Thursday, November 27, 2008

Just Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep

(10 points to the person who can name the movie that comes from. An additional 5 points for the name of the actor who sings it.)

It's hard to believe this adventure started 8 months and 3 days ago that we found out that we would be adding to the family. And that only 36 days later, we were staring at an ultrasound screen and trying to wrap our minds around the idea of raising not just one baby, but two. Since then, we've been through a home remodel, almost two months worth of bed rest, hundreds of appointments (ok, maybe not hundreds, but it sure felt like it!), hundreds of miles driven by Nathan (yes, hundreds this time), my first ride in an ambulance as an actual patient, an emergency flight to Boise, the delivery of our two beautiful sons, a month and a half of living in Boise while our boys were being cared for in the NICU, and then the joy of finally bringing them home.

I don't think I've ever had a year in which my many blessings have been so apparent. I am sitting here thinking about the infinite number of things I have to be thankful for, as Levi finishes his bottle (triumph!) and Asher lets me know that it's now his turn (it never ends) and I find it fitting that today, Thanksgiving, is our sons' due date. They are now full-term babies. I wish I could express exactly what that means to me, but I simply can't; some emotions are completely beyond my ability to put into words, leaving me wishing I had my friend Crystal's eloquence. But I don't, so I will do my best to remember a few of the amazing things God has given us this year.

I am thankful for...

The doctors who knew their craft well enough to keep Levi and Asher inside of me for another seven weeks, giving them a stronger and healthier start. Without them, the boys may have arrived before 24 weeks and, as it took me a while to realize, probably wouldn't have survived. And if they had survived, it would have been with incredibly severe complications. After all, I was having contractions at 22 weeks.

For the nurses, both in the maternity ward and the NICU, who cared so diligently for my family. I was already a strong believer that a good nurse is worth her weight in gold and this experience only proved that further. I will never forget the nurses in the NICU who went beyond simply doing their job and gave both the boys and Nathan and I the support and encouragement we so desperately needed, even when it was something as simple as noticing two baby hats made to look like candy corn and bringing them to the boys' room because they "just had to have them." Without that little extra effort on their parts, our time in the hospital would have been infinitely more difficult.

For the Ronald McDonald house. I don't know if everyone realizes it, but without the Ronald House to stay in, we would have been broke. Beyond broke. We would have been either staying in a hotel in Boise, or we would have been driving between Baker and Boise several times a week. And the second option would have killed us, because it would have meant being away from the boys a lot of the time. So if you ever go through the McDonald's drive-thru and they ask if you'd like to donate a dollar to the Ronald McDonald house, please say yes. They make it possible for families to stay together during some of the hardest times of their lives.

For our house. Its ours and we love it. Yes, there are some things that need fixed, some faulty wiring that makes us shudder and the roof needs a couple of shingles repaired. But it's home, and so much more than just a roof over our heads. And can I just tell you how much I love how it looks after the remodel? Which leads me to...

Marla. Without her, none of this would be possible. We wouldn't have the house, so we would be in a rental, still shelling out hundreds of dollars each month for something we don't own. Or we would be paying a huge mortgage towards a house we really couldn't afford. And everything trickles down from there; the cars, our ability to afford to have kids, the chance to fix up the house like we wanted to, Nathan being able to have a job that uses his talents, and the list goes on. But gosh I miss her. I would give all of that (except the boys) back if it meant she could be here. I would give just about anything to be able to see her hold the boys just once. Did you know that she was a twin? She would have loved that we have twins. I'm sure she is keeping an eye on us, but it's just not the same, you know? I love you Mar.

For the phenomenal support and generosity we've receiving from the people around us. Enough donated leave time hours to allow me to take four months off of work while still getting paid. The home-cooked meals delivered to our door by the Women's Ministry at our church. The clothes, toys, diapers, wipes, etc, that have been given as gifts. The prayers lifted up for us and the boys. Again, the list goes on and on, and I just know I've missed a ton of things but I do need to get a shower eventually, before the boys decide they want to eat again!

Speaking of...I'm thankful for the power of prayer. We were on the prayer list for three churches that I know of, and possibly more. And I have no doubt in my mind that those prayers were heard, answered, and took shape in the form of Levi and Asher having absolutely no complications despite being born almost 10 weeks (two and a half months) early, as well as in our ability to cope with all that has happened in the past 8 months without going insane. Because we sure as heck couldn't have done that on our own.

For our family and close friends (who might as well be family), who have given us unending mental, emotional, and physical support. Love. Prayer. Emails and phone calls of encouragement. Outfitting the boys with cribs, strollers, car seats, clothes, diapers, formula, etc. Being amazing grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles, great-aunts and uncles. Being willing to jump in and help with the care of the boys when Nathan and I are just about to drop. We love you guys and couldn't ask for better.

For learning to do many things with only one hand...and even some with no hands. The large can of formula we've gone through in two weeks because it means the boys are getting bigger and stronger. The insane amount of diapers and wipes we use up because it means their bodies are functioning the way they're suppose to. For spit up, laundry, bottles to wash, poopy diapers, bath time, date nights when family is in town to watch the boys, our dog who is trying to figure out what in the world happened to his life, and sleep when we can get it. For Nathan's job that allows him to work from home and Lindy's job that is still waiting for her even after being gone for four months. For great insurance. For our health and the ability to make ends meet.

For Nathan, who is a better Daddy to my sons than I ever could have hoped or asked for. Every day, as my husband, he is teaching me to be a better person and a better parent, not to mention how to laugh at myself more, and I can't imagine having another person by my side through this adventure called life. He's my live-in chef, carpenter, comedian, mechanic, handy-man, fount of random facts, photographer, and supporter. We're learning this whole parenting thing together and I am so thankful that it is only bringing us closer rather than putting a strain on things. I try to tell him as often as possible just how amazing of a dad he is, but I don't know if he understands just how much he, in his fatherhood, takes my breath away. It helps me appreciate him even more as my husband and partner in crime. I love you, babe, you're incredible. Thank you for

And finally, for Levi and Asher. I knew becoming a parent would be amazing, but what I didn't know is that it would change my very soul. Who knew that I could be in the midst of two infants screaming to be fed at 3 in the morning, and still be able to love them beyond words or imagination, not to mention keep my sanity? I'm so thankful for the times when they fall asleep on my shoulder with their mouths wide open, even when it's in the middle of a bottle I'm trying to get them to finish, to be able to hold them, touch them, kiss them...I just can't get enough. I'm thankful for every little grunt, groan, snort, cry, twitch, and stretch that means they are developing and growing. While I am absolutely enamored with how tiny and delicious they are now, the idea of watching them grow into toddlers, little boys, teenagers, and men is just so exciting...I just hope it doesn't happen too fast. The day when they stop cuddling with me is going to come too soon as it is. I never knew I could actually ache to hold them, even with them laying right next to me. They're perfect and I only hope that I can be as good of a parent to them as they deserve.

Today is Thanksgiving, but that doesn't mean that this is the only day we should be giving thanks. I try, every day, to remember how much I have to be thankful for. Because we have been blessed so much, in ways we never could have imagined. So...thank You.


Arly said...


Although I believe it's in Holiday Inn first and foremost.

Janis said...

And I am thankful that those granbabies have such a wonderful and loving mother. Lord bless you all.

Lindy said...

Ding ding ding, Arly's the winner! I knew I could count on you!