dead exhausted after leaving his room less than an hour ago, hurrying to pump and fall asleep. But for some reason that’s me, trying to clear my sleep voice, “eeehhheeeem, hello?”

“Carrian, he’s stirring so you’d probably better pump and come in to feed him as he will probably be up again soon.”

 

A photo of our son in his little NICU bed with a nurse touching his feet.

A photo of our son in his little NICU bed with a nurse touching his feet.A photo of our son in his little NICU bed with a nurse touching his feet.

I pulled my @plumprettysugar robe around my shoulders, the one I’d live in at the NICU because no one has time for getting ready, let alone clothes in there.

I began the routine.

The sound of the pump always making me feel like a momma cow in line at @tillamook though ice cream wouldn’t be the result. Too bad too.

🥴 or not. That’s weird. 😂 please don’t tell me one of you has tried it. Oh my gosh, my very bones can sense that one of you has tried your own milk. 😂😂😂

I walked in the NICU and the nurse was just picking him up. I had my room routine-the pumping, snacking and sleeping, and there was a NICU routine too.

Baby is woken up the rest of the way, sweetly talked to and cooed at as I changed his teensy little diaper, a newborn size that was drowning him. That warm little body is lifted onto a scale, weighed, and then we nestled back into the rocking chair to feed him. The process would be repeated after feeding him, even the diapers being weighed before thrown away.

I knew it was coming. I saw the little line slowing…

Next: Part 26

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13 Sep

For the full story, please read all our previous posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22,  Part 23

 

4 pounds never looked tiny to me. Our girls were 5 pound babies so it wasn’t too different, but when I was finally able to head to the NICU and found Cade snuggling our little guy my heart began racing.

So tiny and perfect.

 

A photo of Cade snuggling our new little guy.A photo of Cade snuggling our new little guy.

 

Machines beeping and specialists telling us how he was doing, which was amazing. No oxygen was needed, but we’d have a NICU stay ahead of us.

I didn’t know what To expect but as we were taken into a closed section all of the lights were dimmed, almost completely off and we were shown to a little curtained off area with a tiny bed under the lights for baby and a rocking chair for momma.

And so our NICU life began. The first rule anyone in a NICU learns is two steps forward three steps back. A constant roller coaster of health and emotions.

For a nursing mom it means you get started pumping immediately. I’d pump, be called into feed him, then go back to my room to immediately pump again and start building up a supply ASAP. Most often that meant that by the time I was done pumping and nursing I’d been doing so for almost three hours, would sleep for maybe an hour before it was time to wake and start it all over again.

I was ok at first, boarding at the hospital to be near him and constantly learning what he would need to survive.
By the end of the first day I would quickly realize that this was not going to be a regular hospital visit.

Twin babies beside us, another set of twins across the room and a baby to our left were all fighting battles. One set of twins had been in there two months already and mom and dad could only come and go once a day. My heart ached for them. I would give anything for hospital rules to have allowed helpers to hold those babies. Did they know where they were? Did they feel the sweetness of the moment when mom came to hold them each day?

I held our little man and I rocked, back and forth, back and forth and in my mind repeated, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”

Up he looked, eyes locking with mine. Silently watching and waiting. What would he say if he could? Did he know my battle to have him?

 

We had to part ways for a bit. He had some more testing to go through and they needed to get him settled into his bed so I went back to my room to try to sleep a little. Except I couldn’t, a conversation with a doctor on call kept running through my mind…

“I would assume your placenta had started to detach and with him already not growing much and you getting sick again delivering him early probably saved his life and your own. If you hadn’t delivered early he wouldn’t be doing well. He needed to be born in order to make it.”

That darn tree. I had taken it easy but I can’t help but wonder if removing that tree caused the issue. Heavy lifting, pulling etc is known to do that. My mind was racing, putting things together and wondering if once again an inconvenience was yet another miracle.

My little wristband let me I to the nicu. I’d never been in a NICU before. It was dark and quiet, and I could see how alone each baby was. Something I’d learn was far from true but the people couldn’t be seen. His little feet were a poked up mess but I was grateful for the thorough checks on his health. The monitors all glowing and beeping their little rhythms would become the song of our stay, constantly reminding us that he wasn’t out of the woods yet but that there was as much safety as we could ask for.

 

A photo of our little preemie with bandaged up feet.

A photo of our little preemie with bandaged up feet.A photo of our little preemie with bandaged up feet.

 

And then a new sound erupted making me jolt up out of the trance I was in holding those little toes.
It was mom, she’d gotten to the house with the girls but something was wrong, it was November and the house was sitting at 50 degrees. Cade rushed home thinking she had accidentally turned the heat off, only to discover everything was falling apart; the ac, the water heater, and both furnaces were all dead and we had no choice but to replace them all immediately. What are the chances?

