July 25, 2013

When there is no miracle...

So, what if I would have died?  What about those of you who have had children or loved ones who have died?  

Why does God bless some with miracles and not others?

Perhaps I'm not the one to answer these questions... I'm not the one with all the answers, I'm certainly one with many questions.

My opinion is this-- there are ALWAYS miracles.  Always.  We just need eyes to SEE and proper perspective.  My religion and an understanding of the great plan of happiness, helps me keep proper perspective.  

Our church sends missionaries all across the world teaching this plan- because when you understand the plan of salvation then you can feel loved amidst your trials on Earth.

Death is not a sign that God abandoned you.  Sometimes death is the miracle.

 I have a friend who spent some time in Africa with children dying of Aids.  She said she has never been in a more holy room.  She said she could feel angels surrounding these sweet babies as they passed.  I had never heard that before, but I have always imagined it to be true.

I remember hearing the tragic story of some young children playing hide and seek who suffocated in the trunk of a car.  At their funeral, an apostle said these girls were held in the arms of a loving Savior and all their fear and pain had been washed away.

Perhaps my religion is just a mental bandaid helping me to make peace with all the tragedy in the world.  If that is true, I would still believe, because feeling peace amidst tragedy is more helpful than feeling angst.

But, I just know these miracles are real.  I've felt them.  I've seen them in my life and in the lives of those I love.

I wish I could tell you all the close friends I know who have struggled with major life tragedies.  

My sister-in-law had cancer young, twice.  Then they gave birth to an angel baby born without a skull.  He lived only a few hours.  Both trials were physically and mentally really, really hard.  And both trials were made beautiful with God's tender mercies.  The miracles are ALWAYS there if you look for them.

One of my favorite prayers as I live out this trial of mine is, "Bless me with eyes to see your hand in my life."

I have close friends who have been raped.  I know beautiful, good women whose husbands had an affair, many affairs, who are addicted to porn.  I know many who struggle with cancer, some who live and some who die.  I have friends raising children with mild or severe disabilities and friends caring for mentally or physically ill parents.

You know these people too!  We ALL have a story.  Life is about learning and growing and finding happiness along the way.

Many I know have been physically, sexually, or mentally abused.  I have friends whose baby died of SIDS, or who have had miscarriages.  There are many who struggle with infertility, drug addictions, who want to marry and raise a family and do not have that opportunity.  So many parents struggle with children who struggle.  There are so many financial worries.  

Oh how my heart aches for those of you I know or know of or don't know, who have lost children.  Children die.  It is so, so sad-- but still laced with tender mercies and miracles.

My bishop had a five year old daughter who died after she hurt herself doing a somersault on the trampoline during a family night with her whole family sitting on the trampoline around her.  As they returned home from the hospital, each member of the family found a hidden love note written by that little girl the day she died.  That, is a tender mercy.

My dear friend had a 18 year old, beautiful, talented, good sister who was diagnosed with lung cancer.  A pharmacist mis-filled her morphine drip giving her a lethal dose of medicine.  Despite many prayers, blessings, and fasting, this young girl died.  The peace and healing for her family came moment by moment, and continues as the years pass.

Death, sickness, pain, etc., these are all hard trials.  God does not take away our pain-- but He does bless us as we endure.  

I'm sure many who are wiser than me would attest to what I'm saying-- yes, life sucks sometimes.  The sun always shines through the storm!!  You can see the sun rays through the clouds, if you look.  And at the end, don't ever forget to look up and see the rainbow!!

Even though I LIVED, my life is hard.  I did get many amazing miracles!! But, there are many miracles that I didn't get.  I didn't get an easy pregnancy.  I didn't get an easy delivery.  God let me get as close to dying as I could get and then saved me.  I KNOW that He is with us always, especially as He lets us suffer and grow.

Dear friends, i know that so much of life is happy, good and pain-free.  I'm getting back to that place.  But today, my soul aches for those of you who are right here in the middle.  And even as I ache for your struggle, I'm so excited for you!!  

