Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Story of Elijah Luke's Life

 "Nine-year-old boys usually turn ten at some point. It's the nineteen-year-olds who have difficulty turning twenty.John Boyne

Can you hear the cry seeping out from the picture above? 

I can.
John can. 
People who know the story can. 

Because it was a cry I never, ever thought I would hear. 

And even after it's promised arrival, we thought at the last minute, it was gone before we even heard it.

After ten years of marriage and doing every form of infertility treatment known to man and adopting the most precious little boy we could ever imagine, we found out we were miraculously pregnant. 

When my doctor confirmed Elijah's conception she said to me: "I'll be honest with you. I really never thought I'd have this conversation with you."

We named him Elijah (Jehovah is God) Luke (a physician in the Bible).

And then it was time for his birth. 
Everyone in the room knew this child was a miracle.
These were John's coworkers and our friends delivering this baby.
Thirty-six hours of labor.
Three hours of pushing.

My good friend Leeann on the left was there for much of the labor and the delivery. We've stayed good friends to this day!
And his heart rate was acting up. He was not happy. 

So a STAT c-section was ordered and we rushed back to the Emergency Room. 

As they pulled him from me, I remember hearing so many sounds I hadn't expected ...

And no cries. 
No baby was crying. 
I remember thinking: "Isn't the baby supposed to cry?"

I heard them say that his APGAR score was a one. (Or maybe I learned that after. I truly can't remember.) I knew that one was the lowest score you could have.

John came over and looked at me, the bottom half of his face hidden behind a mask. 

"Is he okay?" I asked. "Tell me he is okay."

And I remember the look in John's eyes. 
It was FEAR.
He wanted to say SOMETHING.
But there was NOTHING to say.
And his eyes locked with mine and fear registered ...

I started screaming. 
I was tearing at my arm restraints. 
I wanted to get off the table. 

I heard someone say: "We need to give her something." 

I heard them ask John what they should give me and he shook his head and said he couldn't make that decision. 

He had to just be a husband. And a dad. 

I couldn't see anyone. But I could hear our friend Kacey who was helping with the section. I started asking her questions as the drugs to calm me down started flowing through my veins.

I fought losing consciousness. 

I had to see if he lived.

And I realized Kacey was giving me the answers she had to give.

"They're doing their best."
"You just rest."
"He's in the best hands."

But I was fighting. And I prayed Elijah was fighting. And I remember thinking with complete clarity:

God, really? After all this? You give me a child from my womb and then you take him from me? Like this? How can I go on? How will I live?!

And then I remember our little eight-month-old Isaac at home, and I thought:

I will live for him.

And then. In a moment. There was a cry. And another. And another. And he was screaming. And John rushed over to me and told me that he was okay. That he was totally fine. He had taken a picture of him on his camera to prove it to me.

Fifteen long minutes had passed and a tube had been thrust down Elijah's throat, but they had pulled it out because he was awake and totally fine.

I looked over at Dr. Goodemote, my miracle doctor who had battled so much infertility of her own.

And this is what I saw:

Later Dr. G. would come to my room and tell me that, "Yes, I thought we might lose him on my watch." And she said she couldn't be sure about brain damage but with him inheriting John's brain, a few lost brain cells would probably be okay anyway.

I would face more battles after his birth with multiple infections and my bowels shutting down. But a week after he was born, we went home, a family of four.

And then he grew. And his big brother called him "Sidge-uh" and around two years old he asked for us to only call him Sidge. And it became his very often used nickname.

And today he turns TEN. One decade. A decade ago I went in and almost lost him but he survived and we were able to keep him and raise him.

Celebrating ten years with this passionate miracle. He loves animals and nature and his gift is truly, like his Daddy, in his BRAIN! He is so smart and so perceptive. And I have no doubt he will live his whole life in the country surrounded by nature and animals. 

I love you, Elijah Luke "Sidge"! Thanks for letting me be your Mama!


P.S. To read about the day we announced we were adopting Isaac, click here.
P.S. To read about Isaac's birth mom, click here.
P.S. To read the story of Elijah's entrance to the world click here.
P.S. To read the story of me finding out I was pregnant, click here.
P.S. To read about  

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

We Bought a Farm: What Cold Means to a Farmer

If there is one thing I dread most on our farm it is the days it goes below freezing and does not come up. Because this doesn't happen that often (5-10 days a year) we have chosen not to invest in the infrastructure to water our animals in this cold. Instead, we just bucket water to them and "get through it."

Today made me soooooo glad we no longer have pigs. Praise the Lord the piggies are gone. They were the worst of the water problem so to not have to bucket to them made things was easier. The chickens and ducks are pretty close to home right now, but, unfortunately, our sheep are about the farthest they can get from the house and our darned four-wheeler wouldn't run. (It goes in and out working frequently.) 