NICU baby and no safe place to go home to, with a grandma and two little girls freezing and worrying about their parents and new baby brother. People sometimes forget that the kids feel things too. They know. They experience the hardships as much as we do. In fact, I remember why she was crying now…

 

A photo of our youngest daught sitting on the floor in tears.

A photo of our youngest daught sitting on the floor in tears.A photo of our youngest daught sitting on the floor in tears.

 

I couldn’t find her and I was getting more and more sick trying to calm out to her. Finally I had no choice but to try to get up to look for our little girl, worrying a little that she might need something. But the more I drug my body around and used all of that energy I didn’t have the more and more sick I got and the more frustrated and angry I was getting too. I could feel that tightness in my chest and my blood was starting to boil. I was sick darnit, just answer! Why do i have to crawl all over?!

And there she was. Crying on the floor of her room. I asked why she hadn’t answered me and she threw a fit that she couldn’t find shoes to wear to church.

Are you kidding me?

I’ve now thrown my guts up looking for you and you have three different shoes that work!!

She sobbed harder.

And I snapped.

As I heard the words slice through the air I felt it, felt that gross feeling of, you’re not acting you’re reacting. You’re not loving her, you’re hurting her.

I felt shame. And sometimes shame makes us act worse because we don’t want to humbly calm down and admit we are wrong, especially when their wrong actions started it.
But this one time I did. I crumbled. I apologized and just held her. And then she told me the truth.

Why are so sick? Are you dying? Why are you going back to the hospital?

Don’t
Leave
Me.

I hate that they saw me so broken. I hate that they worried and hurt for me. I hate that I couldn’t even a little bit be a mother. I hate that our 8 and 5 year old were making their own breakfasts and lunches and taking care of each other while I laid on the couch.

But I’m grateful. Grateful they saw me survive. Grateful they learned how to pull together in crises instead of just letting others take care of them. Families, especially ones with kids need a chance to work together in the fire and not just depend on others to carry them through. There’s strength, blessings and talents that couldn’t come about in any other way.

But the fear was real. And it was real again whole we were at the hospital. So we knew what to do, get them to the hospital and be one, one as a family even in the hard stuff.

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12 Sep

For the full story, please read all our previous posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22

I can’t remember if this was right before or right after the tree.

I woke up. I’d been dreaming that I was pulling weed after weed in the backyard when I’d come upon a tree nestled in a corner under our deck. It was almost like I was looking through a lens that zoomed in on the tree and I walked over to it. With a shovel I carefully dig around the tree and with my bare hands pulled it clean out of the dirt, roots and all.

Now most of us would wake up, roll over and recount the story to our husbands who wouldn’t really care or be surprised at the random dream but I woke up feeling it. I just could not get that tree out of my head! I told Cade, “it’s gotta go”

 

A photo of our family.A photo of our family.

Cade and I worked together to dig around the tree, I was trying so hard to take it easy as I was feeling that green, sick to my stomach, body aching and utter exhaustion of pregnancy, but I was diligent. Cade kept saying, you’re sure you want this out?

 

Yup.

You don’t like it, he’d ask.

It’s not that, I just can’t get it out of my head to pull it out.

So we did.

And it was actually really quite hard even though it was a tiny Japanese maple.

I felt nothing.
No pain.
No worse nausea.
No feelings that something was wrong.
But two things were broken and we wouldn’t know it until November 4th, 2015.

When we got to the hospital we told them what had happened. I was worried the baby wasn’t ok. He wasn’t moving and I’d felt everything detach and all of that blood, my goodness it was worse than any childbirth for sure. This was no bloody show or beginnings of labor. It was like there had never been a baby, just a belly full of blood. (TMI? Trust me, I’m sparing you everything else. 😘😘)

Dr Cloward was on call and though Haskett had always been our doctor, she was amazing, Calming, kind and attentive. We were reassured that while I was contracting everything seemed to be ok and there was a possibility I could hold out for a few more weeks. They’d keep me on a few hours to monitor. I didn’t think they understood what we’d seen. But we waited, and Cade fell asleep 🙄

 

Cade is one of those people you want with you for something like childbirth. He’s calm, incredibly supportive and helpful and oh so encouraging. Nothing makes him woozy or uncomfortable and he makes you feel like you can do anything.

 

He wasn’t supposed to come early.

 

I’m a planner and an organizer. I get things done and I’m always ready so nothing shakes me.

But there I laid. Cade had called our friend Adam who was sleeping at our house while we were at the hospital. My mom would drive to Utah from Idaho the next day if anything happened.

 

But it wouldn’t, right?!

 

I couldn’t sleep. The contractions were slowing but my mind was racing.

Was I lacking faith and hope? Why couldn’t I believe that everything would stop and I wouldn’t have him yet.

Or was I feeling the reassurance that I would have him and all would be well? How can you tell the difference, especially in a moment of fear or crisis?

 

I decided to do what I’d done earlier in a previous pregnancy. Have I told you about the blessing to be healed never being given? I’ll tell it tomorrow.