God is with us!! It is beautiful to see His hand and know again and again that you are loved and that you are not alone.  In those darkest moments, He is there.  Please, please SEE Him.  Open your heart to His peace amidst the storm.

Don't you love the story of Christ walking on water?  When Peter walks towards Christ, he is fine.  When Peter looks at the waves around he starts to sink and Christ immediately saves him.  

Don't look at the waves around you, look towards the Savior and you will be able to walk a few more steps each day.  As you are sinking, take His outstretched hand and He will save you.  He saves us all.

Another story I love comes from Mormon pioneer history.

One of the best-known and best-loved stories of the Mormon pioneers is the testimony of Francis Webster, a member of the Martin Hand- cart Company. Although his name has increasingly become associated with his statement, he is still better known as the unnamed old man in the corner of a Sunday School class who arose to silence criticism directed toward those who allowed that company to come west:

I ask you to stop this criticism. You are discussing a matter you know nothing about. Cold historic facts mean nothing here for they give no proper interpretation of the questions involved. Mistake to send the Hand Cart Company out so late in the season? Yes. But I was in that Company and my wife was in it. . . . I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the Angels of God were there.

Was I sorry that I chose to come by hand cart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Hand Cart Company. 

All of us who have passed through major trials and have seen God's hand in our lives would agree.  It was hard, but it was a privilege to pass through.  

If you are drowning or dark with trials, today I'm praying that you will feel His light.  I love you- and He loves you more.

There are ALWAYS miracles.
Trials are hard, sometimes really, really hard, but they are good and good for us.
We are becoming!!
Life is a gift, life experiences are gifts...
And, my friends-- life is good!! 

July 18, 2013

What a miracle looks like...

"I'm glad you're in pain," said my aunt, "because it means you're alive."

In the movies, you see miracles that happen instantly.  Little Tiny Tim- deathly ill and then all better for Christmas dinner.  Even in the scriptures, the one liner "and it came to pass" seems to make long times shorter.  I am learning that sometimes miracles are a process more than an event.

I know that I am alive today because God and angels intervened on my behalf.  Medically, I should have died.  

I have heard countless doctors and nurses comment on the miracle of my recovery.  The head pathologist at OHSU had never seen a placenta as infiltrated as mine was.  The trauma nurses had rarely seen someone as sick as I was actually recover.  I'm certain the blood bank had a major role in saving my life.  People do not receive 180 units of blood products-- hardly ever.  Wound care nurses are amazed at how quickly my belly is closing.  One nurse saw my raw belly and said, "Oh, this wound is lovely and beautiful."  My therapists say I'm walking so much better this week than last.  My healing is "fast" and miraculous.

I look at little Benjamin and I know his life is a gift.  He is a miracle baby, he is one of many miracle babies.  Miracles have not ceased- we are more blessed than we know.

As I was getting showered and dressed this morning I was thinking about what miracles look like.  My sister sent me a picture of her cute tummy.  (I sent her back a lovely picture of my tummy- ha!) She had two kids and a tummy tuck.  Her tummy looks hot!  

She said that her surgeon warned her that women tend to get depressed following a tummy tuck.  He warned her that it would hurt and that it would take a few months to heal and look great.  Sure enough, she was in way more pain than she anticipated and she was really worried about some puckers in her scar.  A few months later, her stomach looked great and you can hardly see the scar.

Don't you think God would say the same thing to me, to all of us, as my sister's surgeon said to her...  "My daughter, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine affliction shall be but a small moment; and then if you endure it well, God shall exalt the on high."  (D&C 121:7 -8). "All these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good."

Sometimes I think I'm something special because I've survived a few pretty tricky situations.  I know God loves me.  But, I honestly know that He loves you just as much.  Life is about learning and growing- we all have experiences that bless us and stretch us.  I've shared my story with you, but I know you have a story too.  

So, what does a real-live miracle look like?
I am sure there are many instantaneous miracles... Mine is not.

