There are so many incredible blessings in my life right now. When we started this journey, in July, I knew that the road would be difficult. However, at the same time, I also knew that it would be filled with so much love, and that we would be showered with blessings. It's truly amazing to experience. So here is a list of things I'm grateful for today. Some are huge. Some are trivial. All of them help me get through the rough days.
Kimble: This little guy is so impressively resilient. He is strong. He is loving. He has an amazing spirit. He is very special, and I am so thankful that my Heavenly Father has trusted him to me for this time on earth. I pray that the time will be long spent. I am completely in love with him. He completes our family. I can't wait until the other kids can feel his love as well.
The Husband: Heath has been my strength through this all. I've always been rather independent, and I hate breaking down and crying in front of people. Until this time, Heath had rarely seen me very emotional. I've had to depend on him to support me, and he has done a fabulous job. He is my rock. Even more, he has allowed me to be with baby, and hasn't pushed me to leave him. He's managed the schedule with the kids, run errands for me, and done so much more. We love each other. We are so thankful for each other. I am so glad he is my husband.
My Kids: I know these past three weeks have been difficult for my kids, but they have shown a strength and courage that I didn't know they had. They have such faith as well. Everyday they say such sweet prayers for Kimble and myself. They take the time to ask me things like "How did you sleep last night?" and "Did you have a good day today?". Even though they miss me, and Georgie always asks "Are you coming home tomorrow?", they are supporting the fact that I need to stay with Kimble, and haven't been complaining or whining about me being away. We'll be together soon. I can't wait.
My Mom: My mom has been a jewel. She cleared her schedule so she could spend the whole month of November with my family. At first, we didn't think I would still be in the hospital for that long of a time period. We also anticipated Heath being home with the kids a lot more, but all the ups and downs with Kimble have meant that Heath was with us more. Hence, my mom has been the "single grandmother" home with the kids most of the time. She has been a trooper. She has tried very hard to keep the kids on the schedule that they were on, manage the household, and keep track of all the wonderful service that people have done for us, like meals, and watching the kids, and a ton of other stuff that I probably don't know about. Because she has been at home, I haven't needed to worry about anything. I've been able to focus on Kimble. What a huge blessing.
The Color Pink: When baby is pink, we are so happy. He has been a miriad of different shades since he has been born. The most scary shade was gray, which is what he looked like after his surgeries, and the terrible night following those surgeries. If pink wasn't already my favorite color, it would be now.
Tissue: I've certainly used plenty of it.
Showers, Hair Dryers, Makeup: This may sound trivial, but a shower changes everything. A long hard day and night of crying, overwhelming emotions, lack of sleep, and stress can be made better simply by enjoying a nice hot shower. With that, being able to blowdry my hair, put on makeup, change into clean clothes, and come back into the ICU again with a fresh outlook, really makes the day go better.
Staff: The staff here at Children's Hospital are truly incredible. The nurses, doctors, social workers, secretaries, and everyone else that have been part of our experience here, have really made a bad situation become something that we are blessed to have been a part of. Everyone treats us like we are their only priority. How they manage that, I have no idea. I really can't sing their praises enough. What a superb group of people. I have never doubted that the level of care is anything but excellent. They know what they are doing, and I have complete confidence in that.
Books: I have always loved to read, but here especially, it's so nice to have a book to distract from the hard times going on around me.
Internet: I think I would being going crazy if I didn't have access to the internet. I can sit a few feet away from baby, turn on my laptop, and be connected to the world. It's been what has made this time in the ICU feel almost normal.
Emails, Blog Comments, Facebook Posts, Instant Messages, Texts, Phone Calls: Really, all of these mean the world to me. I've been able to see all the love that everyone has for my family. Most of the time I can't believe that I deserve all this attention, but nonetheless, I have been strengthened by your love. I really can't express how much this means to me. Thank you.
Visitors: We have had some wonderful visitors. Some people stop by on their way to other things, and some people make special trips up here, just to see us. Having never been in a situation like this, where I am removed from "normal life" for a while, I appreciate having that normalcy of seeing friends and chatting about everyday stuff, and feeling their comfort and support.
Prayers: I cannot imagine how many prayers have been said on our behalf. People who don't even know us have prayed for us. People of different faith and religion have prayed for us. The biggest thing is that I really FEEL those prayers. I feel comforted. I feel like I have warm arms surrounding me, and strong arms holding me up, and whispered words of comfort and love. Faith is an amazing thing. I thank you all, for praying. I thank Heavenly Father for hearing and answering those prayers.
Cafeteria Vouchers: The volunteer office here has been wonderful. I have been given enough vouchers for the cafeteria, that in all my time here, I have yet to spend a single dollar on food. Very impressive.
Sleeping Rooms: There are a few sleeping rooms located throughout the hospital. ICU families are given priority for these rooms. When Heath comes up, most nights he spends here, he has been able to get one of these rooms to sleep in. I have stayed in the ICU with Kimble, on a foldout bench, which has been just fine for me. However, Tuesday night, with baby still intubated and sedated, I decided to join Heath in the sleep rooms, and do my body some good by getting a good night of uninterrupted sleep (except for getting up twice to breastpump). As luck would have it, the room that was assigned to us had one twin bed, instead of a queen bed. Heath and I cuddled up close and made the best of it. We laughed about it, but were so thankful that we had a place to sleep, and a bathroom to shower in (and towels to use!).
Water: The water here tastes really good. It's filtered and cold and is accompanied by crushed ice. Life is good.
Pillows and Blankets: My friend Colleen gave me a great gift for my baby shower. It was a bag filled with things to use while I was at the hospital. Among the assorted items, was a small pillow and a soft fleece blanket. These two things have turned a clinical world of starched sheets and raspy blankets, into a world of comfort. It's amazing how two small personal items can really comfort you. The pillow and blanket go everywhere I go, from the sleep rooms, to the pump room, to the recliner, and to the foldout bed. Thank you, for that simple gift, Colleen. It's made all the difference.
I could go on and on, but for now, this is a good list of things that I am grateful for at this time. I hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving Holiday. Please know that I am thankful for YOU!!