 

For now I prayed to still my heart. To be still, to feel still, to listen.

If this was to be, grant me peace to embrace it.

Over and over I offered that prayer and two hours in the contractions hit hard and sure enough, there was no waiting, only delivering. Only a short hour or so later he arrived.

 

4 pounds 17 inches and the most alert baby I’d ever seen.

 

He knew. He was present and aware of exactly where he had chosen to come. And pardon the tears you can’t see, but maybe he even chose us, chose me to be his mother.

 

A photo of our little baby curled up on my chest.

A photo of our little baby curled up on my chest.A photo of our little baby curled up on my chest.

 

This was the first baby I got to have placed on my chest after delivery and while this isn’t the picture it is how he preferred to be our entire stay in the NICU, all snuggled up and he wanted skin contact. He knew his momma. Isn’t that incredible? That moment when they first placed him on me was unreal. The peace, the burning in my chest, the love, my goodness, it was unreal . And totally unexpected.

I had no idea that when having a baby a month early would mean that my room would be packed to the brim. Extra nurses, the doctor, Cade, a pediatrician, respiratory specialists all watching me deliver with the anticipation that this baby could have problems, this baby could be fighting to survive when he arrived. It was surreal.

 

 

But did you watch the video? He let out a perfect little cry and then immediately quieted, completely still and locked his eyes on mine as they handed him to me. We just stared at each other and I know the facts, newborns can’t see perfectly like we can, so how it happened I don’t know but everyone in the room fell silent and then slowly started to comment on what they were watching and what we all were feeling.

Friends, I’m telling you that room had the most incredible buzz and warmth that was not of this world but could perfectly be felt. He knew exactly where he was and who had him. Suddenly the muttering began, “my goodness, I’ve never seen a baby, let alone a preemie look at someone like that, it’s like he really sees you and knows you. It’s like he wishes he could but open his mouth because he has a message to share.”

And we felt it.

Children do not merely come to earth. Children come from a heaven where they have lived and loved with heavenly parents. They come with a purpose, a mission, a ministry to fulfill. Looking at him looking at me I felt a power I could not deny, each of us has purpose. Each of us is known and loved. I don’t know why life sucks. I don’t know why people hurt and die and why life falls apart and is hard but I know that there is someone who knows our name and stands with us, urging us to turn back to Him.

And then he was gone, whisked off for testing.

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06 Sep

For the full story, please read all our previous posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21

 

We didn’t even have our crib.

Did you have your baby on time? I’ll tell you our story but as much as I love talking and making you all listen (#middlechild), it’s hearing your stories that really makes me happy. Sooooo, tell me about your first, your last, whatever you want, what’s your story?

Mine starts at my baby shower…

 

A photo of the crib in our baby room.A photo of the crib in our baby room.

 

I was due in December, we’d moved in September and it was all becoming so real. But I was sick again. I wonder sometimes if getting so sick again at the end is what always put me into early labor. But having a break in the middle always gave me such strength to push through the final months. Made me feel like I’d been able to catch my breath so I could start climbing my mountain again.

Some see the hope of better days followed by bad as a curse, like why am I going through this again?! But I can’t let myself think like that. The more negative I think the worse I handle life and trials. I look them square in the face and grit my teeth. I have no choice. Getting angry only breaks me, fills me with the poison that will destroy me and I’m not willing to give in to Satan, to trials, to let downs and discouragement.

So instead I got up, annnnd then I ended up throwing my guts up, and in so much pain from the worst migraine to aches and pains everywhere. But it couldn’t possibly be labor yet, right? I mean, that was still a month away.
I didn’t eat.

I couldn’t sleep.

I couldn’t stand.

I laid on our new couch in our new living room and suffered.

Wait, was that the garage?

I heard the quiet rumble of the smaller garage door opening, a car door shutting and the door slowly opening.
It sounds like a horror movie😂

In walked Cade.

“I had a feeling I should come home, why are you on the couch? Oh my gosh, are you ok?”

Tears streamed down my cheeks, “I cannot stop throwing up and I feel like my back is just breaking in half but nothing is consistent so it just can’t be labor.”

Cade knelt beside me and offered a prayer, and nothing changed.

I texted my friends, the joke had been if they gave me a baby shower I’d go into labor . I waited for hours and finally decided to go. Halfway through the shower

Contractions hit hard and I chose…

 

Well, I chose to drive myself home. 😂

I mean, it seems crazy now but even though I knew I was experiencing contractions at my baby shower I just felt so certain that everything would calm down and I wouldn’t be having a preemie baby.

That’s not true.

Somehow I knew I was for sure going to be having him but I wasn’t admitting it.

All our babies had around the same due date and all had been born on the 24, just like Cade. Crazy coincidence for sure and while I was due in December I thought this guy would probably be around the 24th of November, so I’d be fine.

And he was fine.

 

A photo of an ultrasound of a baby.

A photo of an ultrasound of a baby.A photo of an ultrasound of a baby.