I had a miraculous surgery on my intestines when I was 12.  I lived!  For years following my surgery I had painful bowel movements.  I gained my testimony on the toilet.  My miracle included years of pain.

As I showered, I noticed stretch marks on my hips and on the inside of my thighs.  I gave birth to seven children without one stretch mark.  number eight has done me in.  

My skin on my thighs is loose and scarred.  The top of my thighs are scarred from the blisters I had as my skin stretched.  I have cool scars from the abdominal sling- they look like evenly spaced claw marks in my skin.

I had the same blisters on my face where the tape surrounding the internal jugular IV was.  Today I have red marks on my face and a long scar where the hose went into my neck.  These will fade and disappear.

For weeks following my surgery I had catheters that didn't work well.  In addition to a catheter, I wore a huge, diaper pad that filled almost every hour.  Even with the catheter and the diaper, I still had urine flooding down my legs every time. I stood up.  Blah!

Today, I am wearing only a panty liner.  I still leak a little, but it is so much better.  Going potty takes effort.  I have to go often.  But, I don't stand in a puddle or sleep in a puddle.  

My bladder is tiny and I have some fistulas growing out the top of it.  They will need to do another surgery on it after a few months.  Today I'm just happy everyday I can wear pants without any tubes and I feel victorious each time I hear a purposeful tinkle in the potty.
This is what my miracle looks like.

My belly was open for three days.  For some reason, when they closed the bottom layers they left the top layers open to heal from the inside out.

My wound did not do well on a wound-vac.  I had many scalpel debriefings and many dressing changes with horrific tape ripping.  Ripping up the tape surrounding my wound was by far my worst pain (besides my legs).

I went from twice daily changes to daily changes.  From a 17 1/2 inch long to 12 inch long and 3 1/2 inch wide to 1 inch wide.  I couldn't even look at my belly at first, and now I change my own dressings and wash it out as I shower.  

I imagine this is going to be a pretty ugly belly scar.  I'm actually ok with that.  I have really good skin, I don't think any of my other scars will stay.  (Maybe the stretch marks will.)  I'm ok with a hidden tummy scar that will always remind me that my life is a gift.

Despite all my pre-surgery efforts, I ended up with blood clots in my right leg.  They had to insert a filter under my lungs.  The four hours it took to put the filter in we're horrific.  Honestly, one of the worst experiences of my life.  I am not a fan of interventional radiology and I am desperately terrified of getting the filter removed in a few weeks.  But, like all hard things, within five minutes of inserting the filter it had caught a large blood clot.  That horrible filter could have saved my life, again.

Blood clots led to me having to shoot myself with blood thinners twice a day, in my already ultra-sensitive tummy.  The shots were super painful at first.  As I've learned to shoot myself, they're not too bad. Shots should last a few more months- I think.

Because of my blood clots I have to wear  compression socks.  After I bought some cute ones, they are not embarrassing to wear, but they are very painful to wear on my neuropathy leg.  I think I will wear them a few more months.  This is what my blood clot miracle has looked like.

My body was swollen- I went from 135 to over 200 pounds.  My legs, arms and face were so swollen they were excruciatingly painful.  One of my legs was hot and the other was cold.  For weeks following my surgery I couldn't move my feet.  They were the worst hit.  I honestly thought I might be paralyzed. 

My feet went from swollen and paralyzed to firey painful as my circulation returned and my nerves began to awaken.  I remember my first walk, just a few steps beside my bed.  I remember walking to the bathroom for the first time as my bowels began to wake up.  

When I left the hospital, I could walk with a walker and much effort.  Currently I have practiced stairs and walked without a walker.  Right now my right leg is very, very painful.  Nerve pain is the pits!! But, it is only my right leg, and only from my knee down.  I'm getting better.  This miracle has been a process, not an event.

Baby Benjamin's life is miraculous.  I can hardly even feel the hard amidst the joy he brings.  Nevertheless, he is a preemie and he takes work.  Burps, late night, doctor appointments, etc..  Even that little miracle is a process!!

