I think about my life over five years ago before I got the very special title “Mom”. I remember the day I took my first pregnancy test like it was yesterday! It was January 17, 2008 (yes I remember the date). I took three tests just to make sure it was real. I remember everything about the next nine months. The cravings, the couple hours of “blah” each day, I remember hearing the heartbeat for the first time and every time after that taking a huge breath of relief knowing the baby was safe in there, the first time I felt him move (I was sitting at my desk at work about to shut off the phones for the night. It was the night before I found out the baby was a boy). I remember it all. But the moment I will cherish forever is September 20, 2008 at 5:55pm, the first time I heard him cry when the doctor's held him over the sheet and I saw my baby boy. He was mine! I'm surprised my heart didn't explode because I was so in love. I never imaged what love felt like and it was more amazing than I could have ever prepared myself for. Matthew was the perfect baby! Perfect!! Only cried when he was wet or hungry, had the most beautiful smile, had the tightest little grasp. He was wrapped not only around my finger but around my heart! He was my everything.
It was only a short nine and a half months later when I took another pregnancy test (August 1, 2009...yep remember that one, too)! Only had to take one that time :) I had so many emotions going through my head...excitement, joy, fear, guilt. I was so excited for what was to come. I had so much joy that I would be blessed again. I feared what this pregnancy and baby would be like because everything with Matthew was a breeze. And I felt extreme guilt...was this too soon? What would Matthew think? Would he resent me because I didn't give him enough time with enough of my attention? I remember a good friend told me that Matthew will never remember the moments he had with just me. Instead he will always remember the moments he had with his best friend. That seemed to relieve all my guilt.
We would soon find out that this pregnancy would be much different then Matthew's. I won't go into detail but it wasn't even a month later that we found out things were not good. I found out that I am Kell Sensitized. I thought I had a lot of emotions when I found out I was pregnant again...whew was I wrong. The next 8 months were kind of a blur. I feel so guilty looking back while I do remember the first time I heard his little heartbeat I don't remember quite everything I like did with Matthew. I couldn't tell you where I was the first time I felt him move. I can't tell you all the cravings I had with him. I didn't sit and record him moving in my belly. Instead I worried and prayed...A LOT! I was a ball of stress and fear every week when I had to go in for the MCA Doppler scan. I was terrified when the Dr. told me that it seems a cyst has formed on his brain and we will just keep an eye on it. What does that mean? We did keep an eye on it and it didn't get bigger or smaller and nothing else was said about it to make me worry until I had a meeting with the neonatologist for the NICU and she said the words “cerebral palsy”. What?! Are you telling me this perfect baby boy inside of me might not be perfect after all? I had a lot of guilt. I did this!! What did I do to make God punish a child? Who had a treated badly? What had a said or done? Did I not show God how important he was in my life so He showed me? I was hurt, angry, upset, scared. Then one night I had a dream and in it was my Grandma and Grandpa Hays. I won't go into detail about the entire dream but my Grandma said to me “Don't worry. Everything will be okay” That was all she said and they were gone. I woke up with a huge weight lifted off my shoulders that day. Did I think my baby boy would come out cured and unbroken? Absolutely not...but I knew no matter what it didn't matter because everything would be okay. I had no idea how my life was about to change!
March 10, 2010 my baby boy was 36 weeks old. At 9:56am he was brought into the world screaming his head off :) He was immediately taken to the NICU. All I was able to do was give him a kiss and they whisked him away. That's when the whirl wind began. With Grant I remember all the visits to the NICU. Trying my hardest just hours after having a c-section to convince the nurses I was in no pain so that I could see my baby boy. I remember the first time I visited him and had to leave him to go back to my room. Then for the next 5 days making several trips to see him each day. But the moment I will never forget is having to walk out of the hospital and leave a piece of my heart behind. I remember sitting in the wheelchair trying to hold it together and be strong waiting for Ryan to get the car and they rolled another women up with her husband beside her carrying their new baby they were all smiles and bliss and they got in their car and took their baby home. I got in the car and sobbed and sobbed because my baby was in a strange place without his mom being taken care of by people he didn't know. For 17 days I walked into that NICU and walked back out without my baby boy. I called twice a day to check on him. Finally the 18th day he walked out with me! And that's when my amazing life with my two amazing boys began!
Fast forward to now! As I turn and look around the cluttered living room I see bullets from the nerf gun war Matthew and I had today, the guns lying on the ground where we both surrendered (okay I surrendered), the jeep and zoo animals tipped over from Grant playing with them earlier, the Halloween stuff scattered around the house from getting help from a 5 year old, dirty clothes that are lying on the step that were worn in all the fun we had today, and all the special equipment needed for Grant. And yes while I wish my house was clean and I wish I wasn't too tired to get up and clean it (writing this might be my effort to procrastinate on cleaning :) ) I know that what matters most is making the best memories I can with my two blessings.
So while I might not have thought that God knew what he was doing when he gave these boys to me I'd like to thank Him! Thank You for trusting me with your amazing creations. Thank you for believing that I am strong enough and for reminding me when I lay in bed sobbing some nights because I got frustrated with Grant or raised my voice to Matthew after having to put him back to bed for the 6th time that I am strong enough. Thank you for guiding me. Thank you for giving me opportunities to help and inspire others. Thank you for giving me family and friends that support me. Thank you for giving me a husband who is always there to wipe my tears and tell me everything is okay. Thank you for making me realize it's okay to cry. But mostly...thank you for giving me the rest of my life to kiss these boys every night and kiss them every morning when you bless us with another day!