 

This is the ultrasound from when we started to worry about his growth and heart issues. But by the end we had seen that somehow all of the heart was there, intact, and perfect. And while his growing or lack of had the specialist nervous and pushing to take him a couple of weeks early I was holding on desperately to the answer I’d been given when I had first gotten pregnant, that he would survive and be healthy because there was an important reason he was joining our family. I mean, seriously white knuckled around that answer.

So I drove home, pulling off to the side and calling Cade just after getting in the car in so much pain I wanted him to be talking to me in case he needed to come and get me.

I got to our house, our new home with Cade waiting anxiously at the door and once again, the last time he’d have to do so, he helped me upstairs and into bed.

The pain hadn’t stopped but it wasn’t horrible so I laid there and Cade immediately conked out… such a man thing🙄😘

By 11 I had woken him up and we were trying to decide what to do, I went to stand up and call the hospital for advice and for the first time in our marriage I saw pure panic in his eyes as he saw what was happening.

 

I’ll spare you all of the details, but it was the first time I’ve ever felt true fear. Something was wrong and there was no denying it.

Obnoxiously (😜😘 love you, Cade) Cade always showered before taking me to the hospital to deliver. I was a middle of the night laborer so it was always after midnight and instead of rushing to grab bags and hop in the car Cade always hopped into the shower.  😶

Yup.

No words.

But don’t be too hard on him, I think it was his way of being alert or something like that. 🙄
Surely someone else’s husband has done something weird in a birth story, right? Someone, quick and one up me.

 

A photo of me with my doctor and two nurses all in their halloween costumes.

A photo of me with my doctor and two nurses all in their halloween costumes.A photo of me with my doctor and two nurses all in their halloween costumes.

 

As we were driving in everything was becoming incredibly painful and I was stuck in my mind on where I’d been that last week. I just couldn’t wrap my head around this being real. Just a couple of days before I’d been at the doctor’s office, laughing at their ridiculous Halloween costumes (I still can’t remember who Dr Haskett was) and feeling like it was one of the best days I’d had. It was the last day I remember feeling like eating instead of wanting to barf at the thought of food that week.

I hadn’t shown any progress and we thought all was well. Baby was little and we were carefully monitoring if I should be taken early. I’d bought new couches and they’d just been delivered. We had gone in the backyard and pulled out a small Japanese maple under the porch after a thought in the middle of the night had awoken me to pull it out and crazy as it sounds, Cade trusted my feeling and we thought nothing more of it.

Just days before we had been trick or treating and getting nursery ideas settled on.

Just days before we had no idea that ripping that tree out was probably a crazy miracle for what was to come. Yes, a tree saved us twice.

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05 Sep

For the full story, please read all our previous posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20

A photo of our family minus the little boy who would join us.A photo of our family minus the little boy who would join us.

Every week I would go to the same floor at the same building. Either the hospital would bring the neonatal specialist to me or I’d go to her.

That crinkly paper waiting to make so much noise I’d feel like my ears would bleed.

Carefully Cade and the doctor would help me up and quietly lift my shirt, squirting that freezing cold gel on my stomach and we’d watch the three huge flat screen TVs for the most incredible views of our unborn baby ever.

I’d told Cade since before we got pregnant, “it’s a boy. I’m certain.” I don’t know if he didn’t really think so or if he was nervous to say yes since he’d guessed wrong with both of our girls but he wouldn’t believe it.

Every week it became more and more obvious. Every week he became more real and when the doctor was 100% sure, I cried. Not because it was a boy, but because it felt like my puzzle piece was being snapped into place.

 

 

I’d known, I’d felt sure we were to have another and it was a boy who not only would join our family, but was waiting to as he had an important mission to complete.

Have I remembered that this month as he’s been acting out? Extra clingy, needy and emotional, an all out pesky boy some days?

I let myself forget. But tonight I won’t, tonight starts fresh.

There were his little arms and oh, he was sucking his thumb!! Measurements began to unfold and he was quite behind on growth.

What had I done? Had I caused this? Was it me?

The doctor reached out and put her hand on my arm, “this baby is a fighter. He takes everything from mom, every last ounce of what even your bones have to offer this baby will pull from you. The body knows how to sustain and provide for another life. Mothers are made to literally give every last ounce to help their child. He lacks nothing, while you will be stripped of it all to the point of possibly losing your life in order to give to him. The ultimate sacrifice and you’re experiencing a moment of it.”

All the tears…

 

A photo of a vase of flowers and pile of lemons in a tray on the island in our kitchen.

A photo of a vase of flowers and pile of lemons in a tray on the island in our kitchen.A photo of a vase of flowers and pile of lemons in a tray on the island in our kitchen.