I feel blessed as I see the process unfold.  I can't wait to sit down around Thanksgiving to write my Christmas card.  I hope things are even better by then.

My aunt was right-- pain means I'm still alive, and that is a miracle!!
I might not have six-pack like my cute sister, but I will have a six-pack of experience and empathy.  

My miracle looks different than I sometimes wish it did.  I am sometimes impatient and whiney.  That is normal, I think.  But in my soul I know that this is God's way.  He is with me and He is directing my path with His almighty hand.  My miracle looks different than Hollywood's miracle, but it feels right to me.  

Today I am grateful for my real-live blessings.
I am humbled to see all He has done for me.
I am humbled by your prayers and your kind words.  I'm grateful for your friendship.

Thanks for reading about my life and my miracles.
I'm sure your life is full of miracles too-- you might just need to look with a more long-term perspective to see them.

See your miracles!
Be grateful for the process (oh, I'm trying)!
Life is soo good!

July 17, 2013

Just another day...

- I got the sweetest email from a woman in Saudi Arabia who just delivered her fourth baby.  She had Accreta and has spent over 40 days in the hospital.  Pray for Anwar and her sweet baby, Sarah.  They've had a rough pregnancy and a recent surgery.  Anwar is still trying to heal enough to go home.

- I got a couple other emails from blog friends I've never met.  Thank you for your friendship and kindness.  I really do have an instant love for so many people, especially moms who are walking this journey with me.  I love when blog stalkers introduce themselves to me and tell me a little about their story.  People have great stories, and we are all more similar than different.

- My sweet husband got out a hymn book last night and sang me to sleep.  He has a sweet tenor voice, I can just feel his goodness and gentle love for me as he sings.  

I'm really in terrific pain lately.  My legs and tummy aches have had me crying throughout the night.  Todd's singing calmed me, and the hymns reminded me of God's love even amidst these hard times. I love that man.

He got all teary when I told him how much his singing helped me.  He just told me how hard it is for him to watch me in pain without being able to help.  He sang until his voice hurt, poor guy.  I'm pretty sure I fell asleep before that point.  

- The past few days have been the most painful since I've come home from the hospital.  (They are changing my meds.)  I had a few friends who have experienced chronic pain and nerve damage, just happen to call or stop by to visit. Their compassion makes my hard a little softer.  I'm so grateful for friends.  And, I can't even tell you how much empathy I'm gaining for people in chronic pain.  Pain sucks.

-Eve started potty training yesterday.  I always tell my kids to just push out a baby poop.  When Eve pooped a big poop I asked her if it was a mommy or daddy poop.  She said happily, "No Mom!  It was a Grandma Lafferty poop."

And, just a few cute things she says-- she says "bepause" for because.
She always says me for I, "bepause Mom, me want to play iPad."
At the dinner table she sits in her high chair.  Whenever she hears someone ask for something, she wants that thing too.  I love how all throughout dinner she says, in her cute, loud voice, "Please pass the butter!" "Please pass the salt!"  "Please pass the watermelon!"  She really is adorable.

- Lily makes me laugh.  She is a bit whiney lately, but so funny.  When I told her she could not watch tv, but could play with Leah, she said, "But Mom!  I can't play with Leah.  I like playing just plain princesses and Leah always wants to play fighting knights."  Ha!  She really did get it right-- she is my princess and Leah is my T-Rex girl.

-I love Leah.  She's a pistol, but she has a kind heart.  She got teary eyed when Eve choked on a piece of gum that Leah had shared with her.  Leah said, "Punish me.  Punish me, Mom.  I really want to be better."  Sweet girl.

-All my kids are so sweet with me.  Eve kisses my feet and belly all the time asking, "Now you all better Mom?"  The little girls are always near me, they still treat me like their Mom, always wanting to sit on my lap or asking me to read them stories.  Leah is always reading me stories.  Drew  is always touching me with compassion, he rubs my back or my arm or hugs me when he can tell I'm hurting.  Ellie brings me food and has been super sweet and helpful lately.  Both Anna and Ellie are wonderful little mothers.  They are great with their little sisters and help so much with Ben.  Jakob is really nurturing.  He rubs my legs and even cut my toe nails (when Todd was scared to do it).
I sure love these kids.

