Wow. I wasn’t sure where to start with an update, so I began by reading through previous entries and your sweet comments. Friends, I cannot begin to describe in words what your encouragement has meant to me. I have so much in my head and heart that I want to put into words here. After all, you’ve been such a part of our journey and our ability to keep putting one foot in front of another, so the least I can do is continue to keep you posted. But putting it all into words is an incredibly daunting task, and my prayer is that God uses whatever words I manage to get out on ‘paper’ for His glory.
Looking back on Struthers’ 105-day (15-week) journey through the NICU and my 27-weeks of pregnancy prior to that, I’m still in disbelief over it all. Many of you know that Eli and I are both the very definition of eternal optimists (swimming friends, think “No Complaining Day” at camp), and I’m realizing now that kept us both from comprehending the gravity of what we were going through. And maybe that’s good, but it’s kind of all hit over the last few weeks as I watch Struthers grow way too fast! The easiest way to describe the inner turmoil (and perhaps allow me some good ol’ journaling therapy) is to provide you with a picture of contrast that has consumed our lives for very nearly a year.
There’s the joy of finding out we were expecting, but the knowledge of the very real threat it was to my life.
There’s the excitement of telling people, and the fear that it was once again not meant to be, or that we would be judged for the risk we were taking.
There’s the surrounding of friends and family for a perfect baby shower, but having to keep the festivities to a minimum because blood pressure was too volatile all weekend.
There’s the welcome challenge of taking on a new leadership role at work and beginning to establish repoire, but one day just not coming back from a doctor’s appointment.
There’s the comfort in having the best physicians in the world watching you like a hawk, but just wanting to be back at home and enjoying the pregancy.
There’s dreading what the pregnancy is doing on my insides, but so wishing that little belly to show on the outside!
There’s finally knowing that your body cannot provide what your baby needs on the inside, and the realization that it’s actually him sustaining you instead of the other way around.
There’s going into a delivery room for what’s supposed to be the happiest moment of our lives, and realizing it could very well be the saddest moment.
There’s your baby fighting for his life in his ICU, and you fighting for yours in your ICU, separated but so connected.
There’s wanting to see pictures and videos of the child you have not yet met, but jealousy of whoever is by that bedside when you cannot be.
There’s wanting him to know and feel that family is there for him to wrap his tiny fingers around, but not wanting anyone else to have that experience before you do.
There’s seeing your little one-pounder struggling for every breath and so tiny, but so perfectly formed.
There’s knowing he’s going to survive at a certain point, but not knowing what that means or what his quality of life will be.
There’s knowing you’re a parent, but not feeling like one because you aren’t the one caring for your child in the middle of the night, or any other time for that matter.
There’s a loneliness brought about by feeling like no one in the world understands, but renewed kinship with old friends you had no idea experienced the same things in days past.
There’s joy in new friendships made through hardships, but a broken heart that anyone else ever has to go through this.
There’s absolute trust in nurses who handle him so well, and wondering if you can ever live up to how they care for your child.
There’s wanting so desperately to share and introduce your son to friends and family, but very real fear of compromising his weakened immune system.
There’s anxiously awaiting the conquest of new skills and ticking deficits off the list, but not wanting him to grow up quite so fast.
There’s the 5-minute explanation to the simple “how old is he?” question, but the pride in seeing how far he’s come in that short (but too-long) timeframe.
There’s the yearning for normal new-mom problems and sleeplessness, but the fear of him actually not waking during the night.
There’s wanting desperately for him not to be tethered to the oxygen tank, but fear of him not having that constant pressure to breathe.
There’s the knowledge that he needs a healthy mom, but the deep sadness over knowing I’ll never birth him a sibling.
There’s the awe at knowing he is God’s little miracle, but not knowing how or why I deserve this.
There’s the wondering what plans God has in store for him and us, and fear that I will get in the way.
Lord, please be with us as we navigate all these conflicting feelings, and help us to alway choose the paths that bring you the most glory. Help me also to realize that even in the midst of bad, you work things together for good. Amen.
Comments imported from CaringBridge:
You are amazing & wonderfully sweet with each new day. It’s a blessing & joy to be part of your extended family.
—Marj Wise, April 2, 2016
God’s glory on paper, to be sure! The timing, Holy Week, could not be more perfect.
—Kathy Holmes, April 2, 2015
My heart goes out to you. I know being a new mom isn’t easy but you’ve got it worse. And yet your strength blows me away. You are an amazing woman Cami and I can’t imagine anyone handling this half as well as you have and do. My love goes out to you and to Eli and of course Struthers. May God continue to keep you close and strength and peace continue to be delivered.
—Lauren, April 1, 2015
Thank you for sharing your feelings! May God bless and guide you!
—Theresa Myers, April 1, 2015
It’s so good to hear from you! I appreciate your honesty. One day at a time, your emotions will settle and you’ll have a better perspective on the whole journey. No rush. It’s like healing an injury. It just takes as long as it takes. Until then, just enjoy your precious baby. We’ll continue to pray for you both. 🙂
—Evania Ku, April 1, 2015
I read an Ann Voscamp quote recently, Cami and your beautiful psalm of praise written above reminded me of it. “When I thank God for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me.” Certainly all of the above is not microscopic! But over and over in your courageous choice to always look for the good you are making large places for God to grow with in you!
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—Don and Brenda Adams, April 1, 2015
Cami — Thank you for sharing so transparently who you are and where you are!
Much love, Michele
—Michele Bremer, April 1, 2015
With a grateful heart, you’ve given life to incredible little Struthers. He’s blessed to have a mother like our Cami. You are amazing to many. With Eli beside you, I know Struthers will know Joy & happiness always. Katie would be thrilled & tell you to keep rolling with it.
—Marj Wise, April 1, 2015
Cami, your thoughts are so articulate and meaningful. You will be a blessing to many who have struggled through premature birth. I am excited you have come this far!
—Lois Showalter, April 1, 2015
Hey Sweetie, You and your family are on my prayer list. What a great plan God has for you and your family! Thanks for sharing your struggles. Will have to see this little one when you get back to Leesburg for a visit!
—Henry Crain, April 1, 2015
Cami, You and husband are amazining parents! I pray for you on this journey of ups and downs with your sweet baby boy! Praying for Struthers to continue to grow and develop. If God brings you to it, he will see you through it! Prayers and Blessings showered on you all!
—Susie Short, April 1, 2015
You are such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing this beautiful adventure with us. I will continue to pray without ceasing. This little man has my heart!
—Milli, April 1, 2015
All of you remain in our prayers. Love you so much!. What a plan God has for Struthers!!! 🙂
—Joan Burns, April 1, 2015
What a testimony little Struthers…and you are…to God’s perfect goodness! God made the doctors & nurses who took such great & wondrous care of both of you while you were up in Denver! Hope to see you soon! God is good…ALL the time, God is good!
—Heather George, March 31, 2015
Cami. You ARE his way! You and Eli will help light his path as he journeys through the years of infancy to toddler to preschool and beyond. Will there be days you stumble? And will there be moments when the guiding light you are providing dims somewhat? That is guaranteed. But make no bones about it, you and Eli WILL provide him with a path by which he will walk and skip and jump and fall and get back up again. No, you will not get in the way… You will open up the path, show him the magic of what’s inside, and then will let him explore. And you will be there with a gentle touch to redirect him if he starts veering off of the path you have created. He is a lucky boy. Much love
—Deb baltenberger, March 31, 2015