 

Preparing for pregnancy was as big of a deal as being pregnant. It’s harder than you think to gain weight to protect your body. It can’t just be eating junk because you’ll need a healthy heart and strong muscles too. It’s a mind game too. It messes with you to be obsessing over gaining pounds and still being healthy. To live in a constant awareness of the fight you’re about to enter the ring for. But I had laser focus. I was going to prepare mentally, physically and especially spiritually as I knew that health issues strip you of all you have, especially your will to survive and hope in good things.

Right before I got pregnant I had been studying about Christ and his suffering. I have chills just thinking about how a few things had lit me on fire as I read my scriptures early one morning.

I was in Isaiah 53:7 “He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth…”

That was the beginning of my decision to not complain, to not become negative. I felt something inside of me while reading and knew that it was meant for me. It made my heart burn and that meant God needed me to listen. It was meant to change me. To help me become. Just because something was hard didn’t mean we had to become hardened. And my goodness would I be tested on that with hyperemesis gravidarum.

Sometimes you have a day where you’ve thrown up 36 times and your nose is bleeding and you have sores all over your mouth and throat from the acid and gosh dangit it sucks! And you want someone to know it!

BUT

I decided to let myself cry if I needed it. Call my mom if I needed to say, I can’t do this one more day. And then pick myself up and see the good.

No whining.

No pouting.

No becoming a victim and feeling bad for myself, angry at my body or God or even bothered by others and their lack of understanding.

I decided that if I wanted to be like Christ it would start in my hardest moments. And that’s when it dawned on me…

 

A photo of me 8 months pregnant.

A photo of me 8 months pregnant.A photo of me 8 months pregnant.

 

It was not a coincidence nor was it a tender mercy that we didn’t get the house until I hit a good streak in my pregnancy.

We moved in just a couple of weeks from offer to closing and we were totally unpacked in just two days. Everything found it’s place quickly and easily in the home and we all slept like a rock that first night.

It was home.

No one knew my story and for some reason I didn’t really feel like sharing it yet. It felt too raw and too real still. But as time went on I was getting more and more sick again. Halloween was approaching and I felt really strongly to spend time alone with the girls. I took them out for pizza in their costumes after school and then trick or treated the night away.

It was rough. I was feeling it so much but I didn’t want anyone to know how bad it was getting. Strangely it was just as hard to be sick as it was to think of the pregnancy coming to a close. You’d think I’d be ecstatic but instead it felt so final.

My last pregnancy ever.

My last newborn ever.

My last time experiencing new life ever.

And the trial, the trial ending was somehow hard. I’d felt such a closeness with God, Jesus Christ and my loved ones and now would I get back into the routine of life? Would I forget the growth and miracles?

We went to church that Sunday and I kept thinking, have I been grateful enough for the fire that turned me more into refined silver than if I’d sat in the cold, untouched, never heated. You know that story right?

That it’s only when the refiner can see his image reflected in the hot silver in the fire that it is finally ready… great heat to take it to that point and his image reflected… something to think about. Maybe the fire isn’t because you’re a waste, maybe it’s because of the previous material you are becoming.

But don’t you worry, we had no idea that just three days after this picture, one month early we would be given another chance to grow, to learn empathy and see others more clearly. And we’d learn what it really looks like to watch a life be saved.

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04 Sep

For the full story, please read all our previous posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19

A photo of me sitting at the doctor's office.A photo of me sitting at the doctor's office.

And so I sat and I waited. I’d become a pro at holding perfectly still. Sitting up felt like everything was spinning but to lie back on my own would be the end, and so I sat.

Waiting.

Breathing.

Existing.

 

Tomorrow feeding tubes would be administered and I did not want them.

I don’t know why I’d become so hung up on not having them this time but it felt like the worst torture.

Just a few days prior Cade had carried me up to our bed and I’d passed out throwing up so hard and ended up with a nose bleed. But I didn’t say a word.

And neither did he.

There wasn’t anything to be said. This was survival.

This was life.

As he knelt beside me to pray, something we do together as a couple every night, all I could do was lie there and want another day over with. One more day crossed off. That’s when we got the call,

“Hey, we’ve sat on things for the last two months and wondered if you’d still be interested in buying the house.”

THE house.

Home.

Cade said we’d talk and I got more sick. It was the worst possible time, but we knew it would be our home.

Most often miracles come in the most inconvenient circumstances.

Within days I was here, on this table. I’d poured my whole dang heart out all week, “please, no tubes this time, please.” And the night before I’d felt it, the peace, the answer, I would start leveling out without them.
The dr walked in and said the words I thought for sure he wouldn’t, I’d gotten my answer, but there it was, “time to head to Orem for tubes.”

And suddenly my answer wasn’t enough, I had to fight to make it so, sometimes the miracle also comes from the fight to bring it.

“I don’t want them. I won’t get them. I’ll get better. I’ve been promised.”

He looked at me, “Carrian, your eyes are bulging out your head you’re so dehydrated and starved”
We have a good friendship, he wasn’t being harsh, he was protecting and saving me.

“Dr Haskett, I trust what I’ve felt. Please, give me a few days.”

And he did. He could trust too.