- OK... I'll tell you one more thing I love about my kids.  I can't stand for very long.  And, I can't do the baby bounce for more than one or two bounces.  (Oh how that bounce hurts the calves.)  You know, the baby bounce when you hold a fussy baby and bounce up and down.  I think it is a tender mercy that even when Ben is fussy, he calms quickly just cuddled on my chest.  I very rarely have to do more than swaddle him and pat his back.  

My life is good.  I don't even have time this morning to think of any bads...


So, for the last few days people have been "accepting my friend invitations".
Funny people, husbands of people I know, tons of teenage boys, people I know but not well.  
I thought that Eve might have accidentally got into my Facebook and requested for me.

Nope.  It was Todd.  He doesn't know Facebook but he got onto the people you may know page and went crazy.

I can't say anything on Facebook because so many accepted my friendship and I do like these people.
Just want you to know that I'm not a stalker of your husbands or twelve year old little boys.  Ha!  Every time another teenage boy accepts my friend invitation I smile... Oh Todd.

July 14, 2013

Swallowed up in joy.

I read the neatest scripture in the Book of Mormon, Alma 31:38.  After they prayed for deliverance from their trials, it says, "And he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ."

Having a baby it is easy for me to understand this scripture.  I am still healing and still in a lot of pain but I do feel that in a way my afflictions are swallowed up in joy.  Often when I start to feel sorry for myself, I look at my little baby and just know that if I wasn't willing to feel this pain, I couldn't have him.

My baby is doing so good...
June 6 (his birthday) he was 5lb5oz
June 18 (the day he was discharged from the NICU) he was 5lb4oz.
June 28 (after we were home) he weighed 6lb1oz.
July 12 he weighed 7lb6oz!

Can you believe how quickly he is growing?  
He's getting chubby cheeks and a double chin...
My actual due date was July 19th.  
He is such a fun, sweet, miraculous gift.

My nurse says she has never seen a wound heal as quickly as mine is healing.  You honestly can almost see the healing everyday we change the dressing.  (I'm doing my own dressing changes these days-- I know!!  Can you believe it?)

I think I am healing well because I'm a good Mormon girl.  I was healthy before my surgery, I have always taken good care of my body, and because of temple blessings of health.  I am honestly amazed at our physical body's ability to heal.  Our bodies are divinely designed.  

Oh how I'm ready to run instead of hobble.  I'm ready to wake up, just one day, and not feel pain.
I really, really want to take a bath!

Today, I am so thankful that my pain and my recovery is temporary.  My heart is with so many of you who are in chronic pain.  
Today, I am grateful for a baby to hold.  My heart is with all of you who are healing without a baby.

I have to show you my new compression socks-- 
If my feet didn't hurt so bad, I would love these socks.

And, I have some fun pictures from horseback riding camp... But they are not on my iPhone.  I do have a few pics of Lily and Eve brushing the little Shetland, Bear.  Eve was scared of his head so she stayed at the hind quarters.  So cute!
Life is good-- and getting better!!!
Happy Saturday!!


Blah.  I wrote a fun post and I can't get it to publish.
I just figured out that I can post words, but not pictures.  Blah.  This is trying to force me off my phone and back to my long lost computer...

I'll just say that my mom told me today she likes me better in skirts because when I wear capris my diaper bottom looks big and you can tell something is wrong.  In a skirt you can't tell.  
So, when I went to watch the kids at horse camp I had a walker and a diaper bum.  Ha!  
A friend asked me in church if they could give me a bladder transplant. My father in law wondered if they could give me a pig bladder.  Maybe someday I will be saved by swine.  Oink!
Oh heaven,  will I ever be normal again?

July 11, 2013

A pain in the foot.

