I hesitated to blog about today for several reasons. I don't want to be perceived as dramatic, attention getting, or in need of pity. But here I am. I decided to go ahead and share today because I wouldn't hesitate to write about Parker or Macy. Our firstborn, Lauran, would be celebrating her 7th birthday today. The pain doesn't go away, but it does soften. Tony or I can't picture what she would look like today. She will always be in a NICU crib in our minds. Seven years ago, my faith changed. We sing in church that our God is real. I believed it before Lauran, but now I know to the very core of my being that it is so. God revealed so many truths to us. I am going to try to narrow it down to 7.
1) God gives you exactly what you need at exactly the right time. Whether it was visits from our McKnight family, cards, hugs, phone calls from home, God used people to hold us up when we were weak. I know God sent John Haynes to us a few minutes after Lauran's heart had stopped. He was just stopping by on his way home to check in when he found Tony and I crying uncontrollably in the waiting room. He prayed and sat with us until the doctors came to get us and let us know that Lauran had been revived.
2) Being a parent is never about what your children give you, but about what you can give them. When Lauran had to be paralyzed so she wouldn't fight the vent, Dr. Rosenbalm was concerned about how Lauran wouldn't be able to react when we were there. She had been alert when we stood by her crib and her stats would peak when we arrived. But that would go away with the drugs. True love doesn't need a response. It is just there.
3) Make each moment count. We aren't gauranteed to watch our children grow, play sports, date, graduate, get married, or have children of their own. All we have is today.
4) Look for angels. I was riding in the elevator to go home after Lauran had fallen asleep. Tony was still working for Lowe's and had to work the late shift. Lauran was famous for being a night owl in the NICU. I was barely able to keep my eyes open when an older lady got on the elevator. She walked right up to me and started singing "How Great Thou Art". She sang while we rode the elevator down to the lobby. As I got off, her exact words were "Don't be discouraged. God is with you." I look back at that moment and think any other time in my life, and I would have worried about that lady's sanity. Who gets on an elevator and starts singing to a complete stranger? Angels do.
5) I choose my attitude. Being part of a couple of grief studies for Children's Hospital, we met parents who had lost their baby to their teenage son. Some had lost their child many years ago. Some were still so angry and bitter. We wanted nothing more than for Lauran to live. Since she can't, we will. Choose happiness.
6) Make a difference. Lauran only lived for 53 days. In those 53 days, her life made a difference. We have been blessed to stay in contact with the nurses and doctors who cared for her. When Macy was born, Dr. Rosenbalm was there as she had been for Parker. She stopped by a few days later and shared that she had just been talking about Lauran to another NICU family who was getting ready to let their baby go. She shared how our prayers had changed from healing to just one more day. Sometimes, that is all that matters is one more moment with the person you love. We are so grateful that Lauran's life can still make a difference.
7) Although I saw more children as impossible, God makes it possible. After Lauran died, I couldn't even picture having another baby, much less two. I had made up my mind that Tony and I would be those couples that do all the things couples with children can't - lots of evenings out, see the world, pursue new hobbies, etc. I would spend my life loving other people's children in my classroom. What a blessing that God can see what I couldn't.
Thank you for letting me share. I know that somewhere in heaven, there was a birthday party today.