The world stopped in its place and our miracles took over.

On the way home they accepted our offer, and that was the last day we discussed feeding tubes.

But a new curve was going to hit us…

 

A photo of Cade and I.

A photo of Cade and I.A photo of Cade and I.

 

It’s amazing that we are given the gift of looking back. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes that can be bad, always looking back and never moving forward.
But most of the time it’s a chance to finally see.

Looking back is ALWAYS growth for me. Am I better than I was a year ago? Are there miracles I missed while burning through the fire?

Let’s take a quick recap.

Cade had finally found a job and it was ok, but not great.

We wanted to buy a new home that would better suit our family. We couldn’t find one for two whole years. We were frustrated, doubting ourselves, and confused.

We wanted and felt there was supposed to be another in our home, but felt scared as pregnancy didn’t seem like an option so we headed for adoption.

I wanted to show active participation in faith and a miracle and even felt the need to, so I started packing the house, almost 85% done by the time this home accepted our offer. The more I packed the more cluttered our home became and hopeless our situation seemed as no offers were made.

And then the picture began to be painted.

If we had moved earlier we would have lived an hour up north and Cade got a new job a year into searching down South.

What a blessing to not move twice.

Had we moved my closest friends wouldn’t have been next door, literally. Friends that are like family are essential in a time of crisis like that pregnancy.

Had we adopted it would have been wonderful, but we wouldn’t have this little boy. Both would be a win, but I’m humbled by the chance to have him.

Had our house accepted any earlier I truly believe the stress of moving would have been more harmful to baby and I.

Looking back is good because I think of His arms, His eyes, His love. He must have ached so much to see me crying out, begging for miracles and having to hold still. It must have been hard to ask me to empty my hands of all my desires so He could fill them with greater ones. Yes, he is God, but I’m also His little girl & if He wept in the scriptures surely He has for me, but He knew Better was coming.

I can trust that now, the trial was worth it to learn great trust, but there’s another miracle…

 

A photo of my two girls and holding hands.

A photo of my two girls and holding hands.A photo of my two girls and holding hands.

 

Tornadoes sound totally freaky to me. Last night we watch #FreeSolo with some friends and talked about things like BASE jumping and being claustrophobic in caves. When I was going to bed tornadoes popped into my mind.

I’ve never been in one.
I don’t have a fear really, but they do sound terrifying.
Survivors say the eye of the storm is so eerie. Like the stillness and quiet and yet you know what’s coming.
I hit the eye of the storm when I was about 6ish months pregnant.
Things became still.
I went from wanting to roll over and not wake up to harsh morning sickness.
That’s it. Just occasional vomiting and constant nausea.

I’d missed out on all the things while I was in the hospital. My dear friend, Holly got my girls ready for their first dance recital, my friends gathered for their last day of school, whisked them off on play dates and Cade held lots of little pink polished hands.

It destroyed me.

Bla bla bla they won’t remember, I get that, but I felt like such a failure.

As soon as I was well enough I vowed to be more grateful for something as simple as a glass of water, holding hands and talking and breathing in my surroundings. Before I couldn’t stand the smell of the air no matter where I was and once I was feeling up to it I wanted to be outside. I wanted to feel the sun on my face and openly acknowledge to myself and others that my life had been preserved. I was determined to find out what my purpose was.

Immediately we were in go time. We finished packing the house and got things in order to move. We had known for months what we were having but finally decided to share it with others but I desperately needed to know what to expect for this little baby’s heart first. No matter what I wanted to feel peace and not guilt. Not the guilt I still sometimes feel, did my illness cause any lasting issues with my babies? Did I ruin any of their perfect bodies or minds?

How do so many parents take on the medical challenges of children?

Do you know that Cade and I have attended more funerals than weddings and baby blessings ? And all but a small handful were our age or children.

How could I prepare for the worst but hope for the best?

To be continued…

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01 Sep

For the full story, please read all our previous posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18

 

Peanut butter has always been a fave of mine but it holds a special place in my heart now because of yesterday’s story. Not just because of the tiny miracle that filled up the holes in my heart but because of how it changed me.
After getting the answer that I was supposed to be blogging and reminded me I had a work to do that peanut butter story was one of the first outside of my pregnancy I shared online.

It was terrifying.

Still is to be honest.

These are all of my inner most thoughts, feelings, highs, lows and experiences and yet I share them with all of you.

And why?

Why when it’s not food related, well maybe this killer PB BANANA BREAD is 🍌 but why share things so openly?
I’m trying so hard to live up to promises I probably made long before. We believe each of us has a purpose or mission, and it ain’t just to live a good life, so nice try. 😜 it’s also to become and to help others do the same. To be the angel to the person falling apart next to you that no one else is noticing. So how am I doing it?

 

A close up photo of a loaf of peanut butter banana bread still in the pan with chocolate and peanut butter chips on top.A close up photo of a loaf of peanut butter banana bread still in the pan with chocolate and peanut butter chips on top.