Just hanging out here...
My physical therapist helped me do stairs... I was in agony the rest of the night.  
My silly feet and legs just need to wake up and get in the game.
Honestly...  They're killing me.
The only thing that helps at all is Jakob's special massage.
Poor kid spends half his life rubbing my feet.
I hate being in pain.
I remember that I used to wake up and my body didn't hurt anywhere.  I miss those days.
Sometimes I pray for just an hour free of pain-- I really empathize with those of you who are in constant pain worse than I am.  It's hard, it wears on you.
I do have pain meds- and without them I'm down and out.  With them, I'm better but not great.

I don't mean to complain-- my life is so good.
I'm alive and I can handle aching feet.
My little baby- he's worth all this trouble.

Life is good!
Do me a favor?  Just feel your body for a minute.  If you feel good, say a little prayer of thanks!  Be grateful for normal!
I'm not sure I was grateful enough.  But, I will be someday.

July 10, 2013


My kids are doing horse back riding camp this week.  I wish I could show pictures, but I have nurses and therapists that come in the morning so I can't go watch the camp.

I love how excited my kids are.
I love that they love their new boots so much they won't wear them in the barn where they do sheep, because they don't want their boots to get dirty.

Leah's new boots light up-- they're cute. But, it was hard to get a light up picture.

I watched Anna with the sheep a little bit yesterday.  I was so proud of her.  Those sheep are big, and she was brave.  Anna doesn't like to be dirty.  It made me laugh how often she wiped her hands on her vest after touching a sheep or even the sheep pen.  Cute girl.
These are my kind of kids!!

Last night I let Todd sleep in our room with me (how I've missed that guy).  I've been making him sleep in the basement, because I'm up all night long and he needed his sleep.  

Last night I did not set my alarm to potty every hour.  I only pottied when I felt the urge and my little bladder did not burst.  I also let my baby sleep.  He slept from midnight to 6:30!!  What a kid!  It was a good night.  It felt like progress...

Today, I'll be doing this...
And I will be happy.
Oh- life is good.

July 09, 2013

Rollin with the Oldies.

Did I tell you I have my own wheel chair?
And hospital bed, I have one of those too, an old ancient one.
I have two walkers.
I have a book shelf full of medical supplies.

I have a great chair in my shower.

And don't even get me started on compression socks.  Those babies kill my sore feet-- and I have to wear them for a very long time.

My sister in law laughed that she had seen a cute old man with shorts on and white compression socks up to his knees.   Do not laugh at those cute old men-- because that is just what I look like.

And we will not discuss adult diapers.

My girls like to wrap themselves in ace bandages and pretend there is something wrong with them.  They wish they were the ones pushed around in a wheel chair.  I told them, you only want it until you've got it.

I will say, in defense of humanity, I get a lot of kind, compassionate smiles as I'm pushed around in a wheel chair in the midst of my brood of children.  
Thank you for your compassionate smiles.
This is temporary.
And boy is it fun!!!

July 08, 2013


Yesterday we blessed baby Ben at church.
It was a beautiful, holy day.
Being back at church felt complete- like I had really survived.
I felt the miracle of our situation.

There may be debates about whether or not Mormons are Christians.  I will tell you that over the past seven months I have felt the touch of the Savior through the loving service of many Mormon hands. 

Even if you do not believe the doctrine, having a Church family is a beautiful way of life.  I don't know how people get through hard times without a community of support.  Being back at church felt like coming home.  How I love those people!  I am changed for good because of their gentle touch.  

My sister in law wrote Ben the most beautiful letter.  She put into words everything that I feel about his name and the miracle of his birth.  Maybe sometime I will share it with you.  I guess I'm just saying, naming Benjamin was a really special occasion that I can't really put into words.

I feel good.
--they started a new wrap on my tummy, it's algae.  I was amazed at the healing I could see after only one day with algae.

--my in laws went home this morning.  I can't even express to you how grateful I am for them... For all my extended family and how willing they have been to care for me and my family over the past few months.  I feel so lucky, so loved, and so grateful.  How I will miss them.

