Tag Archives: thankful

#thankful

Today is Thanksgiving.  A day to remember what and, more importantly, who we’re thankful for.  A day to watch Santa welcome in Christmas alongside giant balloons and Broadway dancers in New York city. A day to gorge ourselves into a turkey-induced sleep coma.  All of which I will take part in.

One thing I love about Thanksgiving is how my kids have started to make their own memories. Audrey loves to wake up early and watch the parade with me.  She never eats breakfast because she wants to have that much more room in her belly for turkey and mashed potatoes.  Austen will sleep in, but will be 100% focused on family and potatoes once he is awake.  Autumn has already placed her hot chocolate order so she can sip along with me on the couch before everyone else is up.

My kids have great relationships and friendships with each other.  Of course they have their moments where they fight, disagree, argue.  In fact, sometimes it feels like that’s the norm.  It’s not, but when they’re all at each other, because they out number us parents 2 to 1, it’s a lot.  But at the end of the day they love each other and know how to show it.  In fact, they have started telling each other “I love you.”

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, I NEVER said that to my siblings.  Of course I loved them.  I still do.  But the fighting between me and my younger sister was more present than it wasn’t.  I remember my mom sometimes crying over us because we fought so much.  I never would’ve imagined how my relationship with my sister would turn out as it has.

Michelle, my two-year younger sister, is now one of my best friends.  She loves my kids the way I love my kids.  She supports me, loves me, and is always available if I need her.  Michelle has a lot going on in her own life.  She is a single mom of two kids and works in the legal department for one of the countries largest companies.  She is strong, courageous, brave, and someone I would put on a pedestal.  Yes, my sister IS better than your sister.

Me, my mom, and my sister during our annual trip to Leavenworth in 2006

Me, my mom, and my sister during our annual trip to Leavenworth in 2006

But what I love most about my sister is that she is my sister.  We will always have each other and for that I am thankful.  We’ve gone through a lot together in the last few years, but we have a stronger relationship, friendship, than I could have ever dreamed.  Michelle, I want you to know just how much I love you and how much I cherish our friendship.  This year at Thanksgiving I am thankful for you!

A Battle for Life.

My baby boy turns 3 years old today.  After having 3 older siblings, you’d think the 4th would be a no-brainer, easy breezy.  But our little August, who we lovingly refer to as Gus, had a difficult time entering this world.  My husband wrote this blog post two days after Gus’ arrival.  It still brings me to tears.  I hope you enjoy it, maybe cry with me, and realize the huge love I have for my little Gussy!

A Battle for Life.

By Duane Montague

It has been a whirlwind weekend. What was supposed to be an easy delivery turned into a night of fear and worry and a battle between life and death. Sounds melodramatic, but it’s not, because life is what we are always fighting for against the Evil One. He hates life and will do anything he can to snuff it out.

Some may call it just a delivery with complications, but I will truly forever remember the birth of my son August as a day when God confirmed for me that my children are a gift of life, precious beyond words, and each to be cherished and protected against the powers of the enemy.

We went in at 1:00 pm on Thursday, September 11, to be induced. The doctor was worried that August was going to be too big. That Robyn would have a difficult time delivering him if he went all the way to term.

We made arrangements for the older kids. Got to the hospital and were placed in a room with a great view of the outside–lush green trees and beautifully, unseasonably blue, Seattle skies. The process began, and within hours, the contractions were strong and things looked good.

But an alarming pattern started as well–with every strong contraction, August’s heart rate dropped. At first, it only dropped a few degrees, from a baseline of 145 to 120. But as the evening wore on, and the contractions got stronger, the more his heart rate fell. 90. 80. It would always go back up after, but the consistency was beginning to worry our doctor and nurse.

They decided to slow down the process. Austen had a drop in heart rate during birth, but it had rectified itself. Perhaps the umbilical cord was in the wrong place, being squeezed too tightly? I went out to the family members who had been waiting and gave them an update. It wasn’t going to happen tonight. Go home, we’ll call you.

We said goodnight. It was around 10 pm.

Our doctor came to the room and would not leave. She stayed as Robyn received her epidural, holding her hand through the process. Now the pain was less–but the contractions, and August’s reactions–were getting worse. We signed a consent for a Cesarean, just in case.

Moving from past to present tense:

At 12:23 am, August’s heart rate drops to 60, fights its way back, and drops again. In an instant, what was routine becomes a battle for the life of my son.

Robyn is moved to a gurney. There is a rush of activity, nurses coming from nowhere, the rushed conversation of “there’s someone else scheduled–no, I’ve called it–we’re going first.” Robyn is being readied to leave the delivery room and head to the OR. I have time for three thoughts, all of them involve prayer.

I call my mother, who is watching Audrey and Austen. I quickly tell her that Robyn is on the way to the OR–please pray. I call my mother-in-law and tell her the same–and to come quickly, Robyn wants her there. I quickly compose a text message and send it to a random selection of friends and family. I ask them again to pray.

By 12:34 we are in the OR, I am putting on scrubs, a mask. I am terrified. Thoughts of loss and death overwhelm me. I am going to lose either my child or my wife. Life will lose tonight.

I enter the room and see my wife on a table. She is being covered, prepped. There are three doctors, several nurses, and the team from the Infant Intensive Care Unit awaits in case they need to revive my boy. I cannot hold back the tears. I weep.

Robyn sees me. “Don’t cry. I need you to be strong.” I tell her I am not crying and I manage to stop the tears–but I am still terrified. I can’t see straight–tubes, scrubs, machines, a sterile clang of instruments. The doctors begin working in hushed tones–I focus on Robyn and try to distract her from what is going on. She is awake, only slightly uncomfortable, and getting very tired.

The noises stop. The doctors do not move.

Robyn and I fear the worst. Then suddenly, a cry. I see my boy. He is screaming, angry, scared. But alive.

He is quickly wiped off and taken to the nurses who examine him and determine that whatever happened in the womb did not hurt him. He is beautiful, loud, and pink. A little dried blood is on his nose, but he stops crying when they hand him to me. I take him to Robyn and we both cry. Life has won.

Turns out that the umbilical cord was wrapped around one shoulder, through his legs, and over the other shoulder–almost like a harness. There was no way he was going to come out the natural way. But he is here, alive, and sleeping loudly in the room next door.

Life wins. The prayers of the faithful are answered, and a little boy whose name means “Revered and Exalted,” helps me do both to the very giver of Life. I revere Him for His power, His glory, and the fact that He reveals Himself to me. I exalt Him for His life, for His nature, and for His providence.

This is August just hours after he was born. Super cute then, but his personality now is amazing!

Sleep well, August. The battle for your life has just begun.