 

It’s not just online, though that’s huge. I ask myself all day every day to help me to see and recognize God’s hand in my life and then to be able to articulate moments to share with others. To be a light when they feel dark. And that goes for my real life. Every holiday season We pay for the person’s groceries behind us. It started out as a prayer after that pb to one day pay it forward so I’d leave a couple of bucks at check out when I could and as the blog grew I’ve kept my promise to use it for good, even when that means spending two months paying the entire bill of the person behind me. And every time I do I see that man’s face.

I decided, I’m letting the hurt and trial make me into someone I want to be instead of the victim who suffered. And it’s been AMAZING. I give and think, “please Heavenly Father I don’t need any blessings in return” and that stinker gives back ten fold every time. (He and i get each other and I’m allowed to call Him that 😘😂) You can’t pay him back, the trial is to become. He loves you & sees you, so let Him change you.

 

You know how a certain smell, peppermint like in the movie Anastasia reminds her of her grandma, the smell of rain reminds me of home, and so on can, stir things in you and put you right back in that moment? This picture and the sounds instantly put me back on this table. My breathing feels heavier and my chest is tightening to type it. I remember.

I remember the sound of the paper crinkling under me, the sound of the nurse quietly breathing, the sound of the cuff tightening (a children’s cuff was normally used along with nicu needles etc because everything else was too big for me now) and most of all I remember the sound of silence.

 

A photo of me sitting in the doctor's office getting my blood pressure checked.

A photo of me sitting in the doctor's office getting my blood pressure checked.A photo of me sitting in the doctor's office getting my blood pressure checked.

 

We all knew.

It was time to admit me again.

I couldn’t go back. I couldn’t be there again.

And I knew it would be time for feeding tubes.

Something life saving felt like my enemy.

Dr Haskett walked in and quietly, so tenderly said, Carrian I need to admit you.

I broke.

There was no more, “I have faith! I can overcome! HE can heal me. It won’t be so bad this time because I’ll find the good and hold on.”

That was gone for a moment.

I just cried.

I heard him tell the nurse outside, she needs to be admitted right now, she’s having a hard time though, she started crying when I told her.

No house.

No weight on me.

A baby whose ultrasounds were showing issues with this heart.

And now the hospital. Again.

But man, the hospital was so worth it for the moment Cade captured with our girls the day I was released. I didn’t hear it until we were on stage with thousands of women and it is burned into my heart.

 

A photo pf crepes full of Nutella with fresh raspberries on top.

A photo pf crepes full of Nutella with fresh raspberries on top.A photo pf crepes full of Nutella with fresh raspberries on top.

 

There we were, standing on stage looking into the eyes of a few thousand women and Cade started to tell this story, one that at first kind of sounded like it wasn’t really going anywhere, until I found myself swallowing down gulps to hold back from little sobs on stage. Cade’s words were inspired and full of love in the most tender way a wife could witness…

After being released from the hospital, we came home and I remember that I started cooking crepes for the girls. I remember Carrian laying on the couch as we prepared dinner. {Life with girls is A LOT OF TALKING} My girls were questioning why mommy had to be so sick, why she had to go to the hospital so much, why she had to have tubes in her and why they stuck her so many times with needles.
❤️
I told the girls, “mommy is going through a little bit of a rough time right now, she doesn’t feel very good because of her pregnancy. She’s kind of like crepes.

Right now we only see a big bowl of goo, (thanks a lot Cade…😜) WE CAN’T SEE IT’S POTENTIAL.

What happens after daddy pours this batter into this hot pan?

It takes a HEATING process that allows the liquid to take shape and form into a delicious crepe. Then you get to add Nutella, berries, bananas and anything else you want to make something awesome.

Mommy is like this crepe batter. Even though she is struggling right now, she is really being refined by our Savior and she will be even better than what she originally started as. She’s BECOMING SOMETHING AMAZING.

Cue all the tears. Is that really what my husband saw in me? Someone becoming something amazing? Is that what God and our Savior see? Do they stand back in awe of us in a hot pan, cheering us on and watching the miracle of transformation? And all we feel is the heat, unaware of the change.

That moment, my gosh, a moment years later on a stage and those words pierced me as truth. Going into the hospital had no purpose other than health to me at the time. I had begged to be healed and yet had gotten worse, but looking back I would never change my story. And then the phone rang, it was the house…

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23 Aug

For the full story, please read all our previous posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17…

 

When I was a little girl I was crazy for reading. At this exact age I’d curl up in the corner with my “carebear” my secret nickname my family calls me, ask me later about that one, and I’d read it books or my mom would read to us until she dozed off. A stack of books a mile high. It’s no wonder I also read to my children.

 

A photo of my as a little girl.A photo of my as a little girl.

 

My two favorites were I’ll Love You Forever 😭😭and I Like to Help My Mommy.

Both books about being a mother.