--I'm giving myself shots these days.  I feel so brave and they seem to hurt less when I do it myself.

--Ben slept from midnight to 6am last night.  Even though I have to get up every hour to potty, I still feel like I got a pretty good sleep.  

--last week was hard, recovery is hard.  I really think the ups and downs are a normal part of recovery.  I share with you my hard things because they are real.  But today I just feel grateful.
I am getting better.
I do have an adorable, healthy baby.
My kids are all happy and healthy.
I have great insurance, the best home health nurses, a kind mother and a supportive husband.  So many people caring for me.
I'm so grateful for all your supportive comments and prayers.
The day is sunny and my kids are bubbling with excitement because they start horseback riding camp this morning!  So fun.

Really, life is good.
I am happy.

And-- isn't this the best way to make corn butter?!  

My aunt showed us the butter in a bun method and we love it!

Ps-- have you seem my new house?
It's dreamy...
Have a great Monday!!

July 06, 2013

One Month

It is hard for me to believe that it has been one month since my surgery.
Baby Ben is one month old today.
Thinking about the past month makes me cry.  What a month.  This past month has changed my life for better and worse.
I'm not sure I'll ever be the same.

My aunt sent me two videos- one of Ben in the NICU, he's fussing a little and wrapped in tubes, the other video is me just breathing at one of my sickest times.
Both videos make me cry.

As I hold Ben, I whisper to him that I am his mother.  I tell him over and over "Sweet boy, I am your mother."  I will him to remember me and know me from the time he spent in my womb.  

He is used to one month of being cared for by many different care takers.  I feel guilty for not being there for him during his first weeks when he needed his mother most.  

I hope, amidst loving siblings and grandparents and nurses and visitors, that he knows his mother.  I hope that he'll want me, and that in time he will come to trust that if he cries mother will answer.  I hope I am we'll enough to answer his cries and become a constant in his life.  How I love that little bugger.

I can see the toll that caring for me, my home, and my children is taking on Todd and Grandmas.  It hurts me to feel their exhaustion.  I am so sick of being needy. 

This has been one month-- I'm just ready to wake up back in my normal life.  My hard will heal with minimal long-term difficulties.  My soul aches for people like Stephanie Nielson who have more long-term consequences.  The longer it goes, the more you just wish it away.

Today I have so much to be grateful for and I am grateful.  Very grateful.  And yet learning to live my everyday life is hard.  Being patient with recovery is hard.  Constantly needing help from others is humbling and at times humiliating.  

I remember in the hospital my mother saying, "I'm so proud of you Jen, you don't even care that your bum is always showing."  I cried when she said that.  I did care, I just didn't have a choice.  That night I made them put me into scrub bottoms- even though they hardly fit around all my tubes.  The next day Todd went to buy me maxi skirts.  It is hard being ill...

We went to a pharmacy in town that sells fancier compression socks.  I'll need to wear them for the next 3 months.  The woman who helped us with sizes just looked at me with compassion.  I read the part on the box that says, wear these socks if you have just given birth, have just had a surgery, or if you have blood clots.  I seemed to fit all three categories.  As I was pushing my baby out, on top of my walker, the woman held my hand and said "May God bless you with a speedy recovery."  Sweet lady.  

It is funny to me how much of a mess I am.  In public people really stare at me like I am a sad, sad case.  Little kids ask their moms why I can't walk.  One mother showed her young child my newborn baby.  The little girl looked at me and said, "Now I can see why having a baby is awfully painful."  

One month.
Tomorrow we will bless our little man, it will be my first day back at church.
I'm nervous that I will look as sick as I still feel.

Sometimes I think I'm doing great- I hardly feel painful at all.  Then, I let my pain meds run out and I feel like I got hit by a bus.  Nothing like true pain to remind me that I really am still healing.  

I had a suitcase on the floor and decided to kneel down to find my clothes.  Kneeling was not a good idea. I was in such excruciating pain I could hardly stand back up.  As I clung to my walker, I just cried for everything I still can't do and I still felt warmed by all that I can do.