Here are some pictures from what 20 degrees means here in Tennessee: 

This duck egg was already quite frozen by the time we retrieved it this morning!
Check this out! Frozen duck egg.
Snow pants for the kiddos and the doggies inside around these parts!
Ritter helping fill water buckets. :)
I thought I would share a "Wee-wind Wednesday" today and flashback to when I lived in Minnesota and I met a -29 degree day. You can read that post here. 


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Ruth and Boaz (UPDATED!)

 "When ballet takes to the sea, even the sunset comes to take a sneak peak." Anthony T. Hincks

January is a big month around here. Abigail participates in a huge ballet production in Greeneville. Year 1 of ballet she was too shy to participate in the big production of Cinderella. Year 2 she was in Sleeping Beauty: True Love's Kiss. Year 2 was The 12 Dancing Princesses. And this year she will be in Boaz and Ruth. 

I've decided to compile all pictures fro this year's ballet production in one post. I'll be putting any NEW pictures at the top of the post. (By the way, many of these pictures were NOT taken by me. I especially wanted to thank my good friend Kristin Girton who took MANY of them. 

The video is of Abigail in her "lead" role in scene 4. I'm so proud of my little shy girl. :)

With Grampa and Grama. They LOVED the ballet!
Abigail with Mrs. Kim Clark -- a great friend from co-op and church.
Love this picture of my friend Jenn who was in charge of make-up and did a GREAT job.
Some very special ladies in my life: Beth (whom I just getting to know), Jennifer (friend from church, co-op, and ballet -- she also cleans my house!), Meredith (friend from ballet and co-op), me, Kristin (friend from ballet and co-op), and Christa DelSorbo (she is in charge of our co-op but also goes to our church.)
With Ms. Ruth. Ruth Kross used to teach history at the school JB and I grew up at. She was a teacher for both of us in middle school and directed a play we were in together: Pirates of Penzance. She has attended the last two ballets. So glad to have her a part of what we are doing and that she lives so close to us. 
These two gals: Emma and Meg, teach Hannah's little ballet class on Tuesday evenings. Abigail helps with the class. They wrote her the sweetest note and gave her a flower in thanks of her help.

A great friend: Hailey who played "barley" in the play.
Emma (Ms. Jennifer Jenkin's beautiful daughter) in her funeral attire.
I have really gotten to know this lady: Jessica. Our daughters shared the lead role in scene 4. I really like her!!!
This is fun because Abigail is up on Dillon (one of the professional dancer's) shoulders here. She's the tallest one in the picture.
Ms. Leslie -- our piano teacher came again this year with her husband (background)
These are the four "birds" in the play: Eliza, Zeta, Abby, and Lilly. I especially love this one because Abby is in the same costume Abigail wore her very first sure in the big ballet production.
Check out Abigail from two years ago as a bluebird.
Abigail (in green)
Abigail (in green)

With Kari backstage

Shane helping her practice her ballet moves before the show :)
With Eliza

Exiting stage in scene 4.
Abigail and her friend Bailee in the costumes they both wear for the role they share.
Yes! I can do ballet hair. Go me. This is Abigail's head.
Another of Abigail's head. I finally nailed a braid/bun that will hold down all her fly-aways.
I LOVE how Bailee's bun turned out. She doesn't let her mom do it. She lets me! :) You can't tell but I did a backwards braid up the back of her head.
Bailee's bun. 
This is cousin Kari's first year doing ballet. Fun to watch her give this a try!
Prayer before the first dress rehearsal. You can see Sidge in the black shirt. He is doing the backstage work again. Abigail is on his left.
Practicing curtain call.
Abigail and Bailee meeting at center stage for the Hebrew Children dance.
Abigail leading the little kids in scene 4.
Abigail during curtain call practice.
Practicing the curtain call. You can see Abigail in the front in green pants.
With her friend Bailee in their "Hebrew Children" costumes -- scene 20. She and Bailee have split role leading the little kiddos out for their age group -- they each do it for two shows.
Abigail with her friend Eliza. Eliza's mom Kristin is the one who takes so many amazing pics.
Curtain call practice!
Abigail and some of her fellow dancers waiting to practice curtain call.
Abigail took a picture of herself to see her make-up for the ballet. She was serving as a "model" as Ms. Jenn taught mothers how to do stage make-up and wanted to see what the end product was. :)
Hannah's outfit of choice on a cold winter day. I made her put on socks and pants and a jacket, but as soon as we got into ballet rehearsal, she stripped them off. She even added the rubber band around her t-shirt. I have no idea where this kid gets her fashion from. 
Abigail wearing her ballet outfit and her favorite maroon sweater in Walmart where we stopped before practice today.

Abigail hanging out with some friends waiting for her scene during rehearsal. 
Rehearsal #2 in Annie Hogan Theater. Scene 20.
Ms. Lori Ann showing Bailee and Abigail how to dance not too close.
Part II of Lori Ann getting everyone to spread out.
Rehearsal #1 in the big theater!
Our girl!
Thank you Kristin Girton for these beautiful pics!
Abigail was so honored to get a role as a "leader" of the little girls. Here she is lining up for it.
Abigail leading the little girls.
This was a photo at the tryout for the production.