The first how she loved him and sang to him every night, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”

And the next a little boy named Jaime who helped his mommy do everything. I was determined to be a mother one day and I helped my mom with everything just like Jaime did in the Book, probably not always my mom’s favorite.

Now, there I was, I’d promised God that this blog wouldn’t just be about paying our bills, no it was His, God’s platform, and I’d always do with it whatever He wanted. So I was willing to walk.

I remember kneeling down one night, ready to hear those comforting words, “just be a mother” exactly like I wanted & He’d want me to have that righteous desire and instead I was shocked when I had the DISTINCT IMPRESSION that we had a ministry to fulfill and our work was not complete.
😱😔

But that wasn’t my plan!! This wasn’t my plan! I didn’t want to be a working mom, I wanted to be a hold you and love you and laugh with you mom! How could I be both when I was feeling so stressed?!

It was an answer I was not expecting BUT it helped us to set some goals and boundaries.

We were determined to follow Him, Keep our Covenants, love and serve each other, our children, and those around us.

We promised each other, we aren’t in this for the fame or fortune, we are in the business of BEING A LIGHT in an ever increasingly DARK WORLD, just as he had taught us through unemployment.

But then I got pregnant with our 3rd child and that answer quickly was forgotten as life became about survival and a blog wasn’t high on my list.

And now we’ve come full circle, and we can really start to talk about how our lives had and would be changing.

 

A photo of our daughter curled up on the floor crying.

A photo of our daughter curled up on the floor crying.A photo of our daughter curled up on the floor crying.

 

This picture of our daughter destroys me. I can’t remember what started the tears but mommy going back into the hospital is what pushed it over the top. I cannot even begin to express what it does to your heart to not be there for your children while you battle #hyperemesisgravidarum

But I’m grateful. It has made me into who I am. I look them in the eyes and I love all children around me.

Christ didn’t JUST suffer in the garden so that he could be the ONLY ONE who absolutely understands with perfect empathy so he could comfort us AND so that he could show us the way as he’d already climbed the same mountain.

No, pain in this life is also so that we could better understand and know HIM. He has felt everything I have felt. And now I can glimpse into his suffering and with love choose to stand with him. Be his. Forever. “Then saith he into them, my soul is exceeding sorrowful, even into death: tary ye here, and watch with me… and he went a little further and fell on his face and prayed,” Matthew 26:38-39

“Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
Luke 22:42-44

He hurt. He acknowledged the pain, asked others to stand with him, asked to be saved, and was ministered to by angels. That would be my present and future. I knew it had already been my past and could death grip on the faith I’d already been given.

I prayed every day. I looked for the blessings. I was submissive and chose to hold on. On the hardest days I would say, cheesy as it sounds, “go ahead and keep trying to break me, let Satan tempt me to anger or sadness, I am not giving up on what I know to be true, I do NOT stand alone.”

And I didn’t. I allowed myself to see every angel in my life that ministered as he was ministered to and I recognized out loud and in my mind that all was witness that Christ too was there, ministering. He knew the pain and would never let me suffer without him. May I share something that will change you?

 

I can remember…

We had been unemployed with two small children for over a year and we were feeling quite broken.

Oh, we were so frustrated but we were also just certain that there was a reason for it and that our prayers would be answered in looking for a job. We held on to the feeling that it would be ok and knew that it would be our choice to live and serve as happy as we could in the darkest of times.

And we did.

Sure we cried and got mad at our situation at times but choosing to hold on made it so that those feelings quickly left and we pressed forward.

At one point our savings account had been spent and we had sold a piece of furniture to pay the bills . We were living off of our food storage (what we had bought in case of emergency) and only had a few dollars left. I went to the store all alone to buy a few things.

I felt like somehow everyone knew I had nothing as I walked through those aisles. We hadn’t had fresh produce in a year and I couldn’t imagine ever going shopping and just buying whatever I needed, or even a want.

I picked up milk, bread, a small cheese and peanut butter that was on sale. When checking out it rang up too high and I awkwardly said, “oh, I actually didn’t need that peanut butter” paid for the rest and quickly left feeling totally humiliated.

I’ve honestly never felt so low and alone. We had done everything right, we were good with our money, held a tight budget, gotten our degrees, were faithful and prayerful, continuously sought opportunities to serve and yet somehow people whose lives were a mess seemed to be blessed with more.

It was a moment I wondered, and for the first time ever, if I had worth.

As I approached our car a bagger came running up to me and explained that an older gentleman had said that no one should ever be without peanut butter and bought it for me. I can’t even type without tears streaming down my face.

 

A photo of a stack of peanut butter meltaway cookies.

A photo of a stack of peanut butter meltaway cookies.A photo of a stack of peanut butter meltaway cookies.

 

That man had compassion on me when he could have seen me as lazy or worthless because I couldn’t even buy peanut butter or a million other things. Instead he saw a human being that needed a tender mercy and he didn’t need to ask any questions, he just needed to act.

To be continued..

 

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