I guess what I'm trying to say is-- I'm SO SO grateful for this past month and also a tiny bit sad that we had to live through it.  

I'm grateful for my today-- and yet it is still very hard.

I love these days of newborn baby-- I've already lost too many days of enjoying my baby because I was sick.  I don't want to lose one more day of his life.  I don't want my recovery to overshadow his sweet milestones.

I feel like a little girl being cared for by her mommy and I'm ready to be a capable, independent mother of 8.  

One month down... And many more to come!!  As Ben grows, I will continue to heal.  And soon he will be cute and smiley and pudgy, and I will cook dinner and be able to lift Eve down from her high chair.  

Time brings healing...  One moment, one day, one month, one year at a time.
We are going to get through this!!

Life is good!
Little Ben and I are celebrating the miracle of life today.
I almost died-- and I lived one month past surgery!
Little Ben might never have made it past pregnancy- depending who his mother was and what choices she would have made.  He might not have lived-- but he did.  He has lived one glorious month and has many months ahead of him.
Months ago, we chose life.  
And today we celebrate the painful reality and beautiful possibility of this first month.
Yes-- LIFE is soo good!

July 04, 2013


A sweet friend picked me up at 6am to drive me 2hrs away to my doctor appointment at OHSU. (Thanks Jane!). And another sweet friend took my 3 youngest girls from 9am to 5pm.  (Love you, Chris).  Another friend brought dinner for our family.  (Ines- you are a saint.  Happy Birthday!). People are so kind.

I was a bit of a mess going to my appointment- with a catheter that wasn't working, a ziplock full of medicine and my very own wheel chair.

Turns out my bladder is full of disintegrating sutchers (string) and lots of mucusy sluff stuff that clogs a catheter minutes after it's inserted.  So, I'm on my own.  Trying to potty every hour to keep my tiny bladder from getting too full.

I put on real-live panties this evening!!  And, I could wear pajamas!!  

When I first got my catheter we figured out that all I could wear was maxi skirts.  My cute husband went to stores around Portland and bought me about 10 skirts. I felt loved every time I wore one.  

And-- I got a new, fancy walker today.
I went from this...
To this fancy thing...
I got the upgrade for free from a company Love Inc.  Inc stands for in the name of Christ.  So nice.

So-- no catheter!  It is pretty guaranteed that I will need another bladder surgery but that will have to happen in New York because I need more time to heal before the surgery.  Sigh.  I am grateful to be alive and this bladder stuff is something I can handle- most days.  Sometimes it is just one more thing and I cry every time urine spills down my legs into my compression socks.  My mom calls me Sweet Pee.  Ha!

And... Guess what else?!  
We bought a house.
With 10 acres.
White rail fences.
A barn.
A pond.
A big, beautiful pool.
A fenced in small yard with a swing set.
My mother in law says the house is so cute and in such a well manicured condition it is like a real-live doll house.

The house itself is smaller than our house now, but it is still big and will work fine (2400 sq ft not counting the finished basement).  If we want to renovate later it would be easy for us to make the kitchen bigger or add on a few bedrooms (it has 4).  

I feel like this house is a real blessing.  If I were to draw my dream house, I think it would look like this house.  I think it's funny that that God is blessing us with a beautiful home and barn and land for horses or cows or sheep, and I can still barely walk.  Sigh... I've got a ways to go until  I'm healed- but it's coming.

My mom cares for me so well.  I can't even tell you how grateful I am for her.

Tonight Anna watched my dressing change.  I'm surprised she wasn't grossed out- I am.
(Yeah-- I know these pictures are pretty gross.  Sorry.)

My family is darling.  I love being home.  My baby is the sweetest fella ever.
Life is good.

I told Todd all I want for Christmas was a real-live pony.  :). I could hear his sigh over the phone... He's thinking 10 acres might be worse than pregnant guinea pigs.  Ha.  

Sorry I'm talking so much about myself these days...  I am a bit self focused.
Well- focused on myself and my